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Hell Gate of the Mississippi : The Effie Afton Trial and Abraham Lincoln's Role in It (Paperback)

Author: Riney, Larry A.

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On a clear, calm day in May, 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton suddenly crashed into the sharp face of a pier as it passed through the narrow draw of the first bridge built over the navigable Mississippi River. The boat?s sinking, occurring near Rock Island, Illinois, brought the tension that had been brewing between steamboat men and women and their transport rivals, the railroad promoters and investors, to a boil. A river coalition, supporting the boat?s owners, was soon organized in St. Louis, Missouri. Its members loudly claimed the single-track bridge was a Hell Gate, a hazardous obstruction to navigation, and an injustice. Railroad men from their offices in Chicago and New York cried foul play and said the boat was deliberately impaled upon their pier and set on fire in order to fabricate a lawsuit. The litigation soon grew to represent much more than a simple attempt to collect damages for the boat and its cargo. If the Effie Afton owners and their supporters were successful in court, it would mean the end of the bridge. Without the structure spanning the last great obstacle to western rail expansion, the river coalition would be empowered to win back some of the economic control in the Upper Mississippi River Valley it had lost to the growing internet of railroads. Hell Gate of the Mississippi explores Abraham Lincoln?s role in the trial. Was he innocently involved in a seriously corrupted and possibly compromised case, or was he the mastermind behind the railroad?s defense, a defense aimed at blocking the river men and women?s attempts to remove the bridge from the river? The Effie Afton trial offers us an open window and allows us to look into the United States Justice System in the 1850s. On an economic level it was a highpoint in one of the many sectional struggles that polarized and fragmented Northerners and Southerners before the coming war, the legislative fight to gain control of the first Transcontinental Railroad. On every level, Hell Gate of the Mississippi is an epitaph of the struggle of the millions of river men and women against the radical technology they faced in the oncoming, powerful locomotive. (C)Copyright 2006 by Larry A. Riney


Publisher Talesman Pr
Mfg Part# 9780979152801
SKU 205664342
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0979152801
Release Date 6/20/2007
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