California was built around land and transportation. We had the population and we had communication. We were grown from the Spanish Land Grants and our conquests. Monterey history of 1847 is incredibly fabulous, and every one in this State should know it. The Spanish values were of land holdings and live stock . The English and American values favored business, currency and stock.
As the State of California we wanted to flourish here together, with the American Values of freedom of speech, religious beliefs, education with separation of church and state. The BIG FOUR of Sacramento helped receive the TransContinental Railroad. They built the Central Pacific railroad with the help of Theodore Judah the surveyor who found the path through the Sierra Nevada mountains. He went back to Congress, and asked for help to fund it. And Abraham Lincoln helped make it happen.
There is some excellent history in Council Bluffs, IA from the 1859 meetings of General Grenville Dodge and Abraham Lincoln. I posted an article I found in the Barstow, CA railroad museum written in 1917, with an account of HOW congress funded the Union Pacific with bonds, and how all those bonds were paid back. It was an important thing to do “not only as a military necessity as General Dodge had said, but as a means of holding the Pacific Coast to the Union.”
The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 was signed by Abraham Lincoln. He had a window of opportunity to get through some important legislation for the country. When he was elected, many states of the south seceded from the nation, and for once, Congress could agree on things because the dissenters weren’t there any longer. He passed three important things: Emancipation Proclamation, The Homestead Act and the Pacific Railroad Act. Those 3 things launched the country into a huge growth spirit! It was about expansion, and creation, and the building of America.
Slavery was more about economics than prejudice for colored skin. The economy of a tobacco or cotton farm required labor. How could you pay for it? The sharecropers had a lifestyle that was working. Why mess with all this. And who is this government to tell us how we have to do things? No one really likes to be “told” what they have to do or think. Espcially not a government or a church.
Transportation was about horses and feet, buggies and wagons, and even a bicycle. Then were the trains and the steam engine. Automobiles came along and offered more independence in travel. The street car of San Francisco helped create their economy. The ability for people to get around was good for the economy! As Southern California developed, the transportation for Los Angeles includes a lesson of the Pacific Electric and the story of Henry Huntington of Pasadena, CA fame.
Some of the solutions for America is as simple as Transportation, and getting things moving around again. We could encourage and nurture the airlines and the airport community. Railroads and freight work great in America, but the AmTrak system is archaic! We could nurture communities with a supportive infrastructure, that can even fund itself without a heavy tax base burden. We know how to do these things. Let’s focus on what we do have control of, and be better planners once again.