Publication Date



Erik Grimmer-Solem, Richard Adelstein


History (HIST)


English (United States)


The Union Pacific Railroad chartered by the US federal government as a public-private enterprise amid the Civil War to hold the Pacific states in the Union by a transcontinental rail line. The railroad’s construction through Native American territory was protected by the US Army, who viewed the railroad as a means of quickly and efficiently deploying troops across the frontier to ultimately concentrate Native Americans on Reservations. While the Union Pacific served the federal government’s purposes of accelerating western settlement and removing the Native Americans, the railroads indebtedness to the federal government and its inability to broker a settlement in the aftermath of the Credit Mobilier scandal precipitated the Union Pacific’s fall from national project to the federal government’s wayward child.



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