"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." - Theodore Roosevelt
Most people have heard of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but while not as many have heard of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, those who have are aware that the Panama Canal is considered one of them. In a world where few natural rivers carved out over eons of time have reached a length of more than 50 miles, the idea that a group of men could carve a canal of that length seemed impossible. In fact, many thought it could not be done. On the other hand, there was a tremendous motivation to try, because if a canal could be successfully cut across Central America to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it would cut weeks off the time necessary to carry goods by sea from the well-established East Coast of the United States to the burgeoning West Coast. Moreover, traveling around the tip of South America was fraught with danger, and European explorers and settlers had proposed building a canal in Panama or Nicaragua several centuries before the Panama Canal was actually built. By the late 19th century, the French actually tried to build such a canal, only to fail after a great deal of resources were put into construction and after workers died of malaria and other illnesses. At the turn of the 20th century, not only was the need for a canal still there, but the right man was in the White House.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors