It seemed there was too much to do in town to stay at home in the country and let life pass by. People moved to the cities to guarantee jobs and excitement. With a growing population in urban areas, came filth and disease. The government had to educate people and improve the sewage and water systems. These issues made the rural population proud to be country folk.
With progress came advantages and disadvantages. Even Lydia would have paused in thought over whether it was worth it. With improvements, life expectancy increased, but so did unemployment. Violence, war and natural disaster changed American lives. People grew illiterate and crimes increased. In 1901, the United States witnessed the assignation of President William McKinley, replaced by Teddy Rosevelt. World War I left no person untouched. Racism raged as immigration climbed. The San Francisco earthquake claimed 700 lives. In 1912, the Titantic sank and more than 1,500 people died. Artists painted more realistic life portrayals, Writers such as Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson wrote to fight the materialism that engulfed America.
Today, America is the product of progress--both its good side and its bad. We are currently suffering from the consequences of extreme materialism and hopefully will use the example of the past to prevent another depression.