Hurwitz 1 4/24/11 History Fair Process Paper 2 I chose my topic because I am interested in transportation and how it has shaped this

country. To research this railroad, I read Dreams of Iron and Steal which helped me know the history of the railroad and now I would be able to understand more dense books. After I was comfortable with the simple names, dates, and places, I dove in further. I read Nothing Like It In The World by Stephen E. Ambrose. I knew I still needed more primary sources. So I went on a hunt to find the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. After much digging, I found it. It was helpful since it was first firsthand knowledge. I also found an article from a magazine from 1868. This was a perfect primary source. I still needed scholarly journals so I went on Infotrack and eLibrary. They were very useful, and I found three good ones, one of which by Stephen Ambrose, a very reputable author. Another primary source I found was an article from Putnam’s Magazine. This article had been referenced in Nothing Like It In The World by Stephen Ambrose. I found it, and it provided a good sense of what the average person of that time thought. My goal through all of this research was just to compile a large amount of sources that included information about how it was a turning point. I highlighted this pertinent information. After my conference with Mr. Sunderland, I realize I needed to focus more. So I figured out what I wanted to learn and went searching for that specific answer. This new strategy proved to be very fruitful. I found a perfect graph about the amount of track laid down per year. Next, I found two articles about the history of the railroads. They didn’t exactly answer my question (after the Transcontinental Railroad, did the amount of track built increase?) so I will try to find the answer next time. Because I tried this new strategy and saw its success, it will prompt me to try it again next time. I chose to work individually because I have always been better at working alone. I can do the research around my busy schedule without having to coordinate with someone else. I know the work will get done and it will get done the right way. The Transcontinental Railroad greatly impacted the United States in almost every way possible. Without it, Westward expansion would not have been so momentous and expeditious. The country would not have been so unified, both physically and mentally. Many people would not have been able to support their families due to unemployment. The way time was kept would have been different. The postal service might have taken many more years to fully develop. Without the Transcontinental Railroad, the United States would be a totally different country and that is why the idea, construction, and success of this “great unstoppable iron road” (Cadbury 191) is such a major turning point in history.