“Together they gave the United States the single largest market in the world, which provided the basis for the rapid expansion of American industry and agriculture to the point where the U.S. by the 1890s had the most powerful economy on the planet.”. Some 21,000 workers—from Irish-American Civil War veterans, freed slaves and Mormon pioneers to Chinese laborers—had been recruited to perform the hard and often dangerous work of laying the 1,776 miles of track. Facts, information and articles about Transcontinental Railroad, an event of Westward Expansion from the Wild West. The massive amount of wood needed to build the railroad, including railroad ties, support beams for tunnels and bridges, and sheds, necessitated cutting down thousands of trees, which devastated western forests. The completion of these railroads brought change, both for good and bad, and had an enormous impact on the United States and other countries of the world. Prior to the publication of his major ...read more. The “creation of the said rail trail in 1832 specifically allowed for the advocating of better trade transport” (Tzu-Kuei, 1999). https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/transcontinental-railroad. A transcontinental railroad is railroad that crosses through a continent. The sources used are books written by historians, quotes from important figures, and articles written in the time period. As Ronda notes, the first transcontinental railroad—and other transcontinental lines that followed—made it possible to sell products far and wide without a physical storefront, and enabled people all over the country to furnish their homes and keep up with the latest fashion trends. Upon completion of the railroad, many Chinese workers returned to California in search of employment. The railroad initiated a new series of trade and communication that triggered the economic growth in the USA. Although Europe is crisscrossed by railways, the railroads within Europe are usually not considered transcontinental, with the possible exception of the historic Orient Express. Additionally, about 7,000 cities and towns across the country began as Union Pacific depots and water stops. Chinese laborers at work on construction for the railroad built across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, circa 1870s. The country, from its commerce to the environment to even its concept of time, was profoundly altered after the completion of the railroad's 1,776 miles of track. Transcontinental definition is - extending or going across a continent. In Canada the Canadian Pacific was the only transcontinental line, extending from St John, on the bay of Fundy, and from Quebec, on the river St Lawrence, to Vancouver, on the strait of Georgia, the distance from St John to Vancouver being approximately 3379 m. 22 24 The Linda Hall Library Transcontinental Railroad website was created with generous support from the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Foundation. Two Competing Companies: The Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad, Danger Ahead: Building the Transcontinental Railroad. The railroad also facilitated westward expansion, escalating conflicts between Native American tribes and settlers who now had easier access to new territories. They sold or gave shares in this ...read more, 1. The history of the United States has been influenced by England in many ways. transcontinental railroad A train route across the United States, finished in 1869. “The Constitution provided the legal framework for a single national market for trade goods; the transcontinental railroad provided the physical framework,” explains Henry W. Brands, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and author of Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. On May 10, after several delays, a crowd of workers and dignitaries watched as the final spike was driven linking the Central Pacific and Union Pacific in the “Golden Spike Ceremony.”. The First Transcontinental Railroad (known originally as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the "Overland Route") was a 1,912-mile (3,077 km) continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 that connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa with the Pacific coast at the Oakland Long Wharf on San Francisco Bay. One thing I find particularity interesting about the Transcontinental Railroad, is that exactly 100 years after its completion, Americans would land on the moon, in a mission that took just over eight days. Other entrepreneurs and industries would follow the Big Four’s lead in tapping government help to build their businesses. He then headed to Washington, where he was able to convince congressional leaders as well as President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Pacific Railroad Act into law the following year. In addition to transporting western food crops and raw materials to East Coast markets and manufactured goods from East Coast cities to the West Coast, the railroad also facilitated international trade. Known as the Pacific Railroad, the first transcontinental railroad served as an overland route that connects US to the pacific coast located at the San Francisco bay. This was controversial at the time, as the Chinese were considered an inferior race due to pervasive racism. The Chinese laborers proved to be tireless workers, and Crocker hired more of them; some 14,000 were toiling under brutal working conditions in the Sierra Nevada by early 1867. