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Expansion of the West during the Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution time period many factors contributed to the rapid expansion of the West. Even though there were several constructive results from inventions a vast amount of harmful consequences. The improvements made were great but they came with disastrous economic and political cost.

One of these great improvements was the construction of the railroad. This helped many Americans who planned to travel west on the newly completed Trans-Continental Railroad, although it was quite expensive to travel on the rail it was faster. It would take about one week to travel using the railroad compared to the six months journey. Another advantage of taking the railroad is the fact that you were in no immediate danger and you were not in the weather. Towns sprung up all along the railways, increasing the population in the west dramatically over a small amount of time. Instead of unmarried young men traveling west, you had whole families traveling. With the increasing need for labor to help build the Trans-Continental Railroad, waves of immigrants traveled to the west. Irish and other immigrants were brought into the United States to help with the growing demand of workers. When the job of building the Trans-Continental Railroad was over many immigrants stayed in the west. By staying in the west the immigrants help create racial tension between them and the American Settlers. This racial tension led to further problems, and these problems happen to be one of the consequences of expansionism.

Another factor that played in the settlement of the west was the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead Act gave 160 acres of land to anyone who would pay 10$ registration fee and pledge to live on the land and cultivate it for five years. This act set off mass immigration by Europeans who were amazed by a country that gave it’s land away, many Americans also took a hold of this opportunity to get free land. ...

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