The Real Cause of the U.S. Civil War

Gerrit Smith's Great Wharves in Oswego Harbor

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Panoramic View of the Great Wharves in 1914


In the distance is the federal breakwall that protected Gerrit Smith's Great Wharves from damage by towering waves of lake storms. Large waves driven by west to northwest winds gathered strength over open-water distances of fifty to one-hundred fifty miles. The constant battering of waves periodically destroyed sections of the seawall. Large sums of money were required for repairs and restoration. Southerners objected to the expenditure of federal funds for such local northern projects. Bills in Congress allocating money specifically for Oswego harbor repairs failed in Congress because southern Congressmen were against them.