A World of Cities

Essential Question: How did cities change as people moved to urban areas for jobs?

Objective: Examine how the population explosion affected city life during the Industrial Revolution

Vocabulary: urban renewal, standard of living

Lesson Materials: This section most closely correspond to pages 388-389 in your eText under Topic 13.3: The Second Industrial Revolution, under the sub-headings "City Life Changes" and "The Working Class Wins Rights."

  • Read lesson text below and pg. 388-389 in your eText
  • Watch videos

The Lure of the City

Many cultural attractions such as theaters, music halls, and sporting events emerged to entice people to the city. Up until now, people had never experience such leisure activities. Due to migration increases, cities became hubs of diversity and cultural interaction. Some people in the industrial age actually resented increased diversity, but in cities like New York, immigrants were welcomed for providing cheap labor.

As US cities blossomed during the industrial revolution in the mid-nineteenth century, Americans soon found themselves craving the benefits of a natural environment. Progressives and public officials agreed that citizens living in noisy, overcrowded tenements in polluted cities needed an escape from the drudgery. The result was the birth of the modern public park - an Americanized version of the expertly-manicured English garden. The goal of the urban public park was to preserve and enhance undeveloped space, and to provide the beneficial effects of a natural "wild" environment, while maintaining order and promoting civilization.

Image below: Like many cities of the late 1800s New York was a busy, crowded place To make city life more pleasant and convenient, the age's new technologies were put to use.

Watch the video below for old footage from New York City:

Working-Class Struggles

  • Harsh Conditions: People were fed up with the way they were being treated at work. They were paid little to work long days in unsafe conditions. Initially silenced, workers began to form groups that would help sick or injured workers. By the 1800's, most men were allowed to vote in western countries. Labor unions formed all over the world and pressured governments to improve working conditions and benefits.
  • Standard of Living Increase: However, the standard of living was raised for skilled workers who had access to better housing, food, and healthcare. Despite their status, women, farmers, and unskilled laborers continued to financially struggle.

Watch the video below for a series of photographs from tenement living:

As many people today either detest or appreciate  the city, the same can be said of individuals within the Industrial Revolution. Look at the following two poems to see the diverse perspectives of the city:

In conclusion, remember these key points:

  • The rate of population growth increased in the late 1800's because people were eating better and practicing better hygiene. Medical discoveries were eliminating some diseases.
  • City life changed with the introduction of paved streets, wide boulevards, and trolley lines that all made transportation easier. Gas and electric street lights increased safety at night. New sewer systems reduced the impact of water borne diseases.
  • In the late 1800's new laws allowed workers to unionize, expanded the right to vote, regulated working conditions, limited child labor, and set up old age pensions and disability insurance.

Assignment

Discuss the following in the TACKK stream:

What was an advantage and disadvantage of city life in the late 1800s?

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4 days ago
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An advantage of life in the city during the 1800s was the amount of socialization and recreational activities that were at people's disposal. A disadvantage is the constant crowd of people and pollution in the city.

4 days ago
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An advantage of city life in the 1800s were all the new conveniences. Paved streets, trolleys, streetlamps, and sewer systems are some examples. A disadvantage was the hectic lifestyle. Noisy people and vehicles were everywhere.

4 days ago
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There were a lot of advantages and disadvantages of city life in the 1800s. Some of the advantages were the new sewer systems, paved streets and trolley lines. Some of the disadvantages were pollution and how crowded the cities were.

4 days ago
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An advantage of city life in the late 1800s was that there were a lot of activities for people to participate in, such as watching sports or going to music halls. A disadvantage of city life in the late 1800s was that the cities were very crowded and people who were poor had to live in tenements.

3 days ago
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An advantage of city life in the late 1800s was the activities that could now fill the people's newfound leisure time (such as sports and plays). One of the biggest disadvantages, however, was how crowded, dirty, and noisy the cities actually were.

3 days ago
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An advantage of having a city life in the late 1800s was the fast transportation, which helped people get to places faster and helped goods get transported faster to the consumer and seller. A disadvantage is the people who lived in slums who got sick a lot and didn't have a lot of food because they were poor.

3 days ago
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The 1800's brought many advantages to the city. Roads became paved and safer at night due to gas and electrical lighting. Transportation also became faster and more efficient. Life became cleaner for some when sewer where moved underground eliminating water borne diseases. However with these upgrades brought more people, leading to pollution increase and hectic lifestyles. Skyscrapers were created to provide more room more people without building outwards.

3 days ago
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An advantage of city life in the 1800's was the more cultural diversity from all of the people who came to the city from somewhere else. The disadvantage of living in the city is that because there are so many people living in one place, diseases spread more easily.

3 days ago
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An advandtage of life in the city during the 1800's is that you are close to everything. You meet new people, learn about more culture. The disadvantages is that when there are more people more crime is bound to happen and it pollutes the area much more than if their were fewer people.

3 days ago
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An advantage of life in the city in the 1800s was that people were healthier and lived longer because it was safer. Diseases didn't spread as easily any more. A disadvantage of life in the city in the 1800s is that people who were poor had to live in dirty houses, often with other families, so there was not a lot of room.