How The Future Looked In 1899 An Essay In Response To A Newsweek Article Citing Ninteenth Century Predictions Of How The Future Will Be

607 words - 3 pages

In the past century, humans have progressed through technology, medicine, and society. We have made flying machines, cars, lasers, rocket ships and things we could not even imagine a century ago. In fact, one hundred years ago people still only had a small idea of what was to come. Some imagined that we would have moving streets that would "whoosh people and stuff around". Others thought that poverty would be exterminated and the middle class would grow to a majority. Some even imagined that there would be only one "world state" that would control every aspect of our lives. However, not all of the predictions have been proven false.In the early 1900's, some scholars predicted that society would advance far enough to be able to communicate over long distances with the touch of a button (or two). John Elfreth Watkins Jr. even said that th ...view middle of the document...

The rest of the world was not booming and becoming urbanized. I would imagine that in fact no one in un-industrialized places like imperial Africa was happy about the way life was headed.Another fact that could explain why the "scholars" of the nineteenth century had such lofty ideas of the future is the period of Romanticism and transcendentalism that surrounded them. The philosophers were active then and made advances like the flying car seem only a short century away. Inventions like communism, the automobile, and the wireless were just taking shape. Science fiction also took great strides and became a popular genre. Optimism and new ideas simply overflowed from this period.The article also lists some noteworthy predictions made by famous "thinkers". One of them, Sidney Brock predicted that the "wealth undoubtedly will be much more evenly distributed..." (106). In fact the middle class has bulged and has become the majority of the population. Although the top one-percent of America's population owns eighty percent of the wealth, the gap has decreased. The "poor" now even have better standards of living. In the nineteenth century, being poor meant having trouble surviving. Now, it usually means one has money to buy a TV, rent a small apartment, but lacks the money to get luxury cars of a house.The period in between 1900 and 2000 that everyone tried to predict was one that changed humanity dramatically. It saw the invention of airplanes, computers, satellites, and even the atomic bomb. Albert Einstein one regarded the twentieth century as a century in which "every aspect of human life changed." Communication, travel, food, and thinking have changed dramatically. Moreover, since the invention of the atomic bomb, mankind has been teetering of the edge of destruction.All quotes are from a January 1, 2000 article from NewsWeekYou may contact me if you need it.The teacher gave me a perfect and also encouraged me to write another essay for extra credit after she graded this essay.


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