And the railroad and other rail routes that followed made it easy for large numbers of hunters to travel westward and kill millions of buffalo. In the 1760s, the Scottish inventor began tinkering with an earlier version of the more, Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse (1791-1872) and other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication. In the West, the Central Pacific would be dominated by the “Big Four”–Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington and Mark Hopkins. When their loans came due, they refused to pay and the government had to sue. Upon completion of the railroad, many Chinese workers returned to California in search of employment. 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. 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. Three other ties—one of gold, one of silver and gold, and one of silver, were also presented at the ceremony. 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. 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. 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 company suffered bloody attacks on its workers by Native Americans–including members of the Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes–who were understandably threatened by the progress of the white man and his “iron horse” across their native lands. To blast through the mountains, the Central Pacific built huge wooden trestles on the western slopes and used gunpowder and nitroglycerine to blast tunnels through the granite. 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. For instance, it brought thousands of hunters who killed the bison Native people relied on. [] 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. 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. At a signal from one of the other officials present on this historic day, Rice poured the water into the Pacific Ocean. 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. Prior to its construction, most railways were horse-drawn and used to haul freight such as coal over short distances. They sold or gave shares in this more, 1. Two Competing Companies: The Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad, Danger Ahead: Building the Transcontinental Railroad. By 1850, some 9,000 miles of track had been laid east of the Missouri River. 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) This Essay on History of Transcontinental Railroad was donated by students like you who want to improve your writing style and abilities. 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. It developed as a convergence of several different clandestine efforts. William F. Chew, Nameless Builders of the Transcontinental Railroad: The Chinese Workers of the Central Pacific Railroad (Bloomington, IN: Trafford, 2003), 40-45. The two chief sources used were Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 written by Stephen Ambrose and Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad by David Haward Bain. | Source: Another example of an engineering challenge overcome. 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. The railroad initiated a new series of trade and communication that triggered the economic growth in the USA. By the summer of 1867, the Union Pacific was in Wyoming, having covered nearly four times as much ground as the Central Pacific. 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 most remarkable fact about the transcontinental Railroad was how well Americans understood its purpose, and its benefits. Most of them eventually disappeared, but others, such as Laramie, Wyoming, evolved into towns that provided rail terminals and repair facilities. Although Europe is crisscrossed by railways, the railroads within Europe are usually not considered transcontinental, with the possible exception of the historic Orient Express. In the 1860s, a six-month stagecoach trip across the U.S. cost $1,000 (about $20,000 in today’s dollars), according to the University of Houston’s Digital History website. 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 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 history of the United States has been influenced by England in many ways. Huge database of popular free topics, dozen types of essays, term papers, case studies on Transcontinental Railroad. 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. Building the transcontinental railroad meant crossing all sorts of terrain, often involving trestles, bridges and tunnels. 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. Lobbying efforts over the next several years failed due to growing sectionalism in Congress, but the idea remained a potent one. Hundreds died from explosions, landslides, accidents and disease. 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. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. “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. 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. “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. 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. The “creation of the said rail trail in 1832 specifically allowed for the advocating of better trade transport” (Tzu-Kuei, 1999). During the ceremony, Stanford took the first swing at the spike, but accidentally struck the tie instead. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. The golden spike was made of 17.6-karat gold and was a gift of David Hewes, a San Francisco contractor and friend of “Big Four” member Leland Stanford. “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. "The presence of Chinese immigrants did not create the economic uncertainties of the 1870s, but they were often blamed nonetheless.”. The railroad also facilitated westward expansion, escalating conflicts between Native American tribes and settlers who now had easier access to new territories. As Ronda explains, it changed the way that people viewed distances. Transcontinental definition is - extending or going across a continent. As Ronda says, “It’s one of the transformative moments in American history.”. 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. They borrowed heavily to finance the project, and exploited legal loopholes to get the most possible funds from the government for their planned track construction. All were ambitious businessmen with no prior experience with railroads, engineering or construction. 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. The Transcontinental Railroad On July 4, 1870, a Boston trade official named Alex H. Rice stood on a San Francisco beach. By 1880, the transcontinental railroad was transporting $50 million worth of freight each year. The two lines met in Utah. Map of the transcontinental route of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad and its connections, circa 1883. | Source: The engineering challenges to building a transcontinental railroad could be immense. 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. “People come across the Atlantic on ships, get on trains, and end up in places such as western Nebraska,” he says. transcontinental railroad A train route across the United States, finished in 1869. Download an essay example of Transcontinental Railroad on FreeEssayHelp. The exact dates of its existence are not known, but it operated more, They toiled through back-breaking labor during both frigid winters and blazing summers. By 1861, Judah had enlisted a group of investors in Sacramento to form the Central Pacific Railroad Company. 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. After General Grenville Dodge, a hero of the Union Army, took control as chief engineer, the Union Pacific finally began to move westward in May 1866. Towns and cities that sprung up along the railroad further encroached upon what had been wild areas. (By contrast, the work force of the Union Pacific was mainly Irish immigrants and Civil War veterans.) The Transcontinental Railroad. They decided on Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake; some 690 track-miles from Sacramento and 1,086 from Omaha. It was the project of two railroad companies: the Union Pacific built from the east, and the Central Pacific built from the west. The golden spike was removed after the ceremony and replaced with traditional iron spikes. Construction of the Union Pacific section of the Transcontinental Railroad across Devil's Gate Bridge, Utah, circa 1869. “What the transcontinental railroad did was bring the West … 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. The site offers visitors a brief history of the building of the transcontinental railroad as well as information on the history and technology of 19th century railroads. 3 Leland Stanford, “Statement Made to the President of the United States, and Secretary of the Interior, of Progress of the Work” (Sacramento: H. S. Crocker & Co., 1865). (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.) By mid-1862, the United States … In the second half of the 1800's, the railroad, which was inve 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 … The term “horsepower” originated as a marketing tool. Chinese immigrants working on the Northwest Pacific Railway in the 1880s. The Transcontinental Railroad Was Initiated During the Civil War. 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. 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. It worked by transmitting electrical signals over a wire laid between stations. The Central Pacific broke through the mountains in late June, however, and the hard part was finally behind them. 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. 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. TransContinental Railroad If any act symbolized the taming of the Northwest frontier, it was the driving of the final spike to complete the nations first transcontinental railroad.1 The first railroad west of the Mississippi River was opened on December 23, 1852.
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