The Impact Of The Great Westward Migration

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When the Pacific Railroad Act ordered for the construction of the Transcontinental railroad in 1862, most people were able to find the positive side in the new form of transportation. Westward migration had previously been difficult for groups such as the Mormons and many others due to the harsh environment, as well as, natives attacking weary travelers. With the new railroad, westward migration would be easier than ever, allowing for what is referred to as the “Great westward migration”. This migration led to the founding of land in which towns and full cities were derived. However, with the great westward migration also came what many referred to as “hell on wheels”. As the railroad expanded westward, so did unsavory past times including, gambling, prostitution, and the building of saloons (Outline:Railroads). Not surprisingly, what many call “the oldest profession in the world” existed in Nevada even before the great westward migration occurred, prostitution. Before the transcontinental railroad was built, the mining boom was in full swing. When the “Comstock Lode” was struck in Nevada, many flocked to Virginia City (which at the time was in Utah territory) in hopes of finding plentiful amounts of silver. The majority of the population of Virginia City in 1860 were men, outnumbering women 16 to 1, with fifty percent of these men being under the age of 30 (Outline: The Comstock and Statehood). Though it was recorded that only four percent of women in the Comstock were in

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