The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 360
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
settlement denied access to the area within the six alternate sec-
tions. Indemnity limits were assigned to all future land grants.
When the road was completed, the states were to patent the land
to the railroad. The bill was approved by those Congressmen
who had constitutional scruples against voting direct aid for in-
ternal improvements, yet did not want to go on record as being
against a program that would help promote railroad construction.
Under the Illinois Central Act the alternate sections retained by
the government were to sell for not less than $2.50 per acre, or
twice the minimum value set for other public land. During the
remainder of the decade before the Civil War other grants were
based on the same principles as that to the Illinois Central, and
during this same period many attempts were made to secure aid
for a railroad to the Pacific. Rivalry between the North and
South as to which section of the United States would receive the
initial Pacific railroad grant delayed approval of such a subsidy
until the Civil War. In 1862 the newly chartered Union Pacific-
Central Pacific received aid in the amount of ten alternate sections
to build on a route from Omaha, Nebraska, to San Francisco.4
In 1863 Congress increased the Union Pacific-Central Pacific
grant to twenty alternate sections per mile." Wherever the line
was built within the state boundaries, the states were to receive
the grants for patenting to the railroad. In 1862 Congress had
amended this provision to allow acreage to be given directly to
the road whether it was located in the states or territories.6 In the
grant made to the Texas and Pacific in 1871, the subsidy was
increased to forty sections wherever the road traversed the United
States territories.7 Of course, no land was patented to the rail-
roads until track was constructed. The first federal grant-to the
Illinois Central-was made in x 850; the last was made to the Texas
and Pacific in 1871. Increasing Congressional generosity is evident
when it is noted that the subsidies ranged from 3,840 acres per
mile to the Illinois Central to 25,6oo acres per mile to the Texas
41bid., XII, 489.
6lbid., XIII, 356.
eJohn B. Sanborn, Congressional Grants of Land in Aid of Railways (Madison,
7United States Statutes at Large, XVI, 575.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/440/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.