In the event of a government shutdown, American History will remain OPEN through at least Saturday, October 7, by using prior year funds. Visit for updates.

Enterprise on the Water

On the Water - Enterprise on the Water Section Header

After the War of 1812, shipping expanded its reach—and the nation grew with it.

Shipping was the lifeblood of the growing American nation in the first half of the 19th century. Ships and sailors connected manufacturers and customers, farmers and consumers, immigrants and their new homes—across the oceans, along the coasts, and up inland waterways. Ships ran on a regular schedule and began to take advantage of the power of steam.

The road from Liverpool to New York, as they who have traveled it well know, is very long, crooked, rough, and eminently disagreeable.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, aboard the packet ship New York, 1833