the development of transportation infrastructure

Information about the development of transportation infrastructure

Published on October 22, 2007

Author: FunnyGuy

Source: authorstream.com

Content

The Development of Transportation Infrastructure in 19th Century America :  The Development of Transportation Infrastructure in 19th Century America Public vs. Private: The Internal Improvements Debate:  Public vs. Private: The Internal Improvements Debate In 1800, the United States was geographically large but with a small population. Other than population centers, much of the infant United States was largely uninhabited. The vast expanses of wilderness made transportation difficult in a time before railroads. In 1808, Secretary of State Albert Gallatin issued Report on Roads, Canals, Harbours, and Rivers, a paper which advocated the construction of a national system of transportation infrastructure, funded by the tariff, to promote economic activity and provide for better defense. The War of 1812 shelved Gallatin’s plan, but it was reintroduced in 1817 by South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun. Calhoun’s internal improvements bill passed Congress by a bare majority, but was vetoed by President James Madison who contended that it was not the place of the federal government to build a transportation network. Because of Madison’s veto, the responsibility of building transportation infrastructure fell to the individual states, which resulted in uneven development. Albert Gallatin President James Madison Robert Fulton and the Steamboat:  Robert Fulton and the Steamboat On 7 August 1807, Robert Fulton launched the steamboat Claremont on the Hudson River for a trip between New York City and Albany. The Claremont completed the 150 mile trip in just over 32 hours, an astonishing speed against the current for the time. Although the Claremont was not the first steamboat, it was the first steamboat that was economically viable. By 1811, Fulton’s had taken the steamboat to the Mississippi River and, in 1819, the Savannah crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a combination of steam and sail. The introduction of steam power meant that transportation was no longer reliant on animals, wind, and currents. The Claremont "What sir, would you make a ship sail against the winds and current by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you excuse me. I have no time to listen to such nonsense." Napoleon I to Robert Fulton The Erie Canal:  The Erie Canal Before the invention of the railroad, the only practical means of moving heavy objects around the country was by water. This proved an impediment to commerce as the two major American ports, Baltimore and New York, were not served by rivers. This meant that goods had to be offloaded from barges and carried overland to the port for shipping. In 1817, months after Madison vetoed the internal improvements bill, New York began construction of a canal to link New York Harbor with the Hudson River and the Great Lakes beyond. When the canal was completed in 1825, the cost of transporting one ton of wheat across New York fell from $100 to $5. A journey that had taken 20 days could now be competed in 10. Though improved, the Erie Canal remains in operation The Erie Canal circa 1829 In its first year of operation 185,000 tons of merchandise was moved on the Erie Canal. This included 562,000 bushels of wheat, 221,000 barrels of flour, and 435,000 gallons of whiskey. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad :  The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad In 1827, the Baltimore and Ohio became the first railroad in the U.S. chartered to carry passengers and freight. The railroad had not yet been invented when the Erie Canal was built. Designed to link Baltimore Harbor with the Ohio River, the B&O eventually covered the Eastern seaboard and reached as far west as Chicago and continued operation until 1986. In 1830, there were 23 miles of railroad in the United States. By 1840 it had increased to 2,808 miles of track. By 1860, 30,626 miles of track had been laid in the United States. The Tom Thumb, the first locomotive on the B&O Railroad. Railroads and the Civil War:  Railroads and the Civil War President Madison’s 1817 veto of the internal improvements bill left the development of transportation infrastructure to the various states. This led to wide disparities in transportation networks between states. The industrialized Northern states generally had greater need for transportation and more resources to invest than did the agricultural Southern states. At the outbreak of the war, the Northern states had roughly 20,000 miles of rail while Southern states had only 9,000 miles. A Mayan Calendar Map of American railroads in 1851. Note the disparity between the North and the South. Sherman’s March to the Sea :  Sherman’s March to the Sea In 1864, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman launched an attack at the South’s ability to wage war. With an army of 100,000 men, Sherman entered the South destroying the industrial and transportation network. The South did not have enough soldiers to both hold the front and resist Sherman, so Sherman was able to march through the South largely unopposed. Sherman’s army would tear up railroads and heat the rails over a bonfire until they could be bent them around a tree trunk or telegraph pole. This would weaken the metal and make the rail unusable. The resultant twisted metal was called a “Sherman’s