New

10 Ways the Transcontinental Railroad Changed America

10 Ways the Transcontinental Railroad Changed America



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

There was a time when traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast meant riding for months in a horse-drawn wagon or stagecoach, or sailing southward to Panama and then crossing the Isthmus to board another ship for a journey up the other coast. But that all changed on May 10, 1869, when railroad baron Leland Stanford whacked in a ceremonial gold spike to mark the joining together of the tracks of the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad in Promontory, Utah, to form the transcontinental railroad. The new rail connection eventually made it possible to travel in a train car from New York to San Francisco in just a week’s time.

Some 21,000 workers—from Irish-American Civil War veterans, freed slaves and Mormon pioneers to Chinese laborers—had been recruited to perform the hard and often dangerous work of laying the 1,776 miles of track. By one estimate, the project cost roughly $60 million, about $1.2 billion in today’s money, though other sources put the amount even higher.

While the railroad's construction was a mammoth undertaking, its effects on the country were equally profound. Here are some of the ways that the first transcontinental railroad—and the many other transcontinental lines that followed it—changed America.

1. It made the Western U.S. more important.

“What the transcontinental railroad did was bring the West into the world, and the world into the West,” explains James P. Ronda, a retired University of Tulsa history professor and co-author, with Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes, of The West the Railroads Made. In particular, it helped turn California from a once-isolated place to a major economic and political force, and helped lead to the state’s rapid growth.

2. It made commerce possible on a vast scale.

By 1880, the transcontinental railroad was transporting $50 million worth of freight each year. In addition to transporting western food crops and raw materials to East Coast markets and manufactured goods from East Coast cities to the West Coast, the railroad also facilitated international trade.

The first freight train to travel eastward from California carried a load of Japanese tea. “The Constitution provided the legal framework for a single national market for trade goods; the transcontinental railroad provided the physical framework,” explains Henry W. Brands, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and author of Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West. “Together they gave the United States the single largest market in the world, which provided the basis for the rapid expansion of American industry and agriculture to the point where the U.S. by the 1890s had the most powerful economy on the planet.”

3. It made travel more affordable.

In the 1860s, a six-month stagecoach trip across the U.S. cost $1,000 (about $20,000 in today’s dollars), according to the University of Houston’s Digital History website. But once the railroad was built, the cost of a coast-to-coast trip became 85 percent less expensive. That made it possible for Americans to visit distant locales that previously they might only have heard about.

4. It changed where Americans lived.

During the railroad’s construction, numerous temporary “hell on wheels” towns of tents and wooden shacks sprung up along the route to provide living quarters for workers. Most of them eventually disappeared, but others, such as Laramie, Wyoming, evolved into towns that provided rail terminals and repair facilities. Additionally, about 7,000 cities and towns across the country began as Union Pacific depots and water stops. And, as Ronda notes, the first transcontinental railroad and the other lines that followed made it easy for immigrants to spread across the nation. “People come across the Atlantic on ships, get on trains, and end up in places such as western Nebraska,” he says.

5. It altered Americans’ concept of reality.

In an 1872 article, naturalist John Muir wrote that the transcontinental railroad “annihilated” time and space. As Ronda explains, it changed the way that people viewed distances. “When you’re walking or riding a horse, you experience the world one way, but when you’re sitting in a railroad car, you see it differently,” he says. “In the West, where the distances are so great, the railroad brought near and far closer together.” The railroad schedules also helped to push the United States into changing how it marked time, leading to the adoption of standard time zones in 1883.

6. It helped create the Victorian version of Amazon.

In 1872, just a few years after the transcontinental railroad’s completion, Aaron Montgomery Ward started the first mail-order catalog business. As Ronda notes, the first transcontinental railroad—and other transcontinental lines that followed—made it possible to sell products far and wide without a physical storefront, and enabled people all over the country to furnish their homes and keep up with the latest fashion trends.

7. It took a heavy toll on the environment.

The massive amount of wood needed to build the railroad, including railroad ties, support beams for tunnels and bridges, and sheds, necessitated cutting down thousands of trees, which devastated western forests. Towns and cities that sprung up along the railroad further encroached upon what had been wild areas. And the railroad and other rail routes that followed made it easy for large numbers of hunters to travel westward and kill millions of buffalo. That slaughter impacted Native Americans, who had hunted buffalo in moderation, and weakened their resistance to settlement of the west.

