Thursday, January 28, 2010

What role did railroads play in changing southern society?

Railroads were important to the South for many reasons. First, the possibility of transporting goods greatly contributed to the success of farmers. They were now able to transport their cultivated goods to other areas of the country efficiently. Not only could they sell their crops to a more diverse range of customers, they could also receive crops from different areas around country that they previously did not have access to. Similarly, products from upcoming stores and industries were able to be transported to the South and southerners now had the opportunity to buy the same clothing, furniture, and specialty items they longed for. Before, there was a large discrepancy between those who lived in urban areas and those in rural areas. With the growth of the railroads, the rural areas then gained similar characteristics that were previously associated solely with cities. Not only was the transportation of items important, so was the transportation of people. Railroads were crucial to the movement west and coincided with the Homestead Act. Railroads also contributed to the rise of the iron industry in the South as well as various other industries.

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