There are three canal projects that immediately come to my mind, each for their own distinct reasons.
1. The Erie Canal in the United States because it was the first in the new nation, linking what was then referred to as the frontier with the commerce of the northeastern seaboard.
2. The Suez Canal in Egypt has a long history regarding its development. The history of the Suez Canal began during ancient times, however as Egypt became prey to the predators of imperialism so did the Suez Canal.
3. The Panama Canal was Teddy Roosevelt's dream come true. Prior to the canal it was a 7,000 mile voyage from New York to California by boat. With the United States' new naval capacity and Japan's militaristic tendencies upon China at the turn of the century, the Panama Canal offered the protection in the pacific Roosevelt believed the U.S. needed. The controversy surrounding the Panama Canal and the new American might is just as interesting.
4. F.Y.I.- there was a connection between the French civil engineer of the Suez Canal and the first civil engineer of the Panama Canal, something you might add to your paper.