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April 9, 2024
9781421448497
English
280
109122
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v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
April 9, 2024
9781421448503
9781421448497
English
280
109122
16
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$64.95 USD, £54.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The American Transportation Revolution

A Social and Cultural History

A history of steamboats and railroads in the United States prior to the Civil War.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, transportation in the United States underwent an extraordinary transformation. Steamboats and railroads turned long-distance travel from an arduous undertaking into a regularized commodity: travel became something that people could purchase. Historians have long understood the economic and political ramifications of improved travel, but the social and cultural dimensions of early steam transit are less studied. In The American Transportation Revolution, Aaron W. Marrs explores the cultural influence of steamboats and railroads, which fascinated Americans across the country.

Demonstrating the wide cultural reach of steam transit, Marrs draws from an eclectic set of sources, including children's books, comic almanacs, musical works, sermons, etiquette guides, cartoons, and employee rulebooks. This rich tapestry of cultural production helped "naturalize" steam technology for Americans before they ever encountered steam transit in person. Before ever seeing a railroad, Americans could read a novel that took place on a railroad, see an image of a train on currency, or purchase piano music imitating a train. These cultural artifacts made these new forms of transport feel familiar and natural.

Marrs examines how cultural norms about travel emerged through the prescriptions of etiquette authors and the actions of travelers themselves, how enslaved people made innovative use of transportation networks to escape from slavery, and much more. Marrs convincingly demonstrates steam transportation's broad cultural impact on the United States, and how Americans, in turn, imprinted their own meaning on this new technology.

About the Author

Aaron W. Marrs (WASHINGTON, DC) is a historian at the US Department of State. He is the author of Railroads in the Old South: Pursuing Progress in a Slave Society.

Endorsements

"The adoption and spread of steamboats and railroads rapidly and profoundly influenced antebellum American culture and experience. From published and private sources, Aaron Marrs traces their effects on language and the arts, on race and gender, and on religion and childhood, offering an important account of the implications of technological change."

- Christopher Clark, University of Connecticut

"Incorporating an expansive range of primary source material, Marrs captures the transformative power of steam transit in the antebellum period. The result is a rich account of how the impacts of new technologies are shaped by complex webs of experience and meaning-making. As stream transit remade antebellum American culture, American culture—in a variety of forms and with a diverse range of voices—pushed back."

- Amy G. Richter, Clark University; author of Home on the Rails: Women, the Railroad, and the Rise of Public Domesticity

"This new book about the transportation revolution is truly fresh, smart, and fun to read. Aaron Marrs imagines steam transportation as a holistic phenomenon that profoundly reshaped the lives of antebellum Americans. He has scoured the archives through seven topical lenses, producing lively reports from an extraordinary sweep of sources. Marrs's approach infuses an old story with something of that urgency and human interest that contemporaries knew firsthand."

- John Larson, Purdue University; author of Laid Waste! The Culture of Exploitation in Early America

"The development of steam power induced a profound change in human mobility. With detailed analysis and lucid prose, Aaron Marrs shows how steam became interwoven with every aspect of American society and culture. In children's books, slave narratives, religious tracts, and casual conversations, Americans came to terms with the new technology and made it their own."

- Albert Churella, Kennesaw State University; author of The Pennsylvania Railroad, Volume 1: Building an Empire, 1846–1917
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9781421448497 : the-american-transportation-revolution-marrs
Hardback
April 9, 2024
$64.95 USD
9781421448503 : the-american-transportation-revolution-marrs
Electronic book text
April 9, 2024
$64.95 USD

Other Titles by Aaron W. Marrs

A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860

Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, introduction by Aaron W. Marrs
Jan 2011 - University of South Carolina Press
$24.99 USD - Paperback / softback

Railroads in the Old South

Aaron W. Marrs
Apr 2009 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$63.00 USD - Hardback
$63.00 USD - Electronic book text

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