Activism consists of efforts to promote, direct, or intervene in social, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society. Forms of activism range from mandate building in the community, petitioning elected officials, running or contributing to a political campaign, preferential patronage of businesses, demonstrative forms of activism like rallies, street marches, sit-ins, or hunger strikes. Activism may be performed on a day-to-day basis in a wide variety of ways, including through the creation of art, computer hacking, or in how one chooses to spend their money. For example, the refusal to buy clothes or other merchandise from a company as a protest against the exploitation of workers by that company could be considered an expression of activism. However, the most visible and impactful activism comes in the form of collective action, in which numerous individuals coordinate an act of protest together in order to make a bigger impact. Collective action, purposeful and sustained over a period of time becomes known as a social movement.
Activists have used literature, including pamphlets and books to disseminate their messages and attempt to persuade their readers of the justice of their cause. Research has now begun to explore how contemporary activist groups use social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action combining politics with technology; the Online Etymology Dictionary records the English words "activism" and "activist" as in use in the political sense from the year 1920 or 1915 respectively. The history of the word activism traces back to earlier understandings of collective behavior and social action; as late as 1969 activism was defined as "the policy or practice of doing things with decision and energy", without regard to a political signification, whereas social action was defined as "organized action taken by a group to improve social conditions", without regard to normative status. Following the surge of so-called "new social movements" in the United States in the 1960's, a new understanding of activism emerged as a rational and acceptable democratic option of protest or appeal.
However, the history of the existence of revolt through organized or unified protest in recorded history dates back to the slave revolts of the 1st century BC in the Roman Empire, where under the leadership of former gladiator Spartacus 6,000 slaves rebelled and were crucified from Capua to Rome in what became known as the Third Servile War. In English history, the Peasant's Revolt erupted in response to the imposition of a poll tax, has been paralleled by other rebellions and revolutions in Hungary and more for example, Hong Kong. In 1930 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi thousands of protesting Indians participated in the Salt March as a protest against the oppressive taxes of their government, resulting in the imprisonment of 60,000 people and eventual independence for their nation. In nations throughout Asia and South America, the prominence of activism organized by social movements and under the leadership of civil activists or social revolutionaries has pushed for increasing national self-reliance or, in some parts of the developing world, collectivist communist or socialist organization and affiliation.
Activism has had major impacts on Western societies as well over the past century through social movements such as the Labour movement, the Women's Rights movement, the civil rights movement. Activists can function in a number of roles, including judicial, environmental and design. Most activism has focused on creating substantive changes in the policy or practice of a government or industry; some activists try to persuade people to change their behavior directly, rather than to persuade governments to change laws. For example, the cooperative movement seeks to build new institutions which conform to cooperative principles, does not lobby or protest politically. Other activists try to persuade people or government policy to remain the same, in an effort to counter change. Activism is not always an activity performed by those; the term activist may apply broadly to anyone who engages in activism, or be more narrowly limited to those who choose political or social activism as a vocation or characteristic practice.
Judicial activism involves the efforts of public officials. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. - American historian, public intellectual, social critic - introduced the term "judicial activism" in a January 1946 Fortune magazine article titled "The Supreme Court: 1947". Activists can be public watchdogs and whistle blowers, attempting to understand all the actions of every form of government that acts in the name of the people and hold it accountable to oversight and transparency. Activism involves an engaged citizenry. Environmental activism takes quite a few forms: the protection of nature or the natural environment driven by a utilitarian conservation ethic or a nature oriented preservationist ethic the protection of the human environment (by pollution prevention or the protection of cultural heritage or quality of life the conservation of depletable natural resources the protection of the function of critical earth system elements or processes such as the climate; the power of Internet activism came into a global lens with the Arab Spring protests starting in late 2010.
People living in the Middle East and North African countries that were experiencing revolutions used social networking to communicate information about protests, including videos recorded on smart phones
The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1936, it responded to needs for relief and recovery from the Great Depression. Major federal programs included the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Civil Works Administration, the Farm Security Administration, the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Social Security Administration, they provided support for farmers, the unemployed and the elderly. The New Deal included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply. New Deal programs included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt; the programs focused on what historians refer to as the "3 Rs": relief for the unemployed and poor, recovery of the economy back to normal levels and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.
