"'The great paradox of national planning,' muses historian Robert Fishman, 'is that Americans have practiced it so successfully while continually claiming it doesn't exist.' In his provocative article '1808 - 1908 - 2008 - National Planning for America' Fishman describes three episodes of national planning.
1808 was the year of Albert Gallatin's Report on Roads and Canals, a Federal government report that Fishman argues remains 'a model of long-term strategic thinking tied to national policy.' The plan clearly identified a set of key infrastructure investments for the Federal government, and related these investments to what were perhaps the two most important policy goals - distributing vast western lands to small farmers, and provide for the transportation links to connect these hinterlands with the east. Written before the railroad, the plan proposed a bold system of highways and canals. Although implementation took nearly a hundred years, many of these connections were ultimately built by the turn of the century."