The first census—the official count of a population—of the United State in 1790 revealed a population of nearly four million. Most of the Americans counted lived east of the Appalachian Mountains and within a few hundred miles of the Atlantic coast.
Within a few decades this changed. The number of settlers heading west increased by leaps and bounds. In 1811 a Pennsylvania resident reported seeing 236 wagons filled with people and their possessions on the road to Pittsburgh. A man in Newburgh, New York, counted 60 wagons rolling by in a single day. In 1820, just 30 years after the first census, the population o the
United States had more than doubled, to about 10 million people, with nearly 2 million living west of the Appalachians.
Traveling west was not easy in the late 1790s and early 1800s. The 363-mile trip from New York City to Buffalo could take as long as three weeks. A pioneer family heading west with a wagonload of household goods faced hardship and danger along the way.
Roads and Turnpikes
The nation needed good inland roads for travel and for the shipment of goods. Private companies built many turnpikes, or toll roads. The fees travelers paid to use those roads helped to pay for construction. Many of the roads had a base of crushed stone. In areas where the land was often muddy, companies built "corduroy roads," consisting of logs laid side by side, like the ridges of corduroy cloth. (See page 599 of the Primary Sources Library for an account of a typical stagecoach journey.)
When Ohio joined the Union in 1803, the new state asked the federal government to build a road to connect it with the East. In 1806 Congress approved funds for a National Road to the West and five years later agreed on the route. Because work on the road stopped during the War of 1812, the first section, from Maryland to western Virginia, did not open until 1818. In later years the National Road reached Ohio and continued on to Vandalia, Illinois. Congress viewed the National Road as a military necessity, but it did not undertake other road-building projects.
River travel had definite advantages over wagon and horse travel. It was far more comfortable than travel over the bumpy roads, and pioneers could load all their goods on river barges—if they were heading downstream in the direction of the current.
River travel had two problems, however. The first related to the geography of the eastern United States. Most major rivers in the region flowed in a north-south direction, not east to west, where most people and goods were headed. Second, traveling upstream by barge against the current was extremely difficult and slow.
Robert Fulton grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At an early age he created his own lead pencils and rockets. While living in Europe in the late 1790s, Fulton designed and built a submarine called the Nautilus to be used in France's war against Britain. Submarine warfare became common later.
Fulton returned to the United States and developed a steamboat engine that was more powerful and provided a smoother ride than previous engines. On August 17, 1807, Fulton's Clermont made its first successful run. By demonstrating the usefulness of two-way river travel, Fulton launched the steamboat era. Although his engine was considered a great success, trouble followed after Fulton received a monopoly and government money. Eventually, the collapse of the monopoly led to lower prices, growth of competition, and introduction of new technology to improve the steamboat.
Steam engines were already being used in the 1780s and 1790s to power boats in quiet waters. Inventor James Rumsey equipped a small boat on the Potomac River with a steam engine. John Fitch, another inventor, built a steamboat that navigated the Delaware River. Neither boat, however, had enough power to withstand the strong currents and winds found in large rivers or open bodies of water.
In 1802 Robert Livingston, a political and business leader, hired Robert Fulton to develop a steamboat with a powerful engine. Livingston wanted the steamboat to carry cargo and passengers up the Hudson River from New York City to Albany.
In 1807 Fulton had his steamboat, the Clermont, ready for a trial. Powered by a newly designed engine, the Clermont made the 150-mile trip from New York to Albany in the unheard-of time of 32 hours. Using only sails, the trip would have taken four days.
About 140-feet long and 14-feet wide, the Clermont offered great comforts to its passengers. They could sit or stroll about on deck, and at
Why It Matters
Tying the Nation Together:
The National Road
For a large part of the early 1800s, the National Road was the nation's busiest land route to the west. It stimulated trade. Wagons hauled produce from frontier farms to the East Coast, often passing wagons filled with staples such as sugar for the western settlements. It also stimulated settlement. From the day it opened, the road was crowded with people moving west, their possessions packed into covered wagons.
A Road Through the Wilderness
An east-to-west national road was the first major step in the creation of a national transportation system.
1752 Delaware chief Nemacolin marks path for road
1760s Military road constructed from Cumberland to Fort Duquesne
1784 George Washington travels west to study best routes
1802 Albert Gallatin proposes National Road funds to come from federal land sales
1805 Senate considers Cumberland-to-Ohio route
---Refer to The National Road and Other Major Highways chart on page 317 in your textbook.
---By 1926, the long-distance motorist could use transcontinental highways for car travel.
1811 Construction begins at Cumberland
1818 Cumberland-to-Wheeling section completed
1825 Construction in Ohio begins
1833 Route to Columbus, Ohio, completed
1850 National Road stops at Vandalia
night they could relax in the sleeping compartments below deck. The engine was noisy, but its power provided a fairly smooth ride.
Steamboats ushered in a new age in river travel. They greatly improved the transport of goods and passengers along major inland rivers. Shipping goods became cheaper and faster. Steamboats also contributed to the growth of river cities like Cincinnati and St. Louis.
Reading Check Comparing What advantages did steamboat travel have over wagon and horse travel?
Although steamboats represented a great improvement in transportation, their routes depended on the existing river system. Steamboats could not effectively tie the eastern and western parts of the country together.
In New York, business and government officials led by De Witt Clinton came up with a plan to link New York City with the Great Lakes
Thousands of laborers, many of them Irish immigrants, worked on the construction of the 363-mile Erie Canal. Along the canal they built a series of locks—separate compartments where water levels were raised or lowered. Locks provided a way to raise and lower boats at places where canal levels changed.
After more than two years of digging, the Erie Canal opened on October 26, 1825. Clinton boarded a barge in Buffalo and journeyed on the canal to Albany. From there, he headed down the Hudson River to New York City. As crowds cheered, the officials poured water from Lake Erie into the Atlantic. The East and Midwest were joined.
In its early years, the canal did not allow steamboats because their powerful engines could damage the earthen embankments along the canal. Instead, teams of mules or horses hauled the boats and barges. A two-horse team pulled s 100-ton barge about 24 miles in one day—astonishingly fast compared to travel by wagon. In the 1840s the canal banks were reinforced to accommodate steam tugboats pulling barges.
The success of the Erie Canal led to an explosion in canal building. By 1850 the United States had more than 3,600 miles of canals. Canals lowered the cost of shipping goods. They brought prosperity to the towns along their routes. Perhaps most important, they helped unite t e growing country.
Reading Check Identifying What two cities did t e Erie Canal connect?
---Refer to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Canals, 1820-1860 on page 318 in your textbook.
In the early 1800s, Americans shipped many goods along canals, which helped to unite the country.
1. Location What two bodies of water did the Erie (anal connect?
2. Analyzing Information About how many miles long was the Erie Canal?
Americans moved westward in waves. The first wave began before the 1790s and led to the admission of four new states between 1791 and 1803—Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. A second wave of westward growth began between 1816 and 1821. Five new western states were created—Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, and Missouri.
The new states reflected the dramatic growth of the region west of the Appalachians. Ohio, for example, had only 45,000 settlers in 1800. By 1820 it had 581,000.
Pioneer families tended to settle in communities along the great rivers, such as the Ohio and the Mississippi, so that they could ship their crops to market. The expansion of canals, which crisscrossed the land in the 1820s and 1830s, allowed people to live farther away from the rivers.
People also tended to settle with others from their home communities. Indiana, for example, was settled mainly by people from Kentucky and Tennessee, while Michigan's pioneers came mostly from New England.
Western families often gathered together for social events. Men took part in sports such as wrestling. Women met for quilting and sewing parties. Both men and women participated in cornhuskings—gatherings where farm families shared the work of stripping the husks from ears of corn.
Life in the West did not include the conveniences of Eastern town life, but the pioneers had not come west to be pampered. They wanted to make a new life for themselves and their families. America's population continued to spread westward in the years ahead.
Reading Check Identifying What states were formed between 1791 and 1803?
Fact Fiction Folklore
Paul Bunyan and John Henry Legends have grown around mythical figures like Paul Bunyan. Imaginary stories were passed along about how this giant lumberjack dug the Mississippi River and performed other incredible feats. Yet some of the famous characters in American folklore were real people. There was a John Henry who worked on the railroads. He was an African American renowned for his strength and skill in driving the steel drills into solid rock. He is best remembered for something that probably never happened. According to legend, John Henry defeated a steel-driving machine, but the effort killed him.
SECTION 2 ASSESSMENT
Checking for Understanding
1. Key Terms Use the following terms about the opening of the Erie Canal: turnpike, canal, lock
2. Reviewing Facts Describe the improvements for transportation in the westward expansion during the early 1800s.
3. Science and Technology How did steam-powered boats improve river travel?
4. Drawing Conclusions How did better transportation affect westward expansion?
5. Comparing What forms of communication and transportation linked East to West in the early 1800s? What links exist today? Re-create the diagram below and compare the links.
