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The Artificial River

The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862

Carol Sheriff

Hill and Wang

Winner of Best Manuscript Award from the New York State Historical Association

Artificial River reveals the human dimension of the story of the Erie Canal. Carol Sheriff's extensive, innovative archival research shows the varied responses of ordinary people-farmers, businessmen, government officials, tourists, workers-to this major environmental, social, and cultural transformation in the early life of the Republic.
 
 

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The Artificial River
1Visions of ProgressON JULY 4, 1817, at daybreak, cannons boomed as a crowd assembled near Rome, New York, to watch the digging of the first spadeful of Erie Canal dirt. The honor fell to Judge John Richardson, who had been awarded the first contract to build a section of the waterway. Richardson addressed the gathering, proclaiming, "By this great highway unborn millions will easily transport their surplus productions to the shores of the Atlantic, procure their supplies, and hold a useful and profitable intercourse with all the marine nations of the world." He then drove
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Carol Sheriff

  • Carol Sheriff, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. from Yale University. She is assistant professor of history at the College of William and Mary. She lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.
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    The Artificial River

    The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862

    Carol Sheriff

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    Hill and Wang

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