The Impact of Sailboat on America

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The history of sailboats can be traced back to the first century AD when Hero of Alexandria described them as "Aeolipile.". One form of sailboats that was widely used is the steam engine boat as inventors demonstrated that the power which emanated from steam should not be underestimated. After 1500 years, there was the discovery of primitive types of turbines being driven by steam power as were elaborated by Taqi al-Din and Giovanni Branca in 1551 and 1629 respectively. In the 18th

century, the message on sailboat spread drastically as it was the mechanism used for transportation in the industrial revolution. Precisely, in the 18th

century, the origin of the steamboats can be traced from James Watt who invented steam engines and tested them in 1769. The main reason for the invention of the steamboat is to make transportation of white folk, food, and slaves easy. Sailboat impact significantly on the American society as it offered jobs to engineers and mechanics in addition to ensuring economic growth and success of towns. The transformation and technological advancements greatly influenced humans as they traveled and transportation of goods by sailboat. This paper seeks to show that while the design of sailboats differed from one vessel to the other, their effects on waterways cannot be ignored as they impacted significantly on the world and America as a nation.

The Design of Sailboats

The first sailing boats were simple, having square-rigged reed and also had one four-sided papyrus sail which was attached to a pole. These boats were used on the Nile River by the ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Egyptians and the Romans. Many skilled practitioners from different cultures added to the advancement in ways of sailing over the millennia (Singer et al., 24). For instance, the Polynesians sailors constructed canoes which were used to colonize islands was they used sticks to navigate. The Asian community such as Indians, Chinese and Arabs also had prehistoric traditional ways of sailing. Since the importance of navigating and sailing increased, the ancient cultures started innovating and advancing the technology of sailing. Carrack ship invented during that time was the first gadget to complete the first full circumnavigation of the world. For the ship to make the voyage, it took the Spanish expedition two captains almost four years. It was reported that the Portuguese captain Ferdinand Magellan, who at first led the expedition, started the journey from Spain in 1519 and unfortunately died in the Philippines in 1521. The other captain Juan Sebastian returned the carrack ship Victoria, which was the only one among the five ships to survive the trip back to Spain in 1522. German sailors developed carrack ships during the 15th century for commercial use. They were equipped with spacious cargo holds that made them suitable for long distance exploration. They were also significant in advancing the European colonial expansion leading up to the Age of Discovery (Australasian Port et al., 27).

             In the half of 19th century, steamboats revolutionized traveling through the river.  In Ohio, people used river Ohio in transporting manufactured product and agricultural good, but after the invention of steamboats, the traveling was made more accessible. Steam engine sent a clear message to humans that their traveling to the upward side was possible (Haites, Erik, and James, 55). With time, transportation through the river increased as it was very efficient. New Orleans was the first steamboat to sail on river Ohio even though it was not constructed well as compared to other vessels that emerged later. This boat was effective since it found its way out from Pittsburg to New Orleans city in 1811. Historical American figure named John Fitch utilized steam engines boats as was a way of demonstrating a working model during constitutional convention in 1788 on the Delaware River. Fitch was very successful in building boats but was not business oriented on the application of boat in commerce. Later on, Robert Fulton embanked on the construction of stream boat, who mastered its art. In around 1807 Robert Living Stone, together with Fetch attracted public attention as they began traveling to Clermont using steamboat and later on sailed up the Hudson River from the city of New York to Albany. After that voyage, Nicholas J. Roosevelt and Livingstone powered the New Orleans steamboat starting from Pittsburg up to the city of Crescent at an astonishing speed of eight miles per hour. From there, dozens of stream boat emerged in the United States on the western river and were mostly built in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Impact of sailboat on America

            The industrial revolution was profoundly affected by steamboats as it was used to transport product and goods (Jodi). It also influences the marketplaces in America which are evident in modern society. The nature of self-sufficiency continued to decrease since steamboat enabled more transportation and expansion of trading facilities. Additionally, the invention of sailboats led to personal financial well-being and increased dependency on the manufactured products which assisted in the establishment of markets forces. The laws of demands and supply started taking effect from that time which is evident in the modern business society in American and the entire world. Steamboats were a critical apparatus for the launching of the industrial revolution. Since factories understood that they could transport their product to other places, they then replaced hand power machinery with powered by steam which resulted in increased productivity. It is through stream engine that factories evolved as they were located near coastal ports and rivers. Sailboats connected demand and supply chain in the era of industrial revolution. This occurrence explains why most of the ports in America are well developed as well as the growth of cities near port and rivers. 

            Steam power vessels led to the invention of two historical figures that had short but successful traveling in some American rivers. Their journey spurred the creation of freight and passenger steamboat which culminated to the vessel created by Robert Fulton after 20 years. These two figures were James Rumsey and George Washington, the visionary thinker who sought ways of making transportation more efficient. On the one hand, businesspeople were engaging in trade while the citizens were concerned with developing the economy of the nation (America) while on the other hand; George Washington was focusing on the ways of creating useful transportation model for both the people and goods. Washington became interested with James, the local inventor and encouraged him to design a vessel to subdue river traveling. Both Washington and Rumsey envisioned that steamboats were apparatus for bringing the nation together. This was evidenced by how the application of steam power led to the establishment of mills, factories, and train. It is through steam sails that the rails mostly used by American emanated from. One can see the role that steam sail played since it let to the creation of factories which are a strong foundation of the American manufacturing sector.

