Gilded Age Industrialization And The Panic Of 1873

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Gilded Age industrialization fueled the dependence of the railroad in the Progressive Era. Railroads, government, and the economy were not only interrelated, but they were also interdependent. The federal government and the railroad companies often worked together, with the government providing subsidies to the companies and discounted prices. Congress also provided free land and thousands of miles in subsidies to the companies. Furthermore, railroads directly impacted the country's economy, being a key factor in causing the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893. Railroads, government, and the economy were interdependent through the reliance of railroad companies on the government, corruption between railroads and government officials, and the direct impact of railroads on the economy. Railroad companies were solely funded by taxpayers, so the companies had no reason to work efficiently or …show more content…

One example was the Credit Mobilier scandal where major stockholders of the Union Pacific Railroad formed the Credit Mobilier company and sold their shares to influential congressmen. These executives essentially hired themselves and stole taxpayer money, a very lucrative scandal. Scandals like the Credit Mobilier were widespread and executives from many other railroad companies often stole from their own companies. Many executives would manipulate the rail companies' stocks to profit greatly. Executives would often bribe influential politicians, and work together to profit themselves. Sometimes, government officials and railroad companies would not work together, but still use each other for success, even if it meant the failure for one party. For example, if a company failed, creditors could take everything from the owner. Congressmen were often found guilty of accepting bribes, but most accepted bribes nevertheless because the risk of getting caught was minimal while the profits were

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