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Both of these actions sparked increased settlement and development in the upper Piedmont section of the state and led to Atlanta's founding.
Indian removal and the discovery of gold encouraged new settlement in the region, but it was the railroad that actually brought Atlanta into being and eventually connected it with the rest of the state and region.
Located in the northern portion of the state, Atlanta enjoys a high mean elevation—1,050 feet (320m) above sea level—which distinguishes it from most other southern (and eastern) cities and contributes to a more temperate climate than is found in areas farther south.
The three dominant forces affecting Atlanta's history and development have been transportation, race relations, and the "Atlanta spirit." At each stage in the city's development, these three elements have come into play.
Transportation innovations and their connections to Atlanta helped establish the city as a state and regional center of commerce and finance.
Issues of race and race relations, dating back to the years before the Civil War (1861-65), have affected the layout of the city and its political structure, municipal services, educational institutions, and sometimes conflicting images as a segregated southern city and a "black mecca." And the Atlanta spirit—part civic boosterism, part vision, with a healthy dose of business interests and priorities—has provided the city with an ever-changing set of goals and definitions of what Atlanta is and what it can become.important developments in the 1830s: the forcible removal of Native Americans (principally Creeks and Cherokees) from northwest Georgia and the extension of railroad lines into the state's interior.
Sherman's instructions called for engineers to level the buildings before they were torched, but eager and careless soldiers set fire to many structures before the engineers arrived.
These industries and the employment opportunities associated with them swelled Atlanta's population from 9,000 people in 1860 to some 22,000 four years made Atlanta a strategically important town for the Confederacy also made it a tempting target for Union armies, and in the summer of 1864 General William T.
Antebellum Atlanta was a city led by merchants and railroad men, not planters, and as sectional differences mounted, businessmen and voters in the city tended to oppose secession, often on economic grounds.
In the presidential election of 1860, the majority of voters cast their ballots for Union candidates Stephen A. But when Georgia seceded in January 1861, Atlanta joined with the Confederacy and rapidly became a strategically important city for the Southern cause.
Before Sherman's army departed on its famous March to the Sea, however, fire and Union soldiers demolished the city's railroad depots, the roundhouse, the machine shops, and all other railroad support buildings.
Public buildings, selected commercial enterprises, industries (including the Winship Foundry and the Atlanta Gas Light Company, which were operated by Union sympathizers), military installations, and blacksmith shops were also targeted.
By 1846, however, two other railroad lines had converged with the Western and Atlantic in the center of town, connecting it to far-flung areas of the Southeast and spurring the city's growth.