Last Monday, Jen and Jason presented their Independent Research Projects on the Western Union and railroad subsidies. The class discussed the concept of regulating technology, how at first there is radical freedom to act without any regulation, then the government becomes interested in the activity, and finally decides to regulate. We related this regulation to the internet and whether or not it should be regulated in America. Of course, this idea gets tricky with America’s freedom of speech, but regulation could be a good thing to make the internet safer. The Patriot Act already shows how Americans are willing to give up some freedom of speech for protection and safety. Discussion then moved on to the regulation of the railroad and how its supporters were those people who wanted to maintain the successes they had attained through the railroad. Regulation would help the railroad business leaders by providing patents to grant them priority over the market.
Erich and I have our presentations next class. Mine focuses on a lithograph portraying American enthusiasm about the inventions submitted to the London Exhibition of 1851. In particular, the lithograph looks at American successes over British inventions; though Britain was once in control of America, America has proved its right to independence with its successful technological inventions.