Name: go across the U.S. as the rivers

Name: Jennifer KirkpatrickPeriod: 5Research Question: Should the Government Help Build a Railroad Across the U.S.?Thesis: The United States government had to help build a railroad across the U.S. because it would have significant benefits for the United States.The railroad would create a faster, safer and cheaper way to travel across the U.S.This railroad across the U.S. would strengthen the nationThe Transcontinental Railroad would cause economic growthThe railroad created a safer, faster, and cheaper way to travel across the U.S. In the 1850s, there were only a few options for people to get to the other side of the United States; ship around South America, ship “across” America”, horse, or foot. These options were not the best means of travel as they were neither quick nor safe nor cheap. To begin, focusing on the safety of this trip, taking a ship was certainly not the best option. For one thing, taking a ship around the United States was a very dangerous one. This 28,000 miles trip was route that was necessary before the Panama Canal and all the rivers in the west were routed. Being in close corridors with the same people for over a year on was the perfect place to spread diseases. Also, food rations going short was not uncommon. Plus, pirates were a huge issue in the mid 1800s, stealing the ship of the little rations they had along with money, jewels, and even people’s lives. A compass, the sun, the stars, the clouds, and the wind were a captions tools for getting the passengers to their destination. In addition, in the mid 19th century, it was very difficult to predict the weather, leading to many ships getting lost at sea. Taking a ship across the U.S. had many of the same problems, but it also had some of its own. It was not very safe to go across the U.S. as the rivers would get narrow very quickly, which could leave people stuck. The areas were not fully mapped out and the ones that were could be  unreliable. The railroad would fix this problem as people would put the tracks in place, so there would be little that was unexpected. Also, the tracks could not get too narrow or too wide, they were always going to be in the same place, which would make them very reliable. Horses were a very unreliable source of travel. For one thing, they needed to eat, drink, and sleep, which is not something the trains on the railroad would have to do. Also at any point during the voyage the horse could die, which would have left the traveler abandoned in unfamiliar territory. The horse could have also been carrying heavy materials and left the person in a scary situation. This is evident in the Donner party. While trying to take a shortcut to California, the Donner Party took a path that added hundreds of  miles to their journey. With a broken axle, they found themselves stuck on the top of a mountain, they began to run out of supplies and turned to each other for food. With a set path, (the rails) this would not happen again. It is the government’s job to protect their citizens and by not giving them a safe way to travel to the land they are pushing so hard for people to go to, it is unethical to not provide this. The government funding the Transcontinental Railroad was something that had to occur for the United States government to properly play their role.Walking was arguably one of the most dangerous. It was easy to get taken advantage of by animals, natives, and even other travelers. Taking the wrong path could lead some (like the Donner Party) to get stuck, lost, or dead. With any of these means of transportation, the travelers ran the high risk for not only animal attacks, but for native ones as well. Because of the narrowness some of the rivers were at times, this would lead to the perfect attacking grounds by Indians. If a group was not attacked though, but still stuck, they would run the risk of asking a potentially dangerous tribe of helping them. However, if the Transcontinental Railroad were to be put in place, the train would run so quickly in many of the areas, that this risk would be eliminated. It is the government’s duty to protect their citizens and by funding and therefore providing its citizens with a Transcontinental Railroad, it will be doing so.A. SpeedTaking a ship around the tip of South America would take along time, as the Panama Canal had not yet been dug. The trip took so long because the ship would have to go from it’s port of departure (likely the east coast) and having to makes its way around Cape Horn. The schooner Roanoke left Boston and arrived in San Francisco 180 days later. The Harriet Thompson had sailed from Philadelphia and arrived in San Francisco 178 days later.   Around this time it took only 65 days to sail from Hong Kong to San Francisco. The ships from England (130 days) and France (150 days from Le Havre)  were also getting to California in better time as they had more favorable sailing conditions on their journey. Taking a ship across the U.S. was also not ideal. It would involve going through multiple rivers, which would mean  fighting river currents. Canals were not yet located where these rivers all meet, so it was necessary to unload the ship and change ships whenever the water levels changed. In addition, service was not available during the cold months, as the rivers were frozen over. There was also not a route to California, which was one of the main purposes of the railroad. Because of this, it was necessary to take a lot of the trip on foot, and if someone is trying to get a lot of cargo, this created a lot of issues. They needed to be fed, be stopped for water, or could die across the long journey. On average it took 4 to 5 months to travel across the U.S. on horseback. Horses also needed to change out often, so this would require a lot of stopping. The Transcontinental Railroad, however, would get a person across the United States anywhere from 83 hours to a week. This would make traveling across the United States significantly quicker, and therefore more efficient. It would take a very fit person to cross the U.S. on foot six months in 2017. What this means is that it would have taken an American longer than that to get across the U.S. in the mid 19th century. The train would go through the mountains that people walking would have to walk over. This cut hours off the trip across America. times of war it was vital that the U.S. had a fast way to get their troops across the country. After the recent Mexican-American War, the United States could see the necessity of quickly transporting troops. Although the war was over, it was important to keep in mind potential rebellions which would need quick military assistance. It was also important to keep this in mind for all the other new territories that the United States had gained during that time. In addition, supplies can be put on the trains, so the U.S.’s, soldiers can protect their citizens from danger. C. CostLooking at the longevity of taking a ship around the world clues into that this trip was not cheap. It cost $175 per person for a second class trip.Adding in inflation, in 2017 this would approximate to about $5,273.81. This was a lot of money for the average person just to transport some goods or