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A Railroad to the Pacific - 2

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, Territory of the United States from the Mississippi River to the... View All Images
1 Image Color lithograph, “Manzanita,” U.S. Pacific Railroad Explorations and... View All Images
1 Image Color lithograph, “Dalles,” U.S. Pacific Railroad Explorations and... View All Images
1 Image Color lithograph, “Herd of bison, near Lake Jessie [North Dakota],” U... View All Images
1 Image U.S. War Department, Reports of Explorations and Surveys, ca. 1855 View All Images
1 Image Proposed routes and selected route for the U.S. Pacific Railroad View All Images