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The National Road

The National Road, authorized by Congress in 1806, was the first interstate highway.

Unidentified Artist, American, 19th century, Watercolor and pen and ink on paper, Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Watercolors and Drawings, 1800-1875, 60.859, Photograph (C) 2006 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The National Road

Images of the Era: 1789-1815

During its first quarter century, the new United States government had to find its way in the world while attending to the nation’s business. Leaders met with Indian nations and faced often-hostile relations with European powers while coping with conflicts between emerging political parties and working out relationships among the three new branches of government.