Modern America

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Canal, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 6 (1770 words) Published: October 31, 2014
Johannes Muller
Word Count:1580

Modern America
Question 5
In this essay I will discuss the following question. "How did the industrial revolution impact westward expansion". Without the industrial revolution impact on westward expansion we would not have the America we see today. The industrial revolution took place between 1760 and 1840 around the world. The westward expansion took place from 1807 to 1912. Without the industrial revolution, westward expansion would have failed. Without the westward expansion America would be very different today but how did this come about. Firstly I will discuss how the invention of the steamboat changed transport in America and opened up news ways of transport. Secondly I will discuss the building of canals and how they made trade more accessible from the west. Thirdly I will look at the railway and how it made travelling to the west quicker and easier. Fourthly I will discuss some of the new inventions which made living and working in the west easier. Then finally I will look at the impact of the population increase, resulting from migration and immigration. People played a massive role, without people nothing could have happened even if there was new inventions and land.

In 1807 Robert Fulton and Livingstone invented the first steamboat. The impact of the steamboat was massive throughout America but especially on the Mississippi River. Due to rivers always flowing down river out to the sea there was no way up. Traders would send down there goods on boats, but would have to destroy the boats to make a long travel home. With the invention of the steamboat traders and merchants could now travel back and forth without destroying a boat, or enduring a long journey returning. This made trading easier and really made the steamboat very popular in America so much so that the number of them jumped from seventeen to sixty-nine and then to seven hundred and twenty-seven, thirty five years later. It was a marvellous invention, nevertheless the disadvantage was it tended to catch fire. Without the invention of steam during this age, this invention would not have been built. The impact of the steamboat on the west was tremendous. It allowed people trade goods easier and further west. This meant people were not afraid to move west as they could still get there goods from the steamboat. It also carried peopled west and was a cheap from of transport for poor families wanting a fresh start in the west. Although the steam boat was great it did need water to be useful. The use of canals which I will discuss next really Aided the steamboat in its success.

One of the most important access for going west was through Canal building. There was no river connection across the north east of America so a form of transport had to be built. The canal system changed American trade, by linking places which had no river and making them connect to places where there was. Canals made travel easier, especially for people moving west who could pick up supplies along the canal. The canal systems' biggest success was linking major trading places and manufacturing cites right across the nation. People who built the canals would plan towns along the waterway, they would then settle on the town leading the expansion to the west. Canal building was no easy feat of engineering. It needed the man power and the technological inventions of the age for this to happen. Thankfully it had both due to the man power from the inflow of immigrants and the new inventions, both of these came from the industrial revolution. One of the biggest engineering masterpieces of the time was The Erie Canal. It was the biggest and the best canal built at the time. It linked Lake Erie with the Hudson River in New York. It was over a distance of three hundred and sixty-three miles. This opened up the west even more to trade and people migrating. Most of the work was done by Irish immigrants. This again shows the impact of the...

Bibliography: Bruchery, Stuart. Cotton and the Growth of the American Economy 1790-1860. New York, 1967.
Foner, Eric. Give me Liberty: An American History. New Jersey, 2005
Hamilton, Oscar. The American People. A New History. London, 1963.
Vadenbrouke, Guillaume, 'The US Westward Expansion '. International Economic Review, Vol 49, no. 1(2008) p.17.
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