What was the impact of railroads on the US in the late 19th century?  

Expert Answers
wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The geography of the American continent lent itself to the transport of raw materials from unpopulated to populated (and thus industrialized) areas - usually west to east. In Europe, by contrast, railroads mainly brought small-town populations into the cities. A seminal and entertaining novelization of this process can be found in The Octopus. The laying of track in the Great Plains was relatively easy; it was the Rockies (and the Sierra Nevadas that proved most difficult but, ultimately, the most financially rewarding.