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! “In the West, where the distances are so great, the railroad brought near and far closer together.” The railroad schedules also helped to push the United States into changing how it marked time, leading to the adoption of standard time zones in 1883. By 1880, the transcontinental railroad was transporting $50 million worth of freight each year. In the second half of the 1800's, the railroad, which was inve In 1845, the New York entrepreneur Asa Whitney presented a resolution in Congress proposing the federal funding of a railroad that would stretch to the Pacific. November 17th, 2017 The Transcontinental Railroad is a marvel of engineering and perseverance. In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, tasking them with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from east to west. By one estimate, the project cost roughly $60 million, about $1.2 billion in today’s money, though other sources put the amount even higher. He was the first modern European scientist to propose that Earth and other planets revolve around the sun, or the Heliocentric Theory of the universe. The Transcontinental Railroad On July 4, 1870, a Boston trade official named Alex H. Rice stood on a San Francisco beach. The Union Pacific. By 1861, Judah had enlisted a group of investors in Sacramento to form the Central Pacific Railroad Company. [] Chief promoter of a transcontinental railroad was Asa Whitney, a New York merchant active in the China trade who was obsessed with the idea of a railroad to the Pacific. The Transcontinental Railroad was the first continuous railroad line across the United States and opened for through traffic on May 10, 1869 when Central Pacific Railroad President Leland Stanford ceremonially drove the gold "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit. Both companies then headed towards Salt Lake City, cutting many corners (including building shoddy bridges or sections of track that would have to be rebuilt later) in their race to get ahead. In his hand was a bottle of water from the Atlantic Ocean that he had brought from the East Coast. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. The Transcontinental railroad purpose of being built was to cause positive things to happen in the US and positive things did result from the railroad. But that all changed on May 10, 1869, when railroad baron Leland Stanford whacked in a ceremonial gold spike to mark the joining together of the tracks of the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad in Promontory, Utah, to form the transcontinental railroad. The First Transcontinental Railroad, which linked the east and west coasts, was an innovation which made crossing the United States safer, faster, and cheaper than any previous route across land or water. The Transcontinental Railroad: Men dreamed of connecting the east and west coasts of the United States of America by railroad as long ago as 1836. click for big picture: It was discussed in newspaper articles and politicians would often make speeches about it. The two lines of track would meet in the middle (the bill did not designate an exact location) and each company would receive 6,400 acres of land (later doubled to 12,800) and $48,000 in government bonds for every mile of track built. From the beginning, then, the building of the transcontinental railroad was set up in terms of a competition between the two companies. A railroad worker ultimately drove the final spike at 12:47 p.m. on May 10, 1869. Download an essay example of Transcontinental Railroad on FreeEssayHelp. The Union Pacific Railroad was the eastern half of the Transcontinental Railroad. The two lines met in Utah. That slaughter impacted Native Americans, who had hunted buffalo in moderation, and weakened their resistance to settlement of the west. The ...read more, 1. "The presence of Chinese immigrants did not create the economic uncertainties of the 1870s, but they were often blamed nonetheless.”. In 1869, a New York Times reporter experienced the ultimate in luxury—and he did so not in the parlor of a Gilded Age magnate, but on a train headed from Omaha, Nebraska to San Francisco, ...read more, The Underground Railroad was a network of people, African American as well as white, offering shelter and aid to escaped slaves from the South. In 1860, a young engineer named Theodore Judah identified the infamous Donner Pass in northern California (where a group of westward emigrants had become trapped in 1846) as an ideal location for constructing a railroad through the formidable Sierra Nevada mountains. Five miles long, the track ran from St. Louis to Cheltanham, Missouri. James Watt didn’t invent the steam engine, but he did create the world’s first modern one, and developed the means of measuring its power. The new rail connection eventually made it possible to travel in a train car from New York to San Francisco in just a week’s time. Trans… Transcontinental Railroad Effect, Essay Example. (Durant would also illegally set up a company called Crédit Mobilier, which guaranteed him and other investors risk-free profits from the railroad’s construction.) While the railroad's construction was a mammoth undertaking, its effects on the country were equally profound. The Transcontinental Railroad Was Initiated During the Civil War. It made the Western U.S. more important. In the West, the Central Pacific would be dominated by the “Big Four”–Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington and Mark Hopkins. The possibility of railroads connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts was discussed in the Congress even before the treaty with England which settled the question of the Oregon boundary in 1846. “The flood of goods and laborers who arrived in the West, combined with the boom and bust economy of the late-19th century, put pressure on the labor market," she says. The Pacific Railway Acts provided the development of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Liverpool and Manchester Railway The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in September 1830 marked the dawn of steam-powered rail travel. It was built between 1862 and 1869 across the United States. The overland