A number of University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate students in history are creating projects related to the development
of the railroad system as a part of their individual scholarly work. Links to their project sites appear below.
Leslie Working, Women on the Rails: Nebraska Suffragists and the Railroad
Women on the Rails: Nebraska Suffragists and the Railroad explores female
suffrage activism and movement in Nebraska during an 1881-1882 suffrage campaign
that drew national attention. Given state size and scattered populations in the
West and on the Great Plains, the railroad was intrinsic to female activism in
the region and its role has been largely unexplored. The relationship between
Nebraska suffragists and the railroads is explored through documents and digital
visualizations, demonstrating the reach of suffragists within the state and the
importance of rail travel to their efforts.
Jason Heppler, This Free and Sovereign Right: Eminent Domain, The Cherokee Nation, and Railroad Law, 1880-1890
In 1887 the Cherokee Nation filed suit against the Southern Kansas Railway Corporation, which had built two railroad lines through the Cherokee Outlet in violation of agreements signed between the tribe and the Federal government. Challenging the authority of Congress to grant the railroad a right-of-way, the Cherokees sought to maintain political and cultural sovereignty over their land in the face of Federal expansion of eminent domain. This Free and Sovereign Right examines the legal and political fallout facing the Cherokee Nation surrounding the expansion of Federal power, specifically the 1890 Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation v. Southern Kansas Railway Corporation that upheld the government's condemnation of property for the purposes of economic development.
Nathan Sanderson, William Jennings Bryan and the Railroad
During the 1896 presidential campaign, William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic and Populist candidate, traveled 18,000 miles on the railroad, bringing his message of "Free Silver" to audiences across the country by delivering 746 speeches in four months. William Jennings Bryan and the Railroad displays his speeches, follows his stops, details his railroad travel, and provides a complete record of his first presidential run. This project demonstrates how Bryan's innovative use of the railroad paralleled the country's emerging mobility and ushered in a new type of political campaign.
Robert Voss, Crossing Oklahoma: Railroads, Choctaw, and Statehood, 1867-1907
Crossing Oklahoma seeks to explore railroads in southeastern Oklahoma leading up to statehood through exploring the complicated relationship between railroads, the Choctaw Nation and white settlement through exploration of the records of the Choctaw Nation from 1870-1907. This site uses scans of original documents relating to the expansion of white settlement in Choctaw lands and digital tools to investigate the role of railroads and what it meant for all concerned.