10 why is the erie canal important to the northeast region Ideas

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The Erie Canal is a 363-mile waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York. The channel, which traverses New York state from Albany to Buffalo on Lake Erie, was considered an engineering marvel when it first opened in 1825. The Erie Canal provided a direct water route from New York City to the Midwest, triggering large-scale commercial and agricultural development—as well as immigration—to the sparsely populated frontiers of western New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and points farther west. The canal transformed New York City into the young nation’s economic powerhouse, and in 2000 the U.S. Congress designated the Erie Canal a National Heritage Corridor.

Early explorers in America had long searched for a water route from East Coast population centers to the resource-rich lands of the Midwest and Great Lakes.

The Northwest Territory—which later would become the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin—had timber, minerals, furs and fertile land for farming, but the Appalachian Mountains stood in the way.

Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, it took weeks to reach these resources overland. Bulk transportation of goods was limited by what teams of oxen could pull by wagon. The lack of an efficient transportation network confined populations and trade to coastal areas.

Jesse Hawley

Beginning in 1807, Jesse Hawley—a flour merchant from western New York who went broke trying to get his product to market in the Atlantic coastal cities—published a series of essays from debtor’s prison. In them, Hawley advocated for a canal system that would span nearly 400 miles from Buffalo, New York, on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, to Albany, New York, on the Hudson River.

Hawley’s eloquent essays caught the attention of New York politicians, including New York City mayor DeWitt Clinton. Clinton believed that the canal was crucial to the economic advancement of his city.

Clinton saw his plan come to fruition in 1817 after he became the governor of New York. Workers first broke ground on the Erie Canal on July 4, 1817, near Utica, New York.

An Unprecedented Engineering Feat

The construction of the Erie Canal, through mountainous terrain and dense rock proved as challenging as the political environment.

Throughout construction, Dewitt Clinton’s political opponents ridiculed the project as “Clinton’s Folly” or “Clinton’s ditch.”

It took canal laborers—some Irish immigrants, but most U.S.-born men—eight years to finish the project. They cleared the land by hand and animal power and blasted through rock with gunpowder. (Dynamite wasn’t invented until the 1860s by Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel.)

The original Erie Canal was just four feet deep and 40 feet wide, though it was considered a major engineering feat at the time of its completion in 1825. It traversed nearly 400 miles of fields, forests, and rocky cliffs, and contained 83 locks—structures used for raising and lowering boats between canal stretches with different water levels.

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Project engineers had little experience building canals. The military academy at West Point in New York offered the only formal engineering program in North America at the time the Erie Canal was built.

The project provided practical schooling for a new generation of American engineers and builders, and led to the founding of the nation’s first civil engineering school, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, in 1824.

Erie Canal engineers devised new equipment to uproot trees and stumps and developed a cement that could set and harden underwater.

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Erie Canal’s Economic Impacts

The Erie Canal opened on October 26, 1825. A fleet of boats, led by Governor Dewitt Clinton aboard the Seneca Chief sailed from Buffalo to New York City in record time—just ten days.

The canal transformed New York City into the commercial capital it remains today. Prior to the canal’s construction, the ports of Boston, Philadelphia and New Orleans outranked New York in size.

But the construction of the Erie Canal gave New York City (via the Hudson River) direct water access to the Great Lakes and regions of the Midwest. As the gateway to these resource-rich lands, New York soon became the nation’s economic epicenter and the primary port of entry to the United States for European immigrants.

New York City’s population quadrupled between 1820 and 1850. Financing of the Erie Canal’s construction allowed the city to eclipse Philadelphia as the country’s most important banking center.

The Erie Canal also provided an economic boost to the entire United States by allowing the transport of goods at one-tenth the previous cost in less than half the previous time. By 1853, the Erie Canal carried 62 percent of all U.S. trade.

For the first time, manufactured goods such as furniture and clothing could be shipped in bulk to the frontier.

Farmers in western New York and the Midwest now had cash to purchase consumer goods, because they could more cheaply ship wheat, corn and other crops to lucrative East Coast markets.

The Erie Canal also helped to stimulate America’s nascent tourism industry. It attracted vacationers, including Europeans such as Charles Dickens. Thousands of tourists floated down the canal on excursions from New York City to Niagara Falls.

Impact on Native Americans

The building of the Erie Canal and subsequent population explosion along its route accelerated the dispossession—or removal—of Native Americans in western New York and the Upper Midwest.

The Erie Canal traversed the ancestral homelands of several groups, including the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca.

From the early years of the canal era to the peak of New York’s canal boom in the 1840s and 1850s, state and federal policies promoted the removal of indigenous populations from developing portions of New York.

Native Americans were sent to reservations in isolated portions of New York and other eastern States. Others were sent to unfamiliar outlying territories in the American Midwest.

