Invent an American city and write an essay describing its history between 1877 and 1917. Separate paragraphs should treat the social, economic, and political developments the city experiences. Consider the following questions in creating your history: What sorts of industry and business activity did the city depend on? How did the city change in these years in size, layout, and living conditions? What sorts of people, in terms of racial and ethnic background, lived there or moved there over the course of these years, and how did they get along with one another? How was your city governed and which political parties did various members of its population support? You should locate your imagined city in an identifiable region of the nation (such as the South, along the Great Lakes, in the Rockies, or in the Northeast). You must be creative, but your fictional history has to demonstrate a familiarity with dominant patterns and developments in national and regional history during these years, as described in class, your textbook, and Blackboard readings, and be consistent with them. For example, members of the Ku Klux Klan shouldn’t vote Republican, a city’s immigrants shouldn’t be from places that weren’t sending many people to the U.S. in this era, the economy of a city in the Southwest shouldn’t depend on steel-making. Remember, especially, that sharecroppers and other farmers live in the countryside and not in cities. Cities might provide services for surrounding farms and plantations but typically don’t include them in their city limits. The more plausible, concrete historical detail you can pack into your essay the higher your grade will be.
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