Map of the Great Central Railway
Line of the West and connecting lines.
This distance map of the north-central United States was published in 1854 by William Schuchman. It concentrates on the railroad connections between New York and St. Louis with labeled lines and notable destinations.
United States Senator Stephen Douglas presented a bill to form the Nebraska Territory in 1854. Later that year it was signed into law as the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Act allowed the formation of the Nebraska and Kansas territories. It also divided up the popular Whig political party, creating the Know Nothing movement.
Know Nothingism believers were particularly against instilling any political power, or naturalization to any German and Irish Catholic immigrants.
A major riot over nativism occurred in St. Louis in 1854. The riot, which was eventually calmed by the local militia, took 10 lives, injured dozens, and destroyed over 90 city buildings.
The opening of new western lands and the ongoing California gold rush encouraged much railroad growth in the early 1850's.