Friday, January 23, 2009

Chapter 18

This chapter talks about life moving towards the west and the transformation of our country. The homestead act which was brought into action in 1863, gave both men and women over the age of twenty-one one hundred and sixty acres of surveyed land in the public domain. This act privileged white farmers over any hispanics or african americans because of the expense of homesteading. The deal was that if the homesteaders lived on the land for five years and improved the land then it became theirs. Building a barn, a shed, or a house on the land counted as improving. So this was not a problem at all for the farmers. The industrialization of the west was a big part of our countries growth. Cattle and timber where two of the biggest commodities that could be shipped to the east. As all this industrialization was taking place a type of transportation was a necessity and this is where the railroad soon came into play. In the same year that the homestead act was passed there was the passing of the Pacific Railroad bill, which provide large loans and gave land to two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. These railroad brought many jobs westward and when it was finished made transportation of both people and goods much easier. This brought more and more people to the west along with the gold rush that was going on at the same time. People were heading west hoping to strike it rich. Gold mining was very dangerous and most found no success. Hydraulic mining was the most popular system of finding these precious metals. The hydraulic mining was much easier, but very stressful on the environment, with all the runoff in result of this method. Big corporations offered a large amount of jobs and Chinese men were coming over in large numbers to work on both the railroad system and in the mines. There were some sixty-three thousand chinese immigrants to arrived here annually. Acts were later established to keep the chinese population in the United States down. Farming, Cattle raising, Gold mining, and the railroad were the biggest players during this time in the industrialization of our United States.

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