            Sailboats played a critical role in the western expansion of America. They were instrumental as they facilitated expansion, settlements, and exploration of the American continent. Most families and explorers used this form of transportation on their journey westwards. This transportation mode was influenced by the desire of residents in the eastern side of America to tap what the western side offered. In around 1860, the majority of Americans were residing on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains (Pascali, 2832). River Mississippi, as well as its tributaries, led to the establishment of the natural highway for commerce from the western side. Sailboats contributed to the growth of the agricultural economy as it provided greater access to the market at reduced costs.  Further, framers acquired land near rives since they were guaranteed of easier shipment of their produce through the river by using steamboats. It could be noted that sailboat led to the unity of American in the western and eastern side as they conducted business transitions. Sailboats were a great motivation for an increase in markets competition which pushed manufacturers to make cheaper and better product so as to capture larger market share. This also explains why there is the advancement of technology in American which prompts the nation to produce better products to cater to the enlarging markets.

            Sailboats ordinarily revolutionized America as it allowed traveling to the upward side of the river. The high speed at which the sailboats were moving granted effective transfer of perishable products. Before steamboats were invented, river traveling was one way while going to opposite direction was through the land (Haites, Erik, and James, 64).  Steam provided a dynamic change as it allowed easy traveling against a strong current in addition to increasing the speed of moving upwards. More cargo would be transported by steamboat which assisted for the construction of warships. Steamboats also proved efficient equipment during the civil war in America as they helped the civil forces dominate national waterways.  Union steamboats were of great help to secure Mississippi river and other significant water routes, an aspect that denied confederates from using rives. This also helped the Union soldiers to seize significant towns in the western region (Tom).

Sailboat and Discovery of the New World

            Steamboat impacted the world greatly as they became an active instrument for the advancement of imperialism in the southern part of Asia. Great Britain controlling British East Indian Company used steamboats to assist in maneuvering huge ships into the narrow Indian harbor. Steamboats were an efficient way of linking British with northern India. The river Ganges which runs from the western side to eastern side of the north of side of South Asia was an efficient way that allowed steamboat to deliver mails, troops, and god to the widespread parts of the northern frontier. The eastern India Company used steamboat in reducing the traveling time between India and the British Isles (Pascali, 2835). Due to changing weather pattern in oceanic waters, British Empire developed another path which created a route extending from India all through to the Persian Gulf going through to Syria. The path extended to current Iraq through the use of the Mediterranean Sea and river Euphrates. From the Mediterranean Sea, it was faster to reach Britain through Gibraltar strait to England. Through the steamboats, British Empire was able to extend their imperialist system which also provided them a foothold to Middle East nations (Singer et al.17). This was one way that British successfully used to blocked expansion to the south from its enemy which is Russia.

            The continent of Africa was not left behind from experiencing the wave of Sailboats. Europe used stem boat to explore Africa as they gained control though river Niger to acquire palm oil. Further, the boats used to collect oil from African villages living along the river. When sometimes situation became unmanageable European used gunboats to control the occurrence. Historical personalities which include Henry Stanley and David Livingstone efficiently used steamboat in their expeditions. Both Belgium and France also utilized steamboat in their attempt to colonize Africa. Notably, Leopold of Belgium penetrated Africa through the use of steamboat and hence gained control of river Congo.

            In conclusion, in the half of 19th

century steamboats revolutionized traveling through the river, which impacted on the world and America.

Sailboats were instrumental as they facilitated expansion, settlements, and exploration of the American continent. Further, they were a great motivation for an increase in markets competition, which pushed manufacturers to make cheaper and better product so as to capture larger market share. Besides, they also proved efficient equipment during the civil war in America as they helped the civil forces dominate national waterways. Africa was not left behind from experiencing the wave of Sailboats as European colonial power used them to gain access to African nations.

Works Cited

Australasian Port, Harbour &. Offshore Engineering Conference, et al., editors. First             Australasian Port, Harbour & Offshore Engineering Conference, 1986: Sydney, 29        September-2 October 1986 : Preprints of Papers. The Institution, 1986.

Haites, Erik F., and James Mak. "Steamboating on the Mississippi, 1810–1860: A Purely Competitive Industry." Business History Review 45.1 (1971): 52-78.

Jodi S.The Effects of Steamboats on the Industrial Revolution. https://classroom.synonym[online] Updated June 27, 2018 .com/the-effects-of-steamboats-on-the-industrial-revolution-12083941.html

Pascali, Luigi. "The wind of change: Maritime technology, trade, and economic development." American Economic Review 107.9 (2017): 2821-54.

Singer, Charles, et al. A History of Technology. 1954.

Tom R. Robert Fulton (2012).

Images of steam boats

November 13, 2023


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