Each document set in this website is designed to help students answer an essay question relating to a specific time in Erie Canal history.
The following activities and questions are designed to help students think about the evidence they see in the documents and relate it to the information in the accompanying descriptions. Ultimately students will have enough knowledge to write a coherent, well documented, well organized essay about each document set.
Note — To print the DBQs you need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free download)
1825 - Erie Canal Celebration
- The Erie Canal, opened in 1825, created a water transportation route that connected the Great Lakes to the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean.
- New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.
- The building of the Erie Canal was a major accomplishment for New York State.
- The information in historical documents can be used to help us learn about the past.
ball - A formal gathering with dancing (a party)
bateau - French word for boat
broadside - poster
canal - a man-made waterway
cannonade - a chain of cannon shot
engraving - a print made from a block of wood or metal that has been carved or etched
historical document - recorded information from the past
illuminate - to brighten with light
Erie Canal Celebration
The Erie Canal was opened to boat traffic in 1825. It created a shorter and safer waterway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. After looking at the documents and answering questions, students will be able to explain why and how New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.
Part A. Examine the following documents and answer each of the questions that follow them.
- Erie and Barge Canals, Map
- Boats on the Mohawk River, Engraving
- Canal Boat, Engraving
- Erie Canal Celebration, Broadside
- Erie Canal Celebration, Commemorative Plate and Wallpaper
Part B. Essay: Write a well-organized essay using the documents, the answers to the questions in Part A, and your own knowledge of the subject.
The building of the Erie Canal was a major accomplishment for New York State. Explain how and why New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.
In your essay, remember to:
- Tell how New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.
- Tell why New Yorkers were celebrating the opening of the Erie Canal.
- Include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
- Use information from the documents.
- Include details, examples, or reasons when developing your ideas.