The U.S./Russian "Tramway of Iron"

8 de junio de 2007

In 1869, as the U.S. completed its transcontinental railroad, Pennsylvania-based economist Henry Carey gave a send-off dinner for Andrew Curtin, the former governor of Pennsylvania, who had just been appointed American ambassador to Russia. Attending this dinner in Philadelphia, were the Russian delegation to the United States, the chief United States railroad builders, and the machine-tool builders.

At that dinner, General Joshua T. Owen proposed that the Tsar of Russia build a railroad line to the Pacific Ocean, with a gauge to match America's new Pacific railroad. General Owen said, "We have discovered that true glory is only to be attained, through the performance of great deeds, which tend to advance civilization, and develop the material wealth of people." And he called for "girdling the globe with a tramway of iron," to strengthen Russia, and to "outflank the movement made by France and England for predominance in the East, through the Suez Canal; and America and Russia, can dictate peace to the world."