8. It increased racial conflicts.

The completion of the transcontinental railroad led to heightened racial tensions in California, as white workers from the East Coast and Europe could more easily travel westward where immigrant laborers were prevalent, says Princeton University Assistant Professor of History Beth Lew-Williams, author of The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America.

Upon completion of the railroad, many Chinese workers returned to California in search of employment. “The flood of goods and laborers who arrived in the West, combined with the boom and bust economy of the late-19th century, put pressure on the labor market," she says. "The presence of Chinese immigrants did not create the economic uncertainties of the 1870s, but they were often blamed nonetheless.”

Growing prejudice against and fear of the Chinese eventually manifested itself in Congress’ passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first of several laws that blocked Chinese laborers from entering the United States until 1943.

9. It pioneered government-financed capitalism.

The Central Pacific’s “Big Four”—Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker—figured out how to tap into government coffers to finance a business that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. As Richard White, author of Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, says, “They put little of their own money in it —they didn’t have much. It was built on land grants, government loans, and government guaranteed bonds. When their loans came due, they refused to pay and the government had to sue. In effect, they stumbled into a business model where the public takes the risk and those taking the subsidies reap the gain.”

Other entrepreneurs and industries would follow the Big Four’s lead in tapping government help to build their businesses.

10. It instilled national confidence.

The transcontinental railroad had a major effect on how Americans perceived their nation, and it became a symbol of America’s growing industrial power and a source of confidence that led them to take on even more ambitious quests. As Ronda says, “It’s one of the transformative moments in American history.”


How did the transcontinental railroad affect the US?

Consequently, why was a transcontinental railroad important to the United States?

Transcontinental railroads (there are several) are important for the United States because of the reliable transportation they offer. There were over a thousand miles of mountain ranges and plains with no reliable transportation across them. The cities of the west coast were disconnected from the cities of the east.

Secondly, how did railroads change American society? Railroads altered American society and economic life in fundamental ways. In short, they made transportation of goods and people much cheaper and quicker. They enabled the shipping of bulk goods like farm produce and coal from one end of the country to another.

Thereof, how did the transcontinental railroad affect Native American?

The construction of the Transcontinental Railroad had dire consequences for the native tribes of the Great Plains, forever altering the landscape and causing the disappearance of once-reliable wild game. Tribes increasingly came into conflict with the railroad as they attempted to defend their diminishing resources.

What were the positive and negative effects of the transcontinental railroad?

The transcontinential railroad was a negative effect for the Native Americans because it destroyed their land and homes. The bulding of the Transcontinential railroad was a negative effect because to build the Railroad that also means that the buffalo that was everywhere had to be killed off.


Welcome and Overview

On the morning of May 10, 1869, the rail lines of the Union Pacific Railroad joined those of the Central Pacific to form a single transcontinental route. As he commemorated the moment in poetry, Bret Harte wondered:

What was it the Engines said,
Pilots touching,–head to head,
Facing on the single track,
Half a world behind each back?”

If those Engines had any foresight, they were talking about the ways in which the transcontinental railroad, and the entire railroad network, inaugurated a national transportation and communications system, a truly trans-continental marketplace for the passage of goods, a much larger-scaled industrial capitalism than ever before, and a larger-scaled labor movement to oppose it. They were discussing the various groups whose lives were transformed and in some cases destroyed by the railroad: immigrant railroad workers and settlers of the West, Plains Indians, bison, and captains of industry. That rail line made possible the mass settlement of the West, and, as those who conceived it may have predicted, it changed the course of American history.

The History Project at University of California, Davis, invites K-12 teachers from around the country to spend a week of summer 2019 learning about the Transcontinental Railroad from its conceptual origins, through feats of labor and engineering, and on to its social, political, and economic impact during and after the Gilded Age.

This NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture will be offered twice: June 23-28 and July 7-12, 2019. Please indicate your preference and availability on your application due March 1, 2019.

Most of our sessions will be held in Sacramento the UC Davis Department of History serves as the institutional host. The department is home to the History Project (HP), a unique community of K-16 educators committed to raising student achievement by teaching history in challenging and exciting ways. Having been engaged in professional learning for local teachers for over 20 years, we are uniquely positioned to make this NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture workshop especially valuable to educators. The HP team consists of teachers, teacher educators, and scholars whose involvement assures that all of our NEH Summer Scholars will benefit both intellectually and professionally. Our Directors Prof. Louis Warren from UC Davis and Stacey Greer from The History Project at UC Davis have a great deal of experience in working with teachers. For more the faculty and staff associated with this workshop, click here.

