|Union Pacific Railroad Chartered 1862
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Imagine yourself as a farmer living in Europe in the mid-19th century. You
own little or no land, have a large debt, and your taxes are due
to the government. Then one day a friend comes to your door carrying
a brochure printed by the "Union Pacific Railroad." The brochure
says that the Union Pacific owns millions of acres in a place called
Nebraska. The railroad will sell you land for a very cheap price,
and you can take up to ten years to pay for it. Not only is the
land cheap and reasonable, but the climate is mild and there are
no heavy taxes. Wouldn't you be a fool not to move?
The building of the railroad across the Great Plains meant more settlers and more competition with the Native Americans for the land. The transcontinental railroads wanted rights-of-way through tribal lands and needed white settlers to make their operations profitable.