Horse Power to Horsepower by Erick Morris: Analysis

The thesis of this article is that determination and inventiveness can reduce the present day challenges as it did with the horse pollution crisis of the 19th century. In the 19th century, the horses were quickly covering the urban. According to Morris (2007), the horse population was growing faster than that of humans. By 1980, the media estimated that the horse droppings would rise to three-story building within the next four decades. Due to their growing numbers, the horses were quickly becoming the main source of urban pollution. The cities were becoming filled with horse urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, and traffic accidents. On the other hand, the widely spread cruelty to the horses was also considered another form of environmental degradation.

The problem was so complex that the experts could not easily devise a solution to tackle the problem. The horses were considered part of human life since they offered transport to humans. During this time, the transport and communication technology was still in its infancy and the humans needed the horses to move from one part of the city to the other. Without the horse, the cities would starve and suffer tremendously (Morris, 2007). Therefore, the horses were considered a necessary evil.

Eventually, the policy makers organized for an international conference to deliberate and find a solution to the urban problem. The conference that was meant to mitigate the problem was meant to take 10 days. However, the conference broke up on the third day after the urban planning experts failed to come up with an adequate solution to the problem.

Initially, the experts thought that railroads would reduce overreliance on horses and solve the problem of horse overpopulation. Surprisingly, the rails did not solve the problem. Instead, the rails enhanced the problem by complementing the horse transport instead of substituting it (Morris, 2007). The items that were shipped by rails were being collected by the horses, making horse importation to boom. The rails provided a new booming business for horse owners. The consequence of high horse population was sobering and their environmental products were creating an intolerable situation.

Apart from their byproducts, feeding the horses was becoming a big challenge for the urban dwellers. The horses consumed large volumes of food that required increased cultivation of land and possible interference with the urban population. The horse droppings were also breeding grounds for flies with also caused serious health challenges. The horse pulled carts were also inefficient and caused a series of accidents.

The above challenges eventually led to the development of combustion engine and the subsequent development of automobiles. The cars were quicker to drive and cheaper to maintain than the horse driven carts. By the beginning of 1900, more than 4,000 cards had been made (Morris, 2007). Within two decades, the number of cars had doubled that of horses. People breathed a sigh of relief after technology eradicated the problem that brought the society to the brink of despair. Currently, the humans have enjoyed the automobile transport for more than a century. However, it is now emerging that the automobile transport also poses a challenge to the environment.  There is need for better innovative techniques to help solve the current challenge of automobile pollution.

The article is explorative in nature and the author gathers evidence from previous literature to presents his argument. The arguments are presented in a professional method and convincing manner. Besides, the arguments are rich in details and are properly supported by facts and figures. In my opinion, the information contained in the article is of high quality and is very convincing. The article provides a valuable source for anybody interested in learning the history of transport and communication.


Morris, E. (2007). From Horse Power to Horsepower. ACCESS Magazine, 1(30), 2 – 10. UC Berkeley: University of California Transportation Center. Retrieved from: