Railroads and Society

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

download word file, 8 pages 5.0

The advancement of railroads in the nineteenth century projected civilization into "modern" times much the same way as the way rocket boosters and fuel tanks propel space shuttles into outer space. However, the best laid plans and ideas are always subject to unforeseen circumstances. This has been evidenced by the tumultuous love affair between railroads and society. Hence we ask ourselves is there any salvageable aspect of the railroad system to pass on to present or future generations? In the beginning proponents of the railroads touted its benefits as the 'tie' that binds towns, cities, and countries to bring forth not just advancement in transportation but also to bring produce to markets; jobs to the unemployed; and to enable the population itself to explore America beyond their city limits. As a new source or public transportation, the railroads would launch society into economic, educational, intellectual and progressive 'space adventure' where the opportunities for advancement would be boundless not just in the United States but also around the world.

A whole new society was being developed. A whole new era was just beginning. Excitement, tension, and apprehension reined the emotions of all people involved.

"What were the effects of this railway expansion - labeled by historians the 'transportation revolution' - on America at the time?" And what was the effect on England and Europe as well? This new mode of transportation delivered the means for big business and countries to prosper and also to impact the whole social and economic fabric of American life. Rapid travel was a reality; railroad tracks spanned entire continents; and this networking brought not only goods and people together within countries but also created national markets. The world of mankind would be forever changed.

One of the major events that impacted railroads in the United States...