Protestants encouraged schools to emphasize cultural assimilation in their

Protestants encouraged schools to emphasize cultural

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nation and broadened its concerns to other women’s issues. Protestants encouraged schools to emphasize cultural assimilation in their curricula by having students recite the Lord’s Prayer, salute the flag, and pledge allegiance to the United States. Kindergartens were created in part to provide the earliest possible education for immigrant children, and truancy laws were used to force regular attendance by immigrant children who often attended haphazardly. The purpose of Protestant Sunday schools shifted from evangelism alone to include Christian education, with lessons that could be taught to children of all backgrounds. The YMCA and YWCA were imported from England at mid-century to provide physical, mental, social, and spiritual support for the nation’s young people. The YMCA built gyms, dorms, and reading rooms, and organized night schools to fight the effects of urban life with wholesome recreational and educational opportunities. Methodist “General” William Booth created the Salvation Army to evangelize slum populations in London and dispatched his forces to America in 1880. The Army’s brigades, with women prominently involved, went directly into the slums to evangelize, using soup kitchens, shelters, second-hand stores, and camps. Catholic “revivalists” visited urban parishes to conduct “missions” that urged salvation and a return to devotion and away from alcohol. But it was Protestant Dwight L. Moody who became the most famous and successful evangelist of the era. A striking figure weighing in at close to 300 pounds, Moody teamed with musician Ira Sankey and launched a successful revival in Great Britain in the early 1870s. He brought the campaign to America, preaching that individual con- version would bring reform to America. Urban America shook with revivals in the 1870s and 1880s and the revivals led to the creation of schools, such as Moody Bible Institute (1889) in Chicago, to train laymen to expand the work of converting the sinner. Protestant church membership doubled between 1880 and 1900, but the immigrant population was largely unaffected. The depth and tenacity of urban poverty troubled even the most hardened old-school moralist. Jacob Riis, an active churchman, awakened the public conscience with his powerful indictment of tenement conditions in How the Other Half Lives (1890). He pioneered the use of photography, prowling the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side, and chronicled in pictures and angry prose the horrors he observed. Congregationalist minister Charles Sheldon of Kansas reminded Americans of their Christian duty in his popular novel, In His Steps (1896), which asked readers to consider one question when they faced the problems of slum life: “What would Jesus do?” Protestant pastors began to chide their congregants for their complacency, and landlords and sweatshop operators for their abuses of the working class. An “applied Christianity,” a “Social
Gospel,” arose that attended to the needy as a means to reform society. Some Social Gospel advocates, like Washington Gladden, a Congregationalist minister in Springfield, Massachusetts, challenged unfettered capitalism. Walter Rauschenbusch, a German American Baptist who min-

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