What negative effects did the Erie Canal have?

The Erie Canal had some negative effects on political relations and species habitats, as well as on the Native American population. It created questions of which levels of government would pay for different improvements. Pollution levels in the Erie Canal caused many species in the area to decline in population. Also, increased access to transportation meant white settlers moved further out into Native American land. 

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The Erie Canal had many positive effects for the American economy; however, there were some negative effects. The Erie Canal accelerated Western travel. This travel placed increased strain on relations between settlers and Native Americans. While it is likely that this would have happened anyway given that the United States...

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The Erie Canal had many positive effects for the American economy; however, there were some negative effects. The Erie Canal accelerated Western travel. This travel placed increased strain on relations between settlers and Native Americans. While it is likely that this would have happened anyway given that the United States had strengthened its claim to the Great Lakes region after its victory in the War of 1812, the Erie Canal's completion hastened white expansion into the region.

The Erie Canal's success also increased demand for other internal improvements in the United States. The debate over who would pay for these internal improvements led to a rift in American politics between Whigs and Democrats. The former favored federally-sponsored improvements, while the latter thought that they should be sponsored at the local level. (The debate over this issue would be replaced by the debate over slavery that would ultimately create the Civil War.)

The Erie Canal would also lead to increased pollution in the Great Lakes region. By tying the lakes to the Atlantic, many companies after the Civil War sought to build their factories in the Great Lakes region. Manufacturing pollution would ultimately kill a great deal of the wildlife in and around the Great Lakes. This wildlife has only recently started making a comeback thanks to conservation efforts. The people who created the Erie Canal did not have this in mind. Conservation was not considered during the early 1800s.

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