The Spread Of Westward Expansion During 1860-1890

1122 Words5 Pages

The United States is always in an ever changing state. This is especially true during the westward expansion that followed the Civil War and the ever expanding American Industrial Revolution. There are three major events that occurred in the late 19th century that set the precedence for the westward expansion of America. With American still in a new born state, there was many great accomplishments and many failures. I am going to breakdown the westward expansion during 1860-1890 after analyzing the Westward Expansion map from PBS Learning Media website, to assess how the westward expansion moved between the 1860’s and 1890’s (Westward Expansion, 1860-1890, n.d.). Lastly, I will key in on the factors that facilitated how the East coast touched …show more content…

They foresaw our nation growing westward and needed a catalyst to help drive this expansion. There had already been a few brave groups that took the trek out West to see what it had to offer. Some of the most notable treks were Lewis and Clark expedition, California gold rush, and the Oregon Trail expedition. All of these had driving forces of exploration of what the West had to offer. Some settled on the West coast, but some returned back home with their stories. With the East coast populous busting at the seams, the only way to expand was westward, towards the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains and new lands. A political party named the Free Soil party in 1852, wanted homesteads to reach further West, which took almost a decade for their idea to come to fruition. The first major driving point for this was the Homestead Act signed by President Abraham Lincoln which took effect January 1, 1863. This opened the door for something more than just exploration, it allowed people to take ownership of something bigger than …show more content…

This Act pitted the two companies against each other in completion of the tracks. Each company received 12,800 acres of land and $48,000 in government bonds for each mile of track completed. With the Central Pacific company starting in Sacramento and the Union Pacific starting near the Iowa and Nebraska boarder, the race was on. As the companies progressed towards each other, it was not without dangers. The Union Pacific were building the railroad tracks directly on Native Americans lands which lead to many altercations and deaths. The Central Pacific had their troubles with progressing their track through the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Often dealing with the harsh environment, weather and blasting tunnels through the dense rock with gunpowder and nitroglycerine. On May 10, 1869 in Promontory Summit Utah, a golden spike was driven into the last tracks that connected the East and West coast. The completion of the railroad system opened many doors for our Nation and built the “arteries of America” in which it grew economically and financially. (History.com Staff,

Open Document