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Study notes

First Transcontinental Railroad 1869

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: Edexcel

The completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 had a huge impact on the West.  It encouraged further settlement in the West as it made travelling their cheaper and easier. It also encouraged the development of towns along the railroad, as the railroad made the west less isolated. It had a positive effect of the economy as it helped facilitate trade between the east and west of the USA, and between the USA and Asia. Likewise, it encouraged the growth of the cattle industry. 

The completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 had a huge impact on the West.  It encouraged further settlement in the West as it made travelling their cheaper and easier. It also encouraged the development of towns along the railroad, as the railroad made the west less isolated. It had a positive effect of the economy as it helped facilitate trade between the east and west of the USA, and between the USA and Asia. Likewise, it encouraged the growth of the cattle industry.

 

The railroad also made homestead life easier. It meant homesteaders felt less isolated as they could visit friends and family from home. Before the railroad, homesteaders would have to travel back via the Oregon Trail! The railroad also gave homesteaders greater access to manufactured goods, as they could be transported easily and quickly across the railway.

 

However, the Transcontinental Railroad had a negative impact on the Plains Indians. They were forced to move away from the railroad despite it running through Indian Territory. The workers often killed buffalo for meat, and the track itself disrupted the Plains Indians buffalo hunting. Because of this, Plains Indians attacked railroad works and this brought them into conflict with the US army. 

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