During a remarkable period of change from roughly 1865 to the early 20th century, the American city underwent tremendous change.  Identify one of the ways that the American city was changing.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one specific element of change in the growing urbanization of America at the end of the 19th Century and leading into the 20th was the massive disparity in wealth.  People living in the same city conceivably lived different lives based on economic prosperity living side by side to poverty and squalor.  The extremities of wealth became one of the most significant changes to the urban setting during this time period.  As cities boomed, specific people were finding themselves to be the benefactors of extreme wealth.  The converse proved to be true as well as a massive growth of the poor and the disenfranchised found their ways into the cities.  Journalists like Jacob Riis end up depicting this and speaking to this reality.  While there had always been rich and poor in America, the extreme disparity was something new and the city had become home to both.  The wealthiest of Americans boasted that the city was their home.  Along with this, the poorest America had to offer lived in the dingy and dark corners of American cities.  This is a condition that proves lasting, something seen in the urban metropolis of America today.