After carefully examining the map which showed the location for many of the main roads and canals during the early to mid-1800s in America, many of the main canals were located near main rivers and other types of bodies of water. There are several reasons for locating canals in this type of location such as the fact the many large trading cities are located near bodies of water, but there is one main reason why this was possibly done. Being as how transportation was difficult during this time period, having canals located close to larger bodies of water would make it easier for farmers and other makers of raw material to ship their products to these large hubs to trade and make larger profits. By making larger profits, they would then be able to ship these larger loads up north to sell them to factories that in turn would pay more, thereby increasing profits and making the distributors even wealthier.
From the looks of the map outlining where major roads were located in the country during the early to mid-1800s, many of them stopped in major cities in both the South such as Atlanta and Savannah as well as in the North such as New York and Baltimore. These were considered major trading cities as well as places where the population managed to grow quite a bit because of the economic boom caused by the rise of King Cotton amongst other products. People were drawn to these cities not only as a means of prospering economically, but also because they were a center of social and intellectual growth. Religious and political growth also stemmed from large cities and roads made it easy to travel to these places in order to be a part of history in the making. It was also easier to travel so that families could visit one another and keep in contact on a regular basis.
While access to the railroads by the 1860s was still a work in progress, it was still a better mode of transportation than what had been previously available. According to the maps in the textbook, the railroad was still able to reach many rural areas as well as metropolitan areas faster than traditional methods of travel during that time period. This was a modern accomplishment in itself which deserves to be celebrated. At the time the railroad had been built over arduous trails and in poor working conditions using labor which had been used and abused in terrible conditions. When one looks at the maps and sees the wonders which were even accomplished by 1860, it is a marvel of modern technology to understand how the construct of the railroad has assisted America with the overall expansion on the American West.
Combining all of these transportation methods together, the pioneers of America during the 1800s had several ways in which to explore the new areas opened to them in order to expand this great nation. Even though these methods may seem crude to the modern American, they were technologically modern for their time. The great thinkers of this time period did the best they could to use what was available in order to improve upon current transportation methods and come up with new, innovative ways to move not only products, but people to new area of the country. By doing so, it allowed settlers to cultivate new land and eventually add it officially to the United States. Whether traveling by rail, water, or road, the people are what made traveling throughout the western territories exciting and unique. It truly was a way to expand America’s horizons.