Roads and Steamboats: A Revolution in Transportation
The National (or Cumberland) Road was the first of the overland toll roads. Chartered by the states, these "turnpikes" failed, for the most part, to meet the need for cheap transportation over great distances. America's river network proved to be more efficient, and the Ohio-Mississippi system beckoned first the flatboat trade and, after Robert Fulton's invention in 1807, the steamboat. But these ways still did not provide a way to ship western farm produce to eastern ports.