“It Must Be Made Safe.” After the tragedy of the Galveston hurricane citizens were desperate for a reconstruction of their town. Scarred by the destruction and massive amounts of deaths, people were desperate to write themselves a new story. Biel makes the argument that the Galveston hurricane had two key effects: political reform, and reliance on modern technology to solve their problems. (Biel, 224)So why does Biel make this conclusion? As REBEKAHBENNINGER1 states “An author’s intent changes depending on the type of person an author is and also what type of book is being written. “ With that in mind, I found this historiography persuasive because the Progressive period did launch new forms of technology, and with the rebirth of the city politics usually come into play.
After the storm the main plan was to protect the city from future storms. A plan first had to be established, in order to do that a committee was needed. It was not just the citizens who wanted to rebirth, it was wealthy individuals. The wealthy would lose millions of already invested money in island enterprises. This is the start of political reformation. This group named themselves the Central Relief Committee (CRC). Another group the Deep Water Committee (DWC), began meeting to make a proposal for a new city charter. (Biel, 229) The DWC suggested that there be five city commissioners. This plan was so successful that citizens willingly gave up their right to vote. (Biel, 230) Biel draws all of this evidence from “The Galveston Plan of City Government by Commission: The Birth of a Progressive Idea.” This novel was written in 1975 and is the backbone to many notes and statements that Biel makes.
So what about the Progressive era? Biel states that the Progressive movement raised awareness to problems as well as solutions. (Biel, 231) Citizens of Galveston already had a positive predisposition to technology. This made the rebuilding process more interesting, if engineers suggesting trying something new, the townspeople had faith in trying it. (Biel, 233) The first action the city took was to build a seawall three miles long. Biel uses records from the board of engineers to state this fact. The city was then to be raised, doing this by dikes, lifting everything up and placing fill under. This process made the city look like it was on stilts. (Biel, 237) Biel uses newspapers and GDN to confirm this.
Biel writes this historiography in a “matter of fact” kind of way. Using factually primary sources to prove his point. While the sources Biel uses are correct his interpretative framework speaks to the type of source being written. This is an informative piece about the rebuilding of Galveston.