The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal

Author: Dan Boyle

At the end of this tutorial, students will be able to:

  • Analyze why the Erie Canal was a necessary addition to the transportation system of the United States
  • Describe the types of things that were carried over the length of the canal
  • Describe some of the difficulties that went along with the building of the canal

Almost as soon as the United States became an independent nation, there was a desire on the part of some to move West in an effort to settle the interior.  The trouble was that it was costly to travel across, as well as ship produce and freight, over the Appalachian Mountains.  New York Governor DeWitt Clinton developed a plan to dig a canal that connected the Hudson River in the East with Lake Erie in the West.  The canal quickly made back the money the it cost to build it, and in the process cut the cost of shipping goods and produce by 95%.  Settlers also took advantage of the new man-made waterway, bringing about a population explosion in Western New York as well as easing the travel of setters to the West.

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