The Erie Canal delivered people to important places for important reasons, like Susan Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott to Seneca Falls for history’s first women’s convention, to Rochester to meet and support abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, to witness the Fox Sisters summon spirits and their eerie knockings, or maybe people on the temperance bandwagon hurrying to the Burned Over District so Charles Finney could save their souls. It was a time of intense individual focus and enlightened change in the ways in which people communicated. It was as if a bolt of electricity struck western New York, lighting it up as fertile ground for ideas and lifestyles that had never been expressed or attempted before. It was a time of religious re-birth, ongoing social reform, and making one’s life the best it could be in the present, in the future… and even the great beyond.
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