“Chinese received 30-50 percent lower wages than whites for the same job and they had to pay for their own food stuffs,” Chang says. “They also had the most difficult and dangerous work, including tunneling and the use of explosives. There is also evidence they faced physical abuse at times from some supervisors.
How did the Transcontinental Railroad affect immigrants?
For immigrants to the United States, the Transcontinental Railroad presented an opportunity to seek their fortunes in the West. There, they found more opportunity than the port cities of the East Coast, where discrimination kept immigrants living in urban squalor.
What happened to the Chinese immigrants when the railroads were finished?
Despite their hard work, the Chinese experienced discrimination for generations after the completion of the railroad. California laws prevented them from being admitted as witnesses in court, voting, and becoming naturalized citizens. Chinese schoolchildren were also subject to segregation.
What was the impact of the Chinese on the Transcontinental Railroad?
The Chinese laborers often did the most dangerous parts of the construction, including the dynamiting of mountain tunnels. Many men lost their lives constructing the transcontinental railroad; estimates range from 150 to 2,000. Most of these were Chinese Americans.
Why did Chinese immigrants leave their homeland?
The mass emigration, which occurred from the 19th century to 1949, was mainly caused by corruption, starvation, and war in mainland China, and economic opportunities abroad such as the California gold rush in 1849.
Why did Chinese immigrants work on the railroad?
During the 19th century, more than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the railroad’s completion. The work was tiresome, as the railroad was built entirely by manual laborers who used to shovel 20 pounds of rock over 400 times a day.
What was one benefit of the transcontinental railroad?
It made commerce possible on a vast scale.
In addition to transporting western food crops and raw materials to East Coast markets and manufactured goods from East Coast cities to the West Coast, the railroad also facilitated international trade.
What was the most significant obstacle in building the transcontinental railroad?
While a shopkeeper by trade, Strong was known around the area as an expert on the terrain of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Judah needed someone who could function on land like a harbor pilot might on the water because the Sierra Nevada loomed as the greatest obstacle to building the transcontinental railroad.
How did the Chinese Exclusion Act affect Chinese immigrants who were already in the United States?
The exclusion laws had dramatic impacts on Chinese immigrants and communities. They significantly decreased the number of Chinese immigrants into the United States and forbade those who left to return.