Efforts in reclaiming land sparked in california and

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Efforts in reclaiming land sparked in California and Colorado as they fought over the rights to precious streams They used the English law principle of riparian rights, which held that the stream belonged to God; those who lived nearby could take water as needed but should not diminish the river. Western settlers rejected this and awarded the water to the first person who claimed it as they believed the water was there to serve them Government Supervision of Water Rights People disadvantaged by damaged water or water flow could sue or establish a public authority to regulate water usage and appropriation 1890: Wyoming added a constitutional provision declaring that the state's rivers were public property subject to supervision California maintained a mixed legal system; upheld riparianism while allowing for some appropriation This system disadvantaged irrigators who tried to change the law 1887: bill passed permitting farmers to organize into districts that would construct and operate irrigation projects; could purchase water right, seize property for farms, and finance projects through tax
Newlands Reclamation Act (1902) People wanted the government to hand over their land so they could make it profitable; congress generally refused these offers due to conflict in the past This act allowed the government to sell western public lands to individuals in parcels 160 acres or less and to use proceeds to finance irrigation Railroad Construction Between 1865 and 1890 railroad expansion bloomed as tracks grew from 35,000 to 200,000 miles mostly west of the Mississippi river By 1900, the U.S. contained one third of all railroad tracks in the world Central Pacific Railroad employed thousands of Chinese Union Pacific Railroad employed mostly Irish Workers lived in temporary shacks and tents that moved with them Railroads helped to boost the nation's steel industry, fuel western urbanization and aided coal, rail-car manufacturing, and department construction industries Railroad Subsidies Railroads received some of the largest government subsidies in U.S. history During the civil war, congress granted railroad corporations over 180 million acres mostly for interstate routes Railroads funded construction by using the land as security for bonds; without public help, few railroads could have gained private investment Standard Gauge Standard Time Railroad construction triggered important technological and organizational reforms; by the late 1880s almost all lines had adopted standard-gauge rails so their tracks could connect Air brakes, automatic car couplers, and other devices made railroad transportation safer and more efficient Systems created to coordinate passenger and freight schedules, and the adoption of uniform freight-classification systems Railroads reinforced racism and classism by segregating black and white passengers and poor and rich passengers on cars and in stations

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