In the Industrial Revolution Era, a man named Thomas Newcomen invented something called the steam engine. The Steam Engine was an important invention for it's time. Despite popular belief, steam engine is not another name for a train, but a machine that used steam to power other machines. It went on to power steamboats, steam locomotives, and other things. It changed the world transportation.
The Steam Engine mostly affected transportation, like the early trains and steamboats. These two inventions helped economics by carrying goods for a lower price than over land travel. They also reduced the time it would take to get something from one place to another. Because of their growing popularity, railroads and canals were built everywhere. In turn, it opened up even more places for these machines to go.
Not only did they carry goods, but they also carried people. Americans could now travel much faster than before. This route was also much safer than overland trails. Because trains and steam boats were widely spread, it created a sort of bridge between the east and the west. People could now travel from the west to the east. This helped Westward Expansion greatly.