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Old 02-05-2014, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 53
Default Research and Politics

I was finishing up a paper on steamboat boiler explosions this morning when I can across a website entitled "Steamboat Dangers." I was looking for information and verification on a few loose ends. I was wanting facts and instead found a brief synopsis on the evils of a society that fosters greed and selfishness - very critical of a "mindset" that is described as being typically
American. I'm not saying that some criticism isn't warranted here, however, I was really surprised to find such a political attitude infused with the information. Here is the summary from the website:

"Most dangerous, though, were ill-maintained boilers. Rushing captains and inattentive crews that did not release steam from the boilers caused numerous violent explosions. After an explosion on the steamboat Moselle in 1838, a committee of inquiry blamed the haste of the captain in leaving the dock and commented bitterly on the American mindset that had developed."

"Such disasters have their foundation in the present mammoth evil of our country, an inordinate love of gain. We are not satisfied with getting rich, but we must get rich in a day. We are not satisfied with traveling at a speed of ten miles an hour, but we must fly. Such is the effect of competition that everything must be done cheap; boiler iron must be cheap, traveling must be done cheap, freight must be cheap, yet everything must be speedy. A steamboat must establish a reputation of a few minutes 'swifter' in a hundred miles than others, before she can make fortunes fast enough to satisfy the owners. Also this seems to be demanded by the blind tyranny of custom, and the common consent of the community."

The website was produced by Janet Havens/The American Studies at the University of Virginia. I'd be interested to hear any comments.
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