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Urbanization: economic stratification - Essay Example

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The Industrial Revolution that began in 1700 has transformed the population, culture, and the geographical use of space as the world evolved to accommodate new forms of agriculture and was spurred by the growing ability to manufacture and consume…
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Urbanization: economic stratification
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Urbanization: economic stratification

Download file to see previous pages... The Industrial Revolution that began in 1700 has transformed the population, culture, and the geographical use of space as the world evolved to accommodate new forms of agriculture and was spurred by the growing ability to manufacture and consume. Along the way, several innovations and inventions contributed to the revolution that made it possible, if not mandatory, for people to reside in highly concentrated areas that became the hub of industrialization and commerce.By 1950 these urban areas had matured and aged into the modern model of urbanization. Along with the restructuring of the geography, the social and political structure was also transformed. "Urbanization is a two-way process because it involves not only movement from village to cities and change from agricultural occupation to business, trade, service and profession but it also involves change in the migrants attitudes, beliefs, values and behavior patterns (Urban growth and urbanization, 2006). While immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Poland came together with the freed slaves to form large urban areas, they often failed to assimilate into a homogeneous group. In fact, the different cultural groups remained isolated and formed interdependent neighborhoods that were built around their specific ethnic or cultural needs. It is tempting to view the urban areas as the victims of cultural bias or racial prejudice. However, all these urban areas also had the issue of economics in common. The wealth that the migrants sought by marketing their labor in these industrialized areas was not realized as the urban areas became economically stratified and were excluded from the promise of the American middle class.
The urbanization process across the 250-year span of 1700-1950 was a gradual evolution based on the rising technology that was available at the time. In the early 18th century, mechanization was introduced into the workplace with inventions such as the loom for textiles. Work that had previously been accomplished in the home, or locally, was transferred to the new factories that were being built. Industrialization was transforming the concept of labor and altering the face of population centers and commerce. Work that had typically been done in the home was transferred to factories and labor became specialized. This was the initial stages of the definition of the value of labor and began the process of economic stratification. Among the first victims were women and children as in England, "Slop or sweated workers were disadvantaged by the industrial revolution, and those urban areas employing women involved irregular employment, long hours, and poor pay" (Nicholas and Oxley, 1993, p.739). Indeed, rather than improving the standard of living for the masses, the industrial revolution devalued the nature of work and the worker. This was reflected in the poorer quality diets of the urban workers as well as a deterioration of their overall health (Nicholas and Oxley, 1993, p.736). Isolation and a diminished well-being would characterize the revolution as people concentrated in urban areas to be near the employment opportunities. This new mechanization required a power source, which in this era was water. Waterpower would be used to turn the machinery and provide the necessary power for the new machines. This required that the factories be located near an adequate source of moving water. Factories were built along rivers and streams to capture the waterpower and attracted large numbers of workers to the area. The factories would attract workers from the area that settled near the factory and began the development of the new age of urbanization.
Three events in the middle of the 19th century coincided to permanently change the face of urban America. The end of the Civil War, the steam engine, and the railroad transformed the ability to locate factories near the raw materials and immigrant workers and expanded the marketplace with the ability to move products by rail. The demands of industry were the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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