The Erie Canal: An Economic Game Changer Essay

The Erie Canal: An Economic Game Changer Essay

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The Erie Canal was an economic game changer for many of the states that the canal passed through. Enhancing technology, communication, medicine, etc. was all-important, but there was still another side that not all people would look at or even care for. The workers who put in hard hours day after day would suffer on a regular basis from diseases, exhaustion, poor living conditions and much more. Those who were in a better financial position were not affected by this and could pass it off like nothing happened. As the creation of the canal moved forward, more problems were being brought into the picture primarily involving the workers. Overall, was the reward worth the cost? With the advancements contradicting with the working conditions, this combination if often referred to as a paradox.
Starting with the better side the Erie Canal substantially impacted many economies across the New York state. “The Erie Canal is considered the engineering marvel of the 19th Century. When the federal government concluded that the project was too ambitious to undertake, the State of New York took on the task of carving 363 miles of canal through the wilderness with nothing but the muscle power of men and horses.” The canal changed the culture of more then 50,000 people as their lives become more revolved around a waterway system. Traveling on the canal by boat was a major change and exciting for many families as they were brought together at a cheaper cost, being able to spend more time with each other. For cities like New York City, traffic was improved greatly. “Within 15 years of the Canal's opening, New York was the busiest port in America, moving tonnages greater than Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans combined.” As for Buffalo, “freight r...


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...ificantly. While other areas benefited, little appreciation was given to those who actually made this possible. The Erie Canal brought in a population that people never saw being possible. With the increase in population, the economy was simply booming. But the main point is, as the society continued to more forward, workers suffered more problems, simply creating what is known to be a paradox.



Works Cited

Bernstein, Peter L. (2005). Wedding of the waters: the Erie Canal and the making of
a great nation. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

http://www.americanliterature.com/Melville/MobyDickorTheWhale/MobyDickorTheWhale.html

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/DETOC/transport/workers.html

http://www.canals.ny.gov/history/history.html

Sheriff, Carol. (1996). The artificial river: the Erie Canal and the paradox of
progress, 1817-1862. New York: Hill & Wang.

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