Cities Are Abnormal


Empires and commonwealths are born of farms. Must they die of cities? The amazing year 1875 was at once a pivot and an usher of great events for the United States. One event was the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, a milestone in our industrial progress. Telephone, electric trolley cars and lights, the agricultural settlement of the Great West, the exploitation of forest and mine--such were the more notable achievements which came in quick succession, to be followed by countless other inventions and enterprises which we today have at our disposal.

These were things for all to see. But within the impersonal array of census figures was the evidence of something still more fateful--a revolution behind a revolution. During the decade of the eighteen seventies the population of this great agricultural nation became predominantly urban. Nourishment continued to come from the farms but the growth which it fed flowered in cities. The expressions of urban activity became overwhelmingly vocal. Not even Bryan's silver tongue could prevail against them. The castigation of the Seven Devils of Wall Street by the Populists Peffer and Weaver left no mark upon a brashly growing urban pattern. The forms and folklore of city living began to set the mold of our thoughts and aspirations. Rural education, and even higher education in rural states, became a sort of pedagogical cream-separator, pouring the richest of its products into the stream of urban life.

Superficially this might seem to be nothing more than what had happened often enough before, although on a far smaller scale. It had happened in Rome between the days of...

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Paul B. Sears
  • Warren S. Thompson
  • Paul L. Vogt
  • Jonathan Forman
  • Henry L. Kamphoefner
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Norman, OK
Publication year:
  • 1946


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