Transportation and Market Revolution in the Connecticut River Valley. Trade and Commerce.
The study of the Steamboat Barnet relates to the development of regional economics and the American System.
Our online activities promote the analysis of local primary documents while developing historical comprehension and chronological thinking by research how the Barnet related to the economic growth of the U.S. in the 1800’s.
The Teacher’s Room offers guidance for engaging students in Grades 8-12 with the lessons developed for the Steamboat Barnet Online Exhibit. In addition to information about using these Primary Sources in secondary classrooms, you will find an in-depth background essay for teachers specifically designed to tie national themes with this dynamic local story and provide deeper background information for teachers.
Teachers can have groups of two or three students first examine the primary sources, either online or by printing copies. Begin by having students read the Background Essay, to provide them with some of the contextual information they will need to analyze the primary sources.Then have students examine the original copies of the Lathrop Letters. The goal is for students to realize that such original evidence is the ultimate source of most of what we know about history, and that primary sources require careful study and interpretation.After students report back on their efforts to read the handwritten originals, give groups transcripts. Break long documents into manageable chunks (we have highlighted a short passage for you). Ask students to look up unfamiliar words. The site provides an extensive glossary that will help students with many unfamiliar words.
What do these sources tell us about the Steamboat Barnet?
Students can learn to “read” pictures and artifacts the same way we read words. There are all sorts of clues embedded in the sources. Handwritten letters from the time can provide information both about the process the Steamboat Barnet went through to pass through the Enfield Rapids, as well as the reception the boat received at communities north of this previously insurmountable natural obstacle. When placed in the context of the national themes of development and expansion, these documents provide deep insight into the divisions that existed in the country at this time of dramatic change.
All items in this activity are primary sources: documents, paintings, newspaper advertisements, and photographs of products made in the Pioneer Valley. Together, they help us learn about the region at a crucial point in the early 19th century.
Room 313 – The American System
In this lesson, students will examine speeches and cartoons relating to national debates over the American System. Though their examination of these primary sources, they will explore the development of the American System and opinions on both sides of the debate. They will look at the impact of the American System on the United States, as well as the local region. Finally, students will look at the influence of the American System on sectionalism and the next major phase of national/regional development, the Industrial Revolution.
The door labeled, “The Story,” at bottom left on the entry page to this exhibit gives students essential background at secondary reading level. In addition, teachers can use the Links and Literature page to explore other secondary source material relating to the topic. Both students and adults can learn about the context through the full explanatory narrative in Background.
Room 311 – The Lathrop Letters and the Traveler’s Account
This lesson will help guide students as they work with primary sources, and compare and contrast accounts of travels along the Connecticut River. Students will read and analyze letters written by William Lathrop to his father, Samuel Lathrop who was serving in the U.S. Congress and a “firm, undeviating friend of internal development”. You will also have the chance to look at an account of traveling on the river by Timothy Dwight from 1823.
Room 312 – Goods and Services for Sale: Analyzing Advertisements and Products
Historians use all kinds of evidence to interpret the past, including old advertisements. In this lesson, students will study the advertisements to evaluate the changing economies in the Pioneer Valley in the nineteenth century. Students will also consider examples of products made in Springfield from the early nineteenth to the twentieth century. Both the Steamboat Barnet and the coming railroad were vital to the Industrial Revolution, which launched explosive growth in manufacturing in the Pioneer Valley that continued well into the twentieth century.
Room 314 – Life on the Riverbanks
This lesson uses charts and an interactive map to help students understand the impact of the Transportation Revolution. These tools will help students see the growth and decline of different cities, recognize the various transportation routes, and compare the costs of various modes of transportation. The lesson asks the essential question, “How did the rapid growth of transportation lead to the development of cities and towns along the Connecticut River?”