Erie Canal Today

The Erie Canal was enlarged twice to fit wider and deeper boats. Some parts were rerouted to make way for more ship traffic in 1918. Portions of the original canal are still operable, though tourism is now the main source of boat traffic along the Erie Canal.

Commercial and shipping traffic declined abruptly after the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. The new waterway along the United States-Canadian border allowed large ships to enter the Great Lakes directly from the Atlantic Ocean, bypassing the Erie Canal.

In 2000, Congress designated the Erie Canal a National Heritage Corridor to help preserve New York State’s historic waterway and the communities along its banks.

SOURCES

History and Culture; Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
Canal History; New York State Canal Corporation.
Erie Canal; Albany Institute of History and Art.

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Erie Canal – History Channel

Erie Canal - History Channel

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  • Sumary: The Erie Canal is a 363-mile waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York. The channel, which

  • Matching Result: The Erie Canal is a 363-mile waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York.

  • Intro: Erie CanalThe Erie Canal is a 363-mile waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York. The channel, which traverses New York state from Albany to Buffalo on Lake Erie, was considered an engineering marvel when it first opened in 1825….
  • Source: https://www.history.com/topics/landmarks/erie-canal

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8 Ways the Erie Canal Changed America – HISTORY

8 Ways the Erie Canal Changed America - HISTORY

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  • Sumary: Explore eight ways that the Erie Canal, which married the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes, altered the course of American history.

  • Matching Result: By providing a direct water route to the Midwest, the canal triggered large-scale emigration to the sparsely populated frontiers of western New …

  • Intro: 8 Ways the Erie Canal Changed America1. The Erie Canal opened the Midwest to settlement.Prior to the construction of the Erie Canal, most of the United States population remained pinned between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Appalachian Mountains to the west. By providing a direct water route…
  • Source: https://www.history.com/news/8-ways-the-erie-canal-changed-america

Erie Canal – Wikipedia

Erie Canal - Wikipedia

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  • Sumary: Tugboat at Lock E33 in Rochester

  • Matching Result: Completed in 1825, the canal was the first navigable waterway connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, vastly reducing the costs of transporting people …

  • Intro: Erie Canal Erie CanalTugboat at Lock E33 in RochesterCurrent route of the Erie CanalLocationUpstate New YorkCountryUnited StatesSpecificationsLength351 miles (565 km)(originally 363 mi or 584 km)Lock length328 ft (100 m)(originally 90 ft or 27 m)Lock width45 ft (14 m)(originally 15 ft or 4.6 m)Maximum boat draft12 ft (3.7 m)Locks36[1][self-published source?]Maximum height above sea level571 ft (174 m)StatusOpenNavigation authorityNew York State Canal CorporationHistoryOriginal ownerNew York…
  • Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erie_Canal

Erie Canal | Definition, Map, Location, Construction, History …

Erie Canal | Definition, Map, Location, Construction, History ...

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  • Sumary: Erie Canal, historic waterway of the United States, connecting the Great Lakes with New York City via the Hudson River at Albany. Taking advantage of the Mohawk River gap in the Appalachian…

  • Matching Result: Erie Canal, historic waterway of the United States, connecting the Great Lakes with New York City via the Hudson River at Albany. Taking advantage of the …

  • Intro: Erie Canal | Definition, Map, Location, Construction, History, & Facts Entertainment & Pop Culture Geography & Travel Health & Medicine Lifestyles & Social Issues Literature Philosophy & Religion Politics, Law & Government Science Sports & Recreation Technology Visual Arts World History On This Day in History Quizzes Podcasts Dictionary Biographies…
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History of the Ohio & Erie Canal – National Park Service

History of the Ohio & Erie Canal - National Park Service

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  • Sumary: Records indicate immediate profits from the canal. Prior to the completion of the Ohio & Erie Canal, Cleveland merchants shipped 1,000 barrels of flour to Buffalo for transport to eastern markets, sometimes for as low as $0.10/ barrel….

  • Matching Result: This canal linked New York’s Hudson River with Lake Erie at Buffalo. The Erie Canal opened in 1825, immediately benefiting New York and beyond.

  • Intro: History of the Ohio & Erie Canal (U.S. National Park Service)Records indicate immediate profits from the canal. Prior to the completion of the Ohio & Erie Canal, Cleveland merchants shipped 1,000 barrels of flour to Buffalo for transport to eastern markets, sometimes for as low as $0.10/ barrel. Six years…
  • Source: https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/history-of-the-ohio-erie-canal.htm

Erie Canal | Encyclopedia.com

Erie Canal | Encyclopedia.com

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  • Sumary: ERIE CANALERIE CANAL, a 363-mile artificial waterway connecting Buffalo to Albany, New York [1], was the biggest public works project in the pre–Civil War [2] United States [3].

