Learning Lincoln On-line

FROM-- SET FIVE, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

(Topic Fifty-one: President Lincoln's War Time Politics)

Goes with the Lincoln's War Politics #4

TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD

STARTS IN 1863

ALL THE GEOGRAPHY, POLITICS AND ACTS PASSED BY CONGRESS AND SIGNED

INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT LINCOLN

The right time, the right man: Abraham Lincoln and the Transcontinental Railroad       

       In Lincoln's mind, the railroad was part of the Civil War effort

       The new line would support communities and military outposts on the frontier. It would give settlers safe and dependable passage west. And most importantly, it would tie new states California and Oregon to the rest of the country.

       These states were rich with natural resources and trade potential, and their place on the flag was far from secure. Little more than a decade had passed since Oregon was claimed by Great Britain and California was part of Mexico. Even after becoming a state, California had its own secessionist movement.

       A transcontinental railroad, Lincoln hoped, would bring the entire nation closer together would make Americans across the continent feel like one people.

I

What do the abbreviations stand for?

UT=Utah Territory WPRC=Western Pacific Railroad Company CPRC OF CALIF.=Central Pacific Railroad Company

         The First Transcontinental Railroad (known originally as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the "Overland Route") was a 1,907-mile contiguous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 across the western United States to connect the Pacific coast at San Francisco Bay with the existing Eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri River. The rail line was built by three private companies: the original Western Pacific Railroad Company between Oakland and Sacramento, California (132 mi), the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California eastward from Sacramento to Promontory Summit, Utah Territory (U.T.) (690 mi), and the Union Pacific Railroad Company westward to Promontory Summit from the road's statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs on the eastern shore of the Missouri River opposite

Omaha, Nebraska (1,085 mi)

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Building the Railroad

The "Pacific Railroad Acts"

The "Pacific Railroad Acts" were a series of acts of Congress that promoted the construction of a "transcontinental railroad" (the "Pacific Railroad") in the United States through authorizing the issuance of government bonds and the grants of land to railroad companies. Although the War Department under then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was authorized by the Congress in 1853 to conduct surveys of five different potential transcontinental routes from the Mississippi ranging from north to south and submitted a massive twelve volume report to Congress with the results in early 1855, no route or bill could be agreed upon and passed authorizing the Government's financial support and land grants until the secession of the Southern states removed their opposition to a central route. The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862  was the original act. Some of its provisions were subsequently modified, expanded, or repealed by four additional amending Acts: The Pacific Railroad Act of 1863 , Pacific Railroad Act of 1864 , Pacific Railroad Act of 1865 , and Pacific Railroad Act of 1866.

The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 began federal government grant of lands directly to corporations; before that act, the land grants were made to the states, for the benefit of corporations.


Painting of westward expansion, John Gast's American Progress in Coast to Coast, History of Transcontinent Travel, Part 1, The Unknown Horizon

American Progress, by John Gast, 1872. Chromolithograph published by George A. Crofutt. Source: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

 

 

 

 

CLICK TO VIEW AN ON-LINE SLIDE SHOW OF THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD

 

 

 

 


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