THE AMERICAN ECONOMY IN TRANSITION
When my pop he said, "Let a hog in the house and he'll crawl on yer table," he wasn't agin' hogs . . . Pop was jest statin' a plain fact about hogs. All I aim to do tonight is state plain facts. . . . They is some wild-eyed folks likes to hollar, "Abolish advertisin'." Shucks, tryin' to stop advertisin' in this land is like tryin to stop freckles with a rubber eraser. . . . Only thing is, I look around our land and right now I say . . . we got a hog in the house.
--Father Calvin Stanfield's sermon in Herman Wouk Aurora Dawn, or The True Story of Andrew Reale, 196-197
The golden spike driven on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Point, Utah, connecting the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific to form the nation's first transcontinental railroad, marked an epoch in the history of the United States. The celebration that followed carried with it symbolic significance even beyond that which the participants realized. Most suggested that it marked the unification of the country from East to West, and no doubt a few ventured to suggest that it foreshadowed the end of the frontier; a very few--politicians no doubt--suggested that the first transcontinental railway signalled the unification of the nation in a much broader and even spiritual sense. The Civil War was over. The North and South and the East and West were now united and the nation could "get on" with its destiny--which all were sure was glorious. For the merchants and the manufacturers, present and prospective, many of whom had lobbied for the railroad, it no doubt symbolized great economic opportunity--a chance to exploit the abundant natural resources and the potential to build a truly national market.
Before the potential could become the reality of a national market, several interrelated developments needed to take place. The construction of a single transcontinental railroad, however significant symbolically, fell far short of