Transcontinental Railroad Dbq

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The railway revolution began in the 1840s when the gold was discovered in California that brought thousands of people to the West. The launch mark of the railroad development in the American West started with the proclamation of the Pacific Railroad Act that announced the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Responsibility to build the Transcontinental Railroad was taken by two companies – the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. By 1860th the rapid expansion of railroad resulted in 30,000 miles of network that finally totalled in 70,300 miles by the end of the century. The working conditions while construction works were sometimes hazardous. The workers lived in and among the construction camps across deserts, mountains, canyons, …show more content…
It was considered that railroad development had direct impact on the growth of these two indicators. Albert Gallatin, the Treasury Secretary, in his speech “Roads and Canals” mentioned that good transportation would reduce distances, increase trade and unite the far most regions of the country. And, indeed, in 1840-1860, when the construction of the railroad began the population flow into the Midwest significantly increased and the density of population rated over 250 persons per square mile. However, the authors of the research doubted whether the railroad initiated such changes or it simply accompanied them. Thus, they constructed the statistical model again on the basis of GIS database, the population density and the level of urbanization by means of technology and machinery invented at that time. As the statistical analysis exposed the railroad development had significant influence on the urbanization process, but had almost zero impact on the density of population. They assumed that rise of railroads increased the number of people living in urban areas by 4 …show more content…
The railway trains, engines, employees, managers were engaged in business of provision of services for passengers and freight. By these terms of service provision the railroad significantly contributed to the American economic growth. The amount of freight increased from 13 billions in 1870 to 450 billions in 1929. Additionally, the railroad reduced transportation costs. When the railroads began their operation the advantages over canals and other ways of transportation were obvious – the speed was much higher and the service was more flexible. Although, Dave Donaldson and Richard Hornbeck had the opposite opinion about transportation costs, when he mentioned interregional and intraregional trade. As they claimed, the railroad development was much more important for the intraregional trade than for the interregional one. Interregional trade was maintained through the canals and rivers and the shipping costs were moderately more expensive, so that annually it would lead to the loss of 0,6 % of GNP. At the same time, intraregional trade benefited from the railroad in terms of reducing the distances of shipping of the heavy cargoes, thus facilitating transportation from the farms to the markets. As it appeared, if railroads would not develop, the national economy would loss 2,4% of GNP. But the railroads also brought transportation to the remote and wild areas that were improved

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