6. Geography Skills Study the information on the National Road on pages 316 and 317. When did construction of the National Road begin? To what city did it extend? How long was the National Road?
Geography Create a chart that lists the major means of transportation that helped the United States grow. Include the advantages and disadvantages of each type of transportation.
Reading a Diagram
Why Learn This Skill?
Suppose you buy a new bicycle and discover that you must assemble the parts before you can ride it. A diagram, or a drawing that shows how the parts fit together, would make this job much easier.
• Read the title to find out what the diagram shows.
• Read all labels carefully to clearly determine their meanings.
• Read the legend and identify symbols and colors used in the diagram.
• Look for numbers indicating a sequence of steps, or arrows showing movement.
Practicing the Skill
Analyze the diagram of the Clermont, then answer the following questions.
1. What type of energy was used to power this ship?
2. What was the purpose of the paddle wheels?
Applying the Skill
Making a Diagram Draw a diagram showing either how to make macaroni and cheese or how to tie a pair of shoes. Label your diagram.
Glencoe's Skillbuilder Interactive Workbook CD-ROM, Level 1, provide instruction and practice in key social studies skills.
The Clermont Steamboat
---On August 17, 1807, the Clermont steamed up the Hudson River from New York City on its way to Albany, New York. The trip took only 32 hours—a commercial success!
---The Clermont was about 140 feet (43 m) long and 14 feet (4.3 m) wide.
---Water is heated into steam inside the boiler.
---The steam is released from the boiler as pressurized energy, which powered the pistons that moved the paddle wheels.
---Two side paddle wheels pushed the steamboat upriver.
Unity and Sectionalism
Guide to Reading
As the nation grew, differences in economic activities and needs increased sectionalism.
sectionalism, internal improvements, American System, disarmament, demilitarize, court-martial
Organizing InformationAs you read the section, re-create the diagram below and list four issues that created sectional conflict.
Read To Learn
• why sectional differences grew in the 1820s.
• what effect the Monroe Doctrine had on foreign policy.
Individual Action Senators Calhoun, Webster, and Clay represented different regions and different interests.
Preview of Events
1816 James Monroe elected president
1820 Missouri Compromise passed
1823 Monroe Doctrine issued
AN American Story
Following the War of 1812, Americans felt buoyed by a new sense of pride and faith in the United States. In his Inaugural Address on March 4, 1817, President James Monroe expressed this feeling of proud nationalism: "If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid, so gigantic, of a people so prosperous and happy."
The Era of Good Feelings
The absence of major political divisions after the War of 1812 helped forge a sense of national unity. In the 1816 presidential election, James Monroe, the Republican candidate, faced almost no opposition. The Federalists, weakened by doubts of their loyalty during the War of 1812, barely existed as a national party. Monroe won the election by an overwhelming margin.
Although the Federalist Party had almost disappeared, many of its programs gained support. Republican president James Madison, Monroe's predecessor, had called for tariffs to protect industries, for a national bank, and for other programs.
Political differences seemed to fade away, causing a Boston newspaper to call these years the Era of Good Feelings. The president himself symbolized these good feelings.
Monroe had been involved in national politics since the American Revolution. He wore breeches and powdered wigs—a style no longer in fashion. With his sense of dignity, Monroe represented a united America, free of political strife.
Early in his presidency, Monroe toured the nation. No president since George Washington had done this. He paid his own expenses and tried to travel without an official escort. Everywhere Monroe went, local officials greeted him and celebrated his visit.
Monroe arrived in Boston, the former Federalist stronghold, in the summer of 1817. About 40,000 well-wishers cheered him, and John Adams, the second president, invited Monroe to his home. Abigail Adams commended the new president's "unassuming manner."
Monroe did not think the demonstrations were meant for him personally. He wrote Madison that they revealed a "desire in the body of the people to show their attachment to the union."
Two years later Monroe continued his tour, traveling as far south as Savannah and as far west as Detroit. In 1820 President Monroe won reelection, winning all but one electoral vote.
Reading Check Describing Why was this period called the Era of Good Feelings?
The Era of Good Feelings did not last long. Regional differences soon came to the surface, ending the period of national harmony.
Most Americans felt a strong allegiance to the region where they lived. They thought of themselves as Westerners or Southerners or Northerners. This sectionalism or loyalty to their region, became more intense as differences arose over national policies.