The New Deal produced a political realignment, making the Democratic Party the majority with its base in liberal ideas, the South, traditional Democrats, big city machines and the newly empowered labor unions and ethnic minorities. The Republicans were split, with conservatives opposing the entire New Deal as hostile to business and economic growth and liberals in support; the realignment crystallized into the New Deal coalition that dominated presidential elections into the 1960s while the opposing conservative coalition controlled Congress in domestic affairs from 1937 to 1964. By 1936, the term "liberal" was used for supporters of the New Deal and "conservative" for its opponents. From 1934 to 1938, Roosevelt was assisted in his endeavors by a "pro-spender" majority in Congress. In the 1938 midterm election and his liberal supporters lost control of Congress to the bipartisan conservative coalition. Many historians distinguish between a First New Deal and a Second New Deal, with the second one more liberal and more controversial.
The First New Deal dealt with the pressing banking crises through the Emergency Banking Act and the 1933 Banking Act. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration provided $500 million for relief operations by states and cities, while the short-lived CWA gave locals money to operate make-work projects in 1933–1934; the Securities Act of 1933 was enacted to prevent a repeated stock market crash. The controversial work of the National Recovery Administration was part of the First New Deal; the Second New Deal in 1935–1938 included the Wagner Act to protect labor organizing, the Works Progress Administration relief program, the Social Security Act and new programs to aid tenant farmers and migrant workers. The final major items of New Deal legislation were the creation of the United States Housing Authority and the FSA, which both occurred in 1937; the FSA was one of the oversight authorities of the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration, which administered relief efforts to Puerto Rican citizens affected by the Great Depression.
The economic downturn of 1937–1938 and the bitter split between the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations labor unions led to major Republican gains in Congress in 1938. Conservative Republicans and Democrats in Congress joined in the informal conservative coalition. By 1942–1943, they shut down relief programs such as the WPA and the CCC and blocked major liberal proposals. Nonetheless, Roosevelt turned his attention to the war effort and won reelection in 1940–1944. Furthermore, the Supreme Court declared the NRA and the first version of the Agricultural Adjustment Act unconstitutional, but the AAA was rewritten and upheld. Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower left the New Deal intact expanding it in some areas. In the 1960s, Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society used the New Deal as inspiration for a dramatic expansion of liberal programs, which Republican Richard Nixon retained. However, after 1974 the call for deregulation of the economy gained bipartisan support.
The New Deal regulation of banking lasted. Several New Deal programs remain active and those operating under the original names include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority; the largest programs still in existence today are the Social Security System and the Securities and Exchange Commission. From 1929 to 1933 manufacturing output decreased by one third, which economists call the Great Contraction. Prices fell by 20 %. Unemployment in the United States increased from 4% to 25%. Additionally, one-third of all employed persons were downgraded to working part-time on much smaller paychecks. In the aggregate 50% of the nation's human work-power was going unused. Before the New Deal, there was no insurance on deposits at banks; when thousands of banks closed, depositors lost their savings as at that time there was no national safety net, no public unemployment insurance and no Social Security.
Relief for the poor was the respons
Works Progress Administration
The Works Progress Administration was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of people to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was established on May 6, 1935, by Executive Order 7034. In a much smaller project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, writers and directors in large arts, drama and literacy projects; the four projects dedicated to these were: the Federal Writers’ Project, the Historical Records Survey, the Federal Theatre Project, the Federal Music Project, the Federal Art Project. In the Historical Records Survey, for instance, many former slaves in the South were interviewed. Theater and music groups toured throughout America, gave more than 225,000 performances. Archaeological investigations under the WPA were influential in the rediscovery of pre-Columbian Native American cultures, the development of professional archaeology in the US; every community in the United States had a new park, bridge, or school, constructed by the agency.
