American Urbanization & New York CityPresentation Transcript
American Urbanization& New York City By Hannah Shipps
Order and Disorder In 1825, fewer than 170,000 people lived in Manhattan, and 11,000 lived in Brooklyn. New York was a rural area with no police force, fire department or public transportation. The opening of the Erie Canal in October 1825 caused commercial activity to explode. New factories, offices, and workshops were built, soon resulting in the first district in the world devoted completely to commerce. New York became the biggest industrial city in the United States. The city began to represent everything that was American.
Order and Disorder In 1875, it became apparent that the grid system didn’t provide enough park space for New York. The city purchased a sparsely populated tract of land north of town, and evicted the blacks and Irish living there. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won the design contest to create Central Park. The park was to be a place where people of all classes and backgrounds could be. However, only a few citizens could afford the trip to Central Park, and rules against walking on the grass, group picnics and strenuous activities barred many from visiting this paradise.
Order and Disorder Irish immigrant opposition to the Civil War was strong. The Irish had long competed with the blacks for jobs and housing, so they didn’t want to fight the blacks’ freedom. On July 11, 1863, 1,200 New York citizens were drafted. Two days later, an enormous mob of Irish immigrants attacked the draft office and militia men. They looted the homes and orphanages of blacks and burned them down. Three days later, the military finally returned from Gettysburg and stopped the riots. At least 119 citizens were killed.
Sunshine and Shadow On January 23, 1867, the East River had frozen overnight, bringing commerce and travel to a standstill. This prompted John Augustus Roebling and his son Washington to draw plans for the Brooklyn Bridge. John soon died and Washington suffered a disease that kept him in his room for years. Washington’s wife, Emily, supervised construction under his guidance. The bridge was opened on May 24, 1883. It had taken three times longer and cost twice as much as originally estimated. On May 30, 12 people died and 36 were injured because of a stampede on the bridge that was caused by unnecessary panic after a woman tripped.
Sunshine and Shadow Boss Tweed is known as the most corrupt politician in American history. He was the third-largest landowner in New York City and the “boss” of Tammany Hall. Tammany Hall reached out to Irish and German immigrants, providing them with jobs, orphanages, shelters and coal. However, he stole $50 million by faking leases, paying for unnecessary repairs, and buying overpriced goods and services. He was exposed by cartoons in Harper’s Weekly drawn by Thomas Nast, and in 1973 he was imprisoned for the rest of his life. Boss Tweed ended up taking the fall for many other corrupt politicians, who went free after his imprisonment.
Sunshine and Shadow Jacob Riis immigrated to the United States in 1870. He was given a job as a police reporter for the New York Tribune. With the invention of the flash camera in 1887, Riis was able to photograph the horrific poverty of the poorly-lit slums. In 1890, he published his photographs in How the Other Half Lives. His book awakened New Yorkers to the condition of their poor, especially in the tenements. Riis tried to get people away from the Victorian notions of poverty and improve the living conditions for the lower class citizens of New York.
A Merger That Puts New York on Top At the beginning of the 19th century, Boston and Philadelphia were serious challengers to New York becoming the nation’s commercial center. However, New York had two advantages: the location of its port and its growing capital markets. The Erie Canal allowed New York to control the exports of the U.S. to Europe. The city has also been able to capture economic gains from the commercial developments of other regions, such as steel from Pittsburgh, automobiles from Detroit, movies from Los Angeles, and oil from Houston.
The Great Transatlantic Migrations International and especially transatlantic migration became very popular between 1870 – 1914. The United States received more migrants than the rest of the New World – about 60% of all migrants. However, because they had smaller populations, the other New World countries were more affected by migration. The scale of migration increased because of steam-powered transportation, an absence of legal and political restraints, and a demand for more workers due to industrialization and potential agricultural development.
The Great Transatlantic Migrations Though religious and political persecution was a motivating factor, the main reason for migration was economic opportunity. Prior to 1880, many came hoping to find agricultural work. Afterwards, urban-industrial jobs became much more popular. Work in the U.S. was attractive because the wages were higher than in Europe, but the price of living was often the same or lower. Many migrants saved their wages or sent them home to their friends in relatives in Europe. Often they then returned home.
The Great Transatlantic Migrations The U.S. was usually hostile towards temporary or return migrants. The U.S. believed it was a haven for Europe’s oppressed, and the idea that migrants would come only for money clashed with certain traditional American notions. Native white Americans also feared that migrants would import anticapitalist ideas and conspiracies. They also feared that migrants would soon overwhelm the native white American population. This later resulted in laws that restricted immigration, such as the Johnson Act of 1921.