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:
- 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.
Discuss the following in the TACKK stream:
What was an advantage and disadvantage of city life in the late 1800s?