The WPA's initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States, while developing infrastructure to support the current and future society. Above all, the WPA hired workers and craftsmen who were employed in building streets. Thus, under the leadership of the WPA, more than 1 million km of streets and over 10,000 bridges were built, in addition to many airports and much housing; the largest single project of the WPA was the Tennessee Valley Authority, which provided the impoverished Tennessee Valley with dams and waterworks to create an infrastructure for electrical power. Camp David, the presidential estate in Maryland used for international meetings, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge were both constructed by the WPA. At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration.
Between 1935 and 1943, when the agency was disbanded, the WPA employed 8.5 million people. Most people who needed a job were eligible for employment in some capacity. Hourly wages were set to the prevailing wages in each area. Full employment, reached in 1942 and emerged as a long-term national goal around 1944, was not the goal of the WPA. "Millions of people needed subsistence incomes. Work relief was preferred over public assistance because it maintained self-respect, reinforced the work ethic, kept skills sharp."The WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10–30% of the costs. The local sponsor provided land and trucks and supplies, with the WPA responsible for wages. WPA sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation or Federal Emergency Relief Administration programs, it was liquidated on June 30, 1943, as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II.
The WPA had provided millions of Americans with jobs for eight years. A joint resolution introduced January 21, 1935, the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 8, 1935. On May 6, 1935, FDR issued executive order 7034; the WPA superseded the work of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, dissolved. Direct relief assistance was permanently replaced by a national work relief program—a major public works program directed by the WPA; the WPA was shaped by Harry Hopkins, supervisor of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and close adviser to Roosevelt. Both Roosevelt and Hopkins believed that the route to economic recovery and the lessened importance of the dole would be in employment programs such as the WPA. Hallie Flanagan, national director of the Federal Theatre Project, wrote that "for the first time in the relief experiments of this country the preservation of the skill of the worker, hence the preservation of his self-respect, became important."The WPA was organized into the following divisions: The Division of Engineering and Construction, which planned and supervised construction projects including airports, dams and sanitation systems.
The Division of Professional and Service Projects, responsible for white-collar projects including education programs, recreation programs, the arts projects. It was named the Division of Community Service Programs and the Service Division; the Division of Finance. The Division of Information; the Division of Investigation, which succeeded a comparable division at FERA and investigated fraud, misappropriation of funds and disloyalty. The Division of Statistics known as the Division of Social Research; the Project Control Division, which processed project applications. Other divisions including the Employment, Safety and Training and Reemployment; these ordinary men and women proved to be extraordinary beyond all expectation. They
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of the Senate; the Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C.. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 100 senators; the House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house and vote in congressional committees, introduce legislation; the members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms representing the people of a single constituency, known as a "district". Congressional districts are apportioned to states by population using the United States Census results, provided that each state has at least one congressional representative.
Each state, regardless of population or size, has two senators. There are 100 senators representing the 50 states; each senator is elected at-large in their state for a six-year term, with terms staggered, so every two years one-third of the Senate is up for election. To be eligible for election, a candidate must be aged at least 25 or 30, have been a citizen of the United States for seven or nine years, be an inhabitant of the state which they represent; the Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation. Although not mandated, in practice since the 19th century, Congress members are affiliated with the Republican Party or with the Democratic Party and only with a third party or independents. Article One of the United States Constitution states, "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process—legislation cannot be enacted without the consent of both chambers. However, the Constitution grants each chamber some unique powers; the Senate ratifies treaties and approves presidential appointments while the House initiates revenue-raising bills. The House initiates impeachment cases. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required before an impeached person can be forcibly removed from office; the term Congress can refer to a particular meeting of the legislature. A Congress covers two years; the Congress ends on the third day of January of every odd-numbered year. Members of the Senate are referred to as senators. Scholar and representative Lee H. Hamilton asserted that the "historic mission of Congress has been to maintain freedom" and insisted it was a "driving force in American government" and a "remarkably resilient institution". Congress is the "heart and soul of our democracy", according to this view though legislators achieve the prestige or name recognition of presidents or Supreme Court justices.
