The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 Essay

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Bales, Richard F. “Did the Cow Do It? A New Look at the Cause of the Great Chicago Fire.”

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            Richard Bales focuses on the assumed causes of the Chicago Fire of 1871. One of the causes it points out is from the barn of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. It also tackled about the investigation done by the authorities regarding the incident. One of the main purposes of the investigation is to determine the causes of the fire, including the O’Leary couple.

  However, at the end of the investigation, there was no concrete cause of the fire, and it was just assumed that it was caused by a spark from a chimney or from a human emergency.

Chicago Historical Society. “The Great Chicago Fire.”

            This article by the Chicago Historical Society is an account of what happened on the evening of October 8, 1871.

The perspective given by the article is that the fire started behind the barn behind the house of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. The events that followed after was carefully described by the article, including the efforts of the firefighters and the other people involved.  The damages of the fire was also taken into consideration, as well as the impact of the event in the days that followed.

Pauly, John J. “The Great Chicago Fire as a National Event.” American Quarterly Vol. 36, no. No. 5 (1984).

            John Pauly’s article focuses on the impact of the Great Chicago Fire on the national level. It tells about the meaning that was given to the event by the people of Chicago as well as the people of the country itself. It also marked the transformation of the city from it’s pioneer adolescence, towards the city’s metropolitan maturation. It is considered not only as local calamity but as a blow to the whole nation itself.  It took into consideration how the country responded to the events, including the reaction of various sectors of the society. News reports about the event flooded the magazines and newspapers for several weeks. All in all, the article tells the readers that the Chicago Fire was one of the turning points in the history of the city and of the nation.

White, Horace. “The Great Chicago Fire.”

            This article is an eyewitness account of the most destructive fire in the history of America, given by the editor-in-chief of the Chicago Tribune during the time of the calamity. It gives the readers of the first hand account of the damages of the fire and its effect to the people of Chicago. It does not dwell on the causes of the fire, which up to this day remains unknown, but instead it gives focus on its impact on the lives of the people that were affected. With more than 17,000 buildings razed and one-fourth of the population homeless, the calamity in White’s perspective, has greatly shaped Chicago’s History.

Woody, Robert H. “A Description of the Chicago Fire of 1871.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 33, no. No. 4 (1947).

            Robert H. Woody’s article is a compilation of accounts involving the Chicago Fire of 1871. It takes into consideration  the different perspectives by different people, as to how the fire started and how it has affected Chicago in the end. It also offers various descriptions of the events that happened during the night of the fire, as well as the days that followed. It also talked about the implications of the fire to the people living in the area. It also tackled the national significance of the calamity, and how it has shaped the American history.

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