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Defining Progress at America To advance by definition means: to develop to a more advanced stage, or to proceed. As historians look back on particular events and happenings that have shaped America within the course of time, one of the primary questions they think is whether or not that specific occasion fostered progress in the united states. During the 19th century, a young America saw huge advancements in trade and mobility. These advancements in mobility fueled an expansion of commercialism in free and enslaved people alike. The Artificial River from Carol Sheriff and The Interesting Narrative by Olaudah Equiano give a prospective about the "progress" in trade and freedom from the 18th and 19th centuries which leaves the reader wondering whether or not America was actually experiencing advancement at that moment. By focusing on both of these books, it will be proven that the growth in commercialism introduced both valued benefits in addition to undesirable consequences to free and enslaved people alike, and that discovering progress is not so straightforward. The aim then is to make awareness of the ambiguities of advancement rooted in mobility and exchange for these two groups of individuals, and return to a assessment of whether or not America was indeed experiencing progress during this time period. The Artificial River covers the background of the Erie Canal in the digging of the first spadeful of all Erie Canal dirt from 1817, during it's failures and successes around the year 1862. The building of the Erie Canal attracted many valued advantages that could be considered progress into the folks involved at the moment. The Erie Canal opened up new occupations, established that a new mercantile class, reduced distance and time for transportation, higher tourism, enlarged c.. .