Transcontinental Railroad Research Paper

1177 Words5 Pages
Before the Transcontinental Railroad was built in 1869, the geographic isolation of California and land in the West coast was problematic. Much of the problem was that transportation and trade through paddlewheel steamers and stagecoach’s displayed to be tedious and competitive in comparison to what the efficiency of the Transcontinental Railroad could and would soon achieve. However, soon an even bigger problem would arise as the new form of transportation created an exclusive control over the railroad industry known as a monopoly. The interest of building a Transcontinental Railroad rose heavily in the 1850’s when a man named Theodore Judah became enticed with the plan after building a short line from Sacramento to Folsom. Judah’s plan led…show more content…
In 1861, Judah went to Washington as a lobbyist for the Central Pacific, which successfully led to the Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864. These laws signed by President Lincoln enabled the Central Pacific to build eastward from Sacramento and the Union Pacific, who was commissioned by Congress, to build westward from Omaha, Nebraska. (Hall) This act allowed federal government to give both these companies extensive bonds, loans and land grants for the completion of the railroad. Although, it seemed as though Judah’s dreams were beginning to manifest, he had just entered into a whirlwind of problems now that construction was on the rise. Moral differences arose when the Big Four’s main concern was profits and Judah’s desire was to build a great and quality railroad for the people. PBS’s biography on Judah stated that, “He felt his partners' moral flexibility compromised the visionary nature of the enterprise. It also contradicted Judah's engineering. Tensions mounted as the businessmen consolidated their influence, leaving Judah in the dark as to their decisions.” Due to this, Judah set sail for New York in October 1863 in hopes that some eastern investor would back him in buying out the Big Four. Tragically, Judah got yellow fever and died shortly after arriving to New York. (Bean) The Big Four had no remorse for his death and showed no acknowledgement of credit to Judah for his significant part in the development of the Central Pacific. In January 1863 the Big Four began construction of the early sections of the track that, after budget crises and cash shortages, led to profits from freight and passenger revenues (Bean). When white workers began demanding high wages, Stanford proposed they use the Chinese as their laborers instead. Over 10,000

More about Transcontinental Railroad Research Paper

Open Document