Steamboats are made to go through rivers against the current and get to places that would usually be impossible without waiting for the proper wind.This along with the railroad systems proved to be a series of revolutionary transportation improvements that allowed economies to thrive.
Explosions were common because they had to estimate how much pressure boilers could withstand and didn't always estimate correctly. Also a fundamental design trait of most 1800s steamboats was a shallow, flat hull to provide buoyancy in just a few feet of water. This type of hull increased the boats drag in the water and slowed it down. By the 1830s trains started to compete with steamboats and eventually took away a lot of business.
- Robert Fulton
Importance to settling in the west
It made it easier to travel and go to new territories.
It made it easier to trade between the north and south.
The Steamboat - History Key Assignment - February 2014