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Between 1845 and 1855, 2 million Irish men and women fled their famine-ravaged homeland, many to settle in large British and American cities that were already wrestling with a complex array of urban problems. In this invative work of comparative urban history, Matthew Gallman looks at how two cities, Philadelphia and Liverpool, met the challenges raised by the influx of immigrants. Gallman examines how citizens and policymakers in Philadelphia and Liverpool dealt with such issues as poverty, disease, poor sanitation, crime, sectarian conflict, and juvenile delinquency. By considering how two cities of comparable population and dimensions responded to similar challenges, he sheds new light on familiar questions about distinctive national characteristics--without resorting to claims of American exceptionalism. In this critical era of urban development, English and American cities often evolved in analogous ways, Gallman tes. But certain crucial differences--in location, material conditions, governmental structures, and voluntaristic traditions, for example--inspired varying approaches to urban problem solving on either side of the Atlantic. |This work of comparative history looks at how two rapidly growing cities, Philadelphia and Liverpool, coped with the urban challenges raised by the influx of Irish immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century.
J. Matthew Gallman is Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. His books include Mastering Wartime: A Social History of Philadelphia During the Civil War.