Carol Sheriff’s The Artificial River
The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862
APUS, Section 4 Mr. Gordinier January 8th, 2013 All situations and topics have multiple views and perspectives to them. A paradox exhibits contradictory aspects in which there is not either a single good or a bad, positive or negative. In The Artificial River The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862, written by Carol Sheriff, there are many different examples of paradoxes. Towns initially saw the Canal having a negative impact on them, but realized it could help. The Canal provided for faster transportation, but in the case of a crash would take a long time to recover from. Also businessmen benefitted from the Canal, but other lost a lot of money because of it. The Canal provided dramatic change to the upstate New York area. In some cases this change resulted in prosperity and in others it resulted in failure and loss. At the time prior to building the Canal many negative impacts were the only things being considered. In 1826, a Canal Board was set up to deal with many of these complaints and problems. Most of the agreements and compromises were expressed through contracts made between the Canal Board and the people of the towns. Individuals questioned the right to take land to build the canal, water resources being used, and also commercial structures being built along...
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