In 1790, America's largest cities were ports located near the East Coast and were really better connected with the British urban system than they were with one another. On land, much travel was by wagon and was slow and expensive.
America's cities were small, and the urbanization process had not yet begun to accelerate as it would after 1840 with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution.
Viewed on a log-log graph where the horizontal axis represents the rank of cities (1, 2, 3, etc.) and the vertical axis represents their population, one can see that no one city dominated in 1790. In fact, the United States has never had a "primate city," which is one that is many times larger than any other city in the country.
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