5.2 The Development of the American Railroads Linking the East and West
Manifest Destiny Manifest Destiny -- 19th century belief that it was the US god-ordained destiny to rule North America from the east to the west coast The term “Manifest Destiny” would be used over and over again through out American history to justify stealing land from the Indians, stealing land from the Mexicans, and later, conquering islands such as the Philipines and Hawaii.
So here is what we know… The heart of America is still in the East Lots of money in the West East and West are disconnected So…
The Solution – Transcontinental Railroad Pacific Railway Act – signed by president Lincoln in 1862, it provided for the construction of a transcontinental railroad Two companies were in charge of building this rail line from opposite directions: 1. Union Pacific 2. Central Pacific To encourage speedy construction, the government granted: Money per mile of track All the land surrounding the tracks in the right of way HOW MIGHT THIS BECOME A PROBLEM?
Utah, the meeting point Omaha, Nebraska Union Pacific RR Sacramento, CA Central Pacific
The Race was On! Besides land grants along the right-of-way, each railroad was subsidized $16,000 per mile ($9.94/m) built over an easy grade, $32,000 mile ($19.88/m) in the high plains, and $48,000 per mile ($29.83/m) in the mountains. The race was on to see which railroad company could build the longest section of track. They would build crooked tracks (federal government had to send in men to keep them straight) Central Pacific build 10 miles in a day!
The Union Pacific Engineer Grenville Dodgewas in charge of the UP Education in civil engineering Union military companion Found pass through Black Hills while escaping Indians Leaves military to help the construction of the transcontinental RR
The Union Pacific hired Civil War soldiers, ex-criminals, and Irish immigrants.
The Central Pacific The original man in charge was Theodore Judah People thought building through the Sierra Nevadaswas impossible Convinced four Sacramento based business men to back him financially Eventually forced him out
The man who pushed Judah out Leland Standford– led a push to get Judah out Lawyer in the east, lost everything in a fire Moved west in the California Gold Rush Become a grocery story mogul in Sacramento Big 4 CP Stanford University
Early Immigrants Came Looking for Gold Large scale Chinese immigration to California began after news of the discovery of gold reached China. In 1851, nearly 3,000 Chinese came to California; more than 20,000 came in 1852. For the next two decades almost 8,000 new immigrants arrived from China each year. Chinese miners established themselves throughout the gold fields, especially in Calaveras, El Dorado and Amador counties. Many were independent miners or worked for Chinese companies. Some worked for non-Chinese. Others contributed indirectly as suppliers of goods and services.
The expendability of Chinese workers Generally paid one dollar per day Tunneling was a necessity through the Rockies Nitroglycerin had just been invented Tunnels became easier to blast But death rates of Chinese workers skyrocketed
The Last Spike It only took 4 years to complete the biggest Industrial project in American history The “final spike” ceremony was held on May 10th 1869 in Promontory Point Utah. Leland Stanford hammered in the last spike Telegraphs on hand made it the first “live” media event in US history Cannons blasted in NY, parade in Chicago, Liberty Bell was rang in Philly East to west coast used to take 6 months, now 1 week!
Train bringing Leland Sanford and the rest of the Big 4 to Promontory Summit, UT
Railroads Spur Growth and Change Railroads helped the economy by putting large amounts of money into steel, coal, timber, and by simply creating thousands and thousands of jobs In 1883, The American Railway Association divided the country into 4 time zones. WHY? Before, communities set their own times according to the sun Train wrecks kept occurring! This standardized US time
The Original Railroad Gangsta Cornelius Vanderbiltmade millions by connecting Chicago to New York and creating the New York Central rail line. He bought several smaller rail companies and combined them together. In 1871 he began construction of New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
Vanderbilt Poor family, quite school at age 11, used money from dad to buy a boat and started making money Notorious for being stingy with his money…never gave to poor until the very end of his life Drunk, adulterer, arrogant, and rude Honest, upfront, brave, and SUPER competitive His goal was to force competitors to be bought out…he once shut down all RR to Manhattan and cut off our biggest city…he won He gave away 1.5 million in his life to charity…then 107 million to his son when he died Donated 1 million to create Vanderbilt University
still the largest home in the US with over 175,000 sq feet
intercoms, elevators, fire alarms, and a two story library…big deals in the late 1800s
Rail Road Corruption Credit Mobilier was a construction company that was owned by the men who owned the Union Pacific The owners hired themselves to do the construction work for the UP, and charged whatever they wanted because the RR’s were backed by federal dollars Men made millions and almost bankrupted the Union Pacific It involved Oakes Ames who was a member of Congress and the Credit Mobilier. This scandal was revealed during the 1872 elections. No member of the company was charged due to Ames relationship with Congress.
Consequences of Credit Mobilier The scandal created the impression amongst the public that all the railroad entrepreneurs were “robber barons” Jay Gould bowls on Wall Street with balls labeled “Trickery,” and “False Reports.” The pins are labeled “Banker,” “Inexperienced Investors,” “Small Operator,” and “Stock Broker.”