Chapter Twenty-One, Rise of the American City, Part Two
In this lecture we continue our exploration of the rise of the American city. This time we are investigating the literary, intellectual, and artistic contributions that the city made to American culture. You will learn about the Pragmatists, a school of philosophical thought that could have only arisen in America, and only in American cities. You will discover how the Pragmatists influenced jurisprudence and changed how the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution. You will also learn about the amazing expansion of public libraries, particularly the libraries of robber-baron philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, as the public clamored for more education. You will learn about the two writers of historical fiction, one a maverick economist, the other a techno-futurist, whose works took the literary world by storm and became required reading for every educated person in the city, indeed in the country. You will marvel at the rise of the nascent womens' movement, increasingly vocal now as women were no longer content to merely murmur their discontent and nag their men for a place at the table in the counsels of power which directed the pace of reform in the cities and who got to be in charge of it. You will be awed by the creative power of the artists of the Hudson River School, whose paintings transfixed, and then transmitted, the exalted spiritual essence of an imagined, yet still profoundly real, experience of the primeval American wilderness, the purity and authenticity of which people longed to reach for, if only vicariously, in the landscapes of these brilliant interpreters of the divine and the sublime. In the man-made, city-built environment, you will be charmed by the creativity and the scale, both large and small, of city architects Louis Sullivan and Henry Richardson, the Beethoven and Mozart of architectural genius in their day, as they both interpreted and defined new styles of building and a new aesthetic for the American city which was bounding literally upward into the future with every steel-spined, Palladian-facade masterpiece that fell off of Sullivan's drafting table, and murmuring lullabies of soothing contentment at the same time with every human-scaled library and whistle-stop train station that Richardson lovingly bequeathed to the memory of the city in its most civilized incarnation. And finally, to add the exclamation point to your cultural odyssey into the creation of the modern American city, you will take a trip around the country to savor the timeless landscape architecture of Frederick Law Olmsted, who got into the landscape business on a whim and then discovered, to the profound satisfaction of every succeeding generation of city dwellers since, that he had a divine gift for creating Edenic landscape masterpieces for the masses, and spent the rest of his life giving that gift to the American city. It's all here for you in this lecture on the Rise of the American City, Part Two. This file is 2 hr. 19 min. in length and 127 MB in size. You may download it twice. Give it plenty of time to do so.