Brigham Young hoped passing trains
would enliven trade, while Congress hoped trade
would pass polygamy from existence.
Stanford didn’t think the Chinese
could pass muster, then used them to pass up
the Irish, after which he wanted Chinese
out, passed over by law to keep them from passing
for white. The work passed
to Japanese, who were put in camps, then on
to Mexicans, Navajo, Italians,
Poles, Greeks, Swedes, each man passed into and out of
some approximation of American. “We cannot help
but be benefitted by it,” wrote Brigham Young.
A bond paid down per mile
of track, Congress had to pass
an act to make the companies stop. It’s in the past,
but once these barons didn’t plan
to meet: they planned to win.
Each side built right on past each other.