How Did The Railroad Affect Westward Expansion

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The establishment and growth of the railroad had many influences on the Westward Expansion of America in the later half of the 1800’s. The railroad fueled the conflict with the Native Americans of the Plains, induced growth in population and economy in previously established urban areas, and lastly expanded the lands that were used for agriculture. The railroad affected various aspects of America’s West and the Great Plains. The advancement of the railroad West added to the already tense relationship with the Native Americans of the Plains. The government tried to avoid conflict with Natives by signing treaties with them and establishing reservations. Nonetheless as the railroad headed west it spread into Native American lands, used up Native natural resources and violated previously established treaties. One example of the abuse of resources would be the slaughter…show more content…
The railroad provided a growth in economy in the cities it was laid through. Such things as restaurants, hotels, lumber jobs, mining, and stores usually followed due to the increase in population. Sometimes the growth of a city was temporary and only last as long as the railroad workers were in the area. Then when the laying of the railroad moved, the growth would subside and return to its preboom population and commerce (Olsen et al. 157). However, cities such as Omaha, Nebraska and Denver, Colorado are examples of the railroad’s longer lasting effects on the growth of a city. When the railroad was first laid in Nebraska; Omaha acted as the headquarters. From 1860 to 1870 Nebraska’s population rose 326 percent (Olson et al. 158). While Denver experienced its own growth in the 1870’s and eventually had four separate railroads within the city (Abbott et al. 73). Railroad cities became the central hubs connecting the economy of the West to the economy of the
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