Westward Expansion

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The rapid industrialization of the United States brought many changes to its people. New technologies, inventions, and the railroad brought better fuels, stronger steels, changed the way people lit their homes, and even changed the way people did their shopping. The integrated railroad was especially exciting, because it would allow people to move from the west coast to the east coast as they pleased. Economic development was also on the rise, especially in the west. Americans were excited to discover and tame the “wild west”, eager to claim a piece of land that they could call their own. Greediness often took over, and what was best for the white people was not always best for all people, like the Indians. Westward expansion was full of riches for the whites, but full of tragedies for the Indians. The western frontier was anti-democratic, and a prime example of how Anglo-American expansion could be brutal. In the time before the Civil War, slavery prevented economic development from happening in the West. However, when the southern states seceded, this gave the Republicans (who were in charge of the federal government) the opportunity to open the west to economic development (Berkin, et. al., 436). The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 and the Home Stead Act of 1862 were put in place by the Republicans to encourage the expansion of the western frontier. The Pacific Railway Act provided the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific companies with sizeable loans, and 10 square miles

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