Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chicago: The American City

Chicago can be understood to be America’s city because it is the heartland of America. At the turn of the century Chicago was not associated with an upper class or uppity society, like it’s counterpart New York City. Chicago was associated with a working class population, people that were attempting to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, a truly American way of life. When people thought of Chicago at the turn of century they also associated Chicago with the stockyards. Although the stockyards were looked at being this grotesque place, they were something that was truly American. The people that worked at the stockyards were hard working and willing to do what it takes to get by. One of the reasons that Chicago was America’s city was because America likes to be thought of a nation that was founded by hard working men, leaving aristocracy behind.

Chicago can also be thought of being America’s city because it was becoming the center for technological innovations. The industrialization and technological innovations that Chicago was experiencing was that America as a country was experiencing too. Many of the innovations that could be found in Chicago were architectural ones. Chicago was home to the first skyscraper and famous architects like Daniel Burnham. Urbanization at Chicago was occurring at a rate that had never occurred before. Chicago attempted to keep up with it’s fast growing population by implementing many new forms of transportation, like the streetcar. Chicago was also America’s city because America was comprised of a diverse group of people and Chicago was seeing an increase in population partly due to the rising number of immigrants that were moving to Chicago.

Chicago was a rising power, both within the United States and on the World’s stage. It is clear that Chicago was a rising power because they were given the bid for the worlds fair. At the world’s fair they would be judged by the world. Chicago was even chosen over powerful well established cities like, New York City. The fact that Chicago was chosen over New York City shows that Chicago was America’s city. The people from the United States, who held influence on deciding where the world’s fair would take place wanted Chicago to represent what the world thought of America. Chicago is more representative of what most of the American people are like, therefore Chicago could show the world what America really is.

One of the less obvious reason’s that Chicago was America’s city was because it was new and different. America with it’s ever rising consumer culture was interested in the new thing. Chicago was becoming a rising city, it just barely topped Philadelphia in population. Chicago during the turn of the century is the smaller version of America. Chicago is America’s city from multiple perspectives because of it’s working class population, technological innovations and home to the world’s fair.

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