This report is over American history between the years of 1862 and 1896. The two main topics I have chosen to write about during this time frame is the effect of the railroads on history and, the second topic is over laws and policies that have effected African-Americans. Since the two topics have a lot of material and happened in history concurrently, the format of this paper will be in sequential order of each topic. .
The first law or policy I will be reviewing is the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. Before I can start on this topic I have to discuss the laws and policies toward Native Americans. The railroads and general settlement of the west could not happen while Native Americans were free to roam wherever they wanted to, at least this was the general thinking in Washington. I will be as brief as possible in regards to my discussion about Native American laws and policies because, this is not one of my topics but very necessary to the future of our nation. .
The Pacific Railroad Act gave railroad companies ten square miles of land for every mile of railroad that was completed. Congress passed this act in efforts to spur the economy in the midwest and western United States. During this time, the federal government needed large private companies to settle the west. The easiest way to do this is by passing legislation that helps large businesses. However, the railroad companies could not use all of the land that was granted to them so, the railroads decided to subsidize the area in efforts to boost the demand for the railroad.
Railroad companies went as far as advertising in the far east and Europe to have immigrants come to the United States. An example of this is a railroad company would lease or sell the excess land to businesses and farmers to create demand for transportation of goods and grain. To motivate new settlers, railroad companies would even give free one way travel from the eastern United States to the western states.