A Portal to the Pacific Ocean: Puget Sound, the Transcontinental Railroads, and Transpacific Trade, 1869–1914
Author: Sean Fraga, University of Southern California
Comment: David Armitage, Harvard University
Tuesday 23 February
The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and environment. But as Sean Fraga argues, these railroads also saw themselves as part of an emergent global steam-powered network. This paper shows how American interest in trade with East Asia motivated Northern Pacific Railway and Great Northern Railway to build transcontinental lines to Puget Sound. In doing so, these railroads left lasting impacts on the region’s lands, waters, and peoples.
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