Essay on The Transcontinental Railroad And Westward Expansion
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The Transcontinental Railroad and Westward Expansion
Thesis: The transcontinental railroad greatly increased Westward expansion in the United States of America during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
The history of the United States has been influenced by England in many ways.
In the second half of the 1800's, the railroad, which was invented in England, had a major effect on Western expansion in the United States.
"Railroads were born in England, a country with dense populations, short distances between cities, and large financial resources. In America there were different circumstances, a sparse population in a huge country, large stretches between cities, and only the smallest amounts of
money."…show more content…
Romantics dreamed of the discoveries of wild Indians, scouts and hunters, and, of course, gold. Gold had been a desired find throughout the exploration of America. The California Gold Rush of 1849 again created much excitement about the search for gold.
The Pacific Railroads were founded when the Civil War was in progress. Until the war was over, the transcontinental railroad was a giant enterprise stalled by much bickering between a reluctant Congress and the Army, who had clamored for it (Cooke 254). If it had been left to the government, it would have taken another twenty years to complete the transcontinental railroad. However, it was a commercial venture, and it was fortunately fed by the adrenaline of competition. There were two railroad companies building the transcontinental railroad, the Union Pacific from the East, and the Central Pacific from the West.
The two companies struggled to beat each other in slamming down a record mileage of track. At first, Congress avidly pursued the project and they had stipulated that the Central Pacific should stop when it reached the California Border
(Congress was full of Easterners). In 1865, after much argument about the aid the government was providing to the two companies, the actual construction of the transcontinental railroad was started. Then in 1866, Congress decided that two companies
Transcontinental Railroad Essay
When the South left the Union, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act allowing the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies to build a railway and telegraph line between Omaha and California Territory. This act gave the railroads an abundant of land and money for each mile of track laid. In 1863, the Central Pacific Railroad began laying tracks east of Sacramento while the Union Pacific Railroad started at Omaha. In 1866, the Union Pacific Railroad laid 260 miles of track in the plains using mostly Irish immigrants. In June 1868, the Central Pacific crossed Sierra Nevada reaching Nevada using 25,000 to 30,000 Chinese immigrants. On May 10, 1869, the two railroads met at Promontory Summit and connected the nation by rail. The journey that took six months to complete now could be achieved in six days. This railroad made transportation across the United State faster, cheaper, and safer. The most important impact this transcontinental railroad had on the West was economic and environmental.
There was an elemental economic impact on the West due to the Transcontinental Railroad. Immigrant Frithj of Meidell stated, “Every ten miles along the railways there are stations, which soon grow up into towns…it is really remarkable how rapidly the stations are transformed into little towns…” After the railroad was put into action, clever merchants discover that the stations the train stopped at to restock were ideal places for them to prosper. Passengers on the train did not have anything to do during those interregnums of the ride. With these stores, passengers could walk around the station and buy little things at these stores. Then more merchants took this advantage and soon the stations were filled with stores and became a little town. With the trading of the merchants and the passengers, the economy flow of the West was definitely enhanced. Also, now that there were more towns, there would be more jobs for the people and more tax for the government. With the topic of employment already brought up, the building of this railroad alone provided work for many people in the West. Mrs. Will H. Berger’s daughter confirmed, “…got to Omaha they had $5.00 in American money, no job, and couldn’t speak a word of English…Then they both got work on the new Union Pacific railroad…for nine months; when they got back to Omaha they had $900.00 saved up. No matter whether they were immigrants, veterans, or freed slaves, they all benefited from the railroads. When the two railroad companies were short on workers,...
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