Baltimore & Ohio by Carroll Bateman The story of the Railroad that grew up w US

Baltimore & Ohio by Carroll Bateman The story of the Railroad that grew up w US

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Baltimore & Ohio by Carroll Bateman The story of the Railroad that grew up w US
 
The Baltimore and Ohio by Carroll Bateman The story of the Railroad that grew up with the United States  SPIRAL BOUND  Copyright 1951   30 pages REPRINT
YOUNG AMERICA was proud and cocksure and self-reliant. It was noisy, but hard-working; eager and ambitious. The times that had tried men's souls, in the words of Tom Paine, were past. The days of the 1820's tested bodily strength and mental keenness.
The nation was growing up. July 4, 1826, had been the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. On that day Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, almost the last of the founders of the nation, lay dying. The original thirteen States had swelled to twenty-tour, two of these beyond the Mississippi River. The United States had emphasized its independence with the War of 1812 and the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. The nation sought greatness with all the impatience and vigor of its youth; greatness not in later years-but at the very moment.
In 1827 the population exceeded twelve millions. The human tide had overflowed the Atlantic seaboard and swept westward into the rich river valleys. Now, more people were living west of the Alleghanies than had lived in the original thirteen states during Washington's time. Long since, in 1799, Daniel Boone had been "crowded" out of the wilderness of western Virginia by neighbors living only ten miles away. He kept on moving westward to the comfort of a lonely territory that was to become the State of Missouri in 1821.
John Quincy Adams, sixth president and son of the second, sat in an uneasy chair. Ninety-year-old Charles Carroll of Carrollton, last of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, was living out his days in the quiet of an estate near Baltimore. Tell roads and turnpikes took the places of Indian paths and wagon trails; the rivers and lakes were being linked with man-made canals. All this to foster trade between the centers of population in the East and the forests and farmlands in the West.
The Atlantic Ocean already was being narrowed by the steamship- the Curacao, first vessel to be powered by steam alone, had crossed the Atlantic in April, 1827. The commodities from the West would help to increase the flow of trade with Europe.
Americans were coming to realize that their future lay in the development of their country's vast natural resources, many of which were close at hand in the great valley of the Mississippi. The big problem was transportation-how to bring these commodities to the cities of the East, where they could be processed for market and for export.
One solution of this problem was to secure a good means of transportation between the East coast and the banks of the wide and deep Ohio River. The river was navigable from its junction with the Mississippi in the Midwest to as far as Pittsburgh in the East. Once linked with the Ohio, the seaports of the Eastern Coast could be certain that the natural riches of the West would flow to them in abundance.
The Erie Canal, eight years a-building at what was then a staggering cost of $7,600,000, opened on October 26, 1825. The rich cargoes from the West, towed from Lake Erie to New York City, were filling the pockets of Manhattan merchants. The golden success of the Erie Canal initiated a plague of "canal fever" that was combined with much dishonest or careless financing. Wild promises of profits were made.
In the days of the toll roads, Baltimore fared well in the competition for western trade, and her seaport flourished. But now, in the third decade of the nineteenth century, the city of 80,000 saw itself losing out. The Erie Canal carried off many of the western products into New York. Other extensive canal works were under way in Pennsylvania, and these would draw still more of the trade away from Baltimore and into Philadelphia.
Baltimore had a great natural harbor, and her merchants hoped to make their city a great export-import center. But the only links Baltimore had with the West were the inefficient toll roads and turnpikes. True, the National Road to Wheeling, on the Ohio, fed into Maryland's Frederick Pike, and that in turn led into Baltimore, but the roads were hopelessly inadequate. Canal fever gripped the Baltimoreans, too. They wanted a navigable waterway to the West to assure their prosperity.
At first, Baltimoreans thought that the newly chartered Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was the answer to their problem. But they were dismayed to find that the canal would end on the Potomac River near Washington, and that its trade would by-pass Baltimore.

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