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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Weider History Group Welcomes You! > Weider History Group Magazines > Wild West Magazine

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Wild West Magazine Discuss magazine articles and issues here.

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  #1  
Old 29 Jan 08, 16:30
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Railroads Tamed the Wild West?

Question posed for the April 2008 issue of Wild West magazine.

Were railroads the most important factor in taking the “wild” out of the Wild West in the late 19th century? Even with Winchester rifles, could Euro-Americans have “won” the West without the help of transcontinental railroads?
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Old 29 Jan 08, 17:34
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Nope.

The trains brought reliable commerce, reliable established infrastructure and made it possible to get mail and contact into remote locations.

It was how Canada's west was made possible too.

And you only need to look at how towns usually die the second the trains are gone. The trains no longer come to my hometown, and the industry in town is nearly non existent now. It's now all about grocery stories and big box suppliers and cottages. Nothing is really "made" here much any more. Our biggest industry lately seems to be pregnant single teenage girls.
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Old 31 Jan 08, 16:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Maud'dib View Post
Nope.

The trains brought reliable commerce, reliable established infrastructure and made it possible to get mail and contact into remote locations.
Not to mention it was a very easy way to get massive amounts of people into the west to settle it.
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Old 31 Jan 08, 17:34
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It should go without saying that the advent and expansion of rails was a signficant key in the developement of the west in every economic and social context.

Reliable means of transport stimulate expansion and the cheaper and faster the better...and while this was initialy necessarily not the case the 'Ironhorse' did it anyway and is still doing it today.

see the link for an excellent article reference the thread.

The Iron Horse: the impact of the railroads on 19th century American society
By Marieke van Ophem

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/E/ironhorse/ironhorsexx.htm
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