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Home : American Histroy : 19th Century 
American History : 19th Century


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Life In the Early 1900's

Life in the 1900's was depressing and was an era filled with extremely hard and strenous work that didn't offer any future for the average canadian in doing better. If you were an average wage earner you would be virtually stuck in the same job for the rest of your life, while rich maintained their wealth mainly caused by the low taxes. Living conditions were poor for average canadians and even worse for the arriving immigrants. At this time some of the modern convienences were just being invented and even if it were for sale only the extremely rich had the option of purchasing the items. Sports being very new, in the aspect of it being organized was small time compared to present day.

Travelling required time and was uncomfortable. Only the rich could have the luxurious accomadations for those long journeys. Many jobs were available to most people but you were under constant scrutiny while working and would have to be willing to do any thing the boss wanted. I believe my friends and I would most likely resent and despise it if we had to live in the 1900's.

During the 1900's horses played a significant role in the everyday life. A horse drawn carriage would bring a docter to the house of where a baby would be born. A hearse was pulled by horses to the cemetery when somebody died. Farmers used them to pull their ploughs while town dwellers kept them for transportation around town. Horses puled delivery wagons for businesses such as bakery, dairy, and coal company. Horses pulled fire engines through the streets in a fire emergency.

The bicycle was widely accepted by canadians because of its easy maintence compared to a horse. The bike allowed an option of transportation. The bicycle also gave a sense of freedom to virtually anybody willing to learn.

Henry Ford revolutionized the world we live in by inventing the "horseless carriage", if it had not been for him, instead of taking the GO bus in the morning we'd be riding a horse named Wanda. Not only did his invention offer a method of transportation to the public, but it helped with our emergency services such as fire engines, police cars, and ambulances. Now we have a large variety of cars to choose from varying in size and price. He also brought a large profitable industry to North America...The car industry. Back then there weren't many problems that they created. Today, we have our deteriorating ozone layer, poisonous chemicals that come from exhaust fumes (CO2)(Carbon Monoxide). Not to mention the traffic accidents, parking problems and traffic jams in downtown Toronto.

11 years previous to WW I Orville and Wilbur Wright made a successful flight in the first airplane at the beach of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although the flight only lasted 12 seconds it would change the way we see the world.

The telephone allowed the houseneeds to be satisfied without leaving they're homes. Women received an oppurtunity to work as a a switch board operator.

I don't know if I can stress the importance of Marconi's invention enough. But I can say, that without it not only would there be no T.V. or radio there would be a lot of unemployed people right now(even more unemployed than now!!!). The reason for that is radio provides people with jobs such as DJ's, musical programmers etc. Also, radio is a major form of advertising, without it there would not be as many advertising agencies or as many positions in this field. Without T.V., advertising agencies would also face the same consequences. T.V. provides millions of people with employment in commercials, T.V. shows, and movies.

Baseball was the most popular sport in the United States where the World Series began in 1903. Tom Longboat was born in Brantford, Ontario and was known for outrunning a horse over a 19 km coarse. He set a record of 2 hours, 24 min and 24 seconds when he ran the Boston Marathon.

Jan 22/1901 Queen Victoria died at the age of 63 years. The Queens reign stretched across the globe. With her death came modernization. In the early 1900's horses were being used extensivley for all transportating duties and some manual labor jobs. A few years later the bicycle hit Canada and presented the Canadians with a better option of transportation mainly because of the simplicity of maintence. During these other discoveries the automobile was being perfected for use by the general public. By the 1920's the automobile was no longer a rich man's toy and was being used by many people. 1903 saw the first succesful flight fo the airplane bh Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. At about the same time Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Nova Scotia. By the turn of the century telephones had uses increased from ordering household goods to supplying jobs for women and men. 1901, Signal Hill in St.John's Newfoundland Guglielmo Marcone received the first radio signal sent across the Atlantic Ocean. 20 years would elasped before radio broadcasting becomes mass entertainment. First movies were seen in the 19th century. 20 years will pass till speaking films arrive. 1903 the United States had their first World Series. In Canada, Tom Longboat was a famous runner who was famous for running faster than a horse on a 19 km course. Later to be proclaimed the worlds best marathoner. In the early 1900's modern covienences were just being available like bathrooms, electric washing machines, sewing machines, electric hearing aids, vacuum cleaners. The very fortuanate who could afford these items would order them from the Eaton's Catologue. All types of goods could be ordered in the Eaton's Catologue from fence posts to fashionable hats. The time period between 1901 and 1911 almost 2 million people immigrated to Canada from Europe, Britain and the United States. Due to the population growth, in 1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan became apart of the Confederation. The railway boom in 1903-1904 helped elevate the employment. Materials needed to build the railways and the transporting of the materials started the industrialization. Urbanization led to a serious problem of overcrowding. The three economic classes were the rich, average, and the immigrants. With low taxes this allowed the rich to spend on frivalous items such as horse and carriages. In contrast the average would only use their money for the neccessities in survival. At the bottom were the immigrants that were forced to live in unsanitary conditions and dank, damp basements. Not only were there differences of wealth or lack of but there was a difference in women and men's treatment. For example women did not have the freedom to enter pool room's, taverns and even bowling allies. Choices for women were working in stores and factories. Even if you came from a rich family your choices would have been nursing or teaching. Coming from a poor family women tended to just become a domestic servent. Women didn't have the right to vote like the men. In 1876 Dr Emily Stowe formed Toronto Women's Literary Club(TWLC). The purpose of this club was to inform women of their rights and to help secure women's rights. This group persuaded U of T to admit women in 1866. Also improved wages and working conditions. Womens Christian Temperence Union(WCTU) their goal was to combat problems created by alcohol in the society. A great social speaker Nellie Mclung received her start in WCTU to lead in the fight for equal freedom and for womens rights.


After discovering information about the 1900's I have come to the conclusion that in the 1900's was both good and bad. It was good because of the rising industries thus raising the economy. The main industries working for Canada were the railways, and road building. These industries provided needed jobs and the materials needed to complete these projects helped Canada grow even more. Low taxes meant you could pay for more important expenditures than paying to the government. The bad part of the 1900's was the three living standards in how most people were the poor and very little were rich. The modern convienences were not available to everyone in the early 1900's because these devices would have been very expensive caused by the newness of the products. Even though were guys I can see how women would have despised the fact that you were not able to vote or enter any buildings without checking it if it's not a tavern, pool room, and a bowling alley.

Due to these outsanding points that stuck first in my mind I have changed my mind and believe it was both good and bad.





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