Railroads in America

Decent Essays
At the turn of the 20th century, the United States had become the leading industrial power in the world, due to 19th century technological advances which escorted America out of an agrarian based economy and into the industrial revolution. However, this period of transition made life increasingly difficult for American farmers. For example, improvements to America’s railroads presented a competitive advantage to large crop producers while placing family farmers at a substantial disadvantage. Furthermore, the prices of crops such as cotton, once the keystone of America’s agricultural economy, were falling which made it more difficult for farmers to survive. Consequently, farmers were forced to mortgage their property. Although some of the farmer’s complaints about life in the early 20th century, such as national monetary policy were unjustified, railroads and other consequences of the industrial revolution posed serious threats to the way of life for farmers. Although the emergence of railroads benefitted the nation as a whole, this mode of transport harmed famers by offering rebates to large shippers and businesses. The railroads asserted that rebates prevented them from going out of business. George W. Parker, a vice president of the Cario Short Line Railroad, asserted in his testimony to the Senate Cullom Committee, that “the operating expenses of this road is continuous…requires a certain volume of business to meet these fixed expenses…when we make up a train of
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