The conflict over slavery, for example, had always simmered beneath the surface. Most white Southerners believed in the necessity and value of slavery. Northerners increasingly opposed it. To protect slavery, Southerners stressed the importance of states' rights. States' rights are provided in the Constitution. Southerners believed they had to defend these rights against the federal government infringing on them.
The different regions also disagreed on the need for tariffs, a national bank, and internal improvements. Internal improvements were federal, state, and privately funded projects, such as canals and roads, to develop the nation's transportation system. Three powerful voices emerged in Congress in the early 1800s as spokespersons for their regions: John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay.
John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun, a planter from South Carolina, was one of the War Hawks who had called for war with Great Britain in 1812. Calhoun remained a nationalist for some time after the war. He favored support for internal improvements and developing industries, and he backed a national bank. At the time, he believed these programs would benefit the South.
In the 1820s, however, Calhoun's view started to change, and he emerged as one of the chief supporters of state sovereignty, the idea that states have autonomous power. Calhoun
Fact Fiction Folklore
Flag of 1818 By 1818 the number of states had reached 20. In April President Monroe signed a bill that set the basic design of the flag. Each newly admitted state added a star to the field of blue. The addition of a new star took place on the Fourth of July following the state's year of entry.
The Great Star Flag Congress did not state how the stars should be arranged, so flagmakers used various designs. The Great Star Flag placed the stars in the form of a five-pointed star.
---Refer to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC The Missouri Compromise, 1820 image on page 323 in your textbook.
After 1820 all new states north of 36°30'N were to be admitted as free states.
1. Region. Did Missouri enter the Union as a free state or a slave state?
2. Analyzing Information. Was Maine a slave state or a free state in 1820?
became a strong opponent of nationalist programs such as high tariffs. Calhoun and other Southerners argued that tariffs raised the prices that they had to pay for the manufactured goods they could not produce for themselves. They also argued that high tariffs protected inefficient manufacturers.
First elected to Congress in 1812 to represent his native New Hampshire, Daniel Webster later represented Massachusetts in both the House and the Senate. Webster began his political career as a supporter of free trade and the shipping interests of New England. In time, Webster came to favor the Tariff of 1816—which protected American industries from foreign competition—and other policies that he thought would strengthen the nation and help the North.
Webster gained fame as one of the greatest orators of his day. As a United States senator, he spoke eloquently in defense of the nation as a whole against sectional interests. In one memorable speech Webster declared, "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"
Another leading War Hawk, Henry Clayof Kentucky, became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1811 and a leader who represented the interests of the Western states. He also served as a member of the delegation that negotiated the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812. Above all, Henry Clay became known as the national leader who tried to resolve sectional disputes through compromise.
The Missouri Compromise
Sectional tension reached new heights in 1820 over the issue of admitting new states to the Union. The problem revolved around slavery. The South wanted Missouri, part of the Louisiana Purchase, admitted as a slave state. Northerners wanted Missouri to be free of
slavery. The issue became the subject of debate throughout the country, exposing bitter regional divisions that would plague national politics for decades.
While Congress considered the Missouri question, Maine—still part of Massachusetts—also applied for statehood. The discussions about Missouri now broadened to include Maine.
Some observers feared for the future of the Union. Eventually Henry Clay helped work out a compromise that preserved the balance between North and South. The Missouri Compromise, reached in March 1820, provided for the admission of Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. The agreement banned slavery in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory north of the 36°30'N parallel.
Reading Check Identifying What issue did the Missouri Compromise address? How did the Northern and Southern attitudes towards slavery differ?
Though he was a spokesperson for the West, Henry Clay believed his policies would benefit all sections of the nation. In an 1824 speech, he called his program the "American System." The American System included a protective tariff; a program of internal improvements, especially the building of roads and canals, to stimulate trade; and a national bank to control inflation and to lend money to build developing industries.
Clay believed that the three parts of hi plan would work together. The tariff would provide the government with money to build roads and canals. Healthy businesses could use their profits to buy more agricultural goods from the South, then ship these goods northward along the nation's efficient new transportation system.
Not everyone saw Clay's program in such positive terms. Former president Jefferson believed the American System favored the wealthy manufacturing classes in New England. Many people in the South agreed with Jefferson. They saw no benefits to the South from the tariff or internal improvements.
In the end, little of Clay's American System went into effect. Congress eventually adopted some internal improvements, though not on t e scale Clay had hoped for. Congress had created the Second National Bank in 1816, but it remained an object of controversy.