Completion of the Pacific Railroad, May 10, 1869 — THE GREAT LINK CONNECTING EUROPE WITH ASIA ACROSS THE AMERICAN CONTINENT (Harpers Weekly, via Calisphere)


A Train Revolution: The Industry and Influence of Trains

Around the mid-1800s, many trains grew more refined and elegant. Elegant sleeper cars and luxurious interior decoration made trains a favorite method of transportation for the likes of Queen Victoria , who was the first member of the British royal family to travel by train in 1842. George Pullman&rsquos Pullman Palace Car Company began building legendary passenger cars in 1867, installing amenities like parlors and diners, and by the 20th century rail travel had generally become a comfortable experience.

Inside one of Queen Victoria's train cars. (Image Credit: The London Economic)

Despite the refinement of some models, trains have always primarily been working people&rsquos transit systems. &ldquoThe aristocrats, if such they could be called, generally hated the whole concept of the train on the basis that it would encourage the lower classes to move about and not always be available,&rdquo writes Terry Pratchett in Raising Steam .

In the 1800s, many passenger trains were often as crowded as the average London Tube station (which, fun fact, became the world&rsquos first subway when it first opened in 1864). Budapest&rsquos metro became the first underground transit system in continental Europe when it opened in 1896. New York City&rsquos subway system did not debut until 1904, but it quickly became the world&rsquos largest metro.

&ldquoN ot until the emergence of the train did travel become an activity for the middle and lower middle class,&rdquo writes Robert J. Bezucha in The Art Of The July Monarchy: France, 1830 to 1848 , and it&rsquos true. Subway trains, in particular, connected crowded cities and distant countrysides, allowing ordinary people to escape to oceanside amusement parks on the weekends and encouraging adventurous youngsters to leave their small hometowns for big-city breaks.

In 1863, the Transcontinental Railroad of North America was born, and became, perhaps, the ultimate case study in just how much trains could change the world. By the time this massive project was completed in 1907 (thanks to the labor of 21,000 workers, ranging from Civil War vets to freed slaves to Mormon pioneers), traversing what had once been an unfathomably vast expanse of land became a weeklong journey. Trains blew through mountains and deserts in short periods of time, making the world smaller and fostering rapid political and cultural changes.

The project cost $60 million (roughly $1.2 billion today), but it effectively catapulted America to new heights, creating a network of trade from the East to the West coasts and spreading Western influence across the continent. It also devastated the environment and Native American culture, setting a precedent for the ways that ambitious industrial innovation would both benefit and damage humankind.

Celebrating the driving of the Transcontinental Railroad's "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, Utah.

In the late 19th century, similarly massive train lines began to emerge around the globe. The first half of the 20th century was a golden age for steam-powered engines. Rail systems spread through Africa, China, and Russia, and played decisive wartime and political roles. From its beginnings in 1891 to its completion in 1917, Russia&rsquos Trans-Siberian Railway carried millions of peasants to Siberia and consistently acted as a major liability &ndash or secret weapon &ndash in Russia&rsquos wars. With the onset of trains and all the cultural changes they wrought, the modern era truly began.


Social and Economic Impacts of Intermodal Freight Transportation in the U.S.

Travel was obviously one of the aspects of U.S. life most impacted by the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Before the railroad, it took almost six months and cost $1000 to travel between California and New York. After the transcontinental railroad was completed, it cost $150 and took one week. For the first time, U.S. Americans could freely travel from coast to coast. This radically changed both business and pleasure travel.

Easier transcontinental business travel allowed direct growth through expanding markets and cheaper distribution, as well as increased possibilities for partnerships and exchange of ideas. This movement between coasts allowed for business professionals to have a more expansive idea of their industry and allowed improved access to information and skills.

Within ten years of the transcontinental railroad’s competition, it was already shipping $50 million worth of freight from coast to coast every year. A marked production boom occurred as resources had faster transport to industrial settings, thus speeding up the process of making goods.

