American Progressiveness In Technology and Urbanization

Johnathan, Cameron, and Julian

Consumerism is defined as the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers. Government sponsored acts such as the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act were a few of many ways the government protected consumers. Another example of government consumer protection came with the founding of the United States Department of Commerce and the United States Food and Drug Administration in the early 1900s.

Cultural Activities that embodied an American spirit included going to the movies and parks. The first movie theatre ever created was by two guys named Harry Davis and John P. Harris and they called it the “Nickolodeon” because admission was only a nickle. As for parks, New York set aside 750 acres of land to create Central Park. Another big part of American culture in this time period came in the form of music and dancing. The music was a mixture of European and African music called Ragtime music. Different dances such as the one and two step were based off of Ragtime jigs.

New sporting activities such as baseball and basketball swept the nation in the late 1890s. With an average of an extra six hours of free time each week on what was now a weekend, Americans leisurely enjoyed recreational sports. The National baseball league was formed in 1876, and the first World Series Championship was held in 1903. Another leisure activity that arose in the late 1800s was the riding of the bicycle, which would eventually have an impact on women’s fashion by producing freer, less formal clothes.

New technology came out of this period due to the fast production of steel, also known as the Bessemer Process. Inventions such as the elevator allowed Americans to build much taller skyscrapers, increasing the verticality of cities, which in return increased population in urban areas. This became an icon for the Western world. The camera was also a neat addition to the new technology as now photos could be taken and saved.


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“Sports and Leisure.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/us/39b.asp.

Conservancy, Central Park. “Park History.” The Official Website of Central Park NYC, www.centralparknyc.org/visit/park-history.html.

King, Mrs. “A Changing Culture Late 1800's-Early 1900's.” Prezi.com, 28 Apr. 2014, prezi.com/m/h8c6s7dphwyn/a-changing-culture-late-1800s-early-1900s/.

Ragtime Era Dance, socialdance.stanford.edu/Syllabi/ragtime_dance.htm.

Serva, Christine. “Shifts in American Cultural Views & Leisure at the End of the 19th Century.” Study.com, Study.com, study.com/academy/lesson/shifts-in-american-cultural-views-leisure-at-the-end-of-the-19th-century.html.

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