An overview of the construction of a railroad by the chinese workers in the united states

Term historically used to describe unskilled, low-wage laborers from Asia Significance: They worked in gold mines, on the railroad, and on California levees, and their work ethic set a high standard. Chinese workers in the United States during the California gold rush soon ran into discrimination. Thugs and bigots victimized them and often set them in conflict against one another.

An overview of the construction of a railroad by the chinese workers in the united states

House of Representatives, Thursday, April 29, Speaker, today I rise to honor the Chinese-American community and pay tribute to its ancestors' contribution to the building of the American transcontinental railroad.

On May 8th, the Colfax Area Historical Society in my Congressional District will place a monument along Highway at Cape Horn, near Colfax, California to recognize the efforts of the Chinese in laying the tracks that linked the east and west coasts for the first time.

With the California Gold Rush and the opening of the West came an increased interest in building a transcontinental railroad. To this end, the Central Pacific Railroad Company was established, and construction of the route East from Sacramento began in Although the beginning of the effort took place on relatively flat land, labor and financial problems were persistent, resulting in only 50 miles of track being laid in the first two years.

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Although the company needed over 5, workers, it only had on the payroll by Chinese labor was suggested, as they had already helped build the California Central Railroad, the railroad from Sacramento to Marysville and the San Jose Railway.

Originally thought to be too small to complete such a momentous task, Charles Crocker of Central Pacific pointed out, "the Chinese made the Great Wall, didn't they? They lived in simply dwellings and cooked their own meals, often consisting of fish, dried oysters and fruit, mushrooms and seaweed.

Work in the beginning was slow and difficult. After the first 23 miles, Central Pacific faced the daunting task of laying tracks over terrain that rose 7, feet in miles. To conquer the many sheer embankments, the Chinese workers used techniques they had learned in China to complete similar tasks.

They were lowered by ropes from the top of cliffs in baskets [sic]and while suspended, they chipped away at the granite and planted explosives that were used to blast tunnels. Many workers risked their lives and perished in the harsh winters and dangerous conditions.

An overview of the construction of a railroad by the chinese workers in the united states

By the summer of4, workers, two thirds of which were Chinesehad built the transcontinental railroad over the Sierras and into the interior plains.

On May 10,the two railroads were to meet at Promontory, Utah in front of a cheering crowd and a band. A Chinese [and Irish ] crew was chosen to lay the final ten miles of track, and it was completed in only twelve hours.

An overview of the construction of a railroad by the chinese workers in the united states

Without the efforts of the Chinese workers in the building of America's railroads, our development and progress as a nation would have been delayed by years.

Their toil in severe weather, cruel working conditions and for meager wages cannot be under appreciated. My sentiments and thanks go out to the entire Chinese-American community for its ancestors' contribution to the building of this great Nation.

The cars now run nearly to the summit of the Sierras. They were a great army laying siege to Nature in her strongest citadel.

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The rugged mountains looked like stupendous ant-hills. They swarmed with Celestials, shoveling, wheeling, carting, drilling and blasting rocks and earth, while their dull, moony eyes stared out from under immense basket-hats, like umbrellas.

At several dining camps we saw hundreds sitting on the ground, eating soft boiled rice with chopsticks as fast as terrestrials could with soup-ladles.The history of Chinese Americans or the history of ethnic Chinese in the United States relates to the three major waves of Chinese immigration to the United States with the first beginning in the 19th As the Chinese railroad workers lived and worked tirelessly, they also managed the finances associated with their employment, and Central.

Many workers entered the United States for railroad work, yet soon abandoned railroad work for industrial work. Seen by many experienced Mexican workers as an industry for “greenhorns,” track work was often the place where Mexican immigrant workers began their foray into paid labor in the United States.

Despite this, Chinese laborers and other migrants still entered the United States illegally through Canada and Latin America, in a path known as the Chinese Underground Railroad.

[72] At the beginning of the 20th century, Surgeon General Walter Wyman requested to put San Francisco's Chinatown under quarantine because of an outbreak of bubonic plague ; the early stages of the San Francisco plague . Chinese Transcontinental Railroad Workers.

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In the mid-nineteenth century, large numbers of Chinese men immigrated to the United States in search of better futures for themselves and the families they left behind. From to , somewhere between ten thousand and twenty thousand of these immigrants were responsible for a major part of the western construction .

When gold became more difficult to mine, coolies were relegated to shantytowns in San Francisco and Sacramento, earning paltry livings as servants, laundrymen, cooks, truck farmers, peddlers, and construction workers.

In , fifty Chinese immigrants were hired to work on the Central Pacific Railroad the other workers, most of whom were Irish, the Chinese worked from dawn to dusk .

Between and , another , miles were added to the nation's growing railroad system. Much of the growth can be attributed to the building of the transcontinental railroads. In , Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act, which authorized the construction of a transcontinental railroad.

History of Chinese Americans - Wikipedia