Реферат Canal Building Before 1840 Essay Research Paper

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Canal Building Before 1840 Essay, Research Paper
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.
The canal Era was a major influence in American History. Canal building was
spurred by the transportation revolution, which was from about 1815 to 1860. The
transportation revolution greatly affected the economy. It enabled us to expand West
since agriculture would become profitable, and it increased trade in the New England
states too since shipping was faster and a lot cheaper. One of the most important canals of
the time was Erie Canal. It was the first financially successful canal in America and set
an example for the many more canals that would be built.
The Erie Canal was supported by De Witt Clinton, who became the canal’s
commissioner due to his promotion. The canal was planned to connect Lake Erie with the
Hudson River. The completion of this canal would be an engineering feat since it was
363 miles long and had to overcome almost 600 feet of change in elevation. After a bill
was passed by the New York Congress in 1817, construction had began. Aid was offered
by merchants and bankers whom would benefit from it. The canal was opened in 1825,
and from the start, it was obvious that it would be a success. It had paid off its seven-
million dollar debt by 1836. It made New York the biggest trade center in the United
States. Canal construction was being planned in every state east of the Mississippi River.
I have found a couple major interpretations of my subject. One of them is a book
titled The Transportation Frontier. This book contains everything there is to know about
the Canal Era. It also talks about how our major mode of transportation went from
turnpikes to canals, and later, canals to steamboats and railroads. One thing that this
source talks about that very few do is the other canals that were built after the Erie Canal
as a result of its success. These canals include the Champlain canal, the Union Canal, the
Ohio Canal, the Pennsylvania Canal, and many more.
I feel that my topic was fine as far as restrictions go. I do think though that it
should have been limited to the Erie Canal only because that was by far the most
important canal of the era. All of the sources I found have contained the Erie Canal. One
thing wrong with my topic is that it is limited to canals before 1840. It should have been
canal building before 1860 since that is about when the Canal Era ended. Another topic
should have been the transportation revolution from 1815 to 1860. This would include all
of the canals built and it would also contain how road and bridge building would move
onto canal building. And it would contain the demise of the Canal Era and the rise of
steamboats and railroad systems.
The general hypothesis that I would form is that Canal building before 1840 had a
positive effect on our nation’s economy since it increased trade in the Northeast. After I
have done further research, I concluded that canal building has had the great effect on our
nation because it made commercial trading in the West profitable and it boosted our faith
in new modes of transportation. My frame of reference doesn’t have any affect on my
hypothesis because the canals from the 19th century have no affect on my life. I also live
in an area where no canals were built. People living in New York today might think of
the Canal Era differently since it has contributed to make it one of the largest trade
centers in the world.
In researching my topic, I haven’t encountered many problems. A small problem
that I faced was that there are few very primary sources available from before 1840. The
microfilm in the San Jose State University Library only goes down to the 1860’s and the
topics are not listed in a periodical. The only place where I could find some primary
sources are on the Internet where they found some letters and speeches from magazines
and other articles from the 1830’s. Another small problem was that I could not find very
many sources on my topic in the Leland Library because of the small selection and
because some of the books I needed were missing. But overall, I don’t think that I had
any problems that were big enough to affect the outcome of this project. I was satisfied
with the topic I picked and the only thing I would have changed if I were to do this
project again would be to start finding sources earlier.
The Canal Era has had great result on our economy and will always be
remembered as one of one the most influential revolutions in transportation. I have
picked up a lot of knowledge on the Canals of the 19th century as well as many other
important economic aspects of the time. Specifically, I was exposed to a lot of detail
about the Erie Canal and how it was the spark that lit this revolution. Today, canals like
the Panama are still being used by many countries. Canals have risen and declined, but
they will always be found and remembered.