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Download America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New by David E. Nye PDF

By David E. Nye

After 1776, the previous American colonies started to reimagine themselves as a unified, self-created neighborhood. applied sciences had a massive 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 United States conceived as a moment production in-built concord with God's first construction. whereas mainstream american citizens developed technological beginning tales to provide an explanation for their position within the New international, even if, 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 should be seen because the kernel of a brand new group or as a brand new technique to make the most hard work. If passengers comprehended railways as a part of a bigger narrative approximately American enlargement 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 lots of different media to create a heritage of yank beginning tales. He indicates how those tales have been revised periodically, as social and financial stipulations replaced, with no ever erasing the sooner tales fullyyt. just like the remoted frontier family members carving a dwelling house 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 previous tales and such later American advancements because the conservation circulation, narratives of environmental restoration, and the idealization of barren region.

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Extra resources for America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings

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21 He then asked what were the causes of this progress, and concluded: “The successful application of science to art increases the productive power and agency of the human race. ”22 For Webster, “this mighty agency, this automatic labor whose ability cannot be limited nor bounded” produced general prosperity. Etzler had imagined sudden transformation; Webster described a more gradual development. His narrative is the characteristic American story: change is rapid but piecemeal, ameliorative, and beneficial to all.

Such true utopias shade off into the speculative designs of real estate agents, town planners, stockbrokers, and promoters of new inventions, all of whom traffic in visions of transformation. The foundation story proper is distinct from the utopian narrative in that it purports to describe changes that have already taken place rather than to project possibilities, and also in that these changes are gradual even if they break decisively with the past. The foundation narrative describes an evolutionary process in which new technologies increase the wealth and abundance available to the average person.

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. This idea originated with Thomas Aquinas and was widely accepted in the medieval period. 31 The just price was appropriate to a world of limited and uncertain production, a world where reliance on nothing more than supply and demand resulted in enormous price swings and inequities.

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