How Important Are Railroads to American Industrialization?

718 Words Dec 7th, 2005 3 Pages
Before the 19th century, American people relied on solely trade and farming in order to survive. After the American Revolution and the American Civil War, people noticed the importance of manufacturing and industry. This is when American development in industry started. However, railroads probably contributed the most to American industrialization. Without railroads during this time period, American development, especially in westward expansion, development of market/industry, and development of agriculture, would have been almost impossible. The construction of railroads encouraged westward expansion. When the construction of ¡°the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869,¡± (Era, 72) it provided many benefits for the …show more content…
The most important industry that arose from the construction of railroads was the steel industry. During the construction of railroads, a great deal of steel was needed; steel was used to build the railroad tracks and the railroad cars. However, steel was also used to build other items and proved to be useful. Railroads also created a natural monopoly. Railroads connected cities with each other and able to trade with each other. Through railroads, cities became ¡°interdependent¡± (Danzer, 254) and ¡°began to specialize in particular products¡± (Danzer, 254). For example, one state would specialize in one particular product while a second state would specialize in a second product. When these two states traded with each other, they would have what they needed. Through this ¡°specialization¡± of states, America began to develop as an industrialized nation. Thirdly, railroads helped develop certain agricultural products. Railroads created a natural monopoly. However this was not only for manufactured products; this also counted for agricultural products. States in the South that usually produced agricultural products began growing only one kind of crop. Just like the states that produced only one kind of manufactured product, the Southern states also produced one kind of crop each. Also, cattle were more widely raised rather than hunting game. The railroad tracks ¡°destroyed the buffalo¡± (Era, 72) and