United States, 1860 to 1876
The period between 1860 and 1876 in the United States was one of transition from spectator sports to active participation as Americans worried about the detrimental effects of the new passive way of life that came with the transition from rural physicality to urban sedentary work and leisure. In 1860, the United States was mostly rural, but 6 million urbanités constituted one fifth of Americans. Play during the era included the pastimes of the earlier years as well as the games and sports that would peak in the following decades. Recreational activities that would become major in the Gilded and Progressive eras had their starts during Reconstruction. During this time as before, sport was not just for fun. It had to serve a purpose and was a serious activity, particularly in the north, where the old Puritanism still lingered. In the south, the seriousness was less a factor, and the ...