Amusing the Millions


At the turn of the Twentieth centuryradical sociological changes and
movements began to take hold of the prevailing American culture, and
a major factor that contributed to these new changes was the advent
of the amusement park. According to John F. Kassons' Amusing The
Million: Coney Island at the Turn ofthe century, the amusement park
(Coney Islands' amusement parks in particular) played a significant
role in the shift of attitudes, morals and overall lifestyle of our society.
Early in the twentieth century the industrial revolution began to
take shape and with this emergence of industrial life, urban cities
began to spring up all over the nation and immigrants began to
migrate into the U.S. (most of these immigrants were European),as a
result of these changes entrepreneurs and members of high society
took it upon themselves to provide quality, cultured forms of recreation
to catour to this mass industrial culture, these individuals were
referred to as the genteel reformers. Individuals such as William C.
Bryant, Andrew J. Downing and Henry W. Bellows all advocated more
refined types of entertainment, examples of this kind of entertainment
would be Central Park and Chicagos' Colombian Exposition but the
mainstream public was not able to appreciate or recognize the
significance of these forms of entertainment so another type of
entertainment was established, the amusement park.
With the upsurge of the amusement park many dominant ideals
and ways of life established in the nineteenth century began to change
and began to be overshadowed by new ways of thinking. The new
Mass culture craved entertainment where as before the same mass
culture craved the more basic things in life. The inhabitants of this new
industrial society related well to the amusement parks and in Amusing
The Million a point was made that, "the loud noises and raucous
atmosphere of…

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