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Urban Life, 1860-1900
Guide: Shame of the Cities

These resources highlight factors that led to the growth of American cities in the 19th century. Use these resources to support your students' understanding of urbanization and to evaluate the pros and cons of city life. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Opportunities have been extended to certain groups of Americans while denied to other groups.
  • Social and economic changes due to technological advancement can have positive and negative effects.
  • Wealth can be used to influence people and politics in positive and negative ways.
  • Immigrants' decisions to leave their homeland are based on push and pull factors.
  • Organizations and people can advocate for and obtain social change.

Key Questions

  • How did immigrants shape major urban centers during this time period?
  • What was tenement housing? Describe the conditions of tenement housing.
  • Evaluate urban life during this time. How did cities present both challenges and opportunities to immigrants?


  1. Overview: Shame of the Cities
  2. Visuals: Shame of the Cities (Visual)
  3. Outlines: Outline
  4. Transcripts: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-The Immigrant Neighborhood
  7. Lesson: 2- Life in a Dumbbell Tenement
  8. Lesson: 3-Child Labor
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Photos & Illustrations: Tenements in New York City
  11. Photos & Illustrations: Tenements in New York City
  12. Reference Articles: U.S. Children's Bureau
  13. Reference Articles: Rise of American Industry, 1850–1900
  14. Political, Government & Court Documents: Steffens, Lincoln: The Shame of the Cities (1904), excerpt
  15. Cultural Documents: Riis, Jacob: How the Other Half Lives (1890)

MLA Citation

"Shame of the Cities." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2153116?cid=256. Accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

Entry ID: 2153116

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