One analyst argues that it is not a reactive institution but has played an active role in shaping government policy and is extraordinarily sensitive to public pressure. Several academics described Congress: Congress reflects us in all our strengths and all our weaknesses, it reflects our regional idiosyncrasies, our ethnic and racial diversity, our multitude of professions, our shadings of opinion on everything from the value of war to the war over values. Congress is the government's most representative body... Congress is charged with reconciling our many points of view on the great public policy issues of the day. Congress is changing and is in flux. In recent times, the American south and west have gained House seats according to demographic changes recorded by the census and includes more minorities and women although both groups are still underrepresented. While power balances among the different parts of government continue to change, the internal structure of Congress is important to understand along with its interactions with so-called intermediary institutions such as political parties, civic associations, interest groups, the mass media.
The Congress of the United States serves two distinct purposes that overlap: local representation to the federal government of a congressional district by representatives and a state's at-large representation to the federal government by senators. Most incumbents seek re-election, their historical likelihood of winning subsequent elections exceeds 90 percent; the historical records of the House of Representatives and the Senate are maintained by the Center for Legislative Archives, a part of the National Archives and Records Administration. Congress is directly responsible for the governing of the District of Columbia, the current seat of the federal government; the First Continental Congress was a gathering of representatives from twelve of the thirteen British Colonies in North America. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, referring to the new nation as the "United States of America"; the Articles of Confederation in 1781 created the Congress of the Confederation, a
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson referred to as LBJ, was an American politician who served as the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969. The 37th vice president of the United States from 1961 to 1963, he assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A Democrat from Texas, Johnson served as a United States Representative and as the Majority Leader in the United States Senate. Johnson is one of only four people. Born in a farmhouse in Stonewall, Johnson was a high school teacher and worked as a congressional aide before winning election to the House of Representatives in 1937, he won election to the Senate in 1948 and was appointed to the position of Senate Majority Whip in 1951. He became the Senate Minority Leader in 1953 and the Senate Majority Leader in 1955, he became known for his domineering personality and the "Johnson treatment", his aggressive coercion of powerful politicians to advance legislation. Johnson ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1960 presidential election.
Although unsuccessful, he accepted the invitation of then-Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts to be his running mate, they went on to win a close election over the Republican ticket of Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson succeeded him as president; the following year, Johnson won in a landslide. With 61.1 percent of the popular vote, Johnson won the largest share of the popular vote of any candidate since the uncontested 1820 election. In domestic policy, Johnson designed the "Great Society" legislation to expand civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicaid, aid to education, the arts and rural development, public services and his "War on Poverty". Assisted in part by a growing economy, the War on Poverty helped millions of Americans rise above the poverty line during his administration. Civil rights bills that he signed into law banned racial discrimination in public facilities, interstate commerce, the workplace and housing.
With the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the country's immigration system was reformed, encouraging greater emigration from regions other than Europe. Johnson's presidency marked the peak of modern liberalism after the New Deal era. In foreign policy, Johnson escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted Johnson the power to use military force in Southeast Asia without having to ask for an official declaration of war; the number of American military personnel in Vietnam increased from 16,000 advisors in non-combat roles in 1963 to 525,000 in 1967, many in combat roles. American casualties soared and the peace process stagnated. Growing unease with the war stimulated a large, angry anti-war movement based chiefly among draft-age students on university campuses. Johnson faced further troubles when summer riots began in major cities in 1965 and crime rates soared, as his opponents raised demands for "law and order" policies.
While Johnson began his presidency with widespread approval, support for him declined as the public became frustrated with both the war and the growing violence at home. In 1968, the Democratic Party factionalized. Nixon was elected to succeed him, as the New Deal coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years collapsed. After he left office in January 1969, Johnson returned to his Texas ranch, where he died of a heart attack at age 64, on January 22, 1973. Johnson is ranked favorably by many historians because of his domestic policies and the passage of many major laws that affected civil rights, gun control, wilderness preservation, Social Security, although he has drawn substantial criticism for his escalation of the Vietnam War. Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, near Stonewall, Texas, in a small farmhouse on the Pedernales River, he was the oldest of five children born to Samuel Ealy Johnson Rebekah Baines. Johnson had one brother, Sam Houston Johnson, three sisters.
