Transcontinental Railroad Outline

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Transcontinental Railroad The largest single construction project ever undertaken within the country left approximately eighty thousand people dead, weighing in as the fifth deadliest construction project in the world. The Transcontinental Railroad shortened the distance traveled from the east coast to the west coast from months in a horse drawn wagon to only eight days by train. On July 1,1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Pacific Railroad Act. Asa Whitney, a New York businessmen tried for this project as early as the 1840’s, however, the 1850’s was the year that the United States Army Corps of Engineers was granted permission to survey the routes. It wasn’t until this time that he was granted permission due to the lack of…show more content…
“It could not have been done without a representative, democratic political system; without skilled and ambitious engineers, most of whom had learned their craft in American colleges and honed in the war; without bosses and foremen who had learned how to organize and lead men as officers in the Civil War; without free labor; without hard working laborers who had learned how to take orders in the war; without those who came over to America in the thousands from China, seeking a fortune; without laborers speaking many languages and coming to America from every inhabited continent; without the trees and iron available in America; without capitalist willing to take high risks for great profit; without men willing to challenge all, at every level, in order to win all. Most of all, it could not have been done without teamwork” (Ambrose Introduction). Workers were immigrants from Ireland, some were former Civil War soldiers, and the largest amount of help came form the Chinese, these men were blacksmiths, carpenters, engineers, masons, surveyors, and even cooks. The railroads brought in more than ten thousand Chinese immigrants. With all this help being brought in, there were also white men being used as help to oversee the work of all the immigrants, which in return received one dollar a day coming in at thirty-five dollars a month…show more content…
“The work proceeded in three stages. First surveyors would mark the route with wooden stakes, following a path that Dodge himself had scouted before the war. The graders would follow, wielding picks and shovels to build a level rail bed typically at least 2 ft. high and 12 ft. wide. Finally, a third wave of workers would lay the ties and iron rails and then dry the spikes that held them together” (Brown 41). All iron that was used to build the railroad was American made. This made it hard for the Central Pacific Railroad Company to work quickly. The iron and other supplies had to be shipped by sea to Panama then hauled across the isthmus and then reloaded onto ships heading for Sacramento. The Central Pacific Railroad Company faced much more snow than they expected in the Great Plains, at times there were more workers shoveling snow than there were working on the railroads. The building of the railroads would be halted due to avalanches in the winter and scorching high heat in the summers. The company had trouble finding reliable labor, many men would use them for a free ride into the mountains and then would quit the project in hopes to find gold in the mountains. “Sometimes construction was sabotaged by Native Americans who were angry with the United Sates Government. The Native Americans lived on the land the railroad companies were now building through-land

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