The term Internal Improvements refers to public works from the end of the American Revolution through much of the 19th century, mainly for the creation of a transportation infrastructure: roads, turnpikes, canals, harbors and navigation improvements. Large-scale transportation infrastructure projects, such as the construction of canals, are so vast and expensive that only the government can afford to take them on. These projects, which allow for the movement of goods throughout the country, are essential to economic growth. They make it possible for new industries to be established in new places, for people to migrate to new regions, and for trade to increase among several regions of the country.
In P.B. Porter’s speech to the House of Representatives, he argues for government support and funding for the building of the Erie Canal. Porter touches on the idea that the geographical boundaries between the east and the west that provide distinct separations of character and interests would soon equate in the separation and disunion of the U.S.. Porter is promoting commerce as the way to produce mutual dependence among the two sections. Porter argues that the value of the land would dramatically increase as a result of the building of the Erie Canal. Porter obviously feels excited for these changes that are to come since he is arguing for them. With the building of the Erie Canal, the surrounding lands would most likely expand into an industrial empire. The demographics of the area would be a “class of people whose sagacity in discovering and industry in pursuing the means of accumulating wealth are not to be questioned.” Porter’s use of words such as “not to be questioned” tells the reader that he is eager for these changes. Because Congressman Porter was representing a district in western New York, his view on the value of government funding may have been biased considering it would benefit that region greatly. Porter’s constituents would most likely have been excited because they had wanted a market to sell their goods for a while. The building of the Erie Canal would bring economic prosperity.