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18.6: Conclusion

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    9454
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    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Designers of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago built the White City in a neoclassical architectural style. The integrated design of buildings, walkways, and landscapes propelled the burgeoning City Beautiful movement. The Fair itself was a huge success, bringing more than twenty-seven million people to Chicago and helping to establish the ideology of American exceptionalism. Wikimedia.

    After enduring four bloody years of warfare and a strained, decade-long effort to reconstruct the defeated South, the United States abandoned itself to industrial development. Businesses expanded in scale and scope. The nature of labor shifted. A middle class rose. Wealth concentrated. Immigrants crowded into the cities, which grew upward and outward. The Jim Crow South stripped away the vestiges of Reconstruction, and New South boosters papered over the scars. Industrialists hunted profits. Evangelists appealed to people’s morals. Consumers lost themselves in new goods and new technologies. Women emerging into new urban spaces embraced new social possibilities. In all of its many facets, by the turn of the twentieth century, the United States had been radically transformed. And the transformations continued to ripple outward into the West and overseas, and inward into radical protest and progressive reforms. For Americans at the twilight of the nineteenth century and the dawn of the twentieth, a bold new world loomed.

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