National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1866-1885: We rebuild the Union and amend the Constitution

May 10, 1869
The “greatest railroad on earth” spurs a new national market

Meeting of the Central and Union Pacific railroads

“The last rail is laid! The last spike is driven! The Pacific Railroad is completed!
–AP dispatch

With the driving of gold and silver spikes in Utah, the Pacific Railroad is finished!

Until today, a trek from New York to California meant months at sea, or struggling across mountains and deserts. Now, passengers can make the trip in just six days.

This transportation revolution marks the rise of a new national market and a booming national economy.

This new national market of ours wouldn’t be possible without a Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate interstate and international trade.

Congress is using that constitutional power and others—like the power to establish a postal service—to help build railroads, telegraph lines, roads and canals.

The Civil War has left us bereaved and wounded…but this expansion of opportunity promises to knit us together again as a nation.

Read about it in the New York times

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