The Transcontinental Railroad

1021 Words 5 Pages
The period of 1865 – 1900 was a time that filled most American agricultural workers and farmers with frustration, despair, and panic. Throughout this stage of American history, factors such as new technologies, government policies, and economic conditions began to take shape within American agriculture, all of which changing common cultivation towards a substantially sharp decline in prosperity. The period was categorized as an era of Republican, laissez-faire governments that all chose to favor big businesses and corporations throughout their time dominating the federal government. Numerous technologies were introduced and beginning to become more advanced and sophisticated, although most were only advances in urban manufacturing. If any technology …show more content…
Advancements and inventions began to streamline industries and make life easier for the working class. However, the progression and manipulation of railroads proved to become the most prominent progression of technology, and heated debate between industries and farmers, in the mid to late nineteenth century. Railroads started out by replacing common canals and trails, but they soon expanded all around the nation, connecting different parts of the country with one another and expanding the national market. The most prominent expansion of railroads took place between the years 1870 and 1890, because the national railroads around the United States began to multiply extensively, the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad was formally achieved just a year earlier (May 10th, 1869), and numerous railroads were being constructed with major land grants (largely west of the Mississippi) (Document B). Newer cities like Chicago were also becoming very prosperous due to railroads, because railroads made the transportation of beef from the west to the east much more efficient (the shipping and canning of beef is very important to the city), and with five great railroads coming from both the northern and southern parts of the west ending in Chicago, the process couldn’t get any better (Document F). Inventions such as the refrigerated …show more content…
The main contributing factor to the farmer’s grievances and opposition to the railroads were the greedy businessmen and railroad tycoons who controlled and owned them, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Leland Stanford. More often than not, railroad companies charged much higher rates for farmers than anyone else, rates that often caused farmers to make little overall profit at the end of the day. Also, for many years, the companies were not required to post their rates, so the prices for the farmer’s fairs changed every time the farmer wanted to use the railroad. Thus, after the initial cost of shipping, taxes, low prices of their goods, and costs of their expensive equipment, the common American farmers rarely made a significant profit. Thus, the farmers were very dissatisfied with the railroads. All of these were challenges that railroads placed on the common American farmer everyday, and after awhile the populace eventually chose to stand against it. The farmers’

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