By David E. Nye
After 1776, the previous American colonies started to reimagine themselves as a unified, self-created group. applied sciences had a major 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 ebook 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 production inbuilt concord with God's first construction. whereas mainstream american citizens built technological starting place tales to provide an explanation for their position within the New global, although, marginalized teams informed 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 considered because the kernel of a brand new group or as a brand new method to make the most exertions. If passengers comprehended railways as a part of a bigger narrative approximately American enlargement and development, many farmers attacked railroad land offers. To discover those contradictions, Nye devotes alternating chapters to narratives of moment production and to narratives of these who rejected it. Nye attracts on well known literature, speeches, ads, work, and lots of different media to create a historical past of yankee origin tales. He indicates how those tales have been revised periodically, as social and financial stipulations replaced, with out ever erasing the sooner tales completely. a twin of the remoted frontier kinfolk carving a domicile out of the barren region 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 circulation, narratives of environmental restoration, and the idealization of desert.
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Additional info for America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings
He cannot plough, or fell trees, or drain the rich swamp. ”25 Malthus and Ricardo assumed that the best lands were taken first, but Emerson adopted Carey’s argument and declared that, as man’s technological skill improved, he was able to master more valuable terrain, such as heavily forested lowlands: “The last lands are the best lands. It needs science and great numbers to cultivate the best lands and in the best manner. ”26 Emerson pointed to the example of his own town, Concord, where farmers had recently learned how to reclaim marshy land by placing tiles under the earth to improve drainage.
We take for granted that energy can be transported anywhere by ship, pipe, or wire, and that it is inexpensive. We believe that markets are free because tolls and shipping costs have been greatly reduced, forgetting that for millennia markets were almost entirely local and that cheap and fast transportation are essential to the arrival of bananas from Central 32 Chapter 2 America, cars from Japan, or oil from the Middle East. We enter a supermarket and purchase wine from Chile, cheese from Holland, crackers from England, and grapes from California.
By dividing their land into units, Americans articulated an egalitarian sense of space that had no center and no past. This world was not the tightly bounded and circumscribed space of Europe. 8 In 1804 David Humphreys declared: “An almost unlimited space of excellent territory remains to be settled. ”9 This expansive sense of space is still visible from the air in the layout of fields and roads in the Midwest. 11 But at the same time it ignored and dispossessed those who already lived on those squares.
America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings by David E. Nye