journey–across mountains, plains, rivers and deserts–was risky and difficult, and many westward migrants instead chose to travel by sea, taking the six-month route around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, or risking yellow fever and other diseases by crossing the Isthmus of Panama and traveling via ship to San Francisco. The Central Pacific’s “Big Four”—Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker—figured out how to tap into government coffers to finance a business that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. The Pacific Railroad Act stipulated that the Central Pacific Railroad Company would start building in Sacramento and continue east across the Sierra Nevada, while a second company, the Union Pacific Railroad, would build westward from the Missouri River, near the Iowa-Nebraska border. In 1865, after struggling with retaining workers due to the difficulty of the labor, Charles Crocker (who was in charge of construction for the Central Pacific) began hiring Chinese laborers. Building the transcontinental railroad meant crossing all sorts of terrain, often involving trestles, bridges and tunnels. They decided on Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake; some 690 track-miles from Sacramento and 1,086 from Omaha. But that all changed on May 10, ...read more, Velvet cushions and gilt-framed mirrors. Disillusioned with his partners, Judah planned to recruit new investors to buy them out, but he caught yellow fever while crossing the Isthmus of Panama on his way east and died in November 1863, soon after the Central Pacific had spiked its first rails to ties in Sacramento. It developed as a convergence of several different clandestine efforts. In effect, they stumbled into a business model where the public takes the risk and those taking the subsidies reap the gain.”. That made it possible for Americans to visit distant locales that previously they might only have heard about. “What the transcontinental railroad did was bring the West into the world, and the world into the West,” explains James P. Ronda, a retired University of Tulsa history professor and co-author, with Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes, of The West the Railroads Made. Growing prejudice against and fear of the Chinese eventually manifested itself in Congress’ passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first of several laws that blocked Chinese laborers from entering the United States until 1943. The Transcontinental Railroad. After this lesson, students will be able to: 1. explain the impact of the Transcontinental Railroad on travel in America 2. compare and contrast travel before and after the Transcontinental Railroad 3. discuss the hardships faced by workers building the Transcontinental Railroad Graffiti in one of the original tunnels. | Source: https://bit.ly/2YTDBIk Another example of an engineering challenge overcome. In addition to helping invent the telegraph, Samuel Morse ...read more, Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer known as the father of modern astronomy. “When you’re walking or riding a horse, you experience the world one way, but when you’re sitting in a railroad car, you see it differently,” he says. | Source: https://bit.ly/2YTDBIk The engineering challenges to building a transcontinental railroad could be immense. The driving of the Golden Spike in 1869 marked the end of construction, which took seven years, employed thousands, and cost millions of dollars. By the summer of 1867, the Union Pacific was in Wyoming, having covered nearly four times as much ground as the Central Pacific. As Richard White, author of Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, says, “They put little of their own money in it —they didn’t have much. Building of the Transcontinental Railroad, circa 1869. In 1872, just a few years after the transcontinental railroad’s completion, Aaron Montgomery Ward started the first mail-order catalog business. By early 1869, the companies were working only miles from each other, and in March the newly inaugurated President Ulysses S. Grant announced he would withhold federal funds until the two railroad companies agreed on a meeting point. Most of them eventually disappeared, but others, such as Laramie, Wyoming, evolved into towns that provided rail terminals and repair facilities. Prior to its construction, most railways were horse-drawn and used to haul freight such as coal over short distances. It was built on land grants, government loans, and government guaranteed bonds. It was the project of two railroad companies: the Union Pacific built from the east, and the Central Pacific built from the west. The Cheyenne experience was different. Such networks can be via the tracks of either a single railroad or over those owned or controlled by multiple railway companies along a continuous route. The completion of the transcontinental railroad led to heightened racial tensions in California, as white workers from the East Coast and Europe could more easily travel westward where immigrant laborers were prevalent, says Princeton University Assistant Professor of History Beth Lew-Williams, author of The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America. And even though they made major contributions to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, these 15,000 to 20,000 ...read more, The Crédit Mobilier scandal of 1872-1873 damaged the careers of several Gilded Age politicians. Examples of continents are North America, Australia, and Thesis: The transcontinental railroad greatly increased Westward expansion in. There was a time when traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast meant riding for months in a horse-drawn wagon or stagecoach, or sailing southward to Panama and then crossing the Isthmus to board another ship for a journey up the other coast. By 1850, some 9,000 miles of track had been laid east of the Missouri River. Ramshackle settlements popped up wherever the railroad went, turning into hotbeds of drinking, gambling, prostitution and violence and producing the enduring mythology of the “Wild West.”. Meanwhile, in Omaha, Dr. Thomas Durant had illegally achieved a controlling interest in the Union Pacific Railroad Company, giving him complete authority over the project. This sample term paper is intended for reading purposes only. But once the railroad was built, the cost of a coast-to-coast trip became 85 percent less expensive. During the ceremony, Stanford took the first swing at the spike, but accidentally struck the tie instead. All were ambitious businessmen with no prior experience with railroads, engineering or construction. Huge database of popular free topics, dozen types of essays, term papers, case studies on Transcontinental Railroad. The Central Pacific broke through the mountains in late June, however, and the hard part was finally behind them. Chinese American Labor on the Transcontinental Railroad Pages: 9 (2221 words) The Trancontinental Railroad Pages: 10 (2407 words) Underground Railroad Pages: 9 (2141 words) Thirteen Colonies United Country To Transcontinental Nation Pages: 4 (806 words) Map of the transcontinental route of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad and its connections, circa 1883. Feasts of antelope, trout, berries and Champagne. “People come across the Atlantic on ships, get on trains, and end up in places such as western Nebraska,” he says. Telegraph cables immediately went out to President Grant and around the country with the news that the transcontinental railroad had been completed. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. "; Afterward they took jobs with the Transcontinental Railroad west from Omaha, Nebraska. Building of the Transcontinental Railroad, circa 1869. After the railroad was completed, the price dropped to $150 dollars. Transcontinental Railroad summary: The First Transcontinental Railroad was built crossing the western half of America and it was pieced together between 1863 and 1869. All Rights Reserved. In 1869 the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in the United States. A transcontinental railroad or transcontinental railway is contiguous railroad trackage that crosses a continental land mass and has terminals at different oceans or continental borders. At a signal from one of the other officials present on this historic day, Rice poured the water into the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds died from explosions, landslides, accidents and disease. Over the next seven years, the two companies would race toward each other from Sacramento, California on the one side to Omaha, Nebraska on the other, struggling against great risks before they met at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869. With the completion of the track, the travel time for making the 3,000-mile journey across the United States was cut from a matter of months to under a week. America’s first steam locomotive made its debut in 1830, and over the next two decades, railroad tracks linked many cities on the East Coast. When their loans came due, they refused to pay and the government had to sue. And, as Ronda notes, the first transcontinental railroad and the other lines that followed made it easy for immigrants to spread across the nation. In an 1872 article, naturalist John Muir wrote that the transcontinental railroad “annihilated” time and space. January 1863 – Central Pacific Railroad breaks ground on its portion of the railroad at Sacramento, California; the first rail is … Chinese immigrants working on the Northwest Pacific Railway in the 1880s. Construction started in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1864, but there were not many workers available, because so many men were still fighting in the Civil War. The golden spike was removed after the ceremony and replaced with traditional iron spikes. The Transcontinental Railroad Was A Marvel Of Engineering And Perseverance 1148 Words | 5 Pages. All Rights Reserved. There was a time when traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast meant riding for months in a horse-drawn wagon or stagecoach, or sailing southward to Panama and then crossing the Isthmus to board another ship for a journey up the other coast. In 1862, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies began building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from east to … Connecting the two American coasts made the economic export of Western resources to Eastern markets easier than ever before. This railroad was the work of two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, which built their lines as fast as they could until they met in Utah in 1869. For example, westward expansion increased because of the railroad. Transcontinental Railroad Fact Sheet Prior to the opening of the transcontinental railroad, it took four to six months to travel 2000 miles from the Missouri River to California by wagon. By that time, some 50,000 Chinese immigrants were living on the West Coast, many having arrived during the Gold Rush. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! The Transcontinental RailroadsThe Transcontinental Railroad consisted of ten major railroads that together would span the distance between the East and West Coasts of the United States. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. For instance, it brought thousands of hunters who killed the bison Native people relied on. As Ronda says, “It’s one of the transformative moments in American history.”. The first freight train to travel eastward from California carried a load of Japanese tea. On land grants, government loans, and one of the Railroad disrupted trade... 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