Philanthropy In The Progressive Era Analysis

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Philanthropy in the Progressive Era The Progressive Era (1890s-1920s) is characterized by its ideological contribution to the reshaping of the United States in the political, economic, and social spheres (Lecture 10, slide 17). In this analysis, I will focus on national progress according to two major period actors: Andrew Carnegie, the so-called “father of modern philanthropy” and Jane Addams, the founder of “Chicago’s first social settlement” (Lecture 5, slide 14; Addams, 1). By contrasting their pieces, “Wealth” and “The Hull House” respectively, I will focus on how the concept of philanthropy differs between economic classes. Andrew Carnegie was an immigrant from Scotland and the founder of Carnegie Steel. He saw great financial success…show more content…
The purpose of the Hull House was to ease the transition into American life for new immigrants (Lecture 9, slide 7). Addams, a middle-class woman, creates a community of middle-class professionals who are devoted to embracing these immigrants, but also shed light on the struggles they face. Addams has a holistic approach and focuses on how, regardless of class, progress is about mutual aid and focusing on “the neighborhood as a whole, men, women, and children taken in families as the Lord mixes them” (Addams, 5). She demonstrates that “hospitality still survives among foreigners” when recalling the educated Italian immigrants visiting and helping around Hull House every Saturday, while the Americans reciprocated by helping interpret papers and listen to stories of the home country (Addams, 6). Addams directly argues with Carnegie when she states, “theory that wealth brings responsibility… in these cases fails utterly” (Addams, 3). She notes that wealth cannot will not interrupt the vicious cycle where immigrant children are no better than their parents, since they are only offered inadequate education, living conditions, and basic services (Addams, 4). The Hull House aimed to counteract these poor conditions, but it is not a philanthropy. According to Addamis, it is a movement of equality, where everyone has something to contribute to the…show more content…
By addressing that the upper class has a moral responsibility to help the less fortunate, Carnegie is admitting there is a major class division issue in the United States, which Addams would agree with. Carnegie believes philanthropy is a one-way street leading wealth from the upper class to the lower class, while Addams explains that everyone has something to offer to society and philanthropy is a two-way street. Addams attributes inequality to external factors, like social services and education, but Carnegie is focused on subconscious societal decisions that pick who is the most suitable “to administer [wealth]… to produce the most beneficial results for the community” (Carnegie, 20). To conclude, the Progressive Era was a time of great social change in the United States. Andrew Carnegie and Jane Addams both examined their personal position in society and decided to use their resources to improve society overall, despite taking different stances on how to do

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