Transcontinental Railroad Achievements

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The transcontinental railroad was a massive achievement for our country; its many accomplishments included expanding settlement, providing valuable jobs, and spurring immigration. Before the railroad was constructed, settlements were mostly established on the east coast. There were, however, a few settlements out west as a result of the California Gold Rush, but there was nothing in between. Traveling the 2,000 miles to California from the eastern region of the United States took five hard and often deadly month due to lack of proper transportation. After the Civil War ended, the railroad provided jobs that many returning war veterans desperately needed. There was a surge of Chinese and Irish immigration during this time, which greatly increased …show more content…
This was around the time that the first American steam locomotive, the Tom Thumb, was designed and built. William C. Redfield published a pamphlet that pushed for a “Great Railway” to be constructed to connect the Atlantic States with the valley of the Mississippi. Redfield looked back in disgust at the vast expenditures of the War of 1812 and stated, with confidence, that an amount so freely and wastefully spent then could be used, in 1830, to build a rail route not only to the Mississippi, but even all the way to the Pacific (Bain 16). The idea resurfaced several times in the following years. Asa Whitney was the first man to lobby Congress for funding of this railroad in 1845, but the plan was tabled by the House Committee on Roads and Canals. The idea may have been tabled, but it was not dead. In 1853, Senator Jefferson Davis assigned army exploration parties to determine what would be the best route for a railroad, but not everyone in Congress was in favor of the idea of a transcontinental railroad. Senator George McDuffie of South Carolina said that he didn’t believe anyone should have to inhabit anywhere between the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, unless they were being punished for a crime because it was so bad (Editors …show more content…
This marked the official beginning of construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Of course, the railroad had wages to pay before they started receiving the government financial aid. To do this, the railroad had to sell stocks to fund their work. The race had begun between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads to lay as much track as they could. The progress was slow moving at the beginning. The Central Pacific in the west was having a difficult time recruiting workers because other industries were paying more for work that wasn’t as hard. Fortunately, a decade earlier, during the California Gold Rush, a flow of Chinese immigrants came to the West Coast. They came from a land plagued by flood, famine, and overpopulation; their imperial government was corrupt, and they were in constant threat of outsiders from the north, militias, and civil war (Bain 205). When they heard of a gold rush in California, they came to America. They were indentured servants when they arrived here. They had to work for five years at low wages until their tickets were paid. Working in the mines was dangerous for the Chinese. They were in constant danger that either rival Chinese associations would move in on them, or the white miners would jump their claims. After their indentured service was complete, they filtered out to find work in other industries. The railroad

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