Cities Suburbs and Exburbs Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1368 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: American History

American Cities

Just as American cities are symbols of the amalgamation and blending of cultures within our society, they are also symbols of the limitations of this image for accounting for the vast amount of inequality in the United States. Of course, the United States is a nation of unprecedented diversity; there is a wide variety of races, ethnicities, cultures, and even languages. However, this diverse mixture has never been particularly homogeneous. The United States, since its earliest beginnings as a British colony was deliberately designed to keep some portions of society separated from others. The most obvious early example is slavery in the southern states; yet even in the North, segregation was the norm. And today, many of the northern cities remain, though perhaps the most diverse cities in America, also many of the most heterogeneously divided -- Detroit, New York, Milwaukee, and Chicago are among these cities.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Cities Suburbs and Exburbs Assignment

Yet, perhaps to a greater extent than any other period in American history, the nineteenth century shaped the cultural, economic, and political landscape of the United States profoundly. Fundamentally, this stemmed from the growth of the nation's economic system, from a collection of largely disparate locales on this vast continent, into a highly interconnected system: "The nineteenth century saw the creation of an integrated economy in the United States, an economy that bound city and country into a powerful national and international market that forever altered human relationships to the American land," (Cronon xiv). Technological, governmental, and ideological transformations made the nineteenth century span the gap between the modern world and the ancient world. Essentially, it was during the nineteenth century that an increasing number of people began to move away from rural farming communities and into the city. This was made possible by the vast distances that goods and foods could be transported. In other words, cities were able to be supported by larger areas of land because these new modes of transportation could supply people's needs with greater efficiency. The move to the city was also fostered by what came to be known as the Industrial Revolution. This revolution began in cloth factories in England, but soon spread throughout Europe and the Americas, and altered the manner in which many previously home made goods were produced. Businessmen discovered that they could increase production and lower costs by setting up massive plants by which products could be manufactured far more quickly. This generated far more urban jobs, thus contributing greatly to the swelling western cities.

Still, the mechanization of farming -- and the overall move of American people into the cities -- resulted in the enormous industry of bringing food goods to city-dwellers on a scale never seen before in human history. In Chicago, massive meat-packing plants became a symbol of both the advantages and disadvantages of organizing a society -- and cities -- around the conception of mass-production-based capitalism: "The stench of the Chicago River and the insidiously invisible substances that might make their way into a package of bologna appeared to be the product of companies so intent on their own profits that they were indifferent to the harm the did the public," (Cronon 253).

Of course, as a number of theorists have contended, the reorganization of American, and indeed modern, society in the nineteenth century was not merely associated with overt changes in public health and the distribution of wealth; there were psychological consequences as well: "the space around us -- the physical organization of neighborhoods, roads, yards, houses, and apartments -- sets up living patterns that condition our behavior," (Jackson 3). In other words, it should be anticipated that the economic and structural changes that brought the United States into the industrial age also were accompanied by distinct modern ideologies. These ideologies, and ways of thinking on a cultural and national level, served to establish these new structures in Americans' minds, and justify their existence on a conceptual level.

It could be argued, as well, that these uniquely American ideologies, such as the American dream, also impressed themselves upon industry, and industry, in turn, served to alter the landscape of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Cities Suburbs and Exburbs.  (2007, May 20).  Retrieved January 25, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cities-suburbs-exburbs/7698552

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"Cities Suburbs and Exburbs."  Essaytown.com.  May 20, 2007.  Accessed January 25, 2021.
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