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Cobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and ChildrenCobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and Children

Cobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and Children February 2017

COBBLESTONE is the award-winning and respected leader in the study of American history for young people. COBBLESTONE tells America’s story through a unique mix of captivating articles, lively graphics, historical photographs, primary sources, and maps. Each themed-issue examines historical events in detail making them exciting and relevant to today. A must-have for every history classroom and media center. Grades 5-9.

United States
Cricket Media, Inc.
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9 Issues


access_time1 min.
all aboard !

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act on July 1, 1862. The act invited cooperation between the federal government and private investors to build a railroad across the West. Two companies built the railway simultaneously. The Union Pacific Railroad began in Omaha, Nebraska, and headed west through Wyoming and Utah, building a total of 1,087 miles. The Central Pacific Railroad began in Sacramento, California, and headed east through Nevada and Utah, building a total of 690 miles. Workers joined the tracks on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah. Politicians expected the railroad would take 10 years to build, but it was completed in six years. The last railroad ties to be laid down had to be replaced after souvenir hunters destroyed them. Before 1869, it took at least several months and…

access_time5 min.
the time was right

Do you know what travelers in ancient Greece or ancient Rome and travelers in early 19th-century America had in common? They both used the same method—a horse—to move great distances over land. For centuries, people relied on horses to provide the labor to carry them or pull them in carriages. In the 1830s, an exciting machine—the steam locomotive—offered a new way to think about how to travel. Something New The changes began with the introduction of the steam engine in the early 1700s, followed by engineering innovations during the Industrial Revolution. When the first steam-powered locomotive appeared in the United States in 1830, Americans viewed it with cautious excitement. It looked dangerous, but there was no question that it was faster than a horse. By 1840, a variety of railway companies had built…

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the evolution of steam locomotion

During the Industrial Revolution, more than one person often contributed to the success of an idea by adding improvements to it. The evolution of the steam locomotive, for example, involved men in Great Britain and in the United States: 1712 British inventor Thomas Newcomen invents the first practical steam engine. 1769 Scottish inventor James Watt patents an idea for an improved practical steam engine. 1804 After first testing his idea for a horseless steam carriage on a road, British inventor Richard Trevithick designs a steam locomotive that works on a set of rails. 1814 British engineer George Stephenson invents the first steam locomotive capable of hauling heavy loads of coal from the mines. 1825 American John Stevens designs and builds the first steam locomotive in the United States (it was used only on a short…

access_time6 min.
the race is set

In 1857, Abraham Lincoln was the lawyer in a case for the Rock Island Bridge Company. The company had built one of the first railroad bridges across the Mississippi River. When a ship crashed into the bridge, the ship owner sued the company, claiming that the bridge obstructed free navigation of the river. The case was dismissed after the jury was deadlocked, but during it, Lincoln made an argument for the national support of “rail travel from East to West.” The nation needed a reliable method to connect its two coasts. The addition of the Oregon Territory in 1846 and the Mexican Cession in 1848 had given the United States control of the West Coast. In the decade that followed, discoveries of gold in California and silver in Nevada attracted large…

access_time6 min.
making it happen the men behind the railroad

In every generation, a few visionary people recognize a change is coming, and they embrace it. A project as large as the first transcontinental railroad was successful thanks to the labor of tens of thousands of men. It also required a few motivated individuals whose ideas and efforts made the historic railroad possible. Judah was an early and strong support of railroads, which sometimes led to his being called “Crazy Judah.” As a young man, he worked as a railroad surveyor at a time when railroads were just beginning to spread throughout the East Coast. He traveled to California in 1854 when he was hired to build the first railroad west of the Missouri River: the Sacramento Valley Railroad. Judah firmly believed that a transcontinental railroad was possible, and he traveled…

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The two companies that built the transcontinental railroad were among the first large companies in the United States. At that time, the federal government thought business worked best if left alone. But as the men in those companies grew more powerful and became linked with government officials, questionable and improper deals were struck. The Credit Mobilier scandal was an example of the corruption of the time. To increase their profit and limit their financial risk, the directors of the Union Pacific Railroad Company created a construction company named the Credit Mobilier of America in 1864. The company bid for construction contracts at the upper limit of the amount allowed by Congress. The Union Pacific directors, most of whom made up the Credit Mobilier corporation, accepted those high bids. They then pocketed…