- from Panama Canal
It is 1904. Theodore Roosevelt is president, and the United States is fast becoming one of the most powerful nations in the world.
Such recent inventions as the telephone and the automobile make the 3,000-mile-wide country seem a lot smaller.
Imagine you are living on the East Coast. Your family is in the clothing business and wants to sell clothes to new stores in San Francisco. Of course, the clothes can’t be loaded on a plane – there aren’t any planes. And trains are expensive for shipping goods. So your family decides to send the clothes by ship around the tip of South America. The trip can easily take two months, and many ships are destroyed by terrible storms. But what if a canal were built where the land between North America and South America is narrowest – across Panama? That could shorten the trip by nearly 8,000 miles!