Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Curry, Leonard P.


Transportation--Kentucky--History; Kentucky. Board of Internal Improvement--History


For a brief period of fifteen years, the Board of Internal Improvement occupied a place of prominence in the political and economic affairs of Kentucky. From its creation in 1835, until the revision of the constitution in 1850, the board spent vast sums of state money on the various projects for the internal improvement of the state. The magnitude of the undertaking, and the amount of state money spent, make this one of the most important areas for study in the political and economic development of Kentucky. The improvements which were made in the transportation facilities of the state, and their cost to the state were subjects of controversy and discussion for many years. Through expenditures for these improvements, the state acquired a debt of considerable proportions. This debt, and the state's difficulty in making payments for its retirement, was one of the major items of debate in the Constitutional Convention of 1849-1850. This study attempts to analyze the factors leading to the creation of the Board of Internal Improvement, the major projects which it undertook, and the decline of the internal improvement movement in Kentucky. The aim of this study is to evaluate the success of the Board of Internal Improvements in its supervision of the state aid for internal improvements. This evaluation includes an effort to determine the worth of the projects to the economic development of the state, and their value when considered as state investments.