The Erie Canal Essay

761 words - 4 pages

The date was October 26th, 1825. All the way from Troy, New York to New York City, cannons were fired to signal the completion of what had been New York’s biggest undertaking. America’s rapid industrialization had made it obvious that a connection was needed between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. After dozens of proposals and a Presidential veto, the State of New York and NYC Mayor DeWitt Clinton took it upon themselves to carve a 363-mile canal from Troy to the sea. The Erie Canal was a feat of manpower, with 83 locks (devices that could raise or lower boats to water level), 17 aqueducts and a path on the side for horses and mules to assist in pulling boats. (Photo: Erie Canal in ...view middle of the document...

After passing Congress, the proposal was vetoed by President James Monroe, as he was concerned about the price of the canal. Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia were reaping in the money due to their ports and easy access to the Midwest. Determined to follow in their footsteps, New York State legislature passed the bill by the end of the year, and on July 4th, 1817, construction began on the Erie Canal. Dewitt Clinton, New York City’s mayor, was the driving force behind the canal, which is why it was often referred to as “Clinton’s ditch.” The building of the canal gave new job opputunitites to many, as much work was required daily to cut through land and rock. Immigrants from places such as England, Germany and Ireland flocked to America to get jobs. The pay they got for working was often three times the pay they would have gotten in their home country. Two amateur engineers, Benjamin Wright and James Geddes, made this amazing feat possible. Many methods and tools were actually conceived during the building of the canal, including the stump pump (a device that got rid of tree stumps quickly) and...

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