At the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution came to America. Since the northern states lacked fertile soil and a warm climate, people naturally looked for other ways to make a living outside of farming. Ship building and fishing became major industries. By the early 1800s, merchants began building textile mills in New England. The North craved new technology to use toward advancing business interests. By the mid-1800s, the North had connected most major cities with canals and thousands of miles of railroad tracks, and had attracted millions of Irish and German immigrants to labor in factories. The northern states became the industrial powerhouse of the United States.