The Transcontinental Railroad: Blood, Sweat, Tears and an American Dream

3117 Words Nov 22nd, 2006 13 Pages
The late 19th Century was a revolutionizing period in American History evident by the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War. However, it was the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad which profoundly changed the United States. The discovery of gold, the acquisition of Mexican territories and the continued settlement of the West increased the need for a primary railway system connecting the East and the West Coasts.
The Transcontinental Continental Railroad aided the settling of the west and closed the last of the remaining frontier, bringing newfound economic growth, such as mining farming and cattle ranching to our burgeoning country. On May 10, 1869, near Promontory Summit, Utah, a boisterous crowd gathered to witness the
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In 1862 Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act which provided Federal subsidies in land and loans for the construction of the railroad. According to Maury Klein in Union Pacific: The Birth of a Railroad 1862-1893, the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 made construction of the transcontinental railroad possible. The legislation designated the 32nd parallel as the initial transcontinental route and authorized two companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, to construct the lines (Klein 8). The railroad would be built eastward from Sacramento by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific, a new company would build westward from the Platte River Valley in Omaha.

The Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad The Central Pacific and Union railroads vied to establish routes across the territory from western Iowa to northern California in a vicious contest. The Pacific
Railroad acts granted land and government bonds to the companies on the basis of how many miles of track they laid, setting the stage for a seven-year race. For each mile of track, the government was loaning the railroad from $16,000 for flat land to $48,000 for mountainous land. The supplies needed to lay a single mile of track included forty train cars to carry four hundred tons of rail and timber, ties,

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