Why was the Efficient Movement of Goods to Market so Important to the
Early 19th Century Maryland Economy?
Image courtesy Maryland Historical Society
Since people first began exchanging goods for profit, they wanted to
move their goods to markets quickly. This push to bring goods to the
marketplace has also provided fuel for the race to find better and
faster ways to transport goods. People began by carrying goods on their
shoulders, backs, and heads. Then they learned to domesticate pack
animals, like horses, mules, and camels. Finally, they invented
mechanical modes of transportation, like trains, steamships, and
automobiles. Where there are waterways, people have used rafts, canoes,
barges, sailing ships, and motorized vessels to move trade items. Ships
like the swift Baltimore Clippers were developed to move goods swiftly
from the markets of the Far East to the markets of America.
In this Exploration, you will learn about the advantages and
disadvantages of canals and railroads for moving goods to and from
marketplaces. You will think about the natural, capital, and human
resources needed to build a canal and to construct a railroad back in
the early 19th century. To help you find this information, you will
explore several web sites in this Exploration.