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Industrial and Transportation Revolution: Causes & Effects

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Industrial and Technological Developments
Geography/ Roads, Canals, and Railroads
Cotton and Cotton Gin
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Underlying Theme


             The Industrial Revolution was one of the largest changes that occurred in the United States. New inventions, railroads, canals, and roads brought America together in economics and transportation. Innovations and new ideas created by famous inventors all over the nation brought a new lifestyle and further aided our nation. As many of these events united our nation, they also separated our nation greatly as well; which ultimately led up to the Civil War.

            An example of one of the new inventions created was the Cotton Gin. This simple machine revolutionized how cottonseeds were separated from its fibers. It enabled 1 worker to take the place of 50, in the task of sorting the cottonseeds. As this process continued however, farmers began to demand more cotton plants because cotton could be processed at an accelerated rate via Cotton Gin. Since America could produce cotton so quickly they didn’t need British imported cloth. Because of this, America had to rely on itself and became more independent. America became more unified and less depending on outer trade and commerce.

            The railroads united the country in several different ways. Since railroads went all around the nation, people went with them. People living in the East could settle in the West and people in the North could settle in the South. It also led to faster transportation and easier communication between states and cities. News could travel faster and goods could be transported across the nation much quicker with lower costs. As the railroads unified the country greatly, it also separated the country by causing disputes between regions of the nation. For example, some of the Southerners did not agree with the railroads, because some states would have to pay for the tax of the railroads, even if it did not travel to their area. As the transcontinental railroad was being planned, the South, who wanted the railroad to travel through the South, were at a disagreement with the North, who wanted it going through the North.

            As river travel was beginning to be introduced with inventions such as the steamboat, the need for canals arose. Canals would provide a water-like road for boats and ships. They would be built around the nation, link cities and regions together, and provide more options of travel for ships. The nation became more open and broad to traveling and became more familiarized with each other. Like river travel, roads also connected and brought together the nation, but it also separated the people living in different regions.  One example is when the national road was being built.  People living in the west wanted the national road but people living in the east did not want the national road because they didn’t want their tax money to pay for a road that would lead into the wilderness.

            As disputes such as slavery rose throughout the country including the proceedings of the Industrial Revolution, states including Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas broke away from the Union and formed the Confederacy. The Cotton Gin dramatically increased the amount of slaves during the 1800’s. The need for more slaves increased the number of slaves and the dispute level. The North wanted the abolishment of slavery as the South continued to have the need for them. The Nation had been divided into two groups, each disagreeing on many concepts, ideas, and laws. Many states were forced with the decision whether to reside with the Union or join the Confederacy. A bloody war followed as the Union and the Confederacy fought for their ideals. Finally, the North won and slavery would then be banned from the states.