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Dbq On American Urbanization

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American Urbanization started like a wildfire and it spread so rapidly that facilities and institutions in society could not keep up. From 1850 to 1900 America completely changed from its agricultural state into a new industry based society. The four paramount changes that occured during America’s urbanization period were new immigration, the build up of cities (skyscrapers and mass transit), living conditions, and boss rule and the rise of mass consumption. Even though the changes during urbanization did not come easily due to immense diversity, they still paved the way to modern day America. The American dream: a promise of freedom and opportunities for prosperity and success. This particular dream is what drew hundreds of thousands of…show more content…
Inspired by european city rebuilding projects, American cities started clearing away older neighborhoods and creating grand avenues with impressive buildings. The only problem with the growing population was finding housing for the new residents. In Document 6 Nash explains how urban geography changed with emerging central businesses, few people living downtown, middle class residential areas stretched out beyond working class neighborhoods, and the growth of the suburbs which led to better transportation. Many of the rich lived in palatial mansions in the heart of the city while the moderately well to do took advantage of less expensive land on the outer edges of the city thus leading to what was known as the growth of the suburbs. However the poor could not afford housing in the city or in the suburbs and this led to the growth of tenement housing. Tenements were supposed to be great improvements in housing for the poor however they soon became known as “miserable abodes” that were overcrowded and had little to no indoor plumbing or central heating. The growing population also led to transportation problems. The downtown streets were usually too narrow for the heavy traffic that moved through them and most were not paved producing either a lot of mud or a cloud of dust. These problems led to what would later become known as mass…show more content…
New immigrants, many of which could not speak english, needed help adjusting to America’s urban life: it’s laws, customs, and language. The political machine was the principle source of assistance in these adjustments. This urban machine was one of the most distinctive political institutions in America and it owed its existence to the power vacuum that the chaotic growth of cities had created. Due to this a group of “urban bosses” emerged and they would help immigrants and bribe their vote by bringing them food, finding them jobs, and helping them in minor legal situations. The power of immigrant voters who were less concerned with political morality than with obtaining the services that machines provided, the link between the political organizations and wealthy, and the structural weakness of city governments were all factors that made boss rule possible. Invisible government, which is where power resides with confidential individuals who use their power behind the scenes not with publicly elected representatives, was created in cities due to boss rule and immigrants would vote for them only for the things they were promised in return, not necessarily because they liked them, according to Document 5. Incomes in the industrial era were rising for almost everyone especially “white collar” workers. Mass market grew because of affordable prices and new
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