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1 What are the effects of the finalization of the transcontinental railroad? Closing of the “Wild West”-ecological disaster –American Character Changed?

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Presentation on theme: "1 What are the effects of the finalization of the transcontinental railroad? Closing of the “Wild West”-ecological disaster –American Character Changed?"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 What are the effects of the finalization of the transcontinental railroad? Closing of the “Wild West”-ecological disaster –American Character Changed? Spurs industrialization Tie the country together/decline in sectionalism Decline in Native American societies Corruption/Speculation Population shift Time zones created Millionaire class created (i.e Vanderbilt) 1886 – Supreme Court’s Wabash decision!!! Interstate Commerce Act-1887!!!  the formation of the Interstate Commerce Commission

2 2 The Iron Horse – Age of the Iron Rail Railroads were paid for through land grants and government subsidies. –What problems does this raise? Construction of railroad helped by Civil War. Union Pacific (East to West) construction begins during Civil War Central Pacific (West to East) begins after Golden Spike driven in Ogden, Utah 1869

3 3 Golden Spike driven in Ogden, Utah 1869 EFFECT: United East and West; opens trade with Asia

4 RAILROADS OPEN THE WEST US govt. gives huge land grants to railroad companies to encourage construction Union Pacific and Central Pacific meet at Promontory Rock, Utah on May 10, Railroads built with Irish, Chinese, Mexican and African American labor. Homesteaders and immigrants flood west on new railways.

5 Map: Transcontinental Railroads and Federal Land Grants, Transcontinental Railroads and Federal Land Grants, Despite the laissez-faire ideology that argued against government interference in business, Congress heavily subsidized American railroads and gave them millions of acres of land. As illustrated in the box, belts of land were reserved on either side of a railroad's right of way. Until the railroad claimed the exact one-mile-square sections it chose to possess, all such sections within the belt remained closed to settlement. Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

6 Who wins the West? By 1900 over 400,000 families homestead Only 10% of the land actually goes to homesteaders – speculators, railroads and ranchers take advantage –Pick up foreclosed properties after families fail Many find land too poor to use successfully Exodusters move to Kansas Oklahoma, 1889 = “Sooners,” last “land grab” of “free land” (land that had been Indian Territory)

7 New Towns and Markets Examine the map on the next slide to understand how the transcontinental railroad changed the economy.

8 Map: Mining and Cattle Frontiers, Mining and Cattle Frontiers, The western mining and ranching bonanzas lured thousands of Americans hoping to get rich quick. Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

9 Crédit Mobilier Scandal Basically a “front company” formed by the financiers/builders of the Transcontinental Railroad Insiders of the Union Pacific Railroad hired and paid themselves as much as $50,000 a mile for construction that cost $30,000. Stock was sold to influential Congressmen to keep them quiet. New York Sun unearthed the scandal and kept attention on the “Trial of Innocents” = public figures in the Grant Administration and Congress that were involved. Only 2 Congressmen formally censured. Even Vice President Colfax escaped serious charges.

10 10 CLASS STRUGGLE? 1877: Decline in Sectional Struggle marks opening of the class struggle Panic of 1873 hits country hard Railroad workers strike over 10% pay cuts Pres. Hayes crushes the strike by sending in federal troops in 1877 Strikers tear apart on ethnic lines –Irish in West blame Chinese  “Kearneyites” –Wave of anti-Chinese sentiment Chinese Exclusion Act is passed

11 11 Railroad strike of 1877 This engraving depicts striking railroad workers in Martinsburg, West Virginia, as they stop a freight train on July 17, 1877, in the opening days of the great railway strike of that year. Engravings such as this, which show the strikers to be heavily armed, may or may not have been accurate depictions of events. But the photography of that day could rarely capture live action, and the technology of the day could not reproduce photographs in newspapers, so the public's understanding of events such as the 1877 strike was formed through artists' depictions. (Library of Congress) Railroad strike of 1877 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

12 12 The Baltimore Railroad Strike & Riot of 1877

13 13 STRIKES PULLMAN STRIKE 1894 Pullman Comp. cuts wages during Panic of 1893 Does not raise after ends Workers strike US troops end it Debs arrested Workers Blacklisted LABOR WEAK GREAT STRIKE OF 1877 Railroad strike Paralyzed rail & commerce Pres. Hayes Sent US troops to end it CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT

14 14 Railroads and Corruption SCANDALS  Credit Mobilier  Stock watering  Bribery of officeholders  Creation of “pools”  Secret “rebates” REFORM EFFORTS  Granger Laws (reversed by Wabash case)  Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 Were these effective? Why or Why Not?

15 Roots of POPULISM 1886: Supreme Court’s Wabash decision struck down Granger laws, Grangers decline afterwards Grangers replaced by Greenback Labor Party, run unsuccessfully for presidency in Then decline. Succeeded by Farmers’ Alliance, led by Mary E. Lease Eventually, gains momentum. At its height, Farmers’ Alliance elects 4 governors and 40 congressmen.

16 16 Interstate Commerce Act Sec. 5. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act to enter into any contract, agreement, or combination with any other common carrier or carriers for the pooling of freights of different and competing railroads, or to divide between them the aggregate or net proceeds of the earnings of such railroads, or any portion thereof; and in any case of an agreement for the pooling of freights as aforesaid, each day of its continuance shall be deemed a separate offense.

17 17 What are the effects of the finalization of the transcontinental railroad? Closing of the “Wild West”-ecological disaster Spurs industrialization Tie the country together/decline in sectionalism Decline in Native American societies Corruption/Speculation Population shift Time zones created Millionaire class created (i.e Vanderbilt) 1886 – Supreme Court’s Wabash decision!!! Interstate Commerce Act-1887!!!  the formation of the Interstate Commerce Commission


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