Posted on Sep 29, 2000
Now it's the authors' turn.
Five authors of recent books on the Erie Canal will have a forum
“The Erie Canal Revolution and Its Meaning Today” on Thursday,
Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.
Perhaps more than any other construction project in American history, the
building of the Erie Canal shaped the nation's conception of progress. The
symposium's chairman, historian Carol Sheriff, has written, the canal's
planners “hoped to prove to skeptical Europeans that their republic
permitted unprecedented political freedoms and played a leading role in God's
plan to improve the earthly world.” But they got more than they bargained
for when the canal's construction brought into the heartland a horde of
foreign unskilled laborers. How that challenge was met and its relevance to the
U.S. today will be major symposium themes.
The authors are:
Carol Sheriff (symposium chairman), College of William and Mary,
author of The Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress,
1817-1862 (Hill and Wang, 1996).
Laurence M. Hauptman, State University of New York at New Paltz,
author of Conspiracy of Interests and the Rise of New York State
(Syracuse University Press, 1999).
Andy Olenick and Richard O. Reisem, co-authors of Erie Canal Legacy
(Landmark Society of Western New York, 2000).
Richard E. Sylla, New York University, co-editor of The State, the
Financial System, and Economic Modernization (Cambridge University Press,
The forum is another in the series of events connected with the College's
exhibition, “Monument of Progress: The 175th Anniversary of the Erie
Canal,” which runs through Oct. 29. The exhibit is the largest Erie Canal
exhibit in living memory. Among the exhibit's 122 items: an incomparable
collection of 31 original, never-before-shown color drawings by draftsmen and
engineers who worked on the canal.