SAT Subject US History Practice Question 733: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 733

84. The federal government helped with the building of the transcontinental railroad by

A. providing the railroad companies with free iron and steel.
B. organizing a publicly owned railroad company.
C. raising the tariff to fund the project.
D. providing the railroad companies with land grants.
E. setting up the Interstate Commerce Commission to oversee the project.

Correct Answer: D


The railroads received large swaths of land out West. The rationale was that this was a way to entice the railroads to do something that would benefit the entire public. This procedure amounted to a big giveaway of public lands to wealthy corporations. Choices (A), (B), and (C) did not occur. Of these, choice (B) is the least logical-free enterprise was the rule in the 19th century. The Interstate Commerce Commission (E) was established to regulate abusive railroad practices, not to help railroad companies build.

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