Despite the benefits it brought to the U.S., the transcontinental railroad had some negative consequences. Most starkly, the forced relocation of Native Americans from their lands resulted in the widespread destruction of Native American cultures and ways of life. Many conflicts arose as the railroad project continued westward, and the military was brought in to fight Native American tribes. In addition, many natural resources were destroyed to make way for the expanding train tracks and stations.


10 Modern Marvels That Changed America Forever

Humans, by nature, are problem solvers, and during the U.S.’s brief history, some of the greatest engineering minds have dreamed up solutions that at one point seemed impossible. Over the last two centuries, these projects have contributed to the country’s infrastructure, and further changes are being made still today. In a new episode, the PBS series “10 That Changed America” tells the story of the engineering marvels that moved the country in a new direction—literally, with bridges, train tracks, and paved roads. While we might take some of these projects, like the Interstate Highway System, cross-country train routes, and even simple underwater tunnels, for granted these days, they were only possible through the genius and labor of thousands of men and women. Here, take a look at ten of the most impressive modern engineering feats in America, from the Transcontinental Railroad, which eliminated the dangerous wagon journey taken by brave westward explorers (or the extraordinarily lengthy boat ride through the Panama Canal), to the Holland Tunnel, which was the world’s first underwater tunnel for cars.

1. Erie Canal, New York

Connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes, the Erie Canal became an essential trade route that efficiently and affordably brought the goods from America’s heartland—like grain—to the more populous East Coast. When it was completed in 1825, the 363-mile canal was the second longest in the world.


10 Ways the Transcontinental Railroad Changed America - HISTORY

Subscribe early and save! Reserve your magazines for 2018-19 and get this year's low price.

Junior Scholastic gets students talking about today's most important issues with current events for grades 6–8. Subscriptions include:

  • 16 print issues filled with riveting, student-focused news
  • Online articles, videos, differentiation features, and more
  • Lesson plans and skills sheets for every issue

Common Core: RH.6-8.1, RH.6-8.2, RH.6-8.4, RH.6-8.7, SL.6-8.1, WHST.6-8.8

C3 (D2/6-8): Civ.14, Geo.2, Geo.4, Geo.7, Geo.8, Geo.9, His.1, His.2, His.4, His.5, His.12, His.14, His.15

NCSS: Time, continuity, and change Culture People, places, and environments Individuals, groups, and institutions

The Railroad That Changed America

The completion of the first transcontinental railroad 150 years ago united a nation torn apart by the Civil War. But not all Americans benefited equally.

As You Read, Think About: What impact do trains have on the U.S.?

It’s May 10, 1869, and a spirited crowd has gathered in isolated Promontory Summit, deep in Utah Territory, to make history. Little more than a collection of tents and makeshift workers’ shacks, it’s an unlikely spot from which to witness the transformation of the United States. Yet thousands of people have gathered here to do just that.

All eyes are on Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific Railroad, as he raises a hammer to tap a golden spike into the track. Clang! Cheers erupt all around and railroad engineers blow their whistles. Men give speeches and pop open bottles of champagne.

Then a telegraph operator types out a single word: “DONE.” In an instant, people in New York, Chicago, and other cities receive the news and celebrate. Cannons blast, bells ring out. After years of planning and work, America’s first transcontinental railroad is complete. From coast to coast, the entire country is now connected by rail.

It is May 10, 1869. A spirited crowd has gathered in isolated Promontory Summit to make history. The spot is deep in Utah Territory. It is little more than a collection of tents and makeshift workers’ shacks. That makes it an unlikely place from which to witness the transformation of the United States. Yet thousands of people have gathered here to do just that.

All eyes are on Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific Railroad. He raises a hammer to tap a golden spike into the track. Clang! Cheers erupt all around and railroad engineers blow their whistles. Men give speeches and pop open bottles of champagne.

Then a telegraph operator types out a single word: “DONE.” In an instant, people in New York, Chicago, and other cities receive the news and celebrate. Cannons blast, bells ring out. After years of planning and work, America’s first transcontinental railroad is complete. From coast to coast, the entire country is now connected by rail.

Why the fuss? In a way, that moment—150 years ago this month—was a new beginning for the U.S. Just a few years after the country had been torn apart by the Civil War (1861-65), the nation was still trying to heal itself. At the same time, Americans had dreamed for years of a system of railroads linking the states in the East to western settlements in California (see map, below). Now the U.S. was joined together, literally and symbolically, by a marvel of engineering and human labor—the transcontinental railroad.

