North vs South
Transportation in the North
In the early 1800's many American roads were rutted boneshakers. The factory owners in the North needed inexpensive, fast ways to deliver their goods. In 1806, congress funded the construction of a National Highway across the Appalachian Mountains. Steam engine powered boats were built so traveling upriver would be easier. Inventors were inspired by the success of steamboats and created steampowered locomotives.
Transportation in the South
In the south people and goods moved by river because the slow current and broad channels of Southern rivers made water easy and cheap. On plantation docks slaves loaded cotton bales directly onto steam-powered boats then traveled hundreds of miles to port cities like Savannah, Georgia or Mobile Alabama. West of the Appalachians cooton traveled down the largest Southern waterway, the Mississippi River. Most southern cities sprung up near waterways. Southerners opposed bills in Congress that used federal funds for improvements on roads becasue the South didn't need them. In 1860, the South only had 10,000 miles of rails compared to 20,000 in the North.
Geography in the North
From the rocky shores of Maine to the rolling plains of Iowa was the North. In the North, there were four distinct seasons from freezing winters to hot humid summers. The most Northernly states such as Maine and Minnesota had very cold winters and shorter summer growing seasons. Natural features in the North included the jagged coast in New England that were perfect for making harbors. Inland from the sea were narrow flat plains with rocky soil, which made farming difficult so most people took up trade and crafts. The people who lived in New England made a living by harvesting the pine and spruce trees from the thick forests.However, in the Central Plains there was some of the best agricultural soil in the world.
Southern states enjoyed mild winters and long, hot, humid summers. The plentiful rainfall and long growing seasons made the south a perfect place for growing crops. Wide coastal plains edged from the southern shoreline of Chesapeak Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the coasts there were swamps and marshes. The lowlands were ideal for growing rice and sugarcane. Above the plains were the Appalachian Mountains. Some people settled in the hills of the mountains and carved farms and orchards into them. A very important feature in the south was the broad flat rivers.
Geography in the South
Inferences made about trasportation in the North and South
An inference you can make about the north based on their transportation is that most of their trading took place using trails and railroads because it was the main form of transport- ation. An inference you could make based on transportation in the south would be that the majority of the trading that took place was by water because they used water as a main form of transportation.
It is important to learn about the transportation and geography in the north and south during the 1800's because we can learn from how they operated the machinery, such as ships and locomotives. It is also important because we do not want to repeat any mistakes they may have made in the past.
Why is it important to learn this?