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The Erie Canal and its effects - Research Paper Example

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here is so much history in the Erie Canal. The construction of the canal started in 1817 and ended in 1825. It connects Lake Erie in the west and the Hudson River in the east. The canal is magnificent and some referred to it as the eighth wonder of the world. …
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The Erie Canal and its effects
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The Erie Canal and its effects

Download file to see previous pages... The purpose of the canal was to access the West to settlers. It also offered a safe and cheap passage for goods and human traffic. Initially the proposal to build the canal was founded in 1768 and it was to join Hudson River with Lake Ontario. In 1808, a survey was carried out and it was decided that the canal would connect to Lake Erie. Governor Dewitt Clinton led the ground breaking to the construction of the canal in 4 July 1817 (Sadowski). At the time, the canal was known as the “Clinton big ditch”. Upon completion, the name was changed from Clinton’s big ditch, to the Erie Canal. Its length was 363 miles long. It had a depth of 1.2 meters and a width of 12 meters. There were 85 locks constructed to manage a 150-meter rise in height from the Hudson River to Buffalo. Overhead channels were used in order for streams to pass the canal. The cost of building the canal was high. However, this cannot be compared with the reduction in shipping cost. The ease of conducting business along the canal, led to sprouting of farms, development and migration to the Midwest. The link between the east and the west was eased and trade increased in these areas. Due to increased activities on the canal, it was widened in 1862. It was widened to 70 feet and the depth increased to 7 feet. This was to allow more and bigger ships use the canal. In 1882 the tolls for using the canal was scrapped. This was because the money used to construct the canal had been recovered. When the canal was opened, other canals were constructed to link the channel to other lakes. Some of the lakes connected to the canal were Lake Champlain, Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario. Later the Erie Canal and other canals in its vicinity were collectively known as the New York state canal system. These days the canals are used for leisure and as tourist attractions (Rosenberg). How the Erie Canal led to an economic revolution By opening up the west, the Erie Canal is said to be the mother of economic revolution. The canal gave people residing in the west (mainly farmers) access to markets in the west. In addition, the transportation was cheaper. Before commissioning of the canal, the cost of transporting grains to the east was 10 times higher than the original cost. When traders started using the canal the price fell by 90%. Total tolls collected in the first full year in operations of the canal almost got to the half million mark. Business continued with this tread making it easy to pay the construction fee in a few years. This allowed anyone to use the canal free. The Erie Canal evoked lots of development along the Hudson canal. New cities sprung out amid Buffalo and Syracuse. All these cities were given names ending with the word port. This indicated new docks and packing facilities along the canal. New factories were set up in these towns. Mainly the factories processed iron, hats and clothes. Especially in Albany and Rochester, these factories succeeded. In Oneida County, there were over 16 factories, employing over 700 employees. In the same county there were over 20 cotton mills, employing over 2000 employees. New York City became a strategic port for many foreign countries because of the Erie Canal. New York had an edge over other ports along the Atlantic shoreline. This is because the Erie Canal connected rich lands inside the United States and the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The link between these two places was not interrupted thus making transportation cost lower. The success attributed to the canal contributed to additional canals being built across the continent. By 1840, the joint lengths of all canals constructed surpassed the length around the continent. The canals were used to unite the east and the west, the north and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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