10.30 - 10.30.07 Why did whtes move west Wanted more land...

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10.30.07 Why did whtes move west? Wanted more land but more complicated than that Flood of Americans westward was part of more fundamental changes in the agricultural society Highly commercial but overwhelmingly agricultural society was created that we will talk about for the rest of the semester - Expensive capitalist society - People valued economic growth, entrepreneurial initiative… - Reshaped American life in all parts of the country - We think of capitalism as inextricably linked with city life but this was not the case in antebellum Europe - NORTH AND SOUTH WERE AGRICULTURAL: o Civil war was fought between two overwhelmingly agricultural societies o There was more industry in north than south but in every part of the country most people lived on farms - 1800: 90% lived in places with population under 2500…census calculated places urban if the place has 2500 or more o 1800 92% lived in places under 2500 o 1840: 82 % o 1816: 80% o Today less than 3% o BASICALLY OVERWHELMINGLY AGRICULTURAL!!! - Event that best symbolized antebellum period = Transportation revolution (in prof’s view =erie canal) I. Transportation Revolution a. In general involved governments at all levels building a system that was internal improvement = roads, canals, railroads = transportation infrastructure for economic growth i. Good transportation crucial for commercial agriculture ii. If transportation infrastructure was bad it would be too expensive to ship crops and that would mean farming can not be a business except where there was good waterways = places with good rivers iii. Good rivers leading through coast in the south 1. Hudson (NYC) 2. Ohio River 3. Mississippi 4. Where you had good rivers you could have commercial agriculture iv. Part of transportation revolution did involve road building but there were two major roads 1. National road a federal project from Baltimore to St. Louis 2. and North south version along the coast
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3. Key thing for national road was the post office = to move the mail=> important in getting national road built v. Mostly about building canals (1810’s to 1830’s) 1. But canals are overwhelmingly north 2. A boom – Americans spent 200 mill on canals financed by state govts (which is why they are all in the north) a. And most state govts got the money by selling bonds to British investors 3. Point of canals a. Link rivers to each other and link the land between rivers to river transportation outlets b. Single most important = Erie vi. 1840-1850’s canals superceded by railroads b. Erie Canal (1825) i. NYC, Hudson River=Erie Canal=> Great Lakes [Transportation route] ii. Built by NY state 1. From Hudson River to Lake Erie 2. Connecting NYC with Detroit 3. 40 ft wide and 364 mi long 4. begun in 1817: no canal was more than 28 mi long 5. huge project in terms of engineering as well as cost : involved building locks to equalize the water level 6. huge project in terms of cost but a spectacular success a. cut travel time from buffalo to NY C from 20 days to 6 days b. in terms of moving goods: i. if you went by road in upstate NY: 4 horses (1 ton wagonload) 12 mi in a day ii.
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