Growth And Development Of The U.S – Assignment Example
Transportation in the Era of the Steam Engine During the first half of the nineteenth century, improvements in transportation had a drastic effect on the United States. With the development of high-pressure steam engines developed by Richard Trevithich, the steam engine became practical for transportation. This advance made the steam engine small and powerful enough to power locomotives and boats. With the introduction of the steam locomotive and the steam boat, transportation during the first half of the nineteenth century improved dramatically and altered the pattern of trade in the country.
Before the practical development of the steam engine, people were forced to travel by horse and goods from the Western frontier had to travel by barge down the Mississippi River through New Orleans (Goldfield et al. 330). This made migration to the frontier an arduous journey requiring weeks or months with ample opportunity for things to go wrong. The expansion of the rail system made travel much faster and easier. The steam locomotive also made it much easier to transport goods from the Western frontier to the Eastern cities. More goods made their way to the manufacturing centers in New England to fuel the industrial revolution in America (Goldfield et al. 328). Manufactured goods from New England were also transported more easily to the Western territories. This reinforcing cyclical trade benefitted industry in New England and the Western farmers (Goldfield et al. 328). The system of canals in the Great Lakes allowed the further transport of goods to New England through the use of steam powered vessels. These improvements to transportation allowed industry to flourish in New England while bringing more settlers to develop the Western frontier.
The steam locomotive and the steam boat strengthened trade between the industrial New England and agricultural Midwest while bringing more migrants west to develop the farmland. These improvements allowed the United States to quickly continue expanding westward while supporting the industrial economy in the East. The increased speed and ease of travel brought the Midwest much closer to the East and pushed the frontier further west. With the improvements made to the steam engine, it became possible to envision an American nation that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Goldfield, David, Carl E. Abbot, Virginia D. Anderson, Jo Ann E. Argersinger, Peter H. Argersinger, , William Barney, and Robert M. Weir. The American Journey. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2009.