Canal building and regional development : A case study of the Erie Canal



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In 1825, the state of New York completed the construction of the Erie Canal. It was the purpose of this thesis to determine the impact of this canal on the economies of the state of New York and the Old Northwest. Sufficient data was found in the literature to determine that a significant developmental iqpaet was exerted by the Erie Canal on the economies of these two areas. This impact was largely brought about by a great reduction in the time and cost of movement between what was then the East and the West. For example, because of the facilitation given transit and commerce, in a group of counties bordering the Erie Canal occupations associated with commerce and manufacturing grew more rapidly than in any other county category from 1820 to 1840. Again, for the some period, not only did the density of population in those counties located within six miles of the Erie Canal and the Hudson River increase sharply, but in western Kew York this was the case even beyond the six mile sone bordering the canal. Also in western Yew York, total end per capita valuation of property increased over the decade 1820-1840. Yew York's agriculture, however, because of the facilitation given transit and commerce, was forced to change. Agricultural competition from the Old Northwest, which the Erie Canal helped to settle, was largely responsible for this change. The developmental impact of the Erie Canal was also brought about by the Erie Canal Fund, which acted as a bank for development in New York.



Erie Canal