Sample Term Paper

The 1900s

The early 1900s witnessed a fundamental change in the American culture, and with it, in public transportation as well. The electric streetcar became commonly used as a public form of transportation. These trolleys ran on metal tracks built into streets. Subsequent to this, people began to drive their personal cars. In 1903, Nelson Jackson and his friend, Sewall Crocker, were bestowed with the honor of being the first two inland passengers; the first to cross theUnited Statesin an automobile. Their trip lasted 63 days, the reason being that it was difficult since there were only a few good roads meant for driving. Moreover, the two men, along with their dog Bud, also had trouble with their car and with the weather. Irrespective of such inevitable obstacles, they substantiated that long-distance travel across theUnited Stateswas possible and could end up being a promising venture. This trip also garnered immense attention and accolades for the American automobile industry.

More than half the families inAmericapossessed an automobile by the year 1930. For many families, the car became a need, not simply an expensive toy. To facilitate this paradigm shift and deal with the statutory changes, lawmakers had to pass new traffic laws and rebuild roads. Cars also needed regular maintenance and thus, businesses to service them. Gas stations, tire stores and repair centers surfaced as components of a thriving industry.

Many Americans resorted to the road for personal travel or with the intention to find work. The open highway was revered as a symbol of independence and freedom. During 1920-30, Route 66 was the most traveled road in theUnited States. It stretched from Chicago, Illinois, to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California. It became popularly known as the “people’s highway.” (Scott, & Croce, 1990)

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