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Positive and Negative Effects of the Erie Canal
Transcript of Positive and Negative Effects of the Erie Canal
and Negative Effects
Dramatic Decrease in Shipping Prices
In the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution was sweeping all over civilized countries. The United States was one of those countries. This called for an improvement in product transportation, and the steamboat was quickly rising to the top. However, not many rivers were large enough the accommodate the bulky steamboat and its cargo. Thus, canals had be dug out and built. One of the first of these was the Erie Canal. This amazing feat of engineering decreased the price of shipping a ton of cargo by 1900%, from 19 cents to 1. This allowed manufacturing companies to make huge profits, bolstering the economy of New York overnight. This example set by New York encouraged many other companies to move to the New York to benefit from the decreased transportation costs.
The Erie Canal did more than attract companies and businesses. Immigrants and Americans were moving to New York for work and lower transportation costs. What they did not realize until too late was that the working conditions were unhealthy, and dangerous. These working conditions were subject to protest by writers, artists, and workers. While the large influx of workers benefited the economy of New York, the governor was not prepared for the unintended effects it would have afterwords.
While the initial boom in population helped provide low-wage workers for the building of the Erie Canal and factories, the city was not growing fast enough to accommodate so many people. This quickly resulted in widespread disease like cholera, which spread through feces and water. The Erie Canal assisted in the spread of this disease. It became so common that disease pandemics were consistent amongst adjacent cities. Initially, it was thought cholera was caused by eating raw veggies and unripe fruit. It was not until scientists had found the actual cause of cholera that the number of victims was finally reduced.
Crime and Rowdiness
The high population in New York and cities adjacent to the Erie canal were prone to high crime levels. The lack of police and firefighters made crime levels increase uncontrollably, leaving many citizens victim to muggings, verbal assaults, and abuse. Sailors that sailed along the Erie canal were notorious for their mouth and violence. Other than sailors, low-wage workers who were not paid enough to even survive resorted to theft and burglary to get by. Eventually, police organizations were formed and crime was reduced, but crime is still present in New York in large numbers.
The Erie Canal, started in 1817, was a major addition to the economy of New York. Stretching from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean, it enabled goods to be transported faster and farther. However, several unintended impacts that hurt and angered the society and health of adjacent cities did not leave the common folk happy at all with the new canal. In the following presentation, you will be learning more about the effects of the Erie Canal.