Government Promotion of American Canals and Railroads, 1800-1890

By Carter Goodrich | Go to book overview

5
AN ERA OF
NATIONAL SUBSIDY

A new era of national action began in 1850 with an extensive grant of federal lands to aid in the construction of a system of railroads from Mobile, Alabama, to northern Illinois. There had, of course, been federal action in an earlier period, as Chapter 2 has indicated. Advocates of the new measure reminded Congress of the encouragement given to "Old Colonel Zane" back in 1796, 1 and they could cite as a more direct precedent the grants to Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio in 1827 and 1828 which had introduced the practice of giving alternate sections of public land along the route of the proposed improvement. Nor had federal activity in the field ceased completely after the Maysville Road veto. Appropriations were made--though after Jackson's administration very sparingly- for river and harbor improvements. The National Road was pushed slowly on into Illinois. The federal government retained its stock in the Louisville and Portland Canal, which became a highly profitable undertaking; but the government's unwillingness to assume positive responsibility was illustrated by its acquiescence in the arrangement by which the profits were used to buy out the private shares and by its failure to take over full control even when the process had been completed. 2 Certain concessions and privileges were granted to the railroads. From 1830 to 1841, after an agitation begun on behalf of the Baltimore and Ohio, they were given either full or partial rebates on the duties on iron imported

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Government Promotion of American Canals and Railroads, 1800-1890
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The: Spirit of Improvement 3
  • Federal Debate and Decision 1801-1830 17
  • 2 - An Era of National Projects 19
  • The Emulation of States and Cities 1815-1861 49
  • 3 - The Appalachian Competition 51
  • 4 - From Boston to Mobile 121
  • Federal Debate and Decision 1850-1872 167
  • 5 - An Era of National Subsidy 169
  • The Emulation of States and Cities 1861-1890 205
  • 6 - The State Programs of the Reconstruction South 207
  • 7 - The Patronage of Local Legislation 230
  • Conclusion 263
  • 8 - Public Promotion and Private Enterprise 265
  • Notes 299
  • Bibliography 353
  • Index 365
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