The Erie Canal Essay

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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…show more content…
They believed humans should appreciate and use nature instead of destroying it. Since the earth had been made by God, humans did not have the right to change the landscape of the earth. Unfortunately for people such as Hawthorne, the majority of people did not consider the damage to the environment as a major issue. They thought that it was only a small part of the natural world, and they were only changing it to make the world a better place to live. They also believed that the Erie Canal would provide people a better way to view nature’s beauty, since people hardly ever went into the wilderness just to observe the natural world. Another major way the Erie Canal was a paradox was that it the New York state government started taking on new responsibilities. This resulted in many people depending on the state government of New York and Canal Board in helping them reach financial success. While the canal was being built, there were constant complaints of how the canal made a person lose business. The New York state government was building the canal to spur economic activity, and now they were being blamed for the canal decreasing so many people’s profit. Obviously the canal would not have helped everybody in New York in a positive way, but it would not affect such a
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