Essay on The Railroad Boom

1336 WordsJul 9, 20086 Pages
The Railroad Boom The main reason for the transcontinental railroads to be built was to bring the east and west together. The building of these railroads caused huge economic growth throughout the United States. The railroad created opportunities for everyone across the US. “Railroads were the first big business, the first magnet for the great financial markets, and the first industry to develop a large-scale management bureaucracy. The railroads opened the western half of the nation to economic development, connected raw materials to factories and retailers, and in so doing created an interconnected national market. At the same time the railroads were themselves gigantic consumers of iron, steel, lumber, and other capital goods”.…show more content…
Between 1871 and 1900, another 170,000 miles were added on to the United States increasing railroad system. A large portion of the growth can be attributed to the building of the transcontinental railroads. In 1862, Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act, which authorized the Union Pacific Railway Company and Central Pacific to complete a railroad all the way to the Pacific Ocean. One company started on the West Coast and the other one started on the East Coast. The first transcontinental railroad was completed on May 19, 1869. Both lines of the railroad met at Promontory Point Utah where a ceremonial “golden spike” was driven with a silver-plated hammer to commemorate the event. Soon after the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, land grants were no longer public policy due to the fact that many people began questioning giving away so much land to private companies. Between 1850 and 1870, over 129 million acres had been granted to about 80 railroad companies. The value of this was more than half a billion dollars. Due to the land give-away, many fortunes were made. Some were made from sales of land that was left over because it was not used for the railroad and some of the fortunes were made by railroad companies in their role as builders. By 1900, four additional transcontinental railroads connected the eastern states with the Pacific Coast. (Rise of Industrial America) Four of the five

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