Being a railroad lawyer himself, and like most Americans, never actually seeing one before, he knew that with the building of a railroad it would bring many advantages to expand the industrial power of the growing nation and supply the nation with many products they had never seen before. Lincoln knew that with the building of this railroad it had many more conveyances than the canals that were built in Illinois and Michigan. Without the building of the Transcontinental Railroad there was no way to move people and products of any size from the East to West. .
The Americans needed a way to connect the East and west that could make traveling faster, and that had a capacity to transport a large volume of goods across the country. The Americans depended highly on this railroad to overcome the immeasurable distance across the continent. Since the country had a continuous population growth from seventeen million in 1840 to seventy-six million by 1900, there was no doubt that there was a dire need for transportation and of course there were many more mouths to feed. .
With the continuous growth of the Industrial cities in the East, there was a great need for fresh food. Since many people living in the industrial areas didn't have the time to grow their own food, it was very important for them to get the food from the west to help improve their health and diet.
Prior to the completion of the railroad, in the era of stagecoaches, it took up to thirty-two days to get across the country. With the railroad, it only took four to five days. This meant that people and goods could travel faster. By 1840, ten new western states had been added to the Federal union. This meant that there were many pioneers that wanted to get across the frontier quicker. Some were rich and others were poor. They came for many different reasons like the discovery of gold in California in 1848, and others looking to seek a new life in the fertile farmland of what is now Oregon.