Presentation on theme: "SSUSH11. Railroads and the West Following the Civil War, the US continued to expand and become more industrialized. Railroads helped during this process."— Presentation transcript:
Railroads and the West Following the Civil War, the US continued to expand and become more industrialized. Railroads helped during this process by granting farmers, ranchers, and other settlers access to eastern markets and resources. In 1862 Congress coordinated an effort among railroad companies to build a transcontinental railroad. They passed the Pacific Railway Act to ensure that this happened. Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads joined their tracks at Promontory, Utah in 1869 to create the first cross-country rail line.
Pacific Railway Act This granted both the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railway companies the right to lay track. The Central Pacific would lay track eastward from the Pacific Ocean. The Union Pacific would lay track westward from Omaha, Nebraska. The railroads were granted federal land to sell as an incentive to lay the track. In return the companies had to transport goods at a discount price for the federal government.
Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Act About 15,000 Chinese were hired to build the Central Pacific railroad. After the railroad was completed, the Chinese posted a threat to the limited number of jobs in the West even though they were not citizens. In 1879 the California state constitution was rewritten to place restrictions on the hiring of workers from Asia. The Chinese Exclusion Act passed in 1882 effectively stalled the immigration of more Chinese workers.
Impact of Railroads With the expansion of the railroad system, many people abandoned their form of lifestyle to move westward. Many Irish and Chinese immigrants made up a large portion of the population in the West. Goods such as cattle and farm products crisscrossed the country. Those looking to make money fast looked to the railroads. In 1874 Jay Gould purchased the Union Pacific Railroad. He soon began buying up smaller railroads, quickly gaining control of the railway lines leading into NY City and Chicago. Gould and Vanderbilt were among a wealthy group of businessmen called robber barons. The goal of this group was to eliminate competition and instead create a monopoly, or total control of an industry.
Steel Industry and the Bessemer Process Railroads also contributed to the rise of the steel industry. In the 1880s, a man named Henry Bessemer developed a new method for making steel. This process was known as the Bessemer Process. Using this process it became very easy to make steel and very cheap. This led to a faster expansion of the railway system in the US.
Impacts of Steel Thanks to steel buildings could be built taller than ever before. By building taller buildings in cities such as New York and Chicago, this allowed them to save more room.
Leaders of Big Business John D. Rockefeller consolidated smaller companies he and his associates had owned to create Standard Oil. Rockefeller also used vertical integration, or the idea that you should own not only all producing companies but also supplying companies. This was know as the nations first Trust, or where several companies unite under one. Andrew Carnegie had total control of the steel industry. This allowed Carnegie to set price rates for railroads and for materials to build large scale buildings. At the end of this time period trusts are going to control railroads, sugar, and the meat industries.
Carnegie Sells Steel Industry and Government Reaction to Big Business Andrew Carnegie would eventually ended up selling his steel mills to J.P. Morgan. Morgan bought them from Carnegie for $500 million dollars, making Carnegie the richest man in the world. With several businesses controlling much of the US, Congress had to attempt to take control back. In1887, it passed the Interstate Commerce Act which called for reasonable and just, shipping rates. Congress followed this with the Sherman Anti-trust Act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraint and monopoly. This showed Congresss desire to limit the growth of monopolies and trusts.
Inventions Help Industrialization One of the most influential inventors during this time was Thomas Edison. Edison invented the light bulb, the phonograph, and motion picture camera. Edisons light bulb transformed how people lived and conducted business. Before electric light bulbs, people were limited to working only during day hours. Edison now helped businesses continue at night, and it created more opportunities for socializing.