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Central Pacific Railroad

1) What federal aid was given to the Central Pacific Railroad?

2) What was the nature of this support?

3) How was it justified?

4) What state aid was given to the Central Pacific Railroad?

5) What was the nature of this support?

6) How was it justified?

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Central Pacific Railroad

A little history - At the end of the civil war, most of the railroads were north and east of the Mississippi; none of them crossed the West. California could be reached only by weeks of sailing or riding in a bumpy stagecoach. By 1900, the US had more railroads than Europe, and people could ride the rails to the West Coast in a matter of a few days.

The Central Pacific was chartered by Congress, through the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, to build a section of the first transcontinental line, starting in Sacramento and extending eastward. This culminated many years of debate over whether or not the federal government should finance construction of a transcontinental railroad. Since most opponents were Southern Democrats who were no longer in Congress due to the Civil War, the Republicans passed the law with little opposition. This became part of America's Manifest Destiny to expand westward and reduce the time it took to travel across the continent, develop America's interior along the way, increase trade, and promote settlement. Congress felt it was a good idea and would lead to national security.

In 1846, the question of Oregon was settled, Gold was discovered in California in 1848, and, California was admitted as a state in 1850, all of which bloated the population in the West. For the US government, this was good ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a brief history of the events related to the Central Pacific Railroad and explains the nature of the funds provided by the federal government and the state government involved. It also describes how the west expanded quickly after the civil war and the decisions the federal government made with regards to the railroad towards this goal.