Amusing the Million Essay

Powerful Essays
Topics: Amusement park
Brandon Smith
HIST 2057
2/9/15
“Amusing the Million” Essay

Pre World War I, Coney Island proved itself to be an epicenter of a new, emerging American culture. In this time, American urban populations were quickly growing, immigrant populations were at a peak, and Americans were evolving into a society that allowed for “increased leisure time and spending power.”(Kasson, 7) Different than the previously advocated forms of structured, refined entertainment known to American culture, Coney Island offered a type of entertainment that was less thought provoking in nature, focusing on engaging the senses through whimsy and carefree ventures rather than exercising the mind. The amusement parks of Coney Island accomplished a major feat in an emerging society: they created escape for those who attended and served as a new form of American recreation. Coney capitalized on inciting emotions from their patrons and engaged their need to be free from their everyday lives. Innovative thinking and emerging technological advances of this era made Coney possible. Coney also introduced the idea of a new social order by providing a landscape for people of different classes, nationalities, and social statuses to interact. Coney Island fostered fundamental cultural changes in American society through its lack of rigidity and seriousness that was paramount of American cultural of this era. At the turn of the century, the U.S. was facing a massive overhaul. Post Civil War and during reconstruction, the United States saw a rise in big businesses, and the “corporation” developed. Urban growth boomed, and technology advancements “allowed buildings to expand vertically to accommodate their surging populations.” (Tindall & Shi, 629) Between 1860 and 1920, immigration reached a peak, introducing many influences and ideals into American society. “In 1890, four out of five New Yorkers were foreign-born, a higher proportion than in any other city in the world. (Tindall & Shi, 635) The turn

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