Speed of Travel 1860


Map Code: Ax00724

By 1860 the American Industrial Revolution was fully underway, helped by inland waterways where steamboats used river systems to carry bulk traffic. Some rivers were connected by canals to speed up the movement of people and goods. Railroads were first built in 1825 and by 1860, there were more than 30,000 miles (49,000 km) of track laid. Although the first transcontinental railway was nine years away, there were still connecting railways reaching as far west as Missouri. The railways were less coordinated than the waterways, with different railroad companies using different track gauges. Although individual states oversaw building roads, the government finished building the National Road in 1838. It was suitable for wagons and extended from Maryland, through Ohio, to Illinois, helping to populate these regions. Improved transport meant that speed of travel increased, with a journey from New York to Mississippi taking four days, rather than the three weeks it had taken in 1800.

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