Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Mosaic of America, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 618

Essay

A Mosaic of America: Railroad Time

 In Chapter 3.1 “Railroad Time,” William Cronon argues that following the disastrous fire of 1871, the city of Chicago was drastically altered by the presence of the railroads that had spread from the Eastern Seaboard and into the American Midwest during the turbulent years of the Civil War and the beginnings of the first Reconstruction period, circa 1865 to 1877.

As Cronon points out so eloquently, the people of Chicago “found themselves drawn to two metaphors that would recur endlessly in booster rhetoric”–first, the artificial naturalness of the railroads that compelled the city to regain its economic health and prosperity after the Great Fire of 1871, and second, that the railroads were “more than just natural,” due to their power to transform the landscape while possessing “a mysterious creative energy that was beyond human influence or knowledge” (109-110).

What Cronon is attempting to explain here is that once the railroads arrived, the economic growth and prosperity of the city of Chicago greatly expanded, due to tracks and lines running in every section of the city that allowed merchants to transport their goods to the far-flung reaches of the American West beyond the Mississippi River, thus increasing not only their own economic prosperity but also that of the city itself.

Cronon’s reference to the railroads possessing what he calls “a mysterious creative energy” could be described as a new source of economic power that drove the city and its residents to new heights as the “vanguard of civilization,” the protector of the city’s economic strength and future prospects. Cronon adds that the in the eyes of some Chicagoans, the railroads were “powerful iron agencies,” a reference to the train engines and the iron rails upon which they traveled that allowed the flat, glaciated land of northern Illinois to “spring at once into teeming life and animation” (110).

Of course, in the 1870’s, the age of technology was in its infancy, and many Americans, especially those living in major urban areas like Chicago, felt “genuine awe in the face” of new technologically advanced inventions like the railroads and its powerful steam locomotives, “the mechanical herald of a new age” (Cronon 110) which thanks in part to the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800’s, made it possible for the geographical boundaries of the U.S. to expand to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

However, as Cronon describes it, the emergence of the railroads in the Midwest and their expansion into the Far West was a sort of Faustian bargain, meaning that American faith in this new form of technology floundered when it became clear that the railroads, although engines of economic change and prosperity, had brought with it many problems, particularly related to the ability of ordinary people to move westward by train instead of covered wagon. This new form of transportation also made it possible for merchants and retailers to sell their goods more rapidly and without having to worry about the weather.

In essence, Cronon’s argument is quite valid and is obviously based on much reliable documentation related to the history of the railroads in the United States. To sum it up, the railroads transformed America from a mostly agrarian/agricultural society into the vast capitalistic empire, wherein Americans could buy and sell their goods anywhere in the country simply by “riding the rails” westward to the great cities of the Midwest and further on toward the Pacific and California. Cronon calls this “a vast new concentration of capital” (117) or the movement of people and their money from one geographical location to another in a matter of days as compared to weeks or months.

Bibliography

Hartzell, Lawrence L. A Mosaic of America. Vol. 2. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2007. 109-117.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Human Trafficking, Research Paper Example

Human trafficking is definitely one of the most severe problems in contemporary society. “Annually, about 600,000 to 800,000 people – mostly women and children –are [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1058

Essay

Alternatives to Imprisonment, Essay Example

What alternatives to imprisonment exist to deal with non-violent criminals who are repeat offenders? The populations of prisons around the world and United States in [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 270

Essay

Immunity, Essay Example

What is meant by immunity? What are types of immunity? How does it work to insulate a defendant from criminal prosecution? “In legal contexts, immunity [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 259

Essay

Unappreciated Heroes, Essay Example

Though viewed by many as a great bastion of upward mobility for the black people and other minorities, the United States armed forces have not [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1445

Essay

Hepatitis C, Essay Example

In fact, Hepatitis C is a liver disease, which is caused by Hepatitis C virus, so called HCV infection. “HCV infection sometimes results in an [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 710

Essay

Plato’s The Apology, Essay Example

Plato’s The Apology is a description of the speech, which Socrates makes at the trial when charged with not acknowledging the gods accepted by the [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1264

Essay

Human Trafficking, Research Paper Example

Human trafficking is definitely one of the most severe problems in contemporary society. “Annually, about 600,000 to 800,000 people – mostly women and children –are [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1058

Essay

Alternatives to Imprisonment, Essay Example

What alternatives to imprisonment exist to deal with non-violent criminals who are repeat offenders? The populations of prisons around the world and United States in [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 270

Essay

Immunity, Essay Example

What is meant by immunity? What are types of immunity? How does it work to insulate a defendant from criminal prosecution? “In legal contexts, immunity [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 259

Essay

Unappreciated Heroes, Essay Example

Though viewed by many as a great bastion of upward mobility for the black people and other minorities, the United States armed forces have not [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1445

Essay

Hepatitis C, Essay Example

In fact, Hepatitis C is a liver disease, which is caused by Hepatitis C virus, so called HCV infection. “HCV infection sometimes results in an [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 710

Essay

Plato’s The Apology, Essay Example

Plato’s The Apology is a description of the speech, which Socrates makes at the trial when charged with not acknowledging the gods accepted by the [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1264

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!