Great nations, great peoples, and great presidents can accomplish great things once the decision to do so is made. The building of the Transcontinental Railroad, completed on May 10, 1869, and the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon on July 20, 1969, are just two examples of such great accomplishments from American history. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act on July 1, 1862, authorizing land grants and government bonds, which amounted to $32,000 (in 1860s terms) per mile of track laid. The rail lines built by the Central Pacific and Union Pacific began a race from Sacramento, California, and Omaha, Nebraska, and linked up at Promontory Summit, Utah, in an image immortalized in the following photograph. Keep in mind that Lincoln planned for his nation’s future even while in the midst of the bloody American Civil War. Prior to the transcontinental railroad a trip across the continent to the western states took six months, an arduous journey across rivers, deserts, and mountains.