Compare travel on land to travel by water. How did technology and the speed with which they traveled? What were the consequences, if any to the technological advances regarding travel? What was the most comfortable way to travel? How did new methods of travel affect population movement in the United States?
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During the early 1800s (I assume this is the time period about which you are asking) travel technology increased in important ways in the US. Most important were the invention of the steamboat and the expansion of railroads. These technologies were very important because they allowed the population to expand into new areas and the economy to grow.
Steamboats allowed for relatively easy travel up and down rivers. This meant that people could trade up and down rivers much more easily than they previously could. As trade became easier, more people could live along the rivers because they could make a living selling their goods to people in other points on those rivers.
Railroad expansion was even more important. Railroads opened up the interior of the country as well. Now, people could live anywhere where there was a railroad. The railroads could get their goods to market even if they were not near to a river or lake. This opened up much more of the country and allowed the economy to grow.
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