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C637W
The Panama Canal: A Land Divided, A World United (Live Webinar)PE, RA, AIA HSW

Jeffrey Syken

The plan was nearly as old as the founding on the “New World” itself; connect the two great oceans of the world through the narrow Isthmus of Panama via a sea-level canal and open a “passage to India,” first imagined by Christopher Columbus. On paper, it appeared to be a straightforward task, but the reality would prove quite different. First investigated by the Spanish crown for the purpose of transporting their prized gold via ship directly from Peru, on the Pacific-side, through an inter-oceanic canal, to the Atlantic-side, and home to Spain, the dream proved undoable for technical, political, social and even religious reasons – but the “Grand Plan” remained in the minds of men.

By the early 19th Century, with advances in science and technology, the centuries-old scheme for a sea-level canal was revived. The Isthmus had long been used as a “land bridge” – a short-cut for transit from one ocean to the other via jungle trails and the tempermental, but navigable, Rio Chagres. The United States first became interested in an Isthmian canal in the 1830s in consideration of its “Manifest Destiny” to be a bi-coastal nation and the Monroe Doctrine, which declared this side of the pond off-limits to European expansion. With the founding of gold in California in 1848, trans-Isthmian business was never better and, in 1855, the Panama Railroad – an American effort, opened for business with much acclaim and success. Surely if a railroad could be carved from ocean-to-ocean through mountains and jungles, a canal could as well. Such was the common wisdom at the time.

The year 1869 saw two significant events; the completion of the trans-continental railroad linking the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States and the completion of the Suez Canal, both eminently successful ventures. With his victory at Suez behind him, “La Grand Francaise” (The Great Frenchman) – Ferdinand de Lesseps’ next challenge would be in Panama. Ultimately, the French effort would fail for many reasons - not least of all was the horrific death-rate among the workforce due to tropical disease. When Theodore Roosevelt became POTUS, he realized if the U.S. was to be a great power, it first must be a great naval power A canal linking the two oceans would make this dream a practical reality and lessons learned from the Spanish-American War would reinforce his, and others, belief in the “Mahan Doctrine.” So it was that America – the New World, would succeed where the French – the Old World, had failed making the United States a player on the world stage for the first time. The Panama Canal immediately became a crossroads of world commerce, even today expanding to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.


Note to Webinar Attendees:

Our live webinars (web seminars) are considered as "Courses of Learning" (live courses) by the New York State Board for Engineering and Land Surveying and as "Timed & Monitored Courses" by the Ohio State Board for Professional Engineers and Surveyors. Unlike the traditional seminars held in a classroom setting, our webinars deliver live instruction to your home or office. You will be able to interact directly with our instructor during a webinar through audio channel or chat box. However, you must attend the webinar at a scheduled date and time. We will verify your attendance through our online webinar platform. The certificate of completion will not be issued unless you attend the webinar and pass a quiz (all quiz questions will be reviewed during the webinar). Thank you for your cooperation.

Next Scheduled Webinar for PDH Course C637W
Date and Time† Location Registration Deadline
Sun., Feb. 3, 2019, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM ET
Web*
The webinar starting time.
* A webinar reminder with instruction on how to access our webinar platform will be emailed to you approximately 12 hours before the event.
† Special training arrangement can be made for 4 or more participants as a self-organized group. Please contact us for available training dates.

Note: This course requires users to pay first before viewing the course content.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.

AIA Members: You must take the courses listed under the category "AIA/CES Registered Courses" if you want us to report your Learning Units (LUs) to AIA/CES. If you take courses not registered with AIA/CES, you need to report the earned Learning Units (not qualified for HSW credits) using Self Report Form provided by AIA/CES.

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