Railroads and Conflict in the West Questions and Answers

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 How did railroads help the United States grow? 

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Railroads helped connect the West to the East. It made travel to the West easier for emigrants whose only options before were wagon trails. Railroads often owned the right-of-way along the tracks, thus facilitating the sale of land to potential homeowners. Railroads also made it easier to get mail and consumer goods to people who had moved West. This made it easier for them to keep in touch with relatives in the East as well as purchase goods through catalogs that they could not otherwise purchase at the local general store.

Railroads also connected the West to the East economically. Railroads allowed the mineral wealth of the West to go East where it was needed the most. The gold strike at Sutter's Mill spurred the first interest in creating a transcontinental railroad for the United States. After the Civil War, railroads helped to facilitate the cattle kingdoms of the West since cattle brought higher prices in the East than they did in Texas. Refrigerated rail cars also made it...

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