Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

The Erie Canal (1825) and Presidents Monroe and Adams (1817-1829)

Interactive 3-D Maps: American History by Donald Silver and Patricia Wynne

The Erie Canal (1825)

By the early 1800's, the new nation that began as 13 colonies had expanded west of the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River. Settlers needed goods produced in the East and manufacturers needed the raw materials such as grains produced in the West.  Hauling goods by road was slow, uncertain and expensive. River travel didn't extend far enough inland. 
In 1807, Robert Fulton's Clermont, the first American steamboat sailed up the Hudson River from Now York City to Albany. In 1818 a paddle-boat was launched on Lake Erie, carrying passengers and goods from Buffalo west to Detroit. However, there was no direct water connection between the Hudson River and Lake Erie. New York Govenor DeWitt Clinton backed the idea of building a canal between the two bodies of water. It took nearly eight years to complete the canal. 
Each barge was pulled by horses or mules that walked parallel to the canal on towpaths. 

The Erie Canal was built with locks that helped lift the boats from lower to higher elevations or lower them in the reverse direction, about a 500 foot difference.
photo from Adelle
I had planned for them to make balsa wood models of the canal something similar to this, but I didn't get the balsa wood. Balsa wood is a nice material to make models with because all you need besides the wood are scissors, a glue gun and paint.
We did, however, read some good books on the subject...

We also learned about the presidents of the time.
page from Homeschool Share

James Monroe (5th President, 1817–1825)

The Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans. President James Monroe endeavored to consolidate the Republican and Federalist parties through "amalgamation”, with the ultimate goal of eliminating parties altogether from national politics.
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri.
The Monroe Doctrine,  introduced in1823,  stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention. The Doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved independence from the Spanish Empire(except Bolivia, which became independent in 1825, and Cuba and Puerto Rico). The United States, working in agreement with Britain, wanted to guarantee no European power would move in.

John Quincy Adams (6th President, 1825–1829)

The son of former President John Adams and Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams,  negotiated many international treaties, such as the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812, negotiated with the United Kingdom over America's northern border with Canada, negotiated with Spain the annexation of Florida, and authored the Monroe Doctrine. For all of these activities, he was given the nickname, "Old Man Eloquent."


  1. Imagine a president trying to eliminate political parties now!

  2. I think I might give in and order that book finally. I just like every time you use it.

    I did a report in 8th grade on Adams jr.

    1. We have found it very useful, and they usually enjoy doing it as long as we sprinkle other things in between the lessons.

  3. Looks like an interesting lesson!

    1. Thank you. I forgot to mention that they keep an on-going history folder and add to it each time they go through the history cycle. This year I had them write down just a few words to describe the important things these presidents did. The next time they go through, they will use this as an outline for an essay on each president.

  4. Oh. Thanks for the great ideas. And I was just thinking the other day when you'd put new pictures of the kids up at the top. I love watching them grow thay way!

    1. They have grown a lot in the past few years, haven't they? It all goes so fast!

  5. Love this Phyllis! I really love the Erie Canal info. I didn't realize Balsa wood was so easy to work with. Can you buy it anywhere? I know your kids just love 'schooling'. You do some of the most creative things I have ever seen!

    1. I think you can only buy it at craft and hobby stores. Thank you. They usually like school, but I also have those days of them not wanting to do school-just like everyone else. :)


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