After the Civil War had ended the United States had many challenges to face. There are a variety of factors that aided the country through the tough years that followed the war. The rapid growth of the United States helped to accommodate a large flow of immigration, and build an extremely powerful industrial infrastructure, as well as temper the hostility still present throughout the country. Trains, and eventually automobiles, opened the West to the rest of the country. People now had an escape from there lives in the East, and eagerly began to populate the farthest corners of the country. America was on its way to making an enormous impact on the world’s industrial market.
Raw materials, new techniques in the workplace, a massive increase in the labor force, and numerous technological inventions all played integral parts in the United State’s economic and industrial boom. Large quantities of coal, iron ore, silver, and gold were discovered in various regions in the West. Lead, quartz, zinc, copper, and other precious metals were also found as new areas were uncovered. Around the mines and quarries gathered the workers of the sites along with their families. These people created towns known as “boomtowns”, which required transportation in the form of trains for their supplies. The same process happened with numerous other raw materials found in the country as well (Brinkley, 449).
The agriculture, cattle, and sheep markets made many people large profits and, as with the stones and metals, relied on the railroad to bring the goods to the consumers. With the aid of the railroads there was an abundance of agricultural goods in the United States, “American commercial farmers, constantly opening new lands, produced much more than the domestic market could absorb; they relied on the world market to absorb their surplus, but in that market they face major competition” (467). This over abundance would unfortunately led to a drop in price of the American farmers products.
The sale of leather, wool, and meat from cows, sheep, and even buffalo aided in the growth of more markets in the United States. The railroad made it possible for the public to travel to the West and raise cattle in the massive, fertile grasslands, which are another resource in themselves. These products were then transported back East and sold (459/468). In 1862, The Homestead Act allowed any naturalized American, either a man or head of a household older than 21 years, to take a portion of land in the western United States for almost nothing. The land could not “exceed in aggregate on hundred and sixty acres” and upon registering for the land along with “payment of ten dollars, he or she shall thereupon be permitted to enter the quantity of land specified” (Hoffman&Gjerde, 35).
During the building of all the railroads that already aided many markets, the lumber industry was also on the rise. Forests were cleared, in some cases to make room for the railroads, and then...