Why the fuss? In a way, it was a new beginning for the U.S. That moment was 150 years ago this month. Just a few years after the country had been torn apart by the Civil War (1861-65), the nation was still trying to heal itself. At the same time, Americans had dreamed for years of a system of railroads linking the states in the East to western settlements in California (see map, below). Now the U.S. was joined together, literally and symbolically, by the transcontinental railroad. It was a marvel of engineering and human labor.

In the 1850s, the U.S. government began encouraging Americans to head west to claim some of the country’s vast open areas. Pioneers were lured with the promise of owning their own land. But the trip could take months—if they survived it at all.

Horse-drawn wagons were constantly at risk of breaking down in parched deserts, on barren plains, or in treacherous mountain passes. “Nothing but actual experience will give one an idea of the . . . exhaustive energy, the throbs of hope, the depths of despair, through which we lived,” one pioneer wrote.

Trains could be quicker and safer. At the time, the eastern U.S. was connected by about 9,000 miles of railroad tracks. Trains had transformed the economy there by allowing goods and people to move rapidly. Building a railroad to California could bring the country, and its prosperity, west.

Congress gave the job to two companies. In 1863, the Central Pacific Railroad began laying tracks in Sacramento, California, working eastward. A year later, the Union Pacific Railroad began in Omaha, Nebraska, and headed west. (Railroad lines already reached Omaha from the East Coast.) By rewarding the companies with money and land for each mile of track, Congress turned the project into a real competition.

In the 1850s, the U.S. government began encouraging Americans to head west. It said they could claim some of the country’s vast open areas. Pioneers were lured with the promise of owning their own land. But the trip could take months—if they survived it.

Horse-drawn wagons were always in danger of breaking down. That could happen in parched deserts, on barren plains, or in treacherous mountain passes. “Nothing but actual experience will give one an idea of the . . . exhaustive energy, the throbs of hope, the depths of despair, through which we lived,” one pioneer wrote.

Trains could be quicker and safer. At the time, the eastern U.S. was connected by about 9,000 miles of railroad tracks. Trains had changed the economy there. They allowed goods and people to move quickly. Building a railroad to California could bring the country, and its prosperity, west.

Congress gave the job to two companies. In 1863, the Central Pacific Railroad began laying tracks in Sacramento, California. It worked eastward. A year later, the Union Pacific Railroad began in Omaha, Nebraska. It headed west. (Railroad lines already reached Omaha from the East Coast.) Congress turned the project into a real competition: It rewarded the companies with money and land for each mile of track.

RISKY JOBS: Thousands of Chinese workers built the Central Pacific Railroad.

A Backbreaking Job for Workers

Laying nearly 1,900 miles of track across the nation’s frontier was an incredibly difficult job. Workers used picks and shovels to level the land. They chopped down trees. Then they laid out the heavy metal rails and hammered in spikes to hold them in place.

“Workers were out there from sunrise to sunset,” says Lucas Hugie, a park ranger at Promontory Summit’s Golden Spike National Historical Park. “It was heavy labor all done by hand,” he explains.

Most of the people working on the Central Pacific line were Chinese. Many of them—or their parents—had arrived during the California Gold Rush, which began in 1848. Victims of racism, the Chinese were banned from almost all jobs. With limited options, up to 20,000 Chinese people agreed to take the grueling, dangerous railroad work that few white Californians would accept. Even so, they were routinely paid less for longer hours than white workers.

As they progressed eastward, these laborers were confronted with an incredible challenge: the Sierra Nevada mountains. The workers had to dig 15 tunnels through the peaks, most at high elevations and almost completely with hand tools. To loosen the rock, they would chisel holes into it, fill the holes with explosive black powder, then light a fuse and rush to take cover.

While blasting was risky work, the Central Pacific crews were in even more danger from avalanches, which could strike in the mountains at any time. When the snow thawed after the especially hard winter of 1867, bodies of workers who’d been swept up in snowslides were found with their tools still in their hands.

Laying nearly 1,900 miles of track across the nation’s frontier was an incredibly difficult job. Workers used picks and shovels to level the land. They chopped down trees. Then they laid out the heavy metal rails. They hammered in spikes to hold them in place.

