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Chicago: City of the Century
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Teacher's Guide: Hints for the Active Learning Questions


1a. McCormick allowed customers to buy on credit and pay over time, set fixed prices, and developed interchangeable replacement parts. Palmer held sales, gave money back guarantees, believed that "the customer is always right," and provided free delivery.

1b. These innovations carried risks for the merchant. For example, some customers who buy on credit won't be able to make all the necessary payments, and selling items at a discount during sales reduces the merchant's profits.

1c. Answers will vary.

2. Students should discover that while assembly lines are generally more efficient, they can be boring for workers, since each worker only performs one small part of the overall assembly process and has little or no room for creativity. The assembly line's greater productivity contributed to its popularity, but many workers have become dissatisfied with assembly line work and have sought remedies such as shorter working hours and greater involvement in management decisions.

3. The posters could serve as the basis for a class discussion on the various benefits and protections workers have gained. For example, should employers be allowed to pay sub-minimum wages to welfare recipients in order to encourage employers to hire these (often-unskilled) individuals? Should the standard work week be shortened to four days so employers can hire jobless workers to make up for the lost work hours, thereby reducing unemployment? Should American workers receive more vacation time, as European workers generally do? You might have students ask parents and other employed adults for their perspectives on these issues before holding the class discussion.


1a. Students probably will conclude that Illinois did not meet that challenge, given the roundup of labor leaders following the violence, the fact that that the judge allowed persons who had already decided the defendants were guilty to serve on the jury, and the fact that all of the defendants had alibis. In addition, the Tribune coverage suggests that the paper was not interested in a fair trial.

1b. Answers will vary.  In addition to news media sources, students may want to consult the Web site of the proposed U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Two contrasting views of the USA Patriot Act can be found in a White House press statement and an American Civil Liberties Union analysis.  In addition, an American Bar Association Web site has been created to promote debate on issues such as the response to terrorism; this site includes links to recent news stories and editorials.

2. For ideas on what information on U.S. history and government to include in the summaries, you might direct students to an online test provided by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, similar to the test on U.S. history and government that is given to individuals seeking U.S. citizenship. Practical tips students might list could include the tensions among Chicago's various immigrant groups, the help offered by organizations such as religious institutions and settlement houses, and the conflicts between labor and management over issues like unionization. Students also might want to include the text of the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights in their guide, or a map of the United States that shows the location of Chicago.

3. Reports should note that the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 both emerged from the public uproar Sinclair's novel caused; the Food Safety and Inspection Service is the federal agency responsible for enforcing these and other food safety laws; organizations like PETA encourage vegetarianism as an alternative to eating animal products. (Note that a summary of the mission of the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture can be found at the FSIS website.)


1. Students' maps should show that in general, finished products headed westward from Chicago, while raw materials (including meat, pork, and grain) headed eastward for processing or were processed in Chicago itself.

2. The Cubs fan might mention, among other factors, the unique beauty and historic status of Wrigley Field, Sammy Sosa's recent home run totals, and the team's back-to-back World Series championships in 1907-1908. The White Sox fan might mention that the Sox defeated the Cubs in the two teams' only meeting in the World Series (in 1906) and won a world championship more recently than the Cubs (in 1917).

3. Destruction was much more widespread in Chicago, but many more lives were lost in New York City, due to the large number of workers in the World Trade Center and the suddenness and violence of the attack (and subsequent collapse of the buildings), which left many victims no time to escape.


1. Students who believe such programs should focus on practical and material issues might argue that progress in these areas is necessary before poor families will be interested in, or can truly benefit from, other services. Students who favor exposing poor families to "upper-class culture" might argue that it could encourage them to look beyond their immediate surroundings and aspire to a life that is better and richer in all respects. (Instead of having students express their views in letters, you might prefer to hold a class discussion on the issue.)

2. You might want to approve students' choices beforehand to ensure that the class does not focus on just a few of the individuals.

3. The Court of Honor for 1893 included works by Richard Morris Hunt, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, Daniel Chester Finch, and Mary Cassatt, and inventions such as electric incubators and an early fax machine. The 1893 Midway included the first Ferris wheel, performances by Harry Houdini and Scott Joplin, hamburgers, and carbonated soft drinks. Students' suggestions for today's exhibits will vary but should show the contrast between the "high culture" of the Court of Honor and the "pop culture" of the Midway.

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