American West - The Railroads
COAST TO COAST
For what 3 reasons did the government want to develop railroads in the 1860s? To enforce law and order in Western territories / to trade with the Far East from Western ports / to fulfil Manifest Destiny, enabling migrants to reach far-West America
When was the Pacific Railways Act passed? 1862
What did the Pacific Railways Act set up? Two companies, Union Pacific which would lay track towards the west and Central Pacific which would lay track towards the east
Why did railroad companies accept the US government's offer of land? They could build tracks without having to spend shareholders money on buying the land.
What were the five major problems in railroad construction? Extreme terrain & land / Poor living and working conditions / Shortages of workers / Hostility from Indians / Getting supplies
How many kilometres of track would the companies build per day? 11km (on average)
In which year did the first two railroad companies meet? 1869
Where did the first two railroad companies meet? Promontory Point
IMPACT AND BENEFITS
By 1890, how many transcontinental railways had been built? Six
How did building the railroads help the unemployed? Created a lot of jobs, as lots of different skills were needed
How did building the railroads benefit industry? Industries in iron, steel and timber benefited hugely as they grew to supply the railways.
How did the railroads help maintain law and order? Travel became far easier from coast to coast, so law enforcers could bring all American people under the same federal laws
How did the railroads benefit the homesteaders? Wind pumps, drills, barbed wire, mechanical reapers etc were brought to homesteaders by the railroads. They also brought furniture, clothes and appliances to homes on the Great Plains.
How did the railroads benefit farming? Agricultural produce could be sold in more distant markets, therefore creating higher demand that farming could meet.
How did building the railroads help with cattle ranching? Railroads brought cattle to new markets and made the cattle business nationwide.
What other benefits (not already mentioned) did the railway bring? Growth of new cities like LA / Trade with the Far East in west coast ports / Nationwide contact with distant family / Provided opportunity for thousands of migrants to settle in the West
EFFECT ON THE INDIANS
Why did Indians attack railroad builders? They (correctly) suspected that the railroads they were building would destroy their way of life.
In what 5 main ways did the railroads destroy Indian life? Railways criss-crossed across hunting grounds / Brought goods to homesteads, allowing them to grow and take up land / Brought barbed wire to homesteaders who fenced in their ranches, meaning Indians could no longer roam / People were 'owning' land that the Indians believed could never be owned / Trains brought those who shot buffalo for sport, destroying huge herds of buffalo
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