The largest city in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is one of the most iconic centers during the American Revolution. Established by William Penn, primarily as a seat of religion, the spirit of Philadelphia and its inhabitants marked the earliest steps towards American Independence.
Before William Penn started operating Philadelphia as a city, the entire area was occupied by Swedish and Lenape settlers who started inhabiting the region since the early 1600s. With the involvement of Penn, Philadelphia gained recognition and evolved as a vital colonial city during the revolution for American independence. It was also considered the primate site for both the first and Second Continental Congress.
Post the revolution, Philadelphia was crowned as the temporary capital of the United States. During the early 19th century, the city was fraught with uncertainties following the constant shift in federal and state governments. However, despite these major shifts, the city continued to be the social, cultural, and economic hub of America. Since the city had plenty of industries across multiple domains, it was also one of the first industrial centers of America.
The fate of Philadelphia eventually witnessed many negative turns. As we mentioned in the earlier section, the government of the city went through severe instability. Issues pertaining to instability heightened when it started getting controlled and managed by a fully corrupt political machine. During the beginning of the 20th century, the city was at its peak of corruption.
The widespread news detailing corruption shook the state and federal governments. Eventually, efforts for reform started being conducted with full vigor. These reform efforts transformed the government and by the 1950s, the latest charter further strengthened the mayor’s position, weakening the city council of Philadelphia. After a shift in political leadership, the population of Philadelphia started decreasing.
This primarily happened during the early 1950s when the white and middle-class families started leaving for the suburbs. Several houses of Philadelphia were in terrible shape, lacking facilities and proper organization. To make things worse, the city witnessed the worst of its gang and mafia warfare.
The government soon identified the problem and made efforts in revitalizing and gentrifying the neighborhoods of the city. They also made efforts to bring the middle-class back. With more promotions and incentives from the early 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century, the city regained shape. This was immediately followed by a boom in the growth and development of condominiums in the Centre City and all its subsequent areas that were marked for a decline in population.
How Was the City Founded?
During 1681, King Charles II offered Penn a huge chunk of his recently acquired American land. This was done for repaying a debt the King had initially owed to the Admiral Sir William Penn, who happened to be the father of Penn.
This land included the current area of Pennsylvania along with Delaware. While it was assumed that the claim would lead to conflicts, none of it happened with Penn’s careful planning. Instead of being involved in wars, Penn created his own colonial expedition along with a fleet that went ahead for the American summer within the next summer.
Sailing in his vanguard, Penn set his foot on modern-day Pennsylvania by reaching the colonies of New Castle. After negotiations, there was an organized changed in the government, whereby the colonists agreed to pledge their allegiance to the local Chiefs of Delaware and Lenape. Thereafter began a period of peaceful coexistence with the inhabitants of Delaware. Sadly, such was not the case with the Swedish colonies. The chieftains of these colonies weren’t willing to comply and waged several wars time and again. These wars and revolts finally came to an end after Lord Baltimore and the Province of Maryland intervened.
Eventually, the city of Philadelphia gained massive prominence among Pennsylvania for its people and highly liv-able conditions. After multiple bouts of revolts, shifts in governments and wars, the city hosted one of the first international expositions of America. This was done for commemorating the declaration of Independence. Held at the iconic Fairmont Park, this exposition featured the industries from more than 50 countries. The cradle of the American dream, the seat of independence, Philadelphia, since then, is deemed one of the iconic cities of America.