Showing posts from August, 2008

A Very Brief Note on Priorities in Research and in Constructing Infrastructure in Colonial Times

People Always Come First

Setting aside the issue as to whether or not people walked where animals broke the trail (which in most cases I seriously doubt), people come first. People occupied the southeastern backcountry long before the arrival of government agents to record deeds and courts to arbitrate road locations. As a rule, with some wonderful exceptions, maps come long after government.

It is quite likely that "road orders" were not orders for the construction of a road. Rather, they were probably orders to bring an existing road, trail or path into compliance with government road norms using government resources and authority. Before government intervenes, paths became trails, and trails became roads. Individuals vied with one another to attract traffic to their store, their ford, their bridge. Traffic meant business. Government poltiicized that fundamental business process.

As a rule, except insofar as ferries multiplied roads, over time there are fewer and fewer…