By David E. Nye
After 1776, the previous American colonies started to reimagine themselves as a unified, self-created group. applied sciences had an immense function within the ensuing nationwide narratives, and some applied sciences assumed specific prominence. between those have been the awl, the mill, the canal, the railroad, and the irrigation dam. during this publication David Nye explores the tales that clustered round those applied sciences. In doing so, he rediscovers an American tale of origins, with the USA conceived as a moment construction inbuilt concord with God's first construction. whereas mainstream americans built technological origin tales to give an explanation for their position within the New international, despite the fact that, marginalized teams advised different tales of destruction and loss. local americans protested the lack of their forests, fishermen resisted the development of dams, and early environmentalists feared the exhaustion of assets. A water mill will be seen because the kernel of a brand new group or as a brand new approach to make the most exertions. If passengers comprehended railways as a part of a bigger narrative approximately American growth and development, many farmers attacked railroad land delivers. To discover those contradictions, Nye devotes alternating chapters to narratives of moment production and to narratives of these who rejected it. Nye attracts on renowned literature, speeches, ads, work, and plenty of different media to create a heritage of yank origin tales. He indicates how those tales have been revised periodically, as social and monetary stipulations replaced, with no ever erasing the sooner tales completely. identical to the remoted frontier kin carving a dwelling house out of the wasteland with an awl persists to at the present time, along later pictures and narratives. within the book's end, Nye considers the relation among those previous tales and such later American advancements because the conservation circulate, narratives of environmental restoration, and the idealization of desolate tract.
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Additional info for America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings
Improvements in the arteries of transportation lowered the cost of shipping more than enough to cover the toll. Faster and cheaper delivery increased profit to the merchant and lowered prices for the consumer. But Smith was describing roads and canals that passed through France and Britain, which had been inhabited and farmed for millennia. The United States was moving into vast new regions. The National Road, which by 1818 ran from western Maryland through the Appalachians to Wheeling on the Ohio River, opened lands to participate in the market for the first time, as would steamboats, canals, and railroads.
The foundation narrative, as expressed in Webster’s 1836 speech or in Emerson’s essay “Farming,” asserts that greater access to technology will empower every individual and democratize wealth by increasing the geographical extent of the market and increasing the average family’s income. In this story, more technical skill and more mechanical power mean a higher level of civilization. In contrast, the counternarratives that survive reflect the tactics of the weak. Such stories often are fragmentary, often are transmitted orally, and often exist only as transcribed hearings or trials.
Together these four concepts—geometrical space, natural abundance, the free market, and increasing access to force—defined an abstract narrative situation. Owing to the universality of the grid, each narrative became more than the description of a particular technology used at one location; it became a general account of the operation of necessity. Time and again, as authors described how axes, mills, canals, railways, and irrigation ditches could transform the world, the story was presented as a representative tale.
America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings by David E. Nye