83: Transcontinental Railroad (pt 1): Industrialization, Ted Judah & The Rise of the Central Pacific

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By ProfGregJackson and Prof. Greg Jackson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

“Every great enterprise has been ridiculed in the outset.”

This is the story of the rise of the railroad.

Travel on land is slow. Arduous. Inhibited by rough terrain like mountains, rivers, and bogs. That reality makes Americans view the continent’s interior as an inaccessible “Great Desert,” only to be visited by daring pioneers passing through en route to Oregon Country or California.

But technology is changing. “Iron horses” are starting to run at rapid speeds across rails. And as these rails stretch across the east, some dreamers, thought crazy, are suggesting this rail could traverse the entire continent.

Could the US Government support such a ludicrous idea? It seems impossible, but might such a rail help keep the massive, continent-wide nation together as Civil War breaks out? Theodore “Crazy” Judah thinks so, and teaming up with four influential, business-savvy Californians, he means to find out. This is the rise of the Central Pacific Railroad.

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