How Important Are Railroads to American Industrialization?

Topics: United States, Native Americans in the United States, Southern United States Pages: 3 (708 words) Published: November 27, 2005
Before the 19th century, American people relied on solely trade and farming in order to survive. After the American Revolution and the American Civil War, people noticed the importance of manufacturing and industry. This is when American development in industry started. However, railroads probably contributed the most to American industrialization. Without railroads during this time period, American development, especially in westward expansion, development of market/industry, and development of agriculture, would have been almost impossible.

The construction of railroads encouraged westward expansion. When the construction of ¡°the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869,¡± (Era, 72) it provided many benefits for the developing American country. These railroads ¡°made it easier to settle the West¡± (Era, 72). Railroads were able to carry ¡°cattle to Eastern markets and supplies to the Western settlers¡± (Era, 72). It also took less time to transport goods and products through trains; trains ¡°cut cross-country travel time from 26 days to 7 days,¡± (Era, 72) which was fast considering the time period. Because the railroads were such an efficient way for people living in the West to receive supplies they need and send supplies to sell, people had no worries about not being able to survive in the West. Also, railroads contributed to the growth of western cities. The railroads ¡°[linked] previously isolated cities, towns, and settlements¡± (Danzer, 254) with each other and allowed the people living in those places to trade with each other. Railroads were able to promote the growth of these cities as well as other cities. Many cities, such as Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington, arose next to railroads and ¡°owed their prosperity¡¦ to the railroads¡± (Danzer, 255). Because railroads not only helped populate the country, but also spread America¡¯s border and create more cities. Through these cities, factories and industries were able to be...

Cited: Danzer, Klor de Alva, Krieger, Wilson, and Woloch. The Americans: Reconstruction through the 20th Century. Evanston: McDougal Littell Inc., 1999.
Era 6: Development of the Industrial United States. (From Ms. Willis.)
"First Transcontinental Railroad." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 2 Nov. 2005. GNU. 4 Nov. 2005 .
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