On a warm day in late summer, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention sat by the banks of the Delaware River to witness America’s future. They had yet to resolve some of the most contentious political questions facing them — the judiciary, the presidency, and slavery — but the fresh air and festive occasion were a welcome respite from the tense, sweltering atmosphere inside the State House. As they picnicked on meat pies and watermelon slices, the delegates beheld a rumbling twelve-oared machine bobbing in the water before them. It was a steamship, one of America’s first technological innovations, and John Fitch, a war veteran, frontiersman, and silversmith, had come to Philadelphia to demonstrate his invention.
The former lieutenant hoped to persuade the delegates to include some form of intellectual property protection in the Constitution. He also wanted to raise capital.
For the rest of the story: http://pandodaily.com/2013/06/22/innovation-how-a-steamship-changed-american-history/