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America's First Interstate: The National Road, 1806-1853 (Hardback)
  • America's First Interstate: The National Road, 1806-1853 (Hardback)
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America's First Interstate: The National Road, 1806-1853 (Hardback)

(author)
£35.50
Hardback 250 Pages / Published: 30/05/2020
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The story of America's first government-sponsored highway.

The National Road was the first major improved highway in the United States built by the federal government. Built between 1811 and 1837, this 620-mile road connected the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and was the main avenue to the West. Roger Pickenpaugh's comprehensive account is based on detailed archival research into documents that few scholars have examined, including sources from the National Archives, and details the promotion, construction, and use of this crucially important thoroughfare.

America's First Interstate looks at the road from the perspective of westward expansion, stagecoach travel, freight hauling, livestock herding, and politics of construction as the project goes through changing presidential administrations. Pickenpaugh also describes how states assumed control of the road once the US government chose to abandon it, including the charging of tolls. His data-mining approach-revealing technical details, contracting procedures, lawsuits, charges and countercharges, local accounts of travel, and services along the road-provides a wealth of information for scholars to more critically consider the cultural and historical context of the Road's construction and use.

While most of America's First Interstate covers the early days during the era of stagecoach and wagon traffic, the story continues to the decline of the road as railroads became prominent, its rebirth as US Route 40 during the automobile age, and its status in the present day.

Publisher: Kent State University Press
ISBN: 9781606353974
Number of pages: 250
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Roger Pickenpaugh's new study of the National Road gathers into one highly readable volume a terrific wealth of information and detail about this first national "intern improvement" project. In our rush to appreciate canals and railroads, historians easily ignore the prosaic business of carving out roads through wild country, quite literally over hills and dales, through swamps and rocky passes. Working with pick and shovel and horse-drawn scrapers, breaking stone by hand to dress the roadways, these early civil engineers truly paved the way for the settler conquest of America's antebellum frontier. Deeply researched in archival sources, this volume fills a serious gap in our literature about early American highways." - John L. Larson, author of Laid Waste! The Culture of Exploitation in Early America

"This will now be the go-to text for anyone wishing to learn about the long history of the nation's first major highway. But it is more than that. Pickenpaugh's extensive primary research gives us fascinating anecdotes and brings fresh insight into Jeffersonian and Jacksonian politics and the familiar battles over federalism, as presidents, legislators, entrepreneurs, and workers debated and constructed a 620-mile road that people still travel today." - Lindsay Schakenbach Regele, author of Manufacturing Advantage: War, the State, and the Origins of American Industry, 1776-1848

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