Post-Civil War Urbanization Pros and Cons

The Post-Civil War era of urbanization in the United States created a number of improvements and positive results that outweighed the negative aspects of the time. The country witnessed an increase in population, a better public school system, and increased social reform movements. During urbanization, the population of the United States rose. In 1860, none of America’s cities had a million citizens but by 1890, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia all had more than one million inhabitants. With a population of approximately 3.

5 million people, New York became the second largest city in the world. A wave of immigration from Europe contributed to the increase in population. These “New Immigrants” came from eastern European nations such as Italy, Greece, and Poland. The increase in population allowed for the increase in other sections of society. As the population increased, the need for education also rose. The number of public high schools in America grew between the 1880s and the 1890s. The idea that a free government could not function successfully with uneducated and ignorant people became more widely accepted.

Colleges became increasingly necessary and schools designed for training teachers expanded. Education was greatly helped by the Morrill Act of 1862 which granted public lands to the states for support of education, many of which became state universities. Urbanization and the population boom allowed for education to greatly increase. The problems surrounding the immigrant and working class helped awaken a new social reform movement. Jane Adams was a college-educated reformer against war and poverty. In 1889, she established the Hull House as a settlement house to help immigrants.

More settlement houses were established and used as centers for activism and social reform. In 1893, the Hull House successfully lobbied for an Illinois anti-sweatshop law to protect women workers and prohibit child labor. Urbanization after the Civil War helped to reawaken the Social Reform movements in America. Urbanization helped the United States of America rebound after the Civil War. The Population boom, growing education, and social reforms were all beneficial results that changed the nation.

Though there were some negative aspects of urbanization, the good results outweighed the bad. Kaitlyn Lucas Ms. Rizzo AP United States History B February 10, 2014 Urbanization Cons The post-Civil War age of urbanization had terrible effects on the nation as a whole. The good aspects of urbanization were not worth the bad aspects that accompanied them. The United States of America faced new problems. Urbanization led to pollution and waste production, and a disturbance in rural America. People who lived in the country produced very little waste.

They used and renewed the resources at their disposal. Once urbanization began to pick up and new businesses such as Sears began to package things in throwaway bottles, boxes, bags, and cans, getting rid of waste became a problem. Pollution became a real problem in cities and sanitary facilities could not keep up with the waste produced by the booming population. The cities were filled with a permanent stench due to impure water, uncollected garbage, unwashed bodies, and animal droppings. Urbanization removed and replaced many jobs, particularly those in agriculture.

Farmers were drawn from their fields and moved to cities to work in factories. Rural America was declining and giving way to the rise of urban America. Local general stores were replaced by large chain department stores such as Macy’s. The era of urbanization increased the division between classes. The Wealthy lived in suburban mansions and the poor lived in dirty slums, many struggling to survive. Urbanization created mass waste production, and the decline in rural America. Any good that came out of post-Civil War urbanization, was overshadowed by the negative aspects of the time period.