How did the Transportation Revolution between 1800 and 1840 affect America?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Transportation Revolution in America during this time had a tremendous effect on the country.  The most important impact was in the fact that it brought about a commercial economy in much of the US.

Before the Transportation Revolution, the US was really divided into a lot of very small markets.  There was no good way to transport goods within the US.  It would cost as much to bring a given weight of goods a few miles inland from a port as it cost to bring those goods all the way from Europe to the port.  This meant that there was little trade within the US.

This also meant that most people did not really participate in a large, commercial economy.  People (most people were farmers) grew and made almost everything they needed.  They would trade for just a very few things.  This made them largely self-sufficient.

The Transportation Revolution changed this.  It connected many of the parts of the US (though not as thoroughly as would happen after the introduction of railroads).  This meant that more and more people started to work making things to sell to other people.  A farmer in upstate New York could now just grow wheat, for example, and sell it to people in the city.  The farmer would use the cash to buy things that he needed.  This was a huge change.  It meant that people were no longer self-sufficient.  They no longer made all the things they needed.

This change led to hugely important economic and social changes in the US.

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user8487708 | eNotes Newbie

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