The Gilded Age

The Railroad Industry in the Gilded Age

"The golden gleam of the gilded surface hides the cheapness of the metal underneath." - Mark Twain

Reasons for Economic Growth in the Last Half of the 19th Century

Industrialization- Industrialization led to the greater manufacturing of goods which would be able to be transferred to a greater selection of regions because of railroad access.

Gold Rush- Not only did the gold rush lead to the influx of other minerals, but it created a need for railroads to transfer tools and miners to Sacramento.

Bessemer Steel Process- The Bessemer steel process led to easy creation of stronger steel to be used to make the Railroads and the train cars.

Unfair Selling of Land Next to Railroads- The companies already had the land paid for them to build on so they sold land at high prices to people to make a profit.

Accessibility- Goods were accessible to a greater population because railroads extended business to more areas. More goods were produced and sold to more people.

urbanization- More regions in America went from being barren to populated because railroads could easily transport goods and people and made other places more accessible.

Job Creation- Jobs were created for the factors of production and the workers that where creating the railroads.

Interstate Commerce Act 1887- Prohibited pools and forced railroad companies to publish their rates openly. It prohibited the discrimination against shippers and other unlawful charging. Also Established the interstate Commerce Commission to enforce the new regulations.

The Gold Rush

The "Gold Rush" best reflects the economic growth in the railroading industry in the last half of the 19th century. Attracting over 300,000 people, even people from overseas, the Gold Rush was one of the greatest economic booms of the late 19th century. The money gained from the Gold Rush allowed for the building of railroads which created a need to transfer tools and miners to Sacramento. Without this significant event the transcontinental would not have been built as soon as it was built, if at all.


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By Justin Rath