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Turnpikes, Canals, And Railroads

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Presentation on theme: "Turnpikes, Canals, And Railroads"— Presentation transcript:

1 Turnpikes, Canals, And Railroads

2 Overview What is the shortest distance? The Story of Turnpikes
The Story of Canals The story of Steamboats The Story of Railroads The story of Productivity

3 What’s the Shortest Distance?

4 Why Travel 3,000 Miles? Ohio wheat would be ground into flour.
Shipped to New Orleans - - about 1,000 miles. Then shipped up the Atlantic coast to consumers in Philadelphia and other cities adding another 2,000 miles. Why would anyone do that?

5 Location Matters Imagine cheap and abundant apples in one region that have little economic value unless they can be sold to consumers who may not live nearby. A basket of apples harvested is much less valuable than a basket of apples harvested and delivered to paying customers. That is why it makes sense for people to spend time an money on transportation.

6 Location Matters Our national transportation system arises from public and private decisions. The Constitution gave Congress the power to “To establish Post Offices and Post Roads.” But, we sort of take it all for granted…

7 The Mystery of the Alien Bananas
Bananas are a tropical fruit. No one in Delaware grows them. Delaware statutes provide no plan for getting bananas to grocery stores. Yet, there they are there – everyday, even the most rural grocery stores. How can that be?

8 John Stossel Gets a Steak

9 Profit Motive Business transportation is guided by an interest in profit. Improved transportation systems often help businesses generate profits because of customers’ willingness to pay - - sometimes a lot - - for getting goods to or from the right place at the right time.

10 Profit Motive How does the profit motive contribute to providing all of us access to goods and services requiring the cooperation of thousands of strangers? What is the metaphor of the invisible hand meant to convey? Free markets - - allowing people to act in their own self-interest - - promotes positive social outcomes even those these are not intentional. The apple grower or wheat farmer is simply trying to earn income. To make this all work, we need a system of transportation.

11 The Turnpike Story In 1790, the poor road system was a major problem for Americans looking for better connections to markets. State and local governments developed adequate local roads but were not up to the task of taking on large projects. They turned private enterprise to help.

12 The Turnpike Story Turnpikes are intercity toll roads.
They were made of stone, gravel, and (from 1847 to the peak in 1853) plank. Turnpikes offered speed and dependability over local roads. By the 1830s, turnpikes are over taken by canals. 1810 = 4,600 miles 1830 = 27,800 miles

13 Turnpike Incorporation, 1792 - 1845
Year 69 398 362 230 365 138 States = NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, PA, NJ, VA, MD, OH

14 Turnpikes Today Why build a turnpike and an Interstate?

15 The Canal Story The great canal-building era lasted from 1815-1843.
Combinations of private and state and local government money build the canals. = $31 million 73% of the investment was provided by government.

16 The Canal Story Water transportation was important because the cost per mile was much lower than overland transportation. This explains why Ohio wheat would travel to New Orleans as flour on its way to Philadelphia

17 The Canal Story The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 the drove dramatically reduced shipping costs from Buffalo to New York City.

18 The Steamboat Story Steamboats were developed for use on the internal river system - - the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Missouri Rivers. Flatboats, Keelboats, and steam-driven paddle wheelers gave farmers cheap transportation for their crops to New Orleans and on to other ports.

19 The Steamboat Story Abraham Lincoln made the trip to New Orleans as a flatboat captain. Flatboats were usually broken up and sold for timber. He returned home upriver in a steamboat, the latest and greatest mode of transportation.

20 Steamboats in Operation on Western Rivers
Years Number Tonnage 1811 1 371 1815 7 1,516 1820 69 14,208 1825 80 12,527 1830 151 24,574 1835 324 50,123 1840 494 82,626 1845 538 96,155 1850 638 134,566 1855 696 172,695 1860 817 195,022

21 The Steamboat Story By the end of the 1850s, a fleet of over 800 steamboats sailed on the internal rivers. Freight rates fell in real terms by 90% upstream from 1815 to 1860 and by 40 % downstream. Heavy loads (crops, iron) tended to travel downstream. Lighter loads - - consumer goods - - tended to travel upstream.

22 The Railroad Story The advantage shifted to railroads beginning in 1830. Trains ran faster than boats. Trains ran when water was frozen. The first trains were horse drawn mph. The first steam locomotives were introduced in the 1830s. By 1900, they reached speeds of 50 to 60 mph.

23 Miles of Railroad in Operation
Year Mileage 1830 23 1835 1,098 1840 2,818 1845 4,633 1850 9,021 1855 18,374 1860 30,626

24 Land Grants to Railroads

25 Trains Roll on

26 The Magic Marker Mark Factory
Round Wage $5.00 Number of Marks Produced Average Cost Per Mark 1 2 3

27 Productivity Productively measures the amount of output (finished goods and services) produced relative to the inputs (productive resources) used. Productivity Output Input Labor productivity is relatively easy input to measure since we can measure wages and hours. Productivity Output Labor Hour

28 Transportation and Productivity
How may teamsters and wagons would it take to carry as much freight as one train can hold? Turnpikes, canals, steamboats, and trains freed labor to pursue other more specialized activities, such as farming or starting new businesses


30 Questions

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