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An 1839 poster urges citizens to rally against the coming of the railroad to Philadelphia. As the poster suggests, industrial technology and "progress" have not always been greeted with universal acclaim. The anonymous author(s) of this broadside warn of the danger to life and limb posed by the new technology (in fact a number of disasters did…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1839

The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad is celebrated with a handshake, a bottle of champagne, and the laying of a golden railroad spike in Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10th, 1869. After years of speculation, government backing, corporate scandal, and arduous physical labor, the Union Pacific line met the Southern Pacific, linking the…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1869

The optimism and hope of "The Age of Progress" is expressed in these song lyrics published in 1860 by H. De Marsan. In typically grandiloquent Victorian style, the author extols recent technological advancements, including the Pacific Railroad and the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, under construction at the time of the song's composition and…

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Item Type: Music/Song
Date: 1860

Walt Whitman ardently depicted scenes and objects of modernity in the mid 19th century, seeing beauty in the power and invention of the machine age. This set him apart from a slightly earlier generation of artists, poets, and writers like Henry David Thoreau or William Wordsworth who decried the onset of industrialization and romanticized "the…

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Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1881

An 1869 poster announces the grand opening of the first Transcontinental Railroad. In an elaborate ceremony in Promontory Summit, Utah, the Union Pacific met with the Southern Pacific, linking the eastern United States with California for the first time. While the poster emphasizes the line's luxurious accommodations, the Transcontinental Railroad…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: Circa 1869

These verses memorialize Annie Lillie, a 16-year-old victim of the North Pennsylvania Railroad disaster, known as "The Great Train Wreck of 1856." The worst railroad accident in history up to that time, the disaster occurred when two trains collided head-on, killing approximately 60 people, many of them Sunday school children on a picnic excursion.…

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Item Type: Music/Song
Date: Circa 1856

During the nineteenth century, the U.S. greatly expanded its territory by purchasing land from other countries, taking land from countries it defeated in war, and adding independent territories that wanted to become part of the United States. This illustration celebrated that territorial growth by using many popular symbols of American progress and…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1873

This is a partial script, for chapters on "The Centennial Exposition" and "The Railroad" in the documentary 1877: The Grand Army of Starvation produced by the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning. In bold are vocabulary words defined on a vocabulary sheet linked to this script.

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Item Type: TV/Film
Date: 1985

This booklet is curriculum support for the American Social History Project's 30-minute documentary 1877: The Grand Army of Starvation. The viewer's guide contains background information on issues raised by the documentary as well as additional primary source materials for use in the classroom.

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Item Type: Viewer's Guide
Date: 2007

This is a vocabulary list for chapters on "The Centennial Exposition" and "The Railroad" in the 1877: The Grand Army of Starvation documentary.

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 1877