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Unformatted text preview: Growth and Transformation After two great wars, the United States comes of age Settlement was spurred by the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted free farms of 64 hectares to citizens who would occupy and improve the land. Unfortunately for the would-be farmers, much of the Great Plains was suited more for cattle ranching than farming, and by 1880 nearly 22,400,000 hectares of "free" land was in the hands of cattlemen or the railroads. In 1862 Congress also voted a charter to the Union Pacific Railroad, which pushed westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa, using mostly the labor of ex-soldiers and Irish immigrants. At the same time, the Central Pacific Railroad began to build eastward from Sacramento, California, relying heavily on Chinese immigrant labor. The whole country was stirred as the two lines steadily approached each other, finally meeting on May 10,...
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This note was uploaded on 12/21/2011 for the course AMH AMH2010 taught by Professor Pietrzak during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.
- Fall '10