Would you like to have lived in the 19th century?

NBF fan

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Jul 22, 2021
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Dixie
I know most of us wonder what it would have been like if we were to have lived in the 19th century, especially during the Civil War era. Due to continued medical advancement, some might say it is a more desirable time to live now, but I think there are pros and cons to both time periods. Would you like to have lived in the 19th century? What would you like to have witnessed, or who is a person you would like to have met?
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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Mar 31, 2012
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Central Ohio
No, thank you. Medical science, advanced transportation, access to information, electricity and labor-saving devices, better (though still quite imperfect) understanding and acceptance of other cultures and ways of life, more widespread access to higher education, overall higher standard of living-- my great-great-grandfather (and certainly my great-grandfather) would rather have been living now than then, I'd think.
 

Rebelsoul

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Jul 14, 2017
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Alabamian living in Montana
Life would of been a whole lot less complicated in some aspects and more in others. At least I wouldn't have had to worry about some idiot pushing a button somewhere and smoking the whole planet ! I would loved to have met Stonewall Jackson, Gen Lee, Pat Cleburne, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the James-Younger bunch of outlaws !
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Yes, I would love to live in any century as long as it doesn't negate my present life. I happen to love life, and no matter where I have lived, and how much I have lost, I still enjoy life. Even now looking back to my youth when the James River was wild, and the banks were natural barriers to the sea, not built upon and jettied for erosion, I see much more utopian delights than I do here in now. So I believe the further back I go, the more lovely this whole earth becomes, regardless of the wreckage left by man, hurricanes, floods, tornados, volcanic eruptions, etc. I would like to meet whoever was worthy of meeting, but I have never idolized real people. Maybe fictional characters would be on a list, and the top would be Captain Nemo. If it were to be a real person, it would be for a necessary reason. And not being aware of any circumstance giving me cause, I can't say. I don't think just a friendly stop in for a chat would be good enough for these era proven men and women. There is a short story up north from the 18th century about a man there being visited by a devil, and it is a well-known story, yet I can't remember its source at the moment. Just bringing in an analogy. [edited].
Lubliner.
 

SeaTurtle

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Jun 14, 2021
Probably not during the Civil War era ... but I might have been able to hack it in the late-19th century (say 1890s). Transportation infrastructure, medical knowledge, and basic comforts still were nowhere near what we have today, but they were advanced enough by then that a young/healthy guy like me probably would have been ok so long as I had a decent income and didn't catch any horrible disease. I probably wouldn't have wanted to live in a city though ... way too much pollution and risk of disease. I think I'd take small-town life if I had to live back then.
 
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7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
No. Absolutely not. I´m pretty sure that all of the opportunities which have been available to make my life what it has been would not have been available to me in the 19th century. My forebears came from Ireland. Given the dismal state of affairs there in the 19th century, I doubt I would have survived my childhood. I had stomach surgery when I was 3 weeks old and was prone to chronic ear infections. My chances of living to the age of 5 would have been slim to none. If I did make it to adulthood, I would have not found any educational opportunities, so I would have been locked into the lower tier of employment. My wife´s family were upper class Mayflower descendants. We never would have met unless I was mucking out their stables. I have very strong convictions about racial reconciliation and have adopted trans-racially twice. Obviously that would never have happened, and the great probability would have been that my views on race would have been diametrically opposed to my present views, given that the Irish didn´t want competition for employment from African Americans. So, if I´d survived childhood, I would have turned out to be an undereducated, overworked wage slave, crying in his whiskey that the darkies were going to take his job, who probably would have died about 15 years before my current age. No. I don´t want to do that.
It´s not original to me, but it bears repeating: ¨The past is a wonderful place to visit, but I wouldn´t want to live there.¨
 

lupaglupa

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Upstate New York
Well, if I had lived in the 19th century I would be dead. So it's not very appealing. But I do agree with @Kurt G. I would love to visit. There's a great series of novels in which trained historians are sent back into the past to observe. And I think that is so appealing (as opposed to those novels where people get sent back unwittingly which seems really frightening). I would love to walk down a street in New York City in the late 19th century. Just to see and hear what it was like!
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
The air would probably be fresher.
Probably not in the cities . On Mackinac Island , Michigan there are no motorized vehicles allowed , so you get around by bike , by foot or by horse carriage . They have crews sweeping up the horse manure , but the smell never goes away completely in the town and the smell of horse urine is something not too pleasant either .
 
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