The nearby small town of Johnson City, was named after LBJ's cousin, James Polk Johnson, whose forebears had moved west from Georgia. Johnson had English and Ulster Scots ancestry, he was maternally descended from pioneer Baptist clergyman George Washington Baines, who pastored eight churches in Texas, as well as others in Arkansas and Louisiana. Baines, the grandfather of Johnson's mother, was the president of Baylor University during the American Civil War. Johnson's grandfather, Samuel Ealy Johnson Sr. was raised as a Baptist and for a time was a member of the Christian Church. In his years the grandfather became a Christadelphian; as a politician, Johnson was influenced in his positive attitude toward Jews by the religious beliefs that his family his grandfather, had shared with him. Johnson's favorite Bible verse came from the King James Version of Isaiah 1:18. "Come now, let us reason together..." In school, Johnson was an awkward, talkative youth, elected president of his 11th-grade class.
He graduated in 1924 from Johnson City High School, where he participated in public speaking and baseball. At age 15, Johnson was the youngest member of his class. Pressured by his parents to attend college, he en
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U. S. history. As a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States; the loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery. Among the 34 U. S. states in February 1861, secessionist partisans in seven Southern slave states declared state secessions from the country and unveiled their defiant formation of a Confederate States of America in rebellion against the U. S. Constitutional government; the Confederacy grew to control over half the territory in eleven states, it claimed the additional states of Kentucky and Missouri by assertions from exiled native secessionists without territory or population.
These were given full representation in the Confederate Congress throughout the Civil War. The two remaining slave holding states of Delaware and Maryland were invited to join the Confederacy, but nothing substantial developed; the Confederate States was never diplomatically recognized by the government of the United States or by that of any foreign country. The states that remained loyal to the U. S. were known as the Union. The Union and the Confederacy raised volunteer and conscription armies that fought in the South over the course of four years. Intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 people dead, more than the number of U. S. military deaths in all other wars combined. The war ended when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Appomattox Court House. Confederate generals throughout the southern states followed suit. Much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed the transportation systems; the Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, four million black slaves were freed.
During the Reconstruction Era that followed the war, national unity was restored, the national government expanded its power, civil rights were granted to freed black slaves through amendments to the Constitution and federal legislation. In the 1860 presidential election, led by Abraham Lincoln, supported banning slavery in all the U. S. territories. The Southern states viewed this as a violation of their constitutional rights and as the first step in a grander Republican plan to abolish slavery; the three pro-Union candidates together received an overwhelming 82% majority of the votes cast nationally: Republican Lincoln's votes centered in the north, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas' votes were distributed nationally and Constitutional Unionist John Bell's votes centered in Tennessee and Virginia; the Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a plurality of the popular votes and a majority of the electoral votes nationally. He was the first Republican Party candidate to win the presidency.
However, before his inauguration, seven slave states with cotton-based economies declared secession and formed the Confederacy. The first six to declare secession had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, with an average of 49 percent. Of those states whose legislatures resolved for secession, the first seven voted with split majorities for unionist candidates Douglas and Bell, or with sizable minorities for those unionists. Of these, only Texas held a referendum on secession. Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession. Outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincoln's March 4, 1861, inaugural address declared that his administration would not initiate a civil war. Speaking directly to the "Southern States", he attempted to calm their fears of any threats to slavery, reaffirming, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the United States where it exists.
