By David E. Nye
After 1776, the previous American colonies started to reimagine themselves as a unified, self-created neighborhood. applied sciences had a big 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 United States conceived as a moment construction in-built concord with God's first production. whereas mainstream american citizens built technological beginning tales to give an explanation for their position within the New international, despite the fact that, marginalized teams instructed 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 should be considered because the kernel of a brand new neighborhood or as a brand new approach to take advantage of hard work. If passengers comprehended railways as a part of a bigger narrative approximately American growth and development, many farmers attacked railroad land supplies. 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 background of yankee starting place tales. He exhibits how those tales have been revised periodically, as social and financial stipulations replaced, with out ever erasing the sooner tales fullyyt. similar to the remoted frontier family members carving a dwelling house out of the barren region with an awl persists to this present day, 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 move, narratives of environmental restoration, and the idealization of wasteland.
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Additional resources for America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings
Foundation narratives projected an endless supply of land and raw materials. On the assumption that this abundance existed in a free market, its availability to citizens was taken to be almost an individual right, as if it were a part of the pursuit of happiness guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. This assumption that resources were abundant was well suited to a laissez-faire ideology in which the self-reliant individual had only to make use of personal powers to rise in the world. 30 Chapter 2 The assumption of abundance contrasted sharply with the theories of inevitable scarcity then widely accepted in Britain.
17 Settlers could purchase these portions of land, or fractions of them, through land agents. Similarly, whole towns were laid out by permission of state legislatures. Wyandotte, on the banks of the Kansas River, is an example. ” How had such a place come into existence? “In founding a city, a few speculators become [in]corporated, by special act of the legislature, as a town company. ”18 Few speculators were willing to work on such a small scale, though; typically, speculators paid others to pretend to be honest homesteaders, to lay claim to the adjoining lots, and to later sell them to the town incorporators.
Accordingly, most foundation narratives do not mention any previous inhabitants. Earlier I noted the four fundamental assumptions that framed the second-creation story. The grid was the most important of these. The others were a new belief in the natural abundance of resources (including land), the free market, and the conservation of force. Foundation narratives projected an endless supply of land and raw materials. On the assumption that this abundance existed in a free market, its availability to citizens was taken to be almost an individual right, as if it were a part of the pursuit of happiness guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence.
America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings by David E. Nye