Lec6_1_31 - Lecture 6 History of American Business...

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Lecture 6: History of American Business: Railroads and the Managerial Revolution Where we are going: Railroad growth during the war, Problems of Scale and Scope, and Solutions- the managerial revolution. Railroads. Railroads emerge in the 1820’s primarily as competition with canals – used to link areas not connected by water with each other and ultimately get products to the coast for international shipment. Railroads were one of the early recipients of corporate charters. From the 1830’s- 1860’s, railroads increase exponentially. Within a generation, the railroad revolutionizes the movement of products in the country’s interior. Railroads were used extensively, especially by the North, in the war. They moved soldiers and supplies around, and railroads helped solidify support for war among wealthy in North. Government contracts with railroads were lucrative. Besides, Lincoln had the power to take over private railroads via the War Powers Act for the war effort. In the North, many new railroads were laid during the war, far more than in South. Among the policies implemented by government were land grants – railroads would be granted swaths of land on either side of the tracks in checkerboard pattern. This land was sold to farmers, and farmers would then probably use the railroad to get their goods to market. This policy continues until the end of the 19 th century. Thousands of miles of track are laid per year – 8,000/year in the 1880’s. By 1890, 166,000 miles of tracks per year, and by peak, around 250,000 miles of track.
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