The Second Industrial Revolution was sparked by the creation of the railroad. During the Civil War, railroads existed and were helpful in bringing supplies to troops, but they weren’t very reliable as they would only go on for as long as the owner of the railroad had land. When the owner of the railroad ran out of land, the railroad would end, and people would have to move the things from the railroad to another railroad. People did realize, however, how well a railroad could work if they were all connected. They found that they could make money from the people using their railroad and riding on the trains, and soon people connected their local railroads together. Railroad barons, like Cornelius Vanderbilt, bought small railroads from owners and consolidated, or connected, them together to make a large railroad. Through the help of immigrant labor, a transcontinental railroad (a railroad that goes all the way across the country) was created, made up of the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads.
The railroad companies began competing for their customers. They would offer rebates, or discounts, to people to use their railroads. People would use their railroads because of the rebates instead of other railroads, so other railroads would offer rebates. This was the process which continued on-constant competition, as each railroad fought to give the best prices. For the normal person to use a railroad sometimes these prices were fine, however, farmers had a problem. They wanted to be able to ship their products places to sell, but they didn’t have the money to pay the high prices the railroad companies asked for. This made them angry. Railroads were also the reason that small factories shut down. They were no longer needed because larger factories produced... [continues]
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