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Survey Act


SURVEY ACT of 1824, enacted by Congress twelve years after Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin's "Report on Roads, Canals, Harbors, and Rivers" had generated interest in national internal improvements. The act authorized the president, with the aid of army engineers, to conduct surveys of such canal and turnpike routes as would serve an important national interest. Presidents Madison and Monroe had vetoed earlier efforts to appropriate money for such purposes, because each president thought an amendment to the Constitution was necessary to authorize federal expenditures for the construction of roads or canals. But the Supreme Court's decision in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) regarding the scope of Congressional power over interstate commerce cleared the way for President Monroe to sign this bill. Congress repealed the act in 1838.


Hill, Forest G. Roads, Rails and Waterways: The Army Engineers and Early Transportation. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977.

Larson, John L. "'Bind the Republic Together': The National Union and the Struggle for a System of Internal Improvements." Journal of American History 74 (September 1987): 363–387.

Malone, Laurence J. Opening the West: Federal Internal Improvements before 1860. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

L. W.Newton/c. p.

See alsoCanals ; Engineers, Corps of ; River and Harbor Improvements ; Roads .

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