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Influence of Environment on the Individual

  • Date Submitted: 12/19/2011 12:22 PM
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Influence of Environment on the Individual
Phaedra Rosengarth
November 15, 2010
Judith Glass

Influence of Environment on the Individual
“By the conclusion of the nineteenth century, the new American nation that had begun the century clinging to a narrow strip of land along the Atlantic coast, untested in its politics, shaky in its economy, and an infant in its arts, had stretched westward over a vast continent, established its military and political might in conflicts at home and aboard, built an astonishing prosperity from its natural resources and its national talent for invention and industry, and developed a rich and enduring literature” (Perkins, p. 1321).
In 1800, the United States was a new country embarking on a brand-new test in republican rule. Seventeen states hugged the east coast as voyagers and pioneers established regions in the west. The bulk of folks lived and worked on farms. The total inhabitants were less than six million. One hundred years later, seventy-six million people lived in the United States. Millions of Americans roamed west or to metropolitan centers. Always a land of settlers, the United States experienced unparalleled settlement in this period. Swift improvements in skill and automation altered and continued to change the way in which Americans lived and worked.
These improvements had a murkier side, however. Men, women and children worked extended periods in dangerous plants to meet the unquenchable American craving for low-priced, mass-produced merchandise. Meanwhile, country ranchers fought to keep their homesteads in the face of increased opposition, expensive equipment, and dwindling prices. The public and financial pressures that accompanied swift development took its toll on Americans in this period. American culture upheld the family circle as a sanctuary from the stresses of urban and industrial life. Parents were admonished to shield the purity of their children from the harsh reality of the outside world...


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