Pershing Map
The Pershing Map was the first blueprint for a national highway system in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, with many of the proposed roads later forming a substantial portion of the Interstate Highway System
Interstate Highway System
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, , is a network of limited-access roads including freeways, highways, and expressways forming part of the National Highway System of the United States of America...


When the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 realized it could not satisfactorily meet its World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 logistical needs by railroad alone, it organized truck convoys to supplement them, with the first run in 1917 from Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

 to Baltimore, Maryland. Following the two-month ordeal of the U.S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy
Transcontinental Motor Convoy
The Transcontinental Motor Convoys were early 20th century vehicle convoys, including three US Army truck trains, that crossed the United States to the west coast...

 in 1919, the need for better infrastructure became even clearer.

In 1921, Thomas H. MacDonald, the newly appointed head of the Bureau of Public Roads, requested the Army provide it with a list of roads of "prime importance in the event of war." MacDonald had the Geological Survey and later his own staff painstakingly draft out the details of the Army's request, and presented the sum of these drawings in a massive 32 feet (9.8 m)-long map to Army War Plans. General of the Armies
General of the Armies
General of the Armies of the United States, or more commonly referred to as General of the Armies, is the highest possible officer rank of the United States Army.Only two soldiers have been granted the rank of General of the Armies; John J...

 John Pershing himself reported the results back to Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in 1922 with the proposal becoming known as the "Pershing Map."

Most of the 78000 miles (125,528.5 km) of roads requested were eventually built, with a number of routes becoming interstate highways. The proposal emphasized coastal and Mexican border defense and industrial needs of the time rather than economic development, with high priority routes going to such chokepoints as Sault Ste Marie, Michigan yet bypassing nearly the entire Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

. Professor Steven Dutch points out that this routing reflected the technology and needs of the post-World War I military. Coal fields and iron ports were critical for steel production, but the then-nascent oil fields in West Texas and Oklahoma were not yet important, and with little infrastructure, southern Florida was not a priority since any army landing there would have had no method to advance northwards.

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