This www.delanceyplace.com excerpt got me thinking about the civil war, slave states vs. free states.....the Erie Canal, and the Mississippi River, all at the same time. It is all interesting history, and very interesting events that tend to shape what this country is today! I,m currently reading Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi", and find it an eye opener into that period of American history. Mark Twain was a Mississippi river boat pilot, and I recommend the book for an education in the importance of this big muddy river. Apparently Samuel Langhorne Clemmons (1835-1910) was smack-dabe in the middle of all these important events and turns of American history!
Read more at campaign.r20.constantcontact.com
In today's excerpt - the completion of the Erie Canal and the extension of Illinois' border north to include the land that became Chicago saved the Union. The Mississippi River held an economic dominance over the middle of the country in the early 1800s, and put that dominance in the hands of Louisiana, Missouri and other slaveholding states. It was only the opening of the Erie Canal that created a self-contained East-West economic region among the Great Lakes states, and thus gave them economic independence from this Mississippi dominance. So when Congress was carving out the new state of Illinois under the dictates of the "Northwest Ordinance" - one of the three key "founding documents" in American History since it helped define how new states could be admitted to the country - it was careful to extend its borders to include a port on Lake Michigan: