The Irish in Philadelphia: Ten Generations of Urban Experience

By Dennis Clark | Go to book overview

EIGHT
THE TRADITION PERSISTS

The twentieth century would charge the city with powers even greater than those which had earlier spawned its industrial might. New forms of energy and new inventions added vastly to its technical capacity. Ascending downtown towers looked out over intensive development that flowed beyond the old city boundaries in a sweeping pattern of metropolitan construction and settlement. The people of this city seemed driven by a new energy as well, but their course, like the people themselves, was highly varied. Changing residences, jobs, and goals, they moved ever outward, searching the urban landscape restlessly for the warmth and stability that became increasingly difficult to find in industrial society. In their restless search they left behind in the inner city the decay and wreckage of the first American urban age. Caught in that debris were the latest immigrants and those working- class Irish still experiencing gruelling exploitation in the lower levels of the industrial city.

The free-enterprise economy of the nineteenth century had left the city a legacy of bitter problems that festered during the years prior to World War I. As early as 1892 Joseph D. Murphy , editor of the Catholic Standard and Times, anticipated the reformers of the Progressive movement by excoriating the "sweater" in industry. He complained that any plans for housing improvement were quickly branded as "desperate Anarchistic schemes for driving the wealthy people out of Philadelphia." 1 Twenty years later the same problems existed, and another social critic of the same surname, John J. Murphy, rose to prominence as a labor leader whose efforts for the redrew of working-class grievances went well beyond

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The Irish in Philadelphia: Ten Generations of Urban Experience
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • One a Tradition Grows 3
  • Two the Famine Generation 24
  • Three City Shelter 38
  • Four Working to Live 61
  • Five Church and School 88
  • Six Clans and Causes 106
  • Seven Hibernia Philadelphia 126
  • Eight the Tradition Persists 145
  • Nine the Urban Irishman 165
  • Notes 185
  • NOTE ON SOURCES 237
  • Index 243
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