Ch. 2 music(midi file) Pg. 1
A NEW IDEA
n the late 1880s, a new type of philanthropic organization appeared. The settlement movement, as it came to be called, was a new approach to the problems of the city and its poor, and it focused mostly on new immigrants.
Immigrant ships provided few amenities
America's largest cities were largely composed of an amalgamation of new Americans representing virtually every country in the world. Immigrants were drawn to the cities to the thousands of flourishing new industries that needed workers. Overcrowding, sanitation and simple assimilation posed unique and overwhelming problems to those concerned about the nation's general welfare.
Many leaders were especially concerned about the future of democracy and the democratic spirit as America became less and less a nation of farmers from north-western Europe. In this context there arose a new kind of charitable activity focused on improving the immigrants' circumstances and grounded in the spirit of democracy.
Settlements focused more on the causes of poverty than the flaws of the poor. Consequently, they sought to reform aspects of American society that they identified as problematic. Instead of focusing their efforts on changing the individual behaviors and values of the poor, settlement workers tried to change the neighborhoods and expand opportunities for working class people who were poor, but not indigent. The entry of the settlements and their residents in low-income immigrant neighborhoods brought new attitudes and perspectives to the charity field.