Post-Civil War Urbanization Pros and Cons

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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

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