The Ambassadors Historical Context

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Transatlantic Travel

The days of the speedy Clipper ship were numbered once Robert Fulton launched a successful steamboat in 1807. Steamboats soon revolutionized inland transport and, combined with the construction of canals, led to an era of decreasing shipping prices. Ocean-going vessels began to be fitted with engines in 1819, but they did not pose a significant threat to sail power until the Cunard Line began regular service to Europe in the 1840s. By the 1870s, boiler and propeller improvements led to the triple-expansion steam engine, which did not require huge amounts of fuel. Further improvements in the 1890s, with the adoption of the turbine, brought the travel time between the United States and Europe down to a week. Increasing the speed of transatlantic shipment of goods and people fostered an increase in world commerce.

France

France had imperial ambitions, and its manufactures were expanding as well. A mass society...

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This section contains 884 words
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