SETTLING THE AMERICAN WEST OVERVIEW
The early 1800s became an era of vigorous settlement of the Midwest, signaled by the admission of Ohio into the Union in 1802. To maintain a life-line to the western lands, a succession of roads were built from the eastern states. Zanes Trace (1797) connected Pennsylvania, via the Northwest Territory, to the Mississippi River ports. In 1820, General Andrew Jackson supervised construction of a military road connecting New Orleans with Nashville, Tennessee, 516 miles to the north. The Maysville Turnpike in Kentucky was important since it was the first road built by a state. The states would now create independent corporations to build and maintain the roads. The first federal investment in road building was occasioned by the need for “inter-state” travel to and from the West. Between 1820 and 1840 the U.S. government financed and built the National Pike, which linked the eastern seaboard with the Midwest.
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