In June 1857, Pottawattamie County had a vote on whether to purchase $300,000 worth of stock in the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company to aid in the construction of that railroad through the county. By this point, the railroad had been constructed from Davenport to Iowa City, and the company was preparing to continue on to Des Moines and then to the Missouri River. Council Bluffs was not the only option on the Missouri River which created a sense of competition for the railroad. This editorial, published in Council Bluffs a week before the vote, detailed the argument in favor of the vote.
- The editorial is titled "The Railroad Loan." In actuality, how would the county of Pottawattamie be funding the railroad's construction?
- The first half of the editorial addressed the major objection to the vote. What civic responsibility was used to argue against the loan? How did the editor refute that objection?
- The other objection to the loan was that the railroad would be built regardless of what the people of Pottawattamie County did. How did the editor use civic responsibility of the citizens of Pottawattamie County to argue against this second objection?
- Which aspect of the editor’s argument seemed stronger for motivating the people of Pottawattamie County to vote, the economic benefits of the railroad or the civic responsibility to the town, county, and country? Provide evidence to explain your reasoning.
"The Railroad Loan," The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, pg. 2, 6 June 1857. Courtesy of Library of Congress