By the late eighteen the century, America was well on its way to establishing its own national identity. While the cities and towns that were born during this time period each manifested their own unique culture and heritage, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania became the political and economic heart of the United States. Most, if not all, of the political developments that had taken place as the colonies transformed from a loosely knit organizations of states to the United States of American happened in Philadelphia. Philadelphia played such an integral role in the development of the United States that after the Revolution, Philadelphia became the nation's first capitol. Although the capital of the United States was subsequently moved to Washington, D.C. in 1800, the political spirit that had once held the city tightly in its arms still remained an integral part of the city's culture and development.
[...] Seeking some degree of social and political harmony, the citizens of Philadelphia chose to turn their backs on their religious convictions and support the Union in its fight to free the slaves. Further, the specific events that took place in Philadelphia as a result of the war also made many citizens favorable to the cause: a combination of patriotism and the prosperity that war brought to the city no doubt led a majority of Philadelphians at least lukewarmly to support the union cause.”[xxvii] Conclusion Charles Dickens in his classic novel A Tale of Two Cities writes, was the best of times, it was the worst of times Although Dickens was not writing about post-colonial Philadelphia, it is clear that this sentiment best captures what was happening in this city between the years of the Revolution and the Civil War. [...]
[...] Philadelphia on the Eve of the Revolution In order to understand the history of Philadelphia and the changes that occurred between the years of 1780 and 1860, a broad overview of the city before this time period is warranted. Critically reviewing what has been written about Philadelphia in the time before the Revolution, it is clear that this city was a growing economic center. Although the city was comprised primarily of Quaker settlers fleeing persecution in England, by the early eighteenth century, the city became inundated with Scotch-Irish and other European immigrants searching for a better life.[i] As such, the religious underpinnings that had severed as the basis for the development of the city were being replaced with an entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism as many immigrants sought to establish themselves as business or tradesmen: . [...]
[...] Until the 1880s, Philadelphia was the second largest city in the United States.[vii] Although the population boom which was taking place in the city would appear, at the outset, to be a boon for the city, the inability of the city to accommodate such a large influx of immigrants served as the basis for social degeneration. The living conditions in the city eventually reached epidemic proportions as “yellow fever” broke out in the city in 1793.[viii] Although many of the citizens of the city had become accustomed to death, none were prepared for the mass deaths that occurred as a result of the yellow fever. [...]
[...] Although religious harmony remained a part of social discourse as the Episcopal Church continued to grow, an influx of Irish immigrants in 1937 prompted significant social disharmony with regard to religion: “Economic instability and the arrival of thousands of Irish Catholics led Philadelphia to witness one of the largest anti-Catholic, nativist movements in the country. The political arm of this crusade, the American Republican party, founded In Philadelphia in 1837, called for a twenty-one-year period of naturalization, the prohibition of foreign-born people from office holding, and the rejection of all foreign interference in American institutions.”[xx] The influx of Irish Catholics into the city in 1837 led to an all out war between Protestants and Catholics. [...]
[...] A People's History of the United States, (New York: Harper & Row, 1981): 216. [xii]William A. Sullivan [xiii]William A. Sullivan [xiv]William A. Sullivan [xv]William A. Sullivan [xvi]William A. Sullivan [xvii]Reese Davis James. Cradle of Culture, 1800-1810: The Philadelphia Stage, (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1957): 124. [xviii]Deborah Mathias Gough. Christ Church, Philadelphia: The Nation's Church in a Changing City, (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995): 166 [xix]Deborah Mathias Gough [xx]Deborah Mathias Gough [xxi]Deborah Mathias Gough [xxii]Deborah Mathias Gough [xxiii]Deborah Mathias Gough, 232-3. [...]
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