Courtesy of Library of Congress, Fulton, Robert, "George Washington Papers, Series 4, General Correspondence: Robert Fulton to George Washington, February 5, 1797," 5 February 1797
Robert Fulton wrote this letter to George Washington about 10 years before his steamboat "Clermont" changed how water transports were powered. This letter is part of a correspondence between the two men regarding the building of canals throughout a newly-established United States. Fulton predicts that if his vision came true, every American would live within 14 miles of a canal.
Full Transcript of Robert Fulton's Letter to George Washington
Transcribed Excerpts from Robert Fulton's Letter to George Washington
- In 1797, what did Robert Fulton think was the best way for Americans to transport people and things? How can you tell? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.
- Explain how Fulton defends his belief that systems of canals should be built throughout the country. Think about reasons some may oppose Fulton’s ideas.
- What transportation modes does Fulton compare canals to? What it his opinion of those modes?
- Compare this letter to the Railroad Map of Iowa from 1881. What is the more viable way to transport people and things within a state or out of state — building railroads or canals? Explain the reasons for your answer.
Fulton, Robert, "George Washington Papers, Series 4, General Correspondence: Robert Fulton to George Washington, February 5, 1797," 5 February 1797. Courtesy of Library of Congress