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The rise of the United States as a world power in the twentieth century was based on the reation of a specialized regional structure in the nineteenth century Four major elements helped evolve Americas nineteenth century regional structure from the agriculture based post-independence country that it was into the twentieth century world power it would become The four main elements are 1 Improvements in transportation specifically the development of the railroad system 2 Growing regional economic and industrial specialization 3 A shift from an agricultural to an industry-based economy 4 Economic expansion overseas The effect of these elements in some cases was direct and in others was more indirect Transportation did not directly lead to America becoming a world power but it did provide the infrastructure for some of the later elements A more direct affect resulted from increased regional specialization as well as industrialization The final point overseas expansion had the most direct link to Americas transformation into a world power During the first half of the nineteenth century improvements in transportation occurred rapidly Roads steamboats canals and railroads all had a positive impact on the American economy most notably the development of the railroad The Railroad has a justly deserved place as the pivotal integrator of the national space-economy between 1860 and 1920 and as a major component of the late 19th-century economic growth David R Meyer p323 The railroad fostered a more diverse and competitive America by introducing new markets into each region and allowing the acquisition of different or simply cheaper goods from other regions The result was a broad-based yet competitive country-wide trading region with lowered costs for the entire economy Even the process of building the railroad helped stimulate specific industries like the copper steel and iron industries John Agnew p10 Though not a direct link to Americas twentieth century world power by connecting regional markets transportation laid the foundation for what would become a unified
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