I believe I have no lawful right to do so, I have no inclination to do so." After Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy, efforts at compromise failed and both sides prepared for war. The Confederates assumed that European countries were so dependent on "King Cotton" that they would intervene, but none did, none recognized the new Confederate States of America. Hostilities began on April 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter. While in the Western Theater the Union made significant permanent gains, in the Eastern Theater, the battle was inconclusive during 1861–1862. In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a war goal. To the west, by summer 1862 the Union destroyed the Confederate river navy much of its western armies, seized New Orleans; the successful 1863 Union siege of Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi River. In 1863, Robert E. Lee's Confederate incursion north ended at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Western successes led to Ulysses S. Grant's command of all Union armies in 1864. Inflicting an ever-tightening naval blockade of Confederate ports, the Union marshaled the resources and manpower to attack the Confederacy from all directions, leading to the fall of Atlanta to William T. Sherman and his march to th
The Young Men's Christian Association, sometimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide organization based in Geneva, with more than 64 million beneficiaries from 120 national associations. It was founded on 6 June 1844 by Sir George Williams in London and aims to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy "body and spirit". From its inception, it grew and became a worldwide movement founded on the principles of muscular Christianity. Local YMCAs deliver projects and services focused on youth development through a wide variety of youth activities, including providing athletic facilities, holding classes for a wide variety of skills, promoting Christianity, humanitarian work. YMCA globally operates on a federation model, with each independent local YMCA voluntarily affiliated to their national organizations; the national organizations, in turn, are part of both an Area Alliance and the World Alliance of YMCAs. With regard to the history and purpose of the founding, this "organization and its female counterpart were established to provide low-cost housing in a safe Christian environment for rural young men and women journeying to the cities."
It was associated with the movement of young people to cities to work. The YMCA "combined preaching in the streets and the distribution of religious tracts with a social ministry. Philanthropists saw them as places for wholesome recreation that would preserve youth from the temptations of alcohol and prostitution and that would promote good citizenship." The YMCA was founded by three men, led by George Williams, a London draper, typical of the young men drawn to the cities by the Industrial Revolution. His co-founders included Rev John Stewart FEIS who served as the association's first Secretary under Williams' chairmanship; the three were concerned about the lack of healthy activities for young men in major cities. Williams's idea grew out of meetings he held for prayer and Bible-reading among his fellow-workers in a business in the city of London, on 6 June 1844, he founded the first YMCA in London with the purpose of "the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in the drapery and other trades."
By 1851, there were YMCAs in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the United States. In 1855, 99 YMCA delegates from Europe and North America met in Paris at the First World Conference of YMCAs, held before the 1855 Paris World Exposition of the same year, they discussed joining together in a federation to enhance cooperation amongst individual YMCA societies. This marked the beginning of the World Alliance of YMCAs; the conference adopted a common mission for all present and future national YMCAs. Its motto was taken from the Bible, "That they all may be one". Other ecumenical bodies, such as the World YWCA, the World Council of Churches, the World Student Christian Federation have reflected elements of the Paris Basis in their founding mission statements. In 1865 The Fourth World Conference of YMCAs, held in Germany, affirmed the importance of developing the whole individual in spirit and body; the concept of physical work through sports, a new concept for the time, was recognized as part of this "muscular Christianity".
Two themes resonated during the council: the need to respect the local autonomy of YMCA societies, the purpose of the YMCA: to unite all young, male Christians for the extension and expansion of the Kingdom of God. The former idea is expressed in the preamble: The delegates of various Young Men's Christian Associations of Europe and America, assembled in Conference at Paris, the 22nd August, 1855, feeling that they are one in principle and in operation, recommend to their respective Societies to recognize with them the unity existing among their Associations, while preserving a complete independence as to their particular organization and modes of action, to form a Confederation of secession on the following fundamental principle, such principle to be regarded as the basis of admission of other Societies in future; the YMCA was influential during the 1870s and 1930s, during which times they most promoted "evangelical Christianity in weekday and Sunday services, while promoting good sportsmanship in athletic contests in gyms and swimming pools."
In this period, continuing on through the 20th century, the YMCA had "become interdenominational and more concerned with promoting morality and good citizenship than a distinctive interpretation of Christianity." Today the YMCA is more focused on their families to exercise and be healthy. In 1878, World Alliance of YMCAs offices were established in Switzerland. In 1900, North American YMCAs, in collaboration with the World Alliance, set up centres to work with emigrants in European ports, as millions of people were leaving for the USA. In 1880, the YMCA became the first national organization to adopt a strict policy of equal gender representation in committees and national boards, with Norway being the country that first adopted it. In 1885, Camp Baldhead, the first residential camp in the United States and North America, was established by A. Sanford and Sumner F. Dudley, both of whom worked for the YMCA; the camp located near Orange Lake in New Jersey, moved to Lake Wawayanda in Sussex County the following year, to the shore of Lake Champlain near Westport, New York, in 1891.