Essay on The Erie Canal

Essay on The Erie Canal

Length: 1219 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In The Artificial River, Carol Sheriff describes how when the digging of the Erie Canal began on July 4, 1817, no one would have been able to predict that the canal would even be considered a paradox of progress. One of the major contradictions of progress was whether or not triumphing art over nature was even considered progress. People were not sure during the nineteenth century if changing the environment for industrialization was necessarily a good thing. Another contradiction to progress that resulted from the Erie Canal was when people started holding the state government responsible for all their financial misfortunes. An additional contradiction to progress that the Erie Canal displayed was how many of its workers were either children, or men that lived lives that were intemperate and disrespectful to women. As American history students look back at the Erie Canal today, they generally only imagine how the canal was extraordinary for the residents of New York, but not all the issues and problems it also produced.
People in the northern United States during the early nineteenth century wanted to rapidly industrialize and increase the amount of money they were making. The Erie Canal they believed was a great way to reduce the distance and time of shipping goods to the west. They also realized that the canal would probably increase their markets, which would mean a larger profit. The problem with all of this was how people had to destroy parts of nature in order for this to happen. Nathaniel Hawthorne, a prominent writer during the time, described the canal as “too rapid, unthinking advance of progress.” (57) Hawthorne and his supporters were very upset to see how forests and swamps were being destroyed and ruined in order t...


... middle of paper ...


... stealing, and sleeping with random women, there was no way they could help make the United States a better place. The commercial class needed such people in order for their own business’s to prosper, yet they still disapproved how the lower class spent its free time. Instead of helping change the lower class’s lifestyle, the commercial class just complained about it.
In conclusion, there were constantly problems arising during the construction of the Erie Canal. Even though the Erie Canal definitely helped boost economic activity and industrialization in Upstate New York, it also caused more and more people becoming reliable on the government. It also helped bring morality and ethics into their everyday decisions. The major hope of the Erie Canal was to make the United States a better country, but there were obviously paradoxes that came along with that goal.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Erie Canal Essays

- The Erie Canal is a waterway in New York that runs 363 miles from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, completing a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The canal contains 36 locks which allows a boat to go from one level of a water to another level lower by raising the water level in one section which lets the boat move from one lock to the next. By doing this, the Erie Canal makes a once non-accessible waterway a common mean of transportation for both goods and people....   [tags: Transportation]

Strong Essays
1595 words (4.6 pages)

The Erie Canal and Western Development Essay

- The Erie Canal and Western Development To what extent did the construction and use of the Erie Canal impact the amount of western settlement and expansion in the United States. A. Plan of the Investigation: The focus of the investigation is to what extent did the construction and use of the Erie Canal impact the amount of western settlement and expansion in the United States. The study will analyze how economic opportunities that began in 1825 with the completion of the Erie Canal, affected the westward immigration of settlers....   [tags: western settlement, expansion of the US]

Strong Essays
1777 words (5.1 pages)

The Erie Canal: An Economic Game Changer Essay

- 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....   [tags: New York state landmarks]

Strong Essays
561 words (1.6 pages)

The Expansion Of The Railroad Canal Essay

- According to American Historian Eric Foner, the Market Revolution was “a series of innovations in transportation and communication” (Foner 320). During this time, there was an increase in railroads, the Erie Canal was completed to provide more transportation, the telegraph was created to provide communication, and there was an increase in Western expansion. Along with the expansion westward, there was the rise in the Cotton Kingdom and factory work. In the 1820’s, a group called the Boston Associates gave birth to a Massachusetts factory town named Lowell in 1836....   [tags: Andrew Jackson, United States]

Strong Essays
1353 words (3.9 pages)

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Essay

- Introduction The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was chartered in 1825 (Chesapeake). The canal runs from Georgetown all the way to the Ohio River in Pennsylvania. It is known as one of the best canals ever built. Eventually the canal was taken over by the government and declared as a national monument by President Eisenhower (Chesapeake). The C&O canal is in Georgetown, Virginia. It is parallel to the Chesapeake River. Georgetown is a little town in the city of Washington D.C. This part of Virginia is always very busy....   [tags: Engineering ]

Strong Essays
1594 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on The I&M Canal

- The I&M Canal "Didn't expect no town" -Early Chicago Settler Mark Beaubien The I&M Canal is universally considered the driving force behind the huge surge of growth that turned the tiny hamlet on the banks of Lake Michigan named Chicago, in to a huge metropolis and bustling center of trade. Ever since Joliet first crossed the portage between the Chicago river and the Des Plaines river in 1673, explorers, investors, politicians, and farmers alike all agreed that constructing a canal across the continental divide that separated the two largest water systems in the United States would not only create a continuous waterway between New York and New Orleans but more importantly, place Chicago o...   [tags: American America History]

Free Essays
1275 words (3.6 pages)

Canal Building before 1840 Essay

- Canal Building before 1840: Essay Throughout history, there has been a need for better mode of transportation in order to keep up with economical growth. Canals have been around since the Ancient Roman Civilizations and still exist today. Canals have been so important because they allow people to travel from one place to another and back by way of water. They require very little energy and maintenance but help trade flow more efficiently. This can be proved by observing the United States economy in the early 19th century....   [tags: essays papers]

Strong Essays
951 words (2.7 pages)

The Invention Of The Steamboat, Canal, Railroad, Railways, And Telegraph

- Around the year 1800, there are some significant political, economic, and social changes. These changes affected Americans significantly. Americans in nineteenth century described that freedom is the most important character of their country. Freedom was connected with economic and democracy but it is also influenced by the slavary system. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the Market Revolution was famous in America. It was an economic revolution marked by industrialization, improvements in transportation, and expansion....   [tags: United States, Slavery in the United States]

Strong Essays
1052 words (3 pages)

Illinois Michigan Canal is Responsible for Chicago's Size Essay

- "Didn't expect no town" -Early Chicago Settler Mark Beaubien The I & M Canal is universally considered the driving force behind the huge surge of growth that turned the tiny settlement on the banks of Lake Michigan named Chicago, in to a huge metropolis and bustling center of trade. Ever since Joliet first crossed the portage between the Chicago River and the Des Plaines River in 1673, explorers, investors, politicians, and farmers alike all agreed that constructing a canal across the continental divide could benefit them greatly....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
961 words (2.7 pages)

The American Revolution Change The Landscape Essay

- In general, the American’s businesses started expanding between 1820 and 1840 from farming communities into mill towns. For the most part, farming was the main resource for Lowell, Massachusetts which was passed down from generations to generations. However, the American economy experienced the beginning of industrial revolution (Brinkley, 2014, p. 246). This industrial revolution transformed in all counties, states and countries. The increase in population was key figure in the industrial revolution as new migrants started to arriving with new technologies, different skills sets, and different cultures....   [tags: Industrial Revolution, United States, Canal]

Strong Essays
1168 words (3.3 pages)