effects of the nationwide rail network on the United States?

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The railroad system that went from the Atlantic to the Pacific changed life in America for good. For the settlers and merchants it was tremendous. Supplies for homes, gold mining, ranching, farming were able to be shipped. Merchants stood to profit greatly from the beginning to the end of the railroad. Supplies no longer had to be routed around South America which was far more costly and lengthy. Grains could be shipped from the Midwest to either coast. Cities sprouted up overnight from people coming West to seek their fortunes or escaping the city life. Families once divided could now visit again. However, the railroad was the beginning of the end for the way of the Native Americans. The coming white men shot animals for sport, killing buffalo by the thousands and then letting them rot where they fell. This made food scarce for the Natives. The whites desecrated old burial grounds, often stripping the graves of Indian artifacts they held sacred. Their land was taken from them and given away while they went to live in places strange to them next to warring tribesmen. They not only had to give up their land and pattern of living but were also forced to be "civilized".

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