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Industrial and Transportation Revolution: Causes & Effects

Mini-Essay 1

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Mini-Essay #1

Discuss the influence of industrialization and technological developments on the region, including human modification of the landscape and how physical geography shaped human actions (e.g., growth of cities, deforestation, farming, mineral extraction). Include the development of interchangeable parts & mass production and the steam engine.

Industrialization and technological developments in America changed the landscape and the lives of many Americans completely. Humans modified the landscape in many ways. First, they placed railroad tracks all over America. This allowed them to get to travel to different places in America in a relatively short amount of time. This helped stimulate other industries in many ways. First, railroads created a demand for certain products such as steel and carbon. Due to the enormous amont of railroad tracks that had to be manufactured, a large amount of steel was required. While building these tracks, construction workers probably used interchangeable part molds to roughly shape the tracks. This made it much easier to produce the large quantity of railroad tracks that was needed. Americans also modified the landscape by building canals. One great example of this is the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal was made by digging a 360 mile,4 foot deep canal. Due to the large amount of workers that was needed to construct this canal, many immigrants came to America to help construct this canal. The immigrants were mainly Irishmen and Chinamen.

While Americans altered the landscape for their benefit, the landscape also made quite an impact on the Americans. For example, America had vast, endless amounts of nutrient filled soil. The Americans took advantage of this land by planting large amounts of crops, like cotton. This led to the invention of the cotton gin. Because of the large amounts of cotton, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which made seperating cottonseeds from cotton much easier. Eli Whitney also came up with the plan of interchangeable parts, in which multiple amounts of identical pieces were created, so any piece could replace that of another. The production and replacement of products could be efficiently accomplished and the process of mass selling transferred to other buisnesses. Also, the rivers America also made a big impact on the lives of Americans. Before the steam engine, boats had to float by windcurrent, manual pole pushing, or horses. Due to these difficult methods of traveling on the river, Americans began to experiment with the steam engine. They used the steam engine to harness the power of steam to their advantage. The first sucessful steam boat was made by Robert Fulton. However, without the rivers, Robert Fulton probably wouldn't have made the steam engine. Some other ways Americans modified the Geography was by cutting down forests to place new roads or cities, digging large ditches for the placement of canals, and blasting tunnels in mountains to build railroad tracks.  As you can see, Americans altered the landscape to their advantage, but at the same time, the landscape altered the lives of the Americans. The varities of industries created in America had a large influence on new technology and changes done to alter the land.