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History Last Paper 1865 -2011

History Last Paper 1865 -2011 - Car Culture Americas Car...

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Car Culture America’s Car Culture NAME HIS 204 Instructor: 19 March 2011 For generations, horses, mules, and oxen powered transport in the United States. By the mid-nineteenth century, horses were ubiquitous, tens of thousands of them taking riders to their
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Car Culture destinations. For example, the saddle horse allowed hardy Methodist circuit riders to spread the gospel and establish Protestant denomination as one of the country's leading faiths. At the end of the Civil War, the northern states experienced unprecedented prosperity as American and foreign speculators rushed to invest in a new wave of industrialization. Railroad construction drove the economy. The completion of the first transcontinental link in 1869 encouraged the development of other railroads lines across America. Yet the railroad boom was not without its negative aspects. Americans first demonstrated an enthusiasm for self-propelled wheeled transportation in the late 1860s with the introduction of the velocipede, a high, front wheel-driven machine. Difficult to ride, velocipedes nonetheless proved very popular in a number of Americans. True individualized transportation came with the low, rear wheel-driven safety bicycle in the mid- 1880s. Immediately popular, the safety bicycle offered Americans a form of individual, long- distance transportation. Bicycles proved influential in a number of other areas. As more and more cyclists took to the roadways, they demanded better paved roads. The nineteenth century witnessed a great expansion in the total mileage of American roads. Between 1850 and 1900 more than 1.5 million miles of roads were constructed in rural areas. As a result of the differing methods of financing and construction, however, the roads throughout the United States varied greatly in their quality, ranging from rutted dirt paths that lacked drainage to granite or brick roads that could handle large loads. During the early years of the century, roads in urban and coastal regions were hard surfaced and wide enough for wagon traffic. Rural roads, however, were usually little more than pathways through woods and fields that became virtually impassable in wet weather. On occasion these roads were surfaced with
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Car Culture logs, but local governments, which were responsible for road construction and maintenance, often lacked the capital and manpower to make such improvements. During the final decades of the century, public demand for road improvements grew, in part because after 1884, with the introduction of the “safety” bicycle design. In 1893, Congress authorized the Agriculture Department to study road management. The department implemented a program of building small, quality roads to demonstrate the advantages that good roads brought to communities. Known as the object lesson road program, this project marked a turning point in the development of American roadways, resulting in increased interest in road construction by local officials.
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