I. The Iron Colt Becomes an Iron Horse
After the Civil War, railroad production grew enormously, from 35,000 mi. of track laid in 1865 to a whopping 192,556 mi. of track laid in 1900.
Congress gave land to railroad companies totally 155,504,994 acres. For railroad routes, companies were allowed alternate milesquare Railroads gave land their value; towns where railroads ran became sprawling cities while those skipped by railroads sank into ghost
II. Spanning the Continent with Rails
1. Deadlock over where to build a transcontinental railroad was broken after the South seceded, and in 1862, Congress commissioned the Union Pacific Railroad to begin westward from Omaha, Nebraska, to goldrich
2. Over in California, the Central Pacific Railroad was in charge of extending the railroad eastward, and it was backed by the Big Four: including Leland Stanford, the exgovernor of California who had useful political connections, and Collis P. Huntington, an adept lobbyist.
○ The Central Pacific used Chinese workers, and received the same incentives as the Union Pacific, but it had to drill through the hard III. Binding the Country with Railroad Ties
1. Before 1900, four other transcontinental railroads were built 2. However, many pioneers overinvested on land, and the banks that supported them often failed and went bankrupt when the land wasn’t worth as much as initially thought. IV. Railroad Consolidation and Mechanization
1. Older eastern railroads, like the New York Central, headed by Cornelius Vanderbilt, often financed the successful western railroads.
2. Advancements in railroads included the steel rail, which was stronger and more enduring than the iron rail, the Westinghouse air brake which increased safety, the Pullman Palace Cars which were luxurious passenger cars, and telegraphs, doubleracking, and block signals.
V. Revolution by Railways
1. Railroads stitched the nation together, generated a huge market and lots of jobs, helped the rapid industrialization of America, and stimulated mining and agriculture in the West by bringing people and supplies to and from the areas where such work occurred.
2. Railroads helped people settle in the previously harsh Great Plains. 3. Due to railroads, the creation of four national time zones occurred on November 18, 1883, instead of each city having its own time zone 4. Railroads were also the makers of millionaires and the millionaire class. VI. Wrongdoing in Railroading
1. Railroads were not without corruption, as shown by the Credit Mobilier scandal. 2. Jay Gould made millions embezzling stocks from the Erie, Kansas Pacific, the Union Pacific, and the Texas and Pacific railroad companies. 3. One method of cheap moneymaking was called “stock watering,” in which railroad companies grossly overinflated the worth of their stock and sold them at huge profits. 4. As time passed, though, railroad giants entered into defensive alliances to show profits, and began the first of what would be called trusts, although at that time they were called “pools.” A pool (AKA, a “cartel”) is a group of supposed competitors who agree to work together, usually to set prices.
VII. Government Bridles the Iron Horse
1. People were aware of such injustice, but were slow to combat it. 2. The Grange was formed by farmers to combat such corruption, and many state efforts to stop the railroad monopoly occurred, but they were stopped when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Wabash case, in which it ruled that states could not regulate interstate
Wabash, St.Louis & Pacific Railroad Company v. Illinois commerce ,
such as trains.
3. The Interstate Commerce Act
, passed in 1887, banned rebates and pools and
required the railroads to publish their rates openly . The act was not a victory against ...
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