The Erie Canal And The Paradox Of Progress Sparknotes

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In her book, “The Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862”, author Carol Sheriff reveals that the creation of the Erie Canal fostered both pride in American republicanism and an underlining start to class tensions. Sheriff backs her discussion by highlighting in the chapter, “The Triumph of Art over Nature”, how higher class citizens cherished the idea of republicanism being represented in the Canal, yet the people who constructed this feat had no characteristic of this idea. The author’s purpose is to educate the reader so they understand that class tension stem from the fact that canal workers were seen as an oversight in credit for building this Canal and contributing to the progression of America. The Erie Canal represented not only American’s optimistic vision for progress but inequality between men of different classes. This inequality would ultimately be contradictory to the republicanism idea of freedom and citizenship in America. …show more content…

This imitation river was built with technology that was not even heard of, including, “eighty-three locks” that, “raised and lowered boats” in order to make it over large areas of land (30). Americans would praise each advancement of the project due to the fact that they felt, “they appeared to defy not just the whims but also the very laws of nature” (32). Mostly wealthier Americans would celebrate elaborately while workers, “gave a quick hurrah before moving on” to another job (51). These men were always searching for the opportunity to better their lives and their family’s lives in hopes of making it. The Canal helped solve a huge problem that Americans had which was getting items or people to places faster. It would also pave the way for exotic foods and clothing to make it to areas it has never been

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