Words: 1160
Pages: 5

Brooks Rogers
Professor Carson
History 2057
February 10, 2015
Amusing the Million Paper In John Kasson’s book Amusing The Million; Kasson creates an image of Coney Island that is an escape from the increasingly urban lifestyle where people were expected to follow strict social codes of conduct. Throughout the nineteenth century a polite and courteous norm was considered as the ‘official’ culture of America. This proper group of reformers took matters into their own hands to try to control and end the debauchery caused by the public. These reformers built museums and libraries to influence a culture based on integrity and morality. Kasson, however, points out that this social disagreement is never fully installed into American society
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Next, Kasson observed the Columbian Exposition, which like Central Park, was not executed as originally planned. The world’s fair was originally designed to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of America’s discovery with its vision of social and cultural fixation on society. With many artists and architects trained in the most prestigious schools in Paris and London preparing the world’s fair, visitors ended up being rewarded with exotic amusements portraying a diverse culture of women in exotic dress. Kasson uses this as groundwork for understanding the popularity and swift uproar of Coney Island. Coney Island’s earliest appeal as a wonderland to the public was the clothing and the relaxed regard to social restrictions. Although beachwear in this era was much less exposing compared to that of our current society, it was a lot more socially rigid than street wear at the time and that drew in a very diverse crowd. Kasson forwardly compares the relaxed mood of Coney Island to the urban streets of the city on pages 44 and 45, stating “Subjects characteristically stand [or] sit on the beach…in noticeably more relaxed postures than pedestrians on the city streets.” This ultimately draws more attention to Coney Island, as a place where you can relax and be less ‘socially acceptable’, and this is ultimately how it created an atmosphere of escape. This leisurely social setting started taking on aspects of Chicago and the circus, and was prominent