By David E. Nye
After 1776, the previous American colonies started to reimagine themselves as a unified, self-created group. applied sciences had an incredible 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 in-built concord with God's first production. whereas mainstream american citizens developed technological origin tales to give an explanation for their position within the New global, although, marginalized teams informed different tales of destruction and loss. local american citizens 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 neighborhood or as a brand new technique to take advantage of hard work. If passengers comprehended railways as a part of a bigger narrative approximately American growth and growth, many farmers attacked railroad land gives you. 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 plenty of different media to create a background of yank starting place tales. He indicates how those tales have been revised periodically, as social and financial stipulations replaced, with no ever erasing the sooner tales completely. a dead ringer for the remoted frontier relatives carving a home out of the wasteland with an awl persists to today, along later pictures and narratives. within the book's end, Nye considers the relation among those past tales and such later American advancements because the conservation move, 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
Technologies are elements of the dialogue about how the world is structured. This dialogue takes the form of stories people tell one another to make sense of the transformations that accompany the adoption of a new tool or machine. They may be foundation narratives that seem to explain the origins of the present; they may be counternarratives that dispute that story. They may project utopian visions of ease and abundance; they may focus on a way of life that is fading into the past. 24) People seldom understand machines as purely abstract things in themselves.
29 When Lincoln delivered his address in Jacksonville, in Decatur, and in Springfield, his listeners were aware that the ready availability of the world’s goods was a fundamentally new situation, and that it was based on a new infrastructure of transportation and communication. Lincoln reminded them that the “iron horse” was “panting and impatient” to do their bidding, and that the telegraph was “ready . . to take and bring . . ”30 In colonial America, transportation and communication were more difficult, and most people believed in a quite different idea when it came to buying and selling: the idea of the just price.
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 unusual elements in the American equation were an abundance of land that the government could sell or give away at low prices and a suddenly acquired ability to move easily into these regions as a result of innovations in transportation.