How Did the Transcontinental Railroad Affect Us Commerce

How Did the Transcontinental Railroad Affect Us Commerce


The Transcontinental Railroad | Article

The Bear on of the Transcontinental Railroad

American Heritage Centre, Academy of Wyoming

On May 10, 1869, as the terminal spike was driven in the Utah desert, the blows were heard across the country. Telegraph wires wrapped around spike and sledgehammer transmitted the impact instantaneously east and west. In San Francisco and New York, wires had been connected to cannons facing outward beyond the body of water. When the betoken from the spike came through, the cannons fired. The world was put on notice: the transcontinental railroad was completed and America was moving to the forefront of the earth’s stage.

The Earth Grew Smaller

One day later, the showtime transcontinental freight train rumbled out of California on its way to the e coast. Information technology carried in its hold an emissary of the Asian markets: a shipment of Japanese teas. On May 15, though the road required hundreds of thousands of dollars in patchwork along its length, regular passenger service opened for concern. Travelers could make the trip between San Francisco and New York in a week. No longer did passengers or cargo accept to accept the treacherous road across ocean and Panama that had killed railroad advocate Theodore Judah. The coasts were continued — and the world as Americans knew it had grown smaller.

A Competing Canal

Railroad pioneer Asa Whitney had once dreamed an iron route would re-eye the world toward America, making it a conduit of exchange between Asia and Europe. In this sense, his vision of the 1000 project remained unfulfilled. Only half-dozen months after the coming together at Promontory Superlative, workers half the world away consummated their own awe-inspiring feat of engineering science. Opened in November, 1869, Egypt’south Suez Culvert linked Asia and India to Europe by a single waterway, thus ensuring that exchange between the two regions would proceed to circumvent American soil.

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Surging Interstate Merchandise

Notwithstanding, the transformation achieved in intracontinental trade was substantial. Within ten years of its completion, the railroad shipped $l meg worth of freight coast to declension every year. Simply as it opened the markets of the west coast and Asia to the east, information technology brought products of eastern industry to the growing populace beyond the Mississippi. The railroad ensured a production boom, equally industry mined the vast resources of the center and western continent for use in production. The railroad was America’s first technology corridor.

Improved Public Soapbox

As information technology encouraged the growth of American business, so too did it promote evolution of the nation’s public discourse and intellectual life. Americans could travel across the length of the continent in a matter of days, and gaze upon their country in its entirety from the windows of their railroad train cars. Conversations begun in the e concluded in the due west. Books written in San Francisco found homes on New York shelves but one calendar week later their publication. The rails carried more than appurtenances; they provided a conduit for ideas, a pathway for discourse. With the completion of its nifty railroad, America gave birth to a transcontinental civilisation. And the route further engendered another profound alter in the American listen. Here was manifest destiny wrought in atomic number 26; here were two coasts united; hither was an interior open to settlement. Distances shrank, but identification to land and young man American grew in changed proportion.

A Disaster for Native Americans

Non everyone would benefit from that transformation. The transcontinental railroad was non the beginning of white settlers’ battles with Native Americans. Nor was it the concluding boom in the coffin. But it was an irrevocable mark of encroaching white guild, that unstoppable force which would force Indians onto reservations within decades. By 1890, even the Powder River Valley — the rich hunting ground so hard won by crimson Deject and the Oglala Sioux — would be lost. New treaties scattered the Indians to reservations and opened the concluding great Native American property to the settlers and so steadily branching outward from the fe road. And the buffalo herds upon which Indians depended had been nearly depleted. They were easy prey to sport-hunters brought to the plains by the carload. More disastrously, the railroad introduced the herds to American industrial production, for which they became one more resource to be mined en masse. Millions of buffalo barbarous to indiscriminate slaughter, their hides shipped back along the rails to the markets of the East.

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A Spider web of Rails

The transcontinental railroad did not long remain the sole venue of travel through America’due south center. Lines spiderwebbed outward from its branch points, conveying due north and south the settlers coming west to swallow millions of acres of land. Past 1900 a number of routes ran parallel — the Northern Pacific and Southern Pacific among them — reaching westward from Mississippi to the Pacific just like the pioneering road.

How Did the Transcontinental Railroad Affect Us Commerce

Source: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/tcrr-impact-transcontinental-railroad/