X hits on this document





4 / 13


engineering and welfare, by cultivating free mar- kets, and by returning to our moral heritage.

Early 20th Century Virtue: Less ns fr m the Immigrants At the turn of the century, there was no welfare state. Family and social bonds were strong, and civil society flourished in numerous fraternal

“The growth of government has politicized life and weakened the nation’s moral fa ric.”

and religious organizations. Total government spending was less than 10 percent of GNP and the federal government’s powers were narrowly limited.

Immigrants were faced with material poverty, true, but they were not wretched. There was a certain moral order in everyday life, which began in the home and spread to the outside community. Baltimore’s Polish immigrants pro- vide a good e ample. Like other immigrants, they arrived with virtually nothing e cept the desire to work hard and to live in a free country. Their ethos of liberty and responsibility is evi- dent in a 1907 housing report describing the Polish community in Fells Point:

A remembered Saturday evening inspection of five apartments in a house [on] Thames Street, with their whitened floors and shin- ing cook stoves, with the dishes gleaming on the neatly ordered shelves, the piles of clean clothing laid out for Sunday, and the general atmosphere of preparation for the Sabbath, suggested standards that would not have disgraced a Puritan housekeeper.

Yet, according to the report, a typical Polish home consisted “of a crowded one- or two-room apartment, occupied by si or eight people, and located two floors above the common water supply.”

Even though wages were low, Polish Americans sacrificed to save and pooled their resources to help each other by founding build-

Document info
Document views19
Page views19
Page last viewedFri Oct 21 20:12:17 UTC 2016