200 years on the Erie Canal

Two hundreds years ago, construction began on a 363-mile canal linking the Great Lakes to the Hudson River and New York City – an engineering and commercial triumph as revolutionary as the Internet. But the Erie Canal was dismissed at first. New York politician DeWitt Clinton spent 10 years fighting to sell the project to a deeply skeptical public, and Presidents Jefferson and Madison refused to help fund it. Yet the canal quickly changed the geography and commerce of the young nation. Richard Schlesinger reports on the history of the Erie Canal, still celebrated in song as an example of American ingenuity.

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