by Joe Ptak, JVLA

Intended to showcase the greatness of western civilization in general and the superiority of the American people in particular, the 1893 Exposition in Chicago placed the best and worst of American society at center stage.

Introduction

Have you ever been to a Fair? Most of us have visited county fairs and state fairs, checked out the livestock, watched the shows, and enjoyed the rides. But what about a "national" fair or exposition (Expo for short)? World Expos are still very popular. The very latest one to open is Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea. Glorious as they may seem, there was a time when the expositions were built with serious, perhaps unintended, implications toward imperialism and racism. Let's take a look at one in particular...the Columbian Exposition of 1893, held in Chicago, Illinois. A perfect example of "cultural" Manifest Destiny, it came on the heels of the popular Exposition Universelle de 1889 in Paris. With each exposition trying to outdo its predecessor in extravagance, the Paris Exposition gave the world Gustave Eiffel's tower. What could the Chicago Exposition offer to surpass that? Let's begin...

Not here...

 

But here...