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America’sinfrastructure between 1790 and 1860

From1790 to 1860, there was a tremendous growth in the road, river, andrail transportation network in America. The federal government,private sector, and the state government joined efforts to direct asignificant number of resources in the improvement of this crucialsector of the economy. The purpose of this paper is to present acomparison in the growth of roads, river, and rail transport duringthe period of the said years and a description of the advantages anddisadvantages of each transportation means.

Thegrowth of the roads, river, and railroads means of transportationunderwent a tremendous growth in the period between 1790 and 1860.The input of the federal government, state government, and privateinvestors was responsible for steering most of this growth. The threemeans of transport resulted in a tremendous population growth inAmerica as people settled near the roads, river, and railroadsnetworks of transportation. This population growth was as a result ofthe development and growth of cities along the newly developmentmeans of transport (James Et al. 293). The growth of the roads,river, and railroads networks grew the economy.

Theroad transport system was the first means of transport to bedeveloped followed by river transport, and finally the revolution ofthe railway transport. The growth of the road network was initiallybecause of the input of the private sector and the intervention bythe government came later after it observed the advantages of theroad network. The growth of the river transport was to speed up thetransport of goods to the market. The railroads transportation systemwas responsible for the end of the river transport means because ofits convenience.

Advantagesand disadvantages were evident with the growth of roads, river, andrailroads means of transport. The roads, river, and railroads wereadvantageous because they helped speed up and promote trade and thusimprove the economy of America. The growth of roads was accompaniedby the growth of cities which translated to more economic activitiesin America (James Et al. 294). The development of the river transportpromoted the growth of farming as people settled along the waterways(James Et al. 298). The railroads provided a faster and a scheduledmeans of transport of goods thus promoting trade and improving theeconomy. The railroads also provided a linkage of the cities whichcould not be linked through the river transport thus promoting trade(James Et al. 296).

Despitethe advantages of the development and growth of the road, river, andrail transport, there were still disadvantages. For instance, thedevelopment of roads was accompanied by a tremendous growth ofpopulation implying a scramble for the necessary resources. The useof the river transport means was only during certain periods of theyear when the water was passable. During the periods of high or verylow water levels, the river canals were impassable hence preventingtrade. The waterways were also hazardous posing a challenge to thetraders. The railroads worked on a scheduled program meaning thatmissing out as the train picked passengers at the terminal, one wouldwait for the next available train. These trains were few, and somegoods would get spoiled as the traders waited for the next availabletrain to take the goods to the market.


From1790 to 1860, there was a tremendous growth of the infrastructure andtransport system in America. The different means of transportdeveloped during the period included river, road and rail transportmeans. The significant impact of the growth of the transportationsector was the improvement and trade. The above paper has presentedthe growth of the transport means as well as advantages anddisadvantages of each sector.


James,Henretta, Eric, Hinderaker, Rebecca, Edwards, and Robert, Self.America’sHistory. Boston,New York: Bedford/ St. Martin’s Publishers. 2014. Print.