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Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation

Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation
Author: Peter L. Bernstein
ISBN 13: 9780393327953
ISBN 10: 393327957
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 2006-02-17
Format: Paperback
Pages: 448
List Price: $18.95

"One corner of the great American panorama enlarged to highlight starry-eyed visionaries, political machinations, indefatigable ingenuity, and cockeyed optimism."—Kirkus Reviews

The New Yorker

In the early eighteen-hundreds, the wild idea began to circulate of a man-made waterway that would connect Lake Erie to the Hudson River. At the time, canals were an exciting technology. George Washington was fascinated by them, and spent his last years attempting to tame the Potomac. But geography favored New York, where the Mohawk River Valley offered a natural cut in the mountains. Bernstein’s lively account covers the political debates that surrounded the canal’s financing and choice of route, and also the tenacity of the local workers who completed the project. The inauguration, in 1825, of the Erie Canal sparked a cultural revolution as interior cities became port towns. The number of patents increased, suggesting an intellectual awakening, but there were also fears that mobility could lead to moral decline, and one paper denounced the canal as “the Big Ditch of Iniquity.”<