Philadelphia is a city in, and the seat of, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It lies 62 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey and the boardwalk of Atlantic City is a popular destination for tourists from Philadelphia. With the onset of prohibition and the thriving bootlegging trade in Atlantic City criminal elements from Philadelphia also descend on their neighbors, for example the D'Alessio brothers. Bootlegging in Philadelphia itself is under the control of Waxey Gordon. Butcher Manny Horvitz controls the "Jew town" neighborhood of the city and is dissatisfied with Waxey's rule.
History[edit | edit source]
Before Europeans arrived, the Philadelphia area was home to the Lenape (Delaware) Indians in the village of Shackamaxon. Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch. The area was settled by Dutch, Finnish and Norwrgien colonists until it was included in William Penn's charter for Pennsylvania in 1682.
Penn bought the land from the local Lenape to be on good terms with the Native Americans and ensure peace for his colony. Penn named the city Philadelphia, which is Greek for brotherly love (from philos, "love" or "friendship", and adelphos, "brother"). As a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely. This tolerance, far more than afforded by most other colonies, led to healthier relationships with the local Native tribes and fostered Philadelphia's rapid growth. Penn planned a city on the Delaware River to serve as a port and place for government. Hoping that Philadelphia would become more like an English rural town instead of a city, Penn laid out roads on a grid plan to keep houses and businesses spread far apart, allowing them to be surrounded by gardens and orchards. The city's inhabitants did not follow Penn's plans and crowded by the Delaware River and subdivided and resold their lots. Before Penn left Philadelphia for the last time, he issued the Charter of 1701 establishing Philadelphia as a city. The city soon established itself as an important trading center, poor at first, but with tolerable living conditions by the 1750s. Benjamin Franklin, a leading citizen of the time, helped improve city services and founded new ones, such as one of the American Colonies' first hospitals.
In pursuit of this aim, a number of important philosophical societies were formed: the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (1785), the Pennsylvania Society for the Encouragement of Manufactures and the Useful Arts (1787), The Academy of Natural Sciences (1812), and the Franklin Institute (1824). These set out to establish and finance new industries and attract skilled and knowledgeable emigrants from Europe. Philadelphia's importance and central location in the colonies made it a natural center for America's revolutionaries. The city hosted the First Continental Congress before the American War of Independence; the Second Continental Congress, which signed the United States Declaration of Independence, during the war; and the Constitutional Convention after the war. Several battles were fought in and near Philadelphia.
Philadelphia served as the temporary capital of the United States from 1790–1800, while the Federal City was under construction in the District of Columbia. In 1793, one of the largest yellow fever epidemics in U.S. history killed as many as 5,000 people in Philadelphia, roughly 10% of the population.
The state government left Philadelphia in 1799, and the federal government left soon after in 1800, but the city remained the young nation's largest; it was a financial and cultural center. New York City soon surpassed Philadelphia in population, but construction of roads, canals, and railroads helped turn Philadelphia into the United States' first major industrial city. Before 1800, its free black community founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent black denomination in the country. Throughout the 19th century, Philadelphia had a variety of industries and businesses, the largest being textiles. Major corporations in the 19th and early 20th centuries included the Baldwin Locomotive Works, William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Company, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Industry, along with the U.S. Centennial, was celebrated in 1876 with the Centennial Exposition, the first official World's Fair in the United States. Immigrants, mostly Irish and German, settled in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts. The rise in population of the surrounding districts helped lead to the Act of Consolidation of 1854 which extended the city of Philadelphia to include all of Philadelphia County. In the later half of the century, immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe and Italy; and African Americans from the southern U.S. settled in the city. Between 1880 and 1930, the African American population of Philadelphia increased from 31,699 to 219,559. Twentieth-century African Americans were part of the Great Migration out of the rural South to northern and midwestern industrial cities.
By the 20th century, Philadelphia had become known as "corrupt and contented", with a complacent population and an entrenched Republican political machine. The first major reform came in 1917 when outrage over the election-year murder of a police officer led to the shrinking of the Philadelphia City Council from two houses to just one. In July 1919, Philadelphia was one of more than 36 industrial cities nationally to suffer a race riot of whites against blacks during Red Summer, in post-World War I unrest.
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