Railroads

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Railroads

  1. 1. THE RAILROAD … the road between Europe and Asia… <ul><li>Essential Questions: </li></ul><ul><li>What was the Pacific Railway Act? </li></ul><ul><li>Who built the railroad? </li></ul><ul><li>What was the impact of the railroad? </li></ul>
  2. 2. The Transcontinental Railroad <ul><li>It linked Omaha, Nebraska with Sacramento, California </li></ul><ul><li>A decades long project to unite the country </li></ul><ul><li>One of the crowning achievements of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency </li></ul><ul><li>Considered the greatest technological feat of the 19 th century </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Pacific Railway Act <ul><li>The American Civil War was raging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unity of the country became pivotal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A secessionist movement in California was slowly becoming more popular </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In May 1862, the Senate approved an act that called for the construction of the railroad </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lincoln signed it into law in July </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The act established two main lines: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Central Pacific </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Started in the West </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Union Pacific </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Started in the East </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Pacific Railway Act <ul><li>It said that each railway was required to build only 50 miles each year </li></ul><ul><li>The government offered each railway: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Land grants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help to pay for the construction depending on the terrain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Soon both railroads began to see which company could build the longest section of track </li></ul><ul><li>The route followed the main trails used for the opening of the West </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It followed the Oregon Trial </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Laborers <ul><li>Union Pacific track was built by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Irish laborers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Veterans of the Union and Confederate armies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Central Pacific track was built primarily by Chinese immigrants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At first Chinese laborers were thought to be too weak or fragile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But soon thousands of Chinese immigrants were hired to build the railroad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thousands more were ‘imported’ from China </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Golden Spike <ul><li>Six years after the construction began the two railroads met at Promontory Summit, Utah </li></ul><ul><li>On May 10, 1869 the Golden Spike was driven into the track </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It symbolized the completion of the transcontinental railroad </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The world's first ‘live’ media event </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The hammers and spike were wired to the telegraph line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each hammer stroke was heard as a click at telegraph stations nationwide </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Impact of the Railroad <ul><li>Travel from coast-to-coast was cut from 6 months to just 1 week </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced the price of goods </li></ul><ul><li>Psychologically united East and West </li></ul><ul><li>Population Explosion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Settlers rushed into the west </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 1890 the US Census declared the American frontier was gone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Served as a symbol that American ingenuity, money, determination, and organization could accomplish great tasks </li></ul>

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