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Pacific Railway Act, approved July 1, 1862

To realize the vision of a transcontinental railroad and telegraph, Congress passed and President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act. This act designated the route and offered land grants as incentives to private companies to complete the segment west of the Missouri River. It also assured the government’s access to the line.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Pacific Railway Act, approved July 1, 1862 Pacific Railway Act, approved July 1, 1862

Legislative Highlights

The U.S. Constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power…To make all Laws.” The original laws enacted by Congress are preserved at the National Archives. This page highlights some of the most historically significant laws Congress has passed throughout the nation’s history.