Briefly discuss the different periods American cities passed through

Briefly discuss the different periods American cities passed through

Based on the course materials assigned for the first week in the course, write a 4-5 paragraph

essay examining the growth of American cities from colonial times to the early 20th century.

In your essay, analyze the key factors identified by authors as important to the emergence of

urban cultures during this period. You may want to consider the following questions to guide

your analysis:

• 1. Briefly discuss the different periods American cities passed through. Concentrate

more on what the American cities lost from one period to the next. What did they gain?

(Consider: the growth of the economy, civic and cultural institutions, community life, etc.

See Mumford, Schlesinger)

• 2. What have been some of the contrasting opinions reflecting Americans’ ambiguities

towards urban life? (Consider those who critiqued and/or praised urban life and why. See

The City, Still, Strauss)

• 3. Why did people choose to move to the cities? What were their expectations?

Aspirations? What did the cities offer? What did city dwellers lose in the transition from

rural to urban life? What did they gain? (The City, Schlesinger, Wirth, Still)

• 4. What factors increasingly separated the city from the country? What became some of

the identifying characteristics of urban life? (The City, Schlesinger, Wirth, Still)

• 5. In what ways did changes in city living conditions and cultural institutions reflect the

increasing contrasts in life style between the rich and the poor (or increasing social

stratification)? (Mumford, Schlesinger, Still)

You will have to have reviewed all of this week’s assigned materials to compose a well rounded

essay. After you have reviewed this week’s materials and thought about the guiding questions,

come up with your own thesis statement and then draw on the course materials for examples to

substantiate your point/s.

Use the MLA (parenthetical citations).


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