Why did the railroad go from being associated with the right-wing in the 19th century to the left-wing in the 21st century?
In the 19th century the railways were being built for the benefit of industry and by taking property (sometime forcibly) away from those who possessed it - displacing those who lived there. The common man saw this as a property-owning classes move (what we think of now as right-wing). Trains were money. Big money.Once the railways were built out the mass transportation they brought enabled the lower classes (much to the surprise of the upper) fast, easy and cheap transportation, certainly cheaper than any alternative above walking. This was unexpected - originally governments had to mandate that “those people” were carried in order to grant the land purchase orders. But because the cost of operating them scaled so well and the original capital investment lasted so long there was still money to be made by mass transportation.So, then as the more rich and powerful started to use other more exclusive means of transport, which they wanted to use and exploit for profit (cars, planes), often the only people left wanting passenger trains were people who didn’t have the means to obtain those more expensive options. That meant the train became seen as a socialist undertaking “for the good of society”.Note that freight trains rather than passenger are still seen today as a mainly commercial endeavor in the US but with slightly socialist overtones due to the ecological arguments. In the UK rail freight “lorries off roads” is seen as more like a socialist ideal.
How does it feel to be descended from the slave-owning South?
There's no way to answer this question.Lack of Perspective prevents any real ability to determine the true nature of your feelings on this.You can succumb to “"White Guilt” but this is actually a dumb phenomena.My family owned slaves. Not huge numbers but they had multiples.I had nothing to do with that. I can't undo it and I'm not sure I would if I could. The black family that was liberated by Sherman’s army in the march to the sea came back about a month latter and stayed around for awhile until things settled down. This is all family lore, and thus tinged by sentimentality but it indicates that those slaves may have had a better situation than others (although they were still slaves). So retroactively “releasing” them might have landed them in a much worse situation.While Slavery was horrible in lots of ways let's be practical here; the descendents of those Slaves are American citizens. That's not a terrible benefit to enjoy for your ancestors suffering. If there had never been a slave trade in the new world the descendants of those first slaves would be in Africa today and that is a harder life than here, objectively speaking. Africa and especially West Africa is a mess.If we go back far enough every person on Earth had a predecessor who was involved in something horrible. War, Genocide, Rape, Murder, Human Sacrifice are historical constants in most every society ever studied. We are only now coming up out of barbarism. There are places in the world actively attempting to return to barbarism and I've even seen philosophical defenses of us returning to the barbarity of the past as that's the normal state of human existence.That stuff, in the modern world, is far more disturbing than the actions of ancestors that I only know through stories handed down. I find the oppression of minorities today more problematic than the historical oppression of yesterday. I can put my foot down now, I can't do jack about what was.
Why is the western portion of the USA so sparsely populated, compared with the northeast?
When I say "the western USA", I'm not talking about coastal California (which is already overpopulated as it is). I'm talking about the northwest, the Rocky Mountain states, the heartland and the Plains. I've asked this question before and some people have said that it's due to the lack of water, but this is not true. Although several states (like Arizona, New Mexico and Utah) have a shortage of water, there are other states like Oregon and Montana that have plenty of it, but which have very few people living there. Are people really so selfish that they need to live within a 5-minute walk of the beach? We're a big country with plenty of land and water, but people just seem to want to cluster into already-overcrowded big cities and further jeoparize public health for the sake of having a condo with a view of the ocean. Overpopulation is a problem, but maldistribution even more so.
Did George Washington Kill Any Native Americans?
yes. he even turned on those who saved him and his troops in valley forge during the revolutionary war. several native nations sided with the colonists among them the oneida nation. "The harvest for the previous year among the Oneidas had produced an abundant amount of corn and knowing that George Washington and his army at Valley Forge were low on supplies, Chief Shenendoah sent an expedition to help with the food shortage.  Among them was one woman by the name of Polly Cooper. Cooper would also be among a group of people who would choose to stay behind and continue to help the American Army.  She aided not only in caring for the many sickly soldiers but also taught them the nutritional and medicinal purposes of various foods. Most importantly, she showed them how to use hulled corn to make a soup that was an essential part of the Iroquois diet.  Cooper was even known to walk among the soldiers during battle to provide water to the soldiers. Polly Cooper and the generous gift of the Oneida certainly helped lead to a victory by George Washington and his troops in leading the British out of Valley Forge and Pennsylvania. " then in 1779, washington sent his generals into the iroquois territory where the oneida lived as well with these orders... "I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed. But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected." he was then called Hanadahguyus which means "town destroyer" and every single president since him as earned that title as well. each one of the presidents has done their part in destroying the native nations without exception.
How were canals in the 1800's better than other transportation?
Less friction. It took very little power to haul heavy loads down a water way instead of hauling them on wagons. or horse back. Trains were invented in about 1830 but not much in the way way train track was in place until about 1850- 1870. Steamboats were around in the early 1800's and could go where ever you wanted to go but they were more expensive. Rivers could work but the canals were designed and built to have mule tracks along the banks and so the load could be easily pulled and a river had very uncertain banks with tributaries and swamps along the way. Several canal systems are still in use today because it requires so little power yo move such heavy goods. Again it is the low amount of friction that is appealing. (But you have to go where the canal leads).