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DBQ on Railroads

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The creation of the railroads was a positive thing. Extensive railroad construction in the 1800s transformed the Unite States by linking sections of the nation. This transformation was definitely advantageous. However, it also had its negative effects on the nation.

Due to the railroads, Americans realized that they were wrong about the Great Plains. At first, no one really paid mind to the Great Plains. They thought that the plains were to dry for agriculture. The railroads ended up changing the minds of the people. They had discovered that the Great Plains had millions of acres of fertile soil. (Document 1)

The creation of railroads in Monterey County and Santa Cruz County was a major advantage. The railroads brought together isolated communities along railroads were built by the Chinese. They worked hard to build the railroads. The process of building the railroads was not quite beneficial for the Chinese workers. They risked their lives to build these railroads. Approximately fifty Chinese workers were killed in accidents while building the railroads. They worked six to ten hour days a week and were paid one dollar a day. In all, the railroads had negative effects on the workers. (Document 4)

The year of 1877 was when numerous strikes occurred. The strikes were led by railroad workers in dozens of cities. The reason why they were on strike was because of wage cuts. The workers already had low wages to begin with. They were also on strike because of schemes, deaths and injuries. Some worker had lost hands, feet and fingers. Some workers were even crushed in between cars. The railroad workers announced that no more trains would leave Martinsburg until the 10 percent cut was canceled. Things had started to get out of hand during the strike because a gun had gone off. The federal troops were then called and they moved the freight cars. (Document 6)

Railroad owners had engaged in unfair business practices. Their benefits have been attained at the cost of unwarranted discriminations. The effect built up the strong at the expenses of the weak. The larger dealer was given an advantage over the small dealer in order to make a capital count for more than individual credit and enterprise.

In conclusion, the railroads did have advantages as well as disadvantages. It indeed had effects on the nation, in which some were beneficial. For example it allowed people to explore the Great Plains to find out that it was not a desert. On the other hand, the railroads did have many cons. For example, the deaths of the Chinese workers building the railroads, the strikes of the railroad workers and the unfair business practices of railroad owners.

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