The economic period known as “Big Shoulders” covers a large amount of time in Chicago’s history (1840s to the 1970s). Chicago has numerous industries; meat, rail, iron, trade, etc. From the information in chapter 1, as well as the video clip we watched, what do YOU argue was the major industry that made Chicago prosperous? One can argue that they are all equally important, but which do you think was instrumental in putting Chicago on the map? Think about Chicago today and how these industries have lasted throughout the decades. Post a substantive response to the posted question (minimum 250 words).
Next reply to the following 2 students with at least 100 words
Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet have had a big impact on the foundation of the city of Chicago. They were two Frenchmen with business ambitions and they also intended on spreading the word of God. The Frenchmen did a lot of exploring in the Chicago area hoping to find gold, mostly interacting with Native Americans. Overall, I would have to say the what made Chicago prosperous was the success of railroads for transportations and the economic boom that resulted from wheat and grains production. Another factor that might also contributed to the rise of Chicago was the Chicago fire. It was a dramatic event. A lot of people ended up homeless, due to one third of the city being burned down. Perhaps, this made national and international news. So, people came together for a common cause and slowly but surely they rebuilt Chicago. Not only did they rebuilt it, but made it more glamorous by creating tall skyscrapers. This may be a reason why the nickname “The Second City” came to be about. If the Chicago fire never happened, would Chicago still be the city that it is today? If not, then this event is probably what put Chicago on the map.
There was a lot of information given throughout the reading, Pacyga’s Biography of Chicago. I had to re-read over a lot of the chapters because I had missed some information that wasn’t making sense with some other things. It’s definitely hard to really distinguish what industry put Chicago on the map, there were so many and each had some part. Going back to the beginning, Chicago or the area at the time had been founded by french men. Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, two men who were sent to explore and spread the word of God. They were only lucky enough to find a Northwest passage way that led them to many different native nations. Later on this area would be made into a canal connecting the great lakes and Mississippi. The natives had brought about the fur trade, which attracted French fur traders and missionaries. Even after the wars, the fur trade was still one of the most popular to be conducted at the port. It’s mentioned in the biography that the American’s Fur trade had been the nations first monopoly that dominated the local trade. Once the Natives were forced out of the area Chicago had became a city with a population of over four thousand. “The canal proved to be crucial for the future of the city. Residents promoted the idea even before the establishment of Illinois as a state in 1818,” (pg. 18). Years later the canal that tied the great lakes to the Mississippi opened in 1848 and it had proved to be a success and a much quicker way to move across the prairies. After the lakes had been connected by the canal and there was also a port built these things made Chicago. However, as time goes by things upgrade and there was the project of a rail connection that spread across the American West making the trips faster and safer. “The federal government gave out massive land grants to the railroads as they soon fulfilled their promise to unite the country with a national market as rail lines reached out from Chicago in every direction,” (pg 26). For the popularity during this time for Chicago, the completion on the railroads had made Chicago even more popular.
Pacyga, D. A. (2009). Chicago: A Biography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.