Ever wondered how the need for an increased police force intensified? Or how cities gained the access to “a more liberal use of water (Chudacoff, 55)? Or maybe even how public education evolved and expanded? Due to the rapid increase of poverty within many cities and urban areas of the United States between the 18th and 19th centuries, many reforms and proposals were implemented to improve and decrease the strains of middle and working class families. But did these attempts work after all is the question? Due to the rioting and fights from mainly poor, white, single, men from 1845- 1855 and the huge population increase their was a huge shortage in police officers to hinder these problems. This led to, According to Chudacoff, “Reorganizations of the fire departments duplicated some of the processes affecting police departments (55).” With that came urban officials who thought heavily on providing more water for citizens to prevent diseases, and other forms of illnesses and sustaining cleanliness. With the population increasing, and the percentage of poor people in urban cities rising officials needed another plan. Chudacoff explains, “Urban leaders railed behind state-supported free education as the instrument that would break the chain of destitution (58).” This sparked the opening of many free-public schools across the country. Many reformers also believed that due to so many woman and children working instead of being in a stable home environment it was the “root of poverty.”
So the question is did these attempts to make the poor better work? Some may say that it helped and others may think that it only made the situation direr. As the rate of policemen increased protected went towards the wealthy in residential districts. As water was provided more to the public, more of it was concentrated in factories owned by rich businessmen, and other manufacturing goods that required its use. “Public leaders were reluctant to provide running water where it was needed most –in the homes of the poor (Chudacoff, 57).” As education rapidly spread, some students were being thought to “accept their position in their class hierarchy and strive for respectability rather than the trappings of wealth.” As the population increased and more immigrants started to pour into cities the illiteracy rates increased. In later dates I am sure more progress was made to better theses things in society, but during this time period all attempts to fix poverty led with a slap on the back for the rich and a kick in the butt for the poor.