“Workers were out there from sunrise to sunset,” says Lucas Hugie. He is a park ranger at Promontory Summit’s Golden Spike National Historical Park. “It was heavy labor all done by hand,” he explains.

Most of the people working on the Central Pacific line were Chinese. Many of them, or their parents, had arrived during the California Gold Rush, which began in 1848. The Chinese were victims of racism. They were banned from almost all jobs. So with limited options, up to 20,000 Chinese people agreed to take the grueling, dangerous railroad work. Few white Californians would take on such work. Even so, the Chinese were routinely paid less for longer hours than white workers.

As they moved eastward, these laborers were confronted with the Sierra Nevada mountains. They posed an incredible challenge. The workers had to dig 15 tunnels through the peaks. Most were at high elevations. The laborers had to do the work almost completely with hand tools. To loosen the rock, they would chisel holes into it. Then they would fill the holes with explosive black powder. They would light a fuse and rush to take cover.

Blasting was risky work. But the Central Pacific crews were in even more danger from avalanches. Those could strike in the mountains at any time. The winter of 1867 was especially hard. When the snow thawed, bodies of workers who had been swept up in snowslides were found with their tools still in their hands.


Thousands of Immigrants Built the Transcontinental Railroad

With most of the country's able-bodied men on the battlefield, workers for the Transcontinental Railroad were initially in short supply. In California, white workers were more interested in seeking their fortunes in gold than in doing the back-breaking labor required to build a railroad. The Central Pacific Railroad turned to Chinese immigrants, who had flocked to the U.S. as part of the gold rush. Over 10,000 Chinese immigrants did the hard work of preparing rail beds, laying tracking, digging tunnels, and constructing bridges. They were paid just $1 per day and worked 12-hour shifts, six days per week.

The Union Pacific Railroad only managed to lay 40 miles of track by the end of 1865, but with the Civil War drawing to a close, they could finally build a workforce equal to the task at hand. The Union Pacific relied mainly on Irish workers, many of whom were famine immigrants and fresh off the battlefields of the war. The whiskey-drinking, rabble-rousing work crews made their way west, setting up temporary towns that came to be known as "hells on wheels."


A more complete history

Remembering these workers isn’t important only to Asian American history, it’s vital to American history. “The work of history is crucial for us to understand how U.S. society developed, how people have tried to transform it, and what worked or failed,” says Manu Karuka, assistant professor of American Studies at Barnard College. “The stories we tell about the past can play crucial functions in how we understand identity: who we identify with, and who we identify against.”

In 1969, at the centennial anniversary of the completion of the railroad, U.S. Secretary of Transportation John Volpe paid tribute to those who worked on the railroad. “Who else but Americans could drill 10 tunnels in mountains 30 feet deep in snow?” he said. “Who else but Americans could chisel through miles of solid granite? Who else but Americans could have laid 10 miles of track in 12 hours?”

Of course, it was the Chinese workers who did this, while being denied the ability to become Americans. And yet, is there anything more American than an immigrant? Fifty years after Volpe’s speech, at the 150th anniversary celebration in 2019, a new transportation secretary addressed the crowd—Taiwanese immigrant Elaine Chao. While her appointment and participation marked a significant moment, there’s still a long way to go.

All told, 1,776 miles of track had been laid between Sacramento, California, and Omaha, Nebraska. Later, much of the original steel from the tracks was pried up to fill metal needs during World War II. America’s continuous story of independence and reinvention begs the questions: What is essential to America, and now that the oceans are connected, where will the tides bring us next?

“The history of railroads speaks to this moment in very particular ways. Whether we are thinking about climate change, migration, or war, studying railroad histories can clarify some of the political questions of our own day,” says Karuka. “History, of course, is made by individuals, but not by conditions they choose. How individuals build unity with others, what forms of organization they develop, and how they focus and sustain their resistance are some of the most important questions we can be thinking about in our own fraught moment.”

Back at Golden Spike National Historic Park in Utah, visitors may notice another tribute in the light green stone embedded in the visitors center’s walls. Park administrators chose to incorporate the cuprous quartzite stone to honor the Chinese workers’ contributions. The stone is only found in one local quarry—and in China.

It may be easy to miss, but the next time I visit, I’ll be looking for it, and I’ll remember the history.


Watch the video: 15 Most Amazing Railway Tracks In The World (August 2022).

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos