“Pacific Railroad Act”

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Railroads were a very hot topic in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. With the help from the advancement in technology and the civil war, the federal government was allowed to speed along the process of improving transportation for transporting individuals as well as products at a faster and cheaper rate. In the late 1820’s the first railroad to take the tracks was a small steam locomotive on the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad. This train traveled a small distance from Albany to Schenectady and this is what was just the beginning of what was to become a thriving railroad industry. The transcontinental railroad is what lead to the change in economy, growth of natural recourses and agriculture, and the aid in the settlement of the west.

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With the help of the federal government passing the Pacific Railroad Act which provided land grants to railways, this industry was able to make its entrance into what is now a great and easy way for transportation. The invention of the railroads made for a burst in political and social encounters which led to a fast-growing economy. The transcontinental railroad allowed for faster transportation of goods which tremendously boosted the economy and enhanced individuals’ wealth. The demand for steel, iron and lumber skyrocketed which extensively helped the economy to thrive. This also allowed for new jobs to open up for individuals and allowed more goods to be shipped all across the United States. Railroads provided large cities with food, materials, fuel and lots more which made individuals daily life tasks much easier than before and completely changed our society forever.

The railroad helped to bring people and machinery to the recourses. This did end up hurting small business because they could not compete with the large businesses who had easy access to readily available capital. This ended up affecting agriculturists, ranchers, fish and tons more due to the huge expansion, covering almost 165,000 miles. This caused farmers to move west with the railroads to take advantage of the cheaper land and Homestead Act lands. Although more than 400,000 people received land and the number of crops being produced doubled, farmers were still having trouble getting out of debt. Farmers often bought newer and larger machinery which led to higher crop yields. Thinking they would eventually come out of debt, this actually caused them to go more into debt because of overproduction. Farmers put themselves into debt by producing so many crops and causing the prices to drastically drop due to overproduction. The challenges faced by Americans became very severe. Not only were farmers dealing with overproduction problems and dropping prices, but the problem of high tariffs was also hurting them. As tariffs rose, farmers were not seeing the rise in their crop prices thus making them pay the inflated prices but not receiving anything in return.

After the first transcontinental railroad was created many individuals began to move west since it was cheaper and much easier to travel. Moving west allowed individuals cheaper and more vast amounts of land, easier access to supplies, mining opportunities and much more.

The transcontinental railroad has forever changed the way of living for Americans. The transportation system has been thriving ever since the first railroad opened in the early 1800s. The movement of anything from fuel to food and everything in between has most definitely helped to make many cities thrive over the years. The change in economy, growth of natural recourses and agriculture, and the aid in the settlement of the west is what helped to shape the United States so that we can live as we do today.

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"Pacific Railroad Act". (2021, Mar 20). Retrieved January 30, 2023 , from
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