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Engines of Our Ingenuity

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A Navy Born of Rum Digital History ID 4492
Colonial Rhode Island was a nest of pirates. The other colonies called it Rogues Island. It's economy was based on rum running and shipbuilding. All that traced to French policy in the West Indies. The West Indies grew sugar. Molasses was a sugar by-product, and rum is made from molasses. The French colonies provided France with sugar, and with a place to sell French brandy. They wouldn't let their colonies make molasses into rum, because it would compete with their brandy.
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1776 Digital History ID 4500
The mood of colonial America was one of confidence, self-assurance, and a passionate belief in freedom. For me it's contained in an image from the Summer of 1790 - the sight of John Fitch's steamboat moving earnestly up the Delaware River propelled by an array of Indian canoe paddles. Those paddles boldly proclaimed Fitch's amateur-but-functional freedom from any engineering tradition.
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