Early American Transportation Essay

1057 words - 5 pages

Early American Transportation As the United States formed with the writing of the constitution, a bond was formed that connected every state. Now there needed to be a physical connection within the states, connecting the states, and pushing into the frontier. The first transportation routs even before there was major settlement in the Americas, was trails that the Indians used for trade. As major settlement began in the new world, major trail building began in order to establish trade between the colonies. There were several drawbacks to traveling by trails. Horseback and horse drawn carriages were the only way to travel and the horses could not carry large amounts of goods. ...view middle of the document...

Low tolls discouraged traffic when the freight was in large bulk or small in value. This failure of the turnpikes to provide cheap transportation routs over a considerable distance sealed the doom of the turnpike. The boom of canal building was started in the 1820's with the great need of fast transportation of large amounts across great distances. Canals became a great asset when the roads became impassable. Most all of the canals were constructed to link three kinds of areas: "back country" to tide water, canals would transverse between older states and the Ohio valley, and the many western canals would link the Great Lakes and waterways running to the east. The Erie Canal started in Albany on the Hudson River and traveled up the state of New York to Buffalo to Lake Erie. The canal ran for a distance of 364 miles. By the 1840's the United States had 3,326 miles of canals. One of the major causes of the collapse of the canal era was the financial crisis of 1837 and 1930. Another cause of the collapse of the canal era was that the cost of constructing the canals greatly exceeded the engineer's estimates, and the revenues from the tolls were not nearly as much as was expected. The railroad was the most profitable form of transportation that has been created. The early forms of the rails that were used were very unstable and the trains were very vulnerable to derail. The first rails used were made of wood. The next rails were made out of granite and soon they were made out of steel. It wasn't until 1831 that the "T" rail was put into use, which is used today. The first trains were pulled by horses on the track, until the steam engine was invented.During the early railroad era, the width of the rails was not regulated. Each railroad company would set their own width of the rails. Every time a train would reach the end of a certain line, the...

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