Impact Of The Railroad On The United States

3116 Words Aug 5th, 2014 13 Pages
Introduction: On May 10th, 1869, a large, blustering crowd gathered at Promontory Point, Utah. That day would mark the completion of one of the most impressive engineering feats of the 1800’s: the Pacific Railroad. After six years of grueling works, millions of dollars spent, and many battles against Native Americans fought, sea to shining sea was finally connected by two ribbons of iron. A young telegraph operator sent a message along the coast-to-coast telegraph line that accompanied the rails to the waiting America: “DONE!”. America was to be transformed by the new railroad. Masses of immigrants flocked out to the newly connected western territories in pursuit of better lives, towns cropped up over night along the route, and an agricultural empire was born as farming machinery was brought to the fertile western plains of the United States. Despite the profoundly positive impact the railroad had on the United States came at a great cost. The more than 12,000 Chinese immigrant workers of the transcontinental railroad were treated poorly throughout construction, and Native America empires in the plains lay in ruins from the battalions that battled their people and the government that annexed their lands. A query then arises; did the benefits the Pacific Railroad brought to America outweigh the unequal respect and maltreatment given to the Chinese immigrant workers and the Native American tribes? This is the question this essay will answer, as it examines the role the…
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