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At a time when overland travel was arduous and time-consuming, waterways were a vital transportation component, and transportation is vital to commerce. The Congressional power to "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes" was granted to Congress to address the confused condition of foreign and interstate commerce that existed in post-Revolutionary America. After the adoption of the Constitution, the volume of foreign and interstate commerce increased rapidly. Congress, early-on, made provisions for licensing US vessels involved in coastal trade, and implemented regulations on foreign ships and cargoes; however, virtually nothing was done to regulate interstate commerce, since States had abandoned their former discrimination against ships and goods from other States and things were going smoothely. With the arrival of steamboats in the early 19th century, interior waterways became an important means of transportation, and the free development of interstate trade commenced. By the 1820s, various States threatened this burgeoning free trade by granting "exclusive privileges" to certain interests over the steam navigation of "State waters." This led to State-on-State retaliation; thus, monopoly and localism were joining hands to move toward State restrictions on interstate commerce, reminiscent of the Confederacy. Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824, is an oft-cited case regarding State's rights and the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, an issue that is very prominent in the Supreme Court today as it hears cases involving the II Amendment, Federal gun control and medical marijuana.

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Because without water limits, water may be used to quickly to keep for important uses such as drinking or medical purposes.

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Q: Why were water rights an important issue?
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