How The Other Half Lives Thesis

How The Other Half Lives Thesis-56
” The first tenement New York knew bore the mark of Cain from its birth, though a generation passed before the writing was deciphered.It was the “rear house,” infamous ever after in our city’s history.

” The first tenement New York knew bore the mark of Cain from its birth, though a generation passed before the writing was deciphered.It was the “rear house,” infamous ever after in our city’s history.It was the stir and bustle of trade, together with the tremendous immigration that followed upon the war of 1812 that dislodged them.

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Not long ago a great meeting was held in this city, of all denominations of religious faith, to discuss the question how to lay hold of these teeming masses in the tenements with Christian influences, to which they are now too often strangers.

Might not the conference have found in the warning of one Brooklyn builder, who has invested his capital on this plan and made it pay more than a money interest, a hint worth heeding: “How shall the love of God be understood by those who have been nurtured in sight only of the greed of man?

There had been tenant-houses before, but they were not built for the purpose.

Nothing would probably have shocked their original owners more than the idea of their harboring a promiscuous crowd; for they were the decorous homes of the old Knickerbockers, the proud aristocracy of Manhattan in the early days.

Right or wrong, the many and exacting duties of a newspaper man’s life would hardly have allowed me to bring it to an end but for frequent friendly lifts given me by willing hands. There were those who believed that it would never come; but their hopes were vain.

There came a time when the discomfort and crowding below were so great, and the consequent upheavals so violent, that it was no longer an easy thing to do, and then the upper half fell to inquiring what was the matter.The agent’s instructions were simple but emphatic: ‘Collect the rent in advance, or, failing, eject the occupants.’” Upon such a stock grew this upas-tree. The remedy that shall be an effective answer to the coming appeal for justice must proceed from the public conscience.Neither legislation nor charity can cover the ground. Long ago it was said that “one half of the world does not know how the other half lives.” That was true then. The half that was on top cared little for the struggles, and less for the fate of those who were underneath, so long as it was able to hold them there and keep its own seat.Greed and reckless selfishness wrought like results here as in the cities of older lands.That we have to own it the child of our own wrong does not excuse it, even though it gives it claim upon our utmost patience and tenderest charity. With our enormously swelling population held in this galling bondage, will that answer always be given?It will depend on how fully the situation that prompted the challenge is grasped. of the distress among the poor, said a recent official report, is due to drunkenness.The owner was seeking a certain percentage on his outlay, and that percentage very rarely fell below fifteen per cent., and frequently exceeded thirty.[2]...The complaint was universal among the tenants that they were entirely uncared for, and that the only answer to their requests to have the place put in order by repairs and necessary improvements was that they must pay their rent or leave.The one way out he saw—rapid transit to the suburbs—has brought no relief.We know now that there is no way out; that the ‘system’ that was the evil offspring of public neglect and private greed has come to stay, a storm-centre forever of our civilization.


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