themselves around the U.S. “New York to San Francisco ticket rates as of June 1870: $136 for first class in a Pullman sleeping car; $110 for second class; $65 for third class seats on a bench.” This is a lot cheaper than the alternative. Getting goods across the U.S. would cost a lot of money. Due to the fact that multiple ships would be necessary and a crew full of people to move the goods from ship to ship, this was a very expensive way to transport goods. Erie canal in New York was also a necessary project. The purpose of the Erie canal was for very similar reasons to the transcontinental railroad had been built however, there was far less count was funded by the state of New York. The transcontinental railroad was a much bigger project that went through more than one state and would therefore need a greater source of money. Where the Erie Canal had only really benefited New York, the Transcontinental Railroad would benefit the entire nation. As previously mentioned horses and stagecoaches need to be stopped and changed very often. This fact would lead to an increase in the amount of money spent to get across the U.S. on horseback. A horse can only handle so much weight, which means multiple trips may be necessary to get the necessary goods across the U.S. Seemingly the cheapest option, until you factored in the cost of supplies. Seems silly, but because of how long the journey is, a lot of supplies would have been necessary.II. The Transcontinental Railroad would strengthen the nation 1.This railroad would establish the westThe stops along the way of the train will form cities. By controlling where the majority of people live, the government can best provide an area with many natural resources and space for people to successfully live. The stops along the railroad will be where people and companies want to be, as they will be close to the supplies from the east they need to survive. As the west becomes more and more developed, they will have been able to send their goods to the east, and the rest of the country, via the train. 2. Would get messages across the countryWith expansions to the United States, being able to communicate was vital. The telegraph had just been invented and it’s only real purpose had been for the military during battles. The generals would send messages if they saw troops in the distance or if more men were needed. This system being used to help the government control land was not yet thought about. The telegraph lines could also be put along the tracks of the transcontinental railroad. The train, however, could send both messages and supplies over a long distance. “In sum, communication is a bond that brings a nation together, yet respects the multiplicity of perspectives that is essential to the search for truth and meaning.” 3. Would put a physical link between the states and new territoriesThe Transcontinental Railroad would also connect the states in a literal sense. In order to get your product to Sacramento one would only have the alternatives listed above and these are not sufficient means of travel. Although the tracks of the Transcontinental Railroad can clearly not go through all of the states, that does not mean that the states it does not go through will not be gaining anything. Having the ability to go from Nebraska to California will give the people easier access to Washington, even if it is not a spot on the tracks. Being able to get off at a spot close to where the people want to go will help all of the states. 4. Allow people to move to the west easierThe east had been over crowded and the government needed to start getting people to move westward. There hadn’t been much known about the west coast, except for California, the only state from the new territory at the time. However, if the government were to have provided an easy, hassle free way to get people to move across the country, then people would begin to do it. All it would take is one person to have a good trip, find some natural resources, and begin to become successful for others to join. If, however, the trip was bad, and full of difficulties, he would write back home, telling others not to come, and others likely would not. III. The Transcontinental Railroad would cause economic growth1. Jobs would be formedThe creation of a transcontinental railroad would need a lot of people. In order to complete this project, people will need to get tracks up, through, and around mountains. They will need to connect 1,776 miles of rail track to get from Omaha, Nebraska to Sacramento, California. This would cause people to see the west for the beauty that it had, and many workers would want to stay on the west and continue working on other projects there. To the doubter of the project, Charles Crooker famously said “They built the Great Wall of China, didn’t they?”. This was also referencing the Chinese workers they would be employing. By giving immigrants a job, America was helping the nation and its people.2. Domestic trade would increaseBy creating an easier way to get across the country domestic trade would increase. Giving people on the east coast the ability to easily provide goods to the west coast, they will be more tempted to do so. By providing companies the means to export to the their goods in a way in which they will safety get to their destination, they will see this as a low risk departure. By providing the people to import goods they either need or cannot receive from their area, they will want more. Because of this new found interest in products they had not before had access to, they will want to continue the transaction.3. International trade would increasea. In 1850, there had not been a reasonable way to trade with Asia. Having the new territory on the west coast would make this more realistic, but there still had to be a way to get goods to the west coast. Although a person could use one of the methods previously mentioned, it would make more sense to use a train. Also, by giving companies the ability to trade with Asia in a shorter period of time, they will be able to send and receive goods with ease.  4. For the government a. In the beginning of the 19th century, the United States had bought the Louisiana Territory from the French. This purchase, made in 1803, cost the U.S. $15 million for some 828,000 miles of land, which had nearly doubled the size of the U.S. Then, later, with the Mexican-American War, the U.S. had been set back another 100 milion with war costs. The land grants that the government would provide to the companies would be paid back with interest. Also, the U.S. needs its people to be successful for them to be as well. By providing its people adequate land, and owning the surrounding land, they will make enough money to keep the nation afloat and aspire. The U.S. had a need for money and was going to need it quickly if it was going to continue to last as a nation. The Transcontinental Railroad would help solve that by the U.S. receiving tax money and tariffs on the goods received from the trading methods listed above. The government could also receive this money quickly, making it so more government project would be created, creating more economic prosperity.

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