Let’s go back in time, shall we? Imagine taking a stroll in one of the new big cities of the Northeast and upper Midwest in the late 1800s. You and a friend (maybe it’s an early Valentine … how romantic) spend an entire day in one of these new urban locations that is booming with technology, big business, leisure activities, social experiments, entertainment, and mass culture. There is a dark side to the city as well, one of political corruption, slums and tenements, child labor, and flight to the suburbs. What would you see as you waltz around the city?
Browse through Big City Life from Creating America and City Life in Industrial America from the LOC. As you do, jot down some of your observations as you read and watch – and get ready for a major tour of the big cities of the late 1800s in our next class meeting! This browse should only take you about 15-20 minutes – you have to get back to work in the factory! If you don’t get it all done, do not fret – management will come down on you if you spend too long!
In addition, check out John Green and Crash Course talking about political machines in the video below. You should have a decent understanding of political machines, and start thinking about why they matter!