National Geographic : 1898 Sep
382 THE GROWTH OF THE UNITED STA TES from the Census figures with the same assumptions concerning expansion during 1898. The three lines of the diagram express several salient facts in American history: The territorial acqui sitions have been enormous, much more than quadrupling the original area; no accession (up to 1898) has materially affected the population curve, yet the population has steadily increased by a normal growth of beautiful symmetry; the density of pop ulation has also increased in a symmetric normal, interrupted by each of the greater accessions in area. The only noteworthy break in the population curve is that representing the teeming Filipi nos, though even this does not materially affect the density curve. The steady increase in density of population in the United States is a striking and promising feature of national develop ment; it is an equally striking and still more hopeful fact that, so far as the Census values permit determination, each accession has stimulated the increase of population and has soon been followed by an increased population-density. While each accession of area has tended to hasten the in crease in population, other effects of even greater significance have followed, though figures for the expression of these effects are lacking for the earlier decades in the history of the United States. The immediate effect of the acquisition of Louisiana and Oregon was increase in navigation, both oceanic and inte rior, with a decided advance in domestic commerce; budding enterprise was directed to invention and steamboats were placed on the rivers, while improvements in agriculture were diligently sought. These advances were stimulated anew when Florida was acquired, and American carrying trade came to be a factor in the progress of the world. During the period of concentra tion following these acquisitions, canals were projected as aux iliaries to the natural waterways, while railroading was gradually introduced as a sort of auxiliary to river and canal. Then came the epoch-marking accessions of the mid-century, with the neces sity for more expeditious transportation facilities than navigable waterways and ocean-going vessels could possibly afford; and native genius responded by improving locomotives and railway building beyond the most sanguine dreams of progressive states men, and made America a railway nation; and the curve repre senting railway development is one of the striking features in the graphic history of the United States.* The carrying trade *The decline in railway building after 1890, shown in the diagram, should not be misinterpreted; it merely marks the gradual substitution of electric locomotion, bicy cles, etc., for steam locomotion.