Kevin Kazlow September 21, 2011 Period 7 Mrs. Anson Essential Question 2 An explosion in its simplest terms is defined as a sudden, great increase. From 1860 to 1900 a massive explosion occurred in Americas cities. Not an explosion involving chemicals, but rather a massive migration into cities to create urban megalopolises. In 1860, not one U.S city topped 1 million people, by 1890, Philadelphia and Chicago were over 1 million, and New York was the second largest City in the world with some 3.5 million people. Urban Life created industrial jobs, glamour and chance for wealth that were new golden opportunities for many people. Also, the surge of population in cities caused major problems including sanitary issues, housing problems that had to be responded to. Most of all the migration to cities influenced nativism, culture within the city, corruption, border protection, and political parties due to the new immigrants. More Specifically, city populations skyrocketed in the late 1800’s because of the many opportunities city’s offered. For example, cities offered industrial jobs that drew country people off their farms and into the factories to make some money. Also, the old American life on the farm seemed like nothing compared to the glitz, glamour and light of the cities. The major upsurge in electricity of over 2,000% in 20 years is a prime reason why the big city’s looked even more alluring. The skyscraper, first built by Louis Sullivan in Chicago, and other marvels such as the Brooklyn Bridge that was built in 1883 gave a seductive gleam to the cities as well. Another opportunity that cities offered was that of convenience. The trolley system combined with the commutable walking distances made work, home, the city and its outskirts a lot more connected. Also, the introduction of department stores in cities such as Macy’s in New York and Marshall Field’s in Chicago attracted middle class shoppers by the masses and provided middle class jobs for women as well. The effect that department stores had can be seen through Theodore Dreiser’s fictional 1900 novel, Sister Carrie, when the main character escapes from rural boredom to the great city of Chicago where she encounters department stores and is inspired to become richer and more elegant. Clearly, cities had many opportunities and a lot to offer. However, urbanization also created new social problems that Americans responded towards in a not so great fashion. Originally, major companies such as Sears and Montgomery Ward did not offer trash cans in their catalogues and that combined with over population, new cheaper clothing, and no barnyards made waste disposal a major issue for the urban age. American people became consumers and buying was easy, but there was no place to throw anything away. The people responded to this by creating mountains of waste on streets that posed serious health issues. With so many people in one dense place problems popped up everywhere. Criminals were able to excel easily, such as the murderer H. H Holmes in Chicago. Sanitary functions were lagging behind the booming population. Impurities in water, fecal matter from animals on the street, washed up bodies all added to the poor health and stench of cities such as Baltimore, described as a billion skunks. In the case of excess waste, Americans responded very poorly and better conditions did not appear during the 19th century. Also, due to the, “dumbbell” tenements, ghettos and slums packed cities and created bad smelling, dark, blocks that literally caused the death of so many. Sanitary issues were a major problem in cities and they had such a poor response. Unlike sanitary conditions, the new immigrants had a ridiculous amount of response and resulted in an array of different things. More specifically, an immediate response to the immigrants was corruption. Helping immigrants find jobs, get clothing, or food was a way for politicians and big bosses to earn their vote. This strategy was very effective for certain people, but it was not democratic and reformers snarled at this obvious exploitation of the new people. Also, Americans responded to the new people in a really negative way. Antiforeighnism or “nativism,” formed heavily in the cities. Natives of the land blamed the new immigrants for degradation of government. Nativist blamed these new people for the drop in wages. Due to this, the American Protective Association (APA) was formed. With over a million members, the APA urged to vote against candidates who represented immigrants such as Roman Catholics and supported propaganda about run away nuns for example. The AFA’s popularity led to what is known today as border control. The gates began to close for people who were criminals, disabled, paupers, maniacs, alcoholics and this even led to the ban of Chinese occurred in 1882. Furthermore, as a result of the new immigrants churches responded. Protestant churches became less modern. Jewish, and Roman Catholic churches became more popular as well as the spread of Christianity to new immigrants such as Walter Rauschenbusch’s German Baptist church. New religions were on the rise including Mary Baker Eddy’s religion of Christian Science. Further, through the immigration of so many new people and urbanites many new associations were founded such as the religiously affiliated YMCA and Jane Addams’ Hull House. the Hull House taught English, offered services, and helped newcomers adjust to big city life. Work from Addams and also the women’s rights advocate Florence Kelly helped blaze a trail for women’s reform, even though it’s original main purpose was a response to immigration. Clearly, cities offered major opportunity and glamour, but with the glamour and glitz came hard problems that were tough to fix. New cities brought in new immigrants that really changed the entire city itself. There was a lot of good that came out of cities and immigration, but a lot of bad was created as well. The turning point of the century was really illustrated through the development of America’s cities.