Wednesday, February 3, 2010
One question the teacher brought up in class was her use of Nye’s book. I thought the book was an excellent book for this class. It showed stages of American expansion and growth and the guide’s such as the axe, train, and others that helped the expansion. In the last chapter we read it discussed the positives and negatives of the train. It surprised me that the train grew so quickly in North America. The land was cleared so quickly and right behind them were the railroad. In my opinion without the railroad the country would have taken many years to expand. I can see the points of arguments that were brought up that countered railroad expansion. Men like Emerson didn’t like how nature was being affected by the growth of the railroad. Emerson was all for being at one with nature and his theory that men learned from nature and from being in it was being violated by railroad expansion. How you could be in nature and hear the railroad when you thought you were at one with nature vastly affected his thoughts on railroad expansion. It did link the country together and made it quite easy to sale goods and travel. Before they would put goods on a raft and float it down the river. This way of trading was vastly affected by area and weather. Water ways such as canals in the North often had hard times transporting goods in the winter. Railroad was much more affective and could go through cold winters and still be able to trade very efficiently. Railroads did have issues that were negative such as pollution, land speculators, and affecting nature. With these aside the positives I believe far out weight the negative of railroads.