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the land grants were nearly all made to iowa in 18

publish 2022-11-16,browse 21
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the land grants were nearly all made to iowa in 1856, yet the energetic and rapid building of roads was not shown until after the close of the war, nor until the people had advanced beyond the roads, and their necessities demanded them.kansas in 1860 had a population of 107,209; in 1870 it had increased to 364,400.prior to 1864 it had no railroads.in 1870 it had 1,501 miles, all of which, save forty miles, was built in four years.nearly all of the kansas roads were aided by grants, and some of them by subsidy bonds.in 1870 there was one mile of railroad in kansas for every 242 inhabitants.to construct these roads in kansas, counties, cities, and towns have taxed themselves by vote to the amount of $4,400,000, or about $9.00 to each inhabitant.this debt must be charged to the railroad account, and a similarly voted indebtedness in iowa to the amount of about $6,000,000.the valuation of property in iowa in 1860 was $205,166,000, and in 1870 $302,515,000.thus while the population of the state had nearly doubled, and the lines of railroad had more than quadrupled, the valuation had increased less than fifty per cent, and at least onehalf of this increase was in the value of railroads.deducting from the increased valuation of property in kansas the value of railroads there, and about the same state of facts appears.the figures in these two states will show, that so far from the donations of land and money adding to their wealth the reverse is true.and this position is supported by the exhibit of other states.in pennsylvania the population has increased since 1860, 600,000.the mileage of railroads has nearly doubled in this time, and the valuation of property has increased from $719,253,000 to $1,318,236,000.in that state, where no government aid has been voted to railroads, the wealth of the state has nearly doubled, while in the same time in the state of iowa it has not increased fifty per cent, land grants included.the population of nebraska has increased from 7,000 to 42,000 in the last decade.this state has 593 miles of railroad, or one mile of railroad to each seventy of its population, nearly all aided by grants.california had a population in 1860 of 380,000.in 1870 it had increased to 560,000.colorado in the last decade increased from 34,000 to 40,000.in this territory there are 392 miles of railroad, all built by grants of lands and bonds.of course the roads through the territories are the pacific roads, but as the states and territories were both cited as illustrations of the wisdom of congress in making grants to companies for the construction of railroads, we have examined the matter somewhat in detail to show the weakness of the argument.if we take the census of 1860 and that of 1870, and observe the increase in population, wealth, and railroad building, we will discover that the laws of trade, of supply, and demand have controlled the whole matter, and that the growth of the country has not been increased because of these grants from government.in all cases where the construction of railroads has approached the frontier line of settlement, it has drawn but little population after it, aside from the employes of the road.the real pioneer immigration, that which opens and improves the country, is doing now what it has done for the last generation, moving steadily to the west, followed and surrounded by railroad sharks and jobbers, who, after getting all they can from government, prey upon the people; and the people of the new states, instead of being blessed with the means of adding to their wealth, find themselves burdened with debt and taxes, fastened upon them by the construction of railroads, many of which are of doubtful utility.as a necessary consequence of the railroad taxes upon their lands, and the excessive charges imposed for the transportation of their produce, their farms do not appreciate in value, and the anticipated rapid increase in population and wealth of the locality is not realized.from a view of the whole situation, regarding the benefits accruing to the people from these grants to railroad companies, with what the people have paid for them, the withholding of these railroad lands from market, and the high prices charged per acre by the companies, together with the unjust privileges granted to these corporations, we conclude that the people of the new states and territories have not received an equivalent for the grants made to railroad companies.we are aware that a different opinion prevails, and that our conclusions will be controverted; but when it is remembered that thousands of people have left iowa, or, coming from the east, have refused to settle in iowa, because of the fact that lands could only be had by purchase from railroad companies at extravagant prices, and that for this reason vast tracts of iowa lands are yet unimproved which would now be settled upon and cultivated had they not thus been withdrawn from the market, it must be admitted that iowa would have had a greater population, and greater wealth, had her railroad companies received no land grants.and what is true of iowa is also true, as a general rule, of other states and territories.perhaps an exception exists in the far western territories, whose gold and silver mines are in themselves an exception to the general rule, and where agriculture has but few followers.the advocates of the railroad land grant and subsidy bond system for the settlement of a country have the following to say in its favor.we quote from the _railroad manual_ before referred to: one of the most remarkable things connected with the progress of this country is the construction of railroads in advance even of the lines of settlement of our people.such result is largely due to the grants made by government of lands for the encouragement of these works.never was a policy more wise or more beneficent.no instances can be shown where railroads have been built in advance of the line of settlement, save when the objective point could only be reached by passing over an unsettled country, as in the case of the road from the atlantic to the pacific states.in all other cases, railroad companies have awaited the settlement and development of the country, and followed, not led, our pioneer corps.of the wisdom and beneficence of these grants the people can judge from their acquaintance with the workings of the system, and the wholesale robberies and frauds practiced by the companies, to some of which we have already referred.again the author says: the government has been greatly the gainer in a pecuniary point of view, as it was enabled to sell the land reserved at twice the established rate.it is not clearly seen how this _gain_ is made.the people, who are the government, give away onehalf of their lands, and then pay into their treasury just money enough for the remaining half to make up the value of the lands they have given away.the only gain the government has made (and this is not a pecuniary one) is the reflection that the men who have received these large grants have become rich, while the people have been deprived of their lands at the original price; they must pay for onehalf of them a double price, and for the residue just what they can buy it for from the corporations to whom their servants have donated it.this author says: that the public has reaped the advantage of the construction of some ten thousand miles of railroads, that otherwise would not have been built.is this true? in iowa the landgrant roads were not built as fast as other roads having no grants, and the companies finally completed them because they were about to lose their lands by longer delay.and in other states and territories some of these land grant roads are dragging their slow length along, and are being constructed only as fast as the lines are settled with a sufficient number of inhabitants to make the business of the roads profitable.after showing that in certain states and territories there is now one mile of railroad for each three hundred inhabitants, the author adds: this is certainly a most wonderful exhibit, and is one no other nation can display, and which in our case has only been secured by the wise, benevolent policy of our government, which in this way did more to give remunerative employment to the poorer classes than any other legislation could adopt.it is certainly a _most wonderful exhibit_.it is one that _no other nation can display_; but its wisdom and benevolence are matters of grave doubt.if we add to this wonderful exhibit the $65,000,000 stolen from the people by corrupt men and interested legislation, with the $3,126,000 annual interest that the whole people are taxed to pay, because the pacific railroad companies and the congressional credit mobilier have wrongfully appropriated this vast sum to their own use, it presents truly a _most_ wonderful exhibit, without a parallel in any country in the world, but its wisdom and benevolence are certainly wanting

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