By David E. Nye
After 1776, the previous American colonies started to reimagine themselves as a unified, self-created neighborhood. applied sciences had a major 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 booklet 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 construction. whereas mainstream americans developed technological origin tales to provide an explanation for their position within the New global, even though, marginalized teams instructed 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 can be seen because the kernel of a brand new group or as a brand new approach to take advantage of exertions. If passengers comprehended railways as a part of a bigger narrative approximately American growth 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 starting place tales. He exhibits how those tales have been revised periodically, as social and fiscal stipulations replaced, with out ever erasing the sooner tales solely. just like the remoted frontier kin carving a abode out of the desert with an awl persists to at the present time, 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 flow, narratives of environmental restoration, and the idealization of barren region.
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Additional info for America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings
As the land is “improved,” its value rises. The region prospers. Elimination of the forest is equated with progress, hard work being tangibly rewarded for each acre cleared. Using an axe, the pioneer creates a new landscape—a landscape inscribed within a technological narrative that moves from desolate forest to clearing, from trees to logs, from wilderness to home, from empty space to civilization. , there was no entropy); and that these forces and natural resources were best developed not through mercantilist-inspired protectionism but in Adam Smith’s free market, where the measure of progress was the degree to which mankind increased its ownership of land or multiplied its control of forces.
When new, each technology represented a sudden increase in power. In retrospect, each is diminished. ” The axe, the saddle, the rifle, and metal tools were products of centuries of development, but in nostalgic stories they are often decontextualized and thereby naturalized. Thus, nostalgic stories do not reply to counter-narratives; they simply restate the major elements of a secondcreation story, emphasizing the automatic unfolding of inevitable events. The foundation narrative appears to be a transparent description of events, but it is not.
One of the most famous orators of the nineteenth century, Webster was invited to speak to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in Boston in 1836, three years after Etzler’s 18 Chapter 1 book appeared. Rather than paint fanciful visions of what might be done using the force of the sun and wind, Webster based his argument on the known productive power of the steam engine. He observed: “There has been in the course of half a century an unprecedented augmentation of general wealth. Even within a shorter period, and under the actual observation of most of us .
America as Second Creation: Technology and Narratives of New Beginnings by David E. Nye