AMERICANS and NEWCOMERS from Europe
moved to the FRONTIER for a variety of reasons:
many wanted the chance to own INEXPENSIVE
LAND with RICH SOIL; some sought NEW
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES; some farmers had
WORN OUT THE SOIL on their land and wanted
new, fertile land; some wanted to START A NEW
In 1775, DANIEL BOONE led a group of 30
pioneers through the Appalachian Mountains.
They then cleared a trail to central Kentucky. It
became the main road west. By 1800, about 20,000
settlers traveled this rocky, primitive trail, known
as the WILDERNESS ROAD.
The rise of INDUSTRY and an INCREASE IN
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION encouraged
improvements in TRANSPORTATION. People wanted
CHEAP, SPEEDY TRANSPORTATION to get RAW
MATERIALS to factories and GOODS to market.
Between 1800 and 1830, several companies built private
roads called TURNPIKES. Travelers on these roads had to
pay a TOLL, which was used to improve the roads.
Soon, turnpikes CONNECTED a number of CITIES in the
In 1806, Congress approved government funds to finance
building the NATIONAL ROAD for western travel. When it
was finished, the road connected
CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND with what is now
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA. Congress then lengthened
the road, and by 1852, it stretched to
As the nation build new roads, it also sought to improve
river travel. In 1807, ROBERT FULTON launched the
nation’s FIRST STEAMBOAT on the HUDSON RIVER. It
greatly reduced travel time on the river. Soon,
STEAMBOATS carried people and goods along the
MISSISSIPPI RIVER and the GREAT LAKES.
In order to transport heavy goods, Americans built many
CANALS. A CANAL is a channel dug out and filled with
water to allow boats to cross a stretch of land.
The ERIE CANAL, built in 1825, opened a continuous water
route LINKING THE GREAT LAKES WITH NEW YORK
CITY’S HARBOR ON THE ATLANTIC COAST. It became
the CHEAPEST WAY to send goods from the Northeast to
the West. The success of the Erie Canal inspired many other
canals to be built.