  • Matching Result: The Erie Canal was the greatest American engineering project of the first half of the nineteenth century, though it was completed only a quarter of the way …

  • Intro: Erie Canal | Encyclopedia.comERIE CANALThe Erie Canal was the greatest American engineering project of the first half of the nineteenth century, though it was completed only a quarter of the way through it. It was the single most important factor in the emergence of New York as the “Empire State”…
  • Source: https://www.encyclopedia.com/places/united-states-and-canada/us-physical-geography/erie-canal

Canal History – New York State Canals

Canal History - New York State Canals

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  • Sumary: The New York State Canal System is not only rich in history, but also culture. Many immigrants worked long and hard on “Clinton’s Ditch” to create this magnificent waterway. Folklore, songs and…

  • Matching Result: As the New York State Canal System, it is enjoying a rebirth as a recreational and historic resource. The Erie Canal played an integral role in the …

  • Intro: Canal History – New York State Canals The New York State Canal System is not only rich in history, but also culture. Many immigrants worked long and hard on “Clinton’s Ditch” to create this magnificent waterway. Folklore, songs and speech lingo emerged from those individuals working along the Canal. As…
  • Source: https://www.canals.ny.gov/history/history.html

The History of Erie Canal – ThoughtCo

The History of Erie Canal - ThoughtCo

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  • Sumary: The Erie Canal was the nation’s first major transportation system. It allowed goods to be shipped to and from New York City and the Upper Midwest, starting the migration that created the…

  • Matching Result: A major goal was to link Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes with the Atlantic Coast through a canal. The Erie Canal, completed on October …

  • Intro: How Did the Erie Canal Get Built? During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the new nation known as the United States of America began to develop plans to improve transportation into the interior and beyond the great physical barrier of the Appalachian Mountains. A major goal was to…
  • Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/erie-canal-1435779

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The Erie Canal and its Impact | Connected the United States …

The Erie Canal and its Impact | Connected the United States ...

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  • Matching Result: The Erie Canal was completed in 1825 and was one of the United States’ most important steps toward becoming an industrialized nation. It would connect the …

  • Intro: The Erie Canal and its Impact “Travelling on the Erie Canal” by H. Inman “The conception is bold and great, and the accomplishment will be equally useful. The works of Europe in that line shrink into insignificance in comparison with these…but no probable degree of expence can transcend that of…
  • Source: http://eriecanalimpact.leadr.msu.edu/

Frequently Asked Questions About why is the erie canal important to the northeast region

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic why is the erie canal important to the northeast region, then this section may help you solve it.

What makes the Erie Canal so crucial?

The opening of the Erie Canal sparked the first significant westward migration of American settlers, provided access to the fertile land and abundant resources west of the Appalachians, and elevated New York to the position of the country’s leading commercial hub.

Why was trade in the Northeast so important along the Erie Canal?

A direct water route from New York City to the Midwest was made possible by the Erie Canal, which led to extensive commercial and agricultural growth as well as immigration to the sparsely populated frontiers of western New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and other farther-flung locations.

Why is the Erie Canal important, and where is it located?

The original Erie Canal, which was constructed between 1817 and 1825 and covered a distance of 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo, established New York as the Empire State, the state that leads the nation in terms of population, industry, and economic strength.

How did the Erie Canal impact the economies of the Northeast and New York?

Farmers could grow wheat in western New York, sell it, and have money to buy furniture and clothing shipped up the canal that they otherwise would have made at home, according to Kelly.

What is the current purpose of the Erie Canal?

The Erie Canal, which connects the Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals in the New York State Canal System, is primarily used by recreational boats today. Some long-distance boaters use the Erie as part of the Great Loop.

Why did the Erie Canal become popular right away?

The canal’s ability to transport 30 tons of produce, far more than wagons could manage, reduced the cost of shipping goods from Buffalo to New York City from 00 per ton to less than 0 per ton, making it an instant commercial and financial success.

What are the Erie Canal’s top three noteworthy facts?

Interesting facts about the Erie Canal include: the original canal was 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide; the peak traffic year for the canal was 1855; and there was a towpath along the side of the canal where horses or mules would tow the boat along the canal.

Quiz: What is the Erie Canal and why is it significant?

A canal between Albany and Buffalo in New York was built in 1825 and was regarded as a modern marvel at the time because it allowed western farmers to ship surplus crops to the North for sale and allowed northern manufacturers to ship finished goods to the West for sale.

What are the Erie Canal’s two economic effects?

The Ohio & Erie Canal helped people and goods move across America by connecting New York and New Orleans, which fueled westward expansion, a national market economy, and burgeoning regional industrial might.

What effects has the Erie Canal had on modern society?

The Erie Canal was subsequently proposed and built as a useful shipping route, lowering shipping costs and boosting trade, dispersing machinery and manufactured goods, increasing the United States’ economic independence, and establishing some of the nation’s most illustrious cities.

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