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A Railroad to the Pacific - 1

Settlement of the western territories in the 1850s increased the need for efficient rail transport to the Pacific Coast, but members of Congress could not agree on what route it should follow. Northern members wanted a northern route; southern members sought one advantageous to their region's interests. To inform this debate, in 1853 Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to survey four potential rail routes. Intense sectionalism blocked further legislation until southern states seceded. In 1862, a northern-controlled Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act.

1 Image Map, Exploration of a Railroad Route, 1854-1857, compiled by G.K.... View All Images
1 Image Lithograph, “Nez Perces (Meeting in Woods),” U.S. Pacific Railroad... View All Images
1 Image Chromolithograph, "Fort Union and Distribution of Goods to the... View All Images
1 Image Color lithograph, “A Conical Hill 500 Feet High,” U.S. Pacific... View All Images
1 Image U.S. War Department, Reports of Explorations and Surveys, ca. 1855 View All Images