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Erie Canal


After the American Revolution, there was a growing need for an efficient transportation route that would connect settlements west of the Appalachians with trading centers along the East Coast. The answer to this dilemma would be the Erie Canal, a 363 mile-long water highway across New York State that linked Lake Erie to the Atlantic seaboard. Using this engaging set of primary source documents, which includes a full-color map and profile of the canal, an official canal guide, contemporary illustrations and the boyhood recollections of a man who traveled west along the canal, students will learn how the Erie Canal served as a catalyst for great social and economic change in New York State and throughout the nation. Historian: Robyn Hallowell Griswold. The contents of this Focus Jackdaw feature:

Support Materials

  • Illustrated Broadsheet Essay
  • Timeline
  • Critical Thinking Questions
  • Recommended Reading List

Historical Documents

  • Excerpt from Memorial of the Citizens of New York, in favour of a Canal Navigation between the Great Western Lakes and the tide-waters of the Hudson, 1816.
  • Map and profile of the Erie Canal, 1825.
  • Photo-poster: The Erie Canal—The nation’s first school of civil engineering.
  • Erie and Junction Canal Guide, 1833.
  • “Canal Life,” Harper’s Weekly, 1879.
  • Excerpt from The Bark Covered House, 1876.

Price: $36.50



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