Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Caused So Many Americans to Move to the Cities in the Late 1800s?

Industrialization led to the development of the modern city. Railroads created many boom towns. In addition, many cities contained everything an American could ask for: entertainment, banking institutions, and manufacturing industries. The city offered citizens an increased standard of living as well as a better future.

The city population increased greatly during the early 1900: "by 1910 nearly half the nation lived in cities large and small" (Davidson 571). Most of this increase was attributed to the great global migration. Many immigrants came to America because factories offered "better pay and fewer hours" (Davidson 571). In addition, immigrants were lured into America with "false promises of high paying jobs and unimagined riches" (Davidson 571). Lastly, technology improvements made travel easier. Instead of the old steamship, which often took weeks or months to travel, it now took only "one to two weeks to cross the Atlantic aboard steam-powered ships" (Davidson 572).

Davidson, James, Brian Delay, Christine Heyrman, Mark Lytle, and Michael Stoff, Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic Volume II: Since 1865. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

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