Library of Congress

Teachers

The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Railroad Maps, 1828-1900

Back to Collection Connections

State of Alabama. October. 2nd. 1866.

[Detail] State of Alabama. October. 2nd. 1866.

Historical Analysis and Interpretation

Students can learn to analyze and interpret maps by determining how land grants affected railroads. Many federal policies are actualized in physical characteristics of the American landscape. Railroad Maps, 1828-1900 allows students to see the effects of government policies of land grants and rights-of-way on patterns of settlement. Between 1850 and 1872 the government ceded public lands to states and railroad companies to promote railroad construction in the West and South. In return, the railroads were required to transport goods for the government at reduced rates.

To see examples of how these land grants shaped the landscape, students can search the collection on land grant and look for the swatches of land given to railroads. How did these land grants influence the patterns of development of railroads? And how did the railroad then influence urbanization patterns? Look for evidence of settlement along the train routes.

At the bottom of the map appears the following text:
"Explanations
A full Township contains 36 Sections, each containing 640 acres, more or less, numbered as above.
Even or shaded Sections belong to the Government.
Surveyed Townships are indicated thus: + "

Top