brni (brni) wrote,

Philadelphia's Better Self

Chapter 1: Philadelphia's Better Self

There are three cities in the United States of over a million inhabitants, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago which have frequently been compared. These comparisons have generally related to questions of material resources, of industrial and commercial advantages and of statistics which would have been as appropriate to Tyre as to New York, to Athens as to Philadelphia, and to Babylon as to Chicago. We are not aware of any attempt in any form, by the use of a few but unfailing tests, to get at the true spirit and excellence of each of these cities or to compare them by such tests. It may seem a matter of great difficulty to make a character study of a great city, but we believe that it can be done by a very simple method. A city of nation has its spirit or its character as an individual has. There is a certain predominance of characteristics that create a type for the city, and which may justify the expression of the city's true self. The object of this study will be to go back of ordinary statistics, and to present if possible, the true, which is the better Philadelphia. We believe that without any wearisome detail, this can be done, and that there can be established beyond contradiction, the fact that Philadelphia is not only the most American, and the most patriotic of our great cities, which is generally admitted, but that it is in its essential spirit and character, the most Christian and philanthropic of all great cities.
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