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The Effects Of Immigration On The Transcontinental Railroad

2132 words - 9 pages

This investigation is designed to explore to what extent did attitudes toward the Chinese immigrants during the building of the transcontinental railroad differ from those towards Irsih immigrants? To assess the attitudes toward the Chinese immigrants, this study focuses on the building of the transcontinental railroad in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. This study investigates the views, tasks given during the building of the railroad, and benefits given to the Chinese and Irish immigrants and the impact of their work on the views toward each group of immigrants.
In order to investigate the attitudes toward the Chinese and Irish immigrants, this study looks into economic accounts taken during the second half of the nineteenth century. This investigation also uses sources detailing the differences in job benefits and position during the building of the transcontinental railroad and the extent to which Irish immigrants and Chinese immigrants differed in the opportunities they were offered.

Word Count: 158

B. Summary of Evidence
The transcontinental railroad was a 1,800 mile railroad linking Omaha, Missouri with Sacramento, California. This railroad was built through varying environmental conditions including grassy plains, desserts, and mountains such as the Sierra. The railroad revolutionized transportation in the nineteenth century (Galloway 4). The First Transcontinental Railroad was built in the 1860s in order to connect the Eastern and Western coasts of the United States. In the book The Railroads, statistical data describes that “In 1830, 23 miles of railroad track were being operated in the United States; by 1890 that figure had grown to 166,703 miles, as cities and villages were linked across the land. The swift and widespread adoption of the railroad, together with the telegraph and ocean-going steamship, forged a transportation revolution that profoundly altered existing patterns of American agriculture, industry, and commerce” (Chandler 3). The railroads replaced canals and soon became a primary mode of overland transportation. The new source of transportation allowed for faster and cheaper communication and regular movement. The railroad opened up the American West to settlement of people. After the building of the railroad, the railroads significantly contributed to American economic growth by allowing for increase transportation, income, and creating a new available market (Taylor 3).
The men building the railroads were driven to gain power, money, and initiate the building of a promising enterprise. The workers and builders of the railroad were placed in different conditions. The Central Pacific had labor shortages and required more men to build the railroad (Galloway 48). Many Chinese peasants emigrated to the United States in the 1850s, in search for greater economic prosperity than in their home country, specifically the Canton province. These immigrants faced poverty and prejudice....

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