"the 1850s equivalent of the Erie Canal"-DR
ran 700 miles north from the southern tip of the state at Cairo, on the junction of Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and included a branch line into Chicago
built w. cost of nearly $27 million
dubbed "the longest railway in the world"
it "made Chicago into the great transport hub of the midwest" -> just E Canal w. New York
-> ambitious politician stephen Douglas behind it all (just like DeWitt Clinon in NY)
"the economic multiplier was enormous"
-> with security of land Illinois could borrow -> then sold off land later to settlers + speculators, spawning new towns along the track -> whose business created further money for railroad
Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin become dominant wheat growign states bc of railroad -> can transport the wheat