MISSOURI WORKHORSE: THE BOATS, BUSINESS, AND BACKS OF ST. CHARLES, MISSOURI.
(Under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Babits) Department of History, September 2007.
The following thesis explores the influence of the transportation revolution in early to mid-nineteenth-century St. Charles, Missouri.The complexity of the transportation revolution is first considered on a broad, national scale. It is then described on a narrower regional scale in the Missouri River Valley. It is finally examined on the narrowest, possible scale of specific interactions between St. Charles businessmen and their associates in several locations.
This thesis argues that the transportation revolution altered the way in which individuals perceived St. Charles's location on the Missouri River. Prior to the transportation revolution, St. Charles benefited by being the closest river town to St. Louis, Missouri.As steamboat technology adapted to the hostile conditions of the Missouri River, outpost towns west of St. Charles gained favor with St. Louis merchants.These newly found and lucrative connections between the metropolitan St. Louis community and the former Missouri hinterlands were possible only after advancements to transportation technology.Although the transportation revolution brought sweeping changes to the Missouri River Valley, it was ultimately the fine scale interrelationships between community members that determined how the new technology would be utilized.