Necktie.” Sherman burned Atlanta, the major Southern rail hub and Charleston, a major Southern port. With the loss of their transportation network, the Confederacy was unable to supply its army in the field. This hastened the end of the war. “That a single stem of railroad [from Louisville to Atlanta], 473 miles long, supplied an army of 100,000 men and 35,000 animals for a period of 196 days . . . . That amount of food and forage would have taken 36,800 wagons of six mules . . . each day, a simple impossibility . . . in that region of the country.” General William T. Sherman, “Memoirs,” Written during the Atlanta Campaign An example of a “Sherman’s Necktie” Mississippi River Steamboats :  Mississippi River Steamboats With the success of the Claremont on the Hudson River, in 1811 Robert Fulton brought the New Orleans to the Mississippi. The steamboat quickly came to dominate commerce on the Mississippi. Soon after their introduction, the cost of transporting one ton of merchandise from New Orleans to St. Louis had fallen from $23 to $13, a price that would further decrease as technology improved and more boats plied the waters. Between 1814 and 1834, the number of steamboats docking in New Orleans each year increased from 20 to 1200 By the end of the Civil War, railroads had largely supplanted steamboats. Mississippi River steamboat culture is chronicled in the writings of Mark Twain. Steamboats waiting at a dock Steamboat Wrecks :  Steamboat Wrecks 19th Century Steamboats were, by any standard, incredibly dangerous. Their wooden construction was vulnerable to objects in the water and fire. The boilers necessary to power the ship often exploded with enough force to reduce the boat to splinters. On 27 April 1865, the boilers on the steamboat Sultana exploded near Memphis, killing 1,547 passengers—more people than died on the Titanic. Most of the people killed on the Sultana were freed Union POWs returning home from the war. A new Steamboat was only expected to remain in service for a few years before being destroyed. A map of steamboat wrecks found in only 160 miles of the Missouri River. The Transcontinental Railroad :  The Transcontinental Railroad The transcontinental railroad was the greatest technological achievement of the 19th Century. Stretching 1800 miles from Omaha to Sacramento, the railroad allowed the complete integration of the western states into the Union. The transcontinental railroad created western cities such as Omaha and Denver. The path of the original line is closely mirrored by Interstate 80 today. The railroad was built by two companies; the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific which received a payment from the federal government for every mile of track completed. The Central Pacific had a much more difficult path, having to blast through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. An unknown number of people, primarily Chinese immigrants were killed in blasting accidents due to the unstable explosives of the time. The flood of white settlers the railroad enabled doomed the Plains Indians. The railroad cut the cost of traveling to San Francisco by 90%. The completion of the transcontinental railroad near Promontory Point, Utah, 1869. Panama Canal:  Panama Canal By the turn of the century, French efforts to build a canal through Panama faltered primarily due to technological limitations and malaria. In 1904, the United States, viewing a canal as essential to the economy sought to take up construction. Panama was, at the time, part of Columbia. The Columbian government, realizing the economic necessity of the project for the United States, demanded a large cash payment to resume construction. Rather than pay the Columbians, the United States engineered a revolution to make Panama an independent country. To discourage Columbian interference with the revolution, a U.S. Navy gunboat was stationed off of the coast. On the same day that Panama declared independence, it granted the United States the right to construct the canal. The Americans succeeded where the French failed because of improvements in canal technology and quinine, a cure for malaria. When the canal was competed in 1904, a ship traveling from San Francisco to New York could save 8,000 miles from its journey. Boats building the Panama Canal Over 30 years of construction between the Americans and French, 80,000 laborers worked on the canal, 30,000 of whom died. Multimedia Citation:  Multimedia Citation Slide 1: http://www.historylink.org/db_images/bjwp01.JPG Slide 2: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/law/witt/L6213/images/lect9/fx04_james_madison_2.jpg and http://waysandmeans.house.gov/legacy/portraits/highoff/gallatin.jpg Slide 3: http://library.thinkquest.org/4132/steamship.jpg and http://www.quoteworld.org/quotes/9298 Slide 4: http://www.history.rochester.edu/canal/images/1.jpg Slide 5: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/nation/jb_nation_train_1_e.html Slide 6: http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/maps/1800s/1851railroads.jpg Slide 7: http://ngeorgia.com/images/shermannecktie.jpg Slide 8: http://www.yale.edu/terc/democracy/may1text/images/Steamboats.jpg Slide 9: http://www.riverboatdaves.com/Maps/Mo_River/steamboatwrecks_missouririver1.jpg Slide 10: http://americanhistory.si.edu/ONTHEMOVE/collection/object_370.html Slide 11: http://web.umr.edu/~rogersda/umrcourses/ge342/SS%20Ancon%20first%20transit%20Panama%20Canal.jpg

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