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The arduous overland journey across the plains by oxen or mules, and the long ocean voyage via Panama or around Cape Horn, brought to the early settlers a realization of their isolation from the remainder of the country.
A growing sentiment in the West and East favored a railroad that would bind the nation closer together.
But his proposal was branded by many as fantastic or a vicious money-grabbing scheme.
Construction of the rail highway for the Iron Horse from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri River was one of man's greatest accomplishments.It was vital that California and the Pacific Coast be bound to the Union, consequently the Pacific Railroad became a military necessity.The Pacific Railroad Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1862, and six months later, on January 8, 1863, the first shovelful of earth was turned by Central Pacific in constructing the pioneer line.Others followed, some of them having a short route to the rich Orient as the primary objective rather than being aimed at the development of the West.Discovery of gold in 1848 focused world attention on California and the Pacific Coast region.