The American Transcontinental Railroad

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After America acquired the West, the need for efficient transportation heightened. Ideas circulated about a railroad that would spread across the continent from East to West. Republican congresses ruled for the federal funding of railroad construction, however, all actions were halted for a few years on account of a war. Following the American Civil War of 1861-1865, the race to build transcontinental railroad began in 1866. Lincoln approved Pacific Railway Act of 1862, granting two railroad companies the right to build the first American transcontinental railroad, (Clark 432). The transcontinental railroad would eventually become a symbol of much-needed unity, repairing the sectionalism that had once divided the nation during the Civil War. The construction of the transcontinental railroad was also an extension of the transportation revolution. Once commodities such as gold were found in the western half of America, many individuals decided to move themselves and their families out west in search of opportunity. Not only did the railroad help to transport people, but it also it allowed for goods to be delivered from companies in the east. In the end, the American transcontinental railroad created a national market, enabling mass production, and stimulated industry, while greatly impacting American society through stimulated immigration and urbanization. During the reconstruction of America after the Civil War, the government allocated land grants and premiums to encourage work on the railroads, which proved effective. However, such incentives led to a questionable quality of work. Land donations and loans offered to both companies would eventually become profitable with the addition of railroad tracks running through, and the la... ... middle of paper ... ...ortation: The Emergence of Mechanized Systems. Hofstra University, 2013. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. Meyer, David R. The Roots of American Industrialization. N.p.: JHU, 2003. N. pag. Google Books. JHU Press. Web. 29 Sept. 2013 Seavoy, Ronald E. "Railroads." An Economic History of the United States: From 1607 to the Present. New York: Routledge, 2006. 188-200. Print. Spearman, Frank H. "The First Transcontinental Railroad." Harper's Monthly Magazine, Volume 109 2011: 711-20. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. . Stanley, George E. "The Rise Of Manufacturing." The Era of Reconstruction and Expansion (1865-1900. N.p.: World Almanac Library, 2005. 20-21. Google Books. World Almanac Library. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
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