Can someone explain the Chinese immigrants who had to build railroads in America to me?

Anonymous 08/22/2017. 12 answers
Arts & Humanities History

1. Were they forced to work or did they do it by choice?

2. Who was dominat in America at the time, were they Spanish?

3. Were they legal or illegal immigrants?

4. Why were they a threat?

12 Answers

Anonymous 08/01/2017.

They were paid workers. China suffered a number of disruptive disasters in the mid 19th century including the Taiping Rebellion in the 1850s and 60s, which helped cause unrest, particularly in the southern part of the country. To escape this and find new opportunities, some people left China and went elsewhere, including the United States. These were legal immigrants prior to the Chinese exclusion act of 1882, as the US didnt have limits on immigration. The Chinese settled mainly in the West, since that was the easiest place to reach from China. Many whites in these regions viewed them as a threat because the Chinese would often work for wages significantly lower than what white workers would. They felt that the Chinese would undercut the wages of native born Americans. They also feared the Chinese as culturally foreign and, they worried, unable to assimilate into American society.

Bartholomew. 08/01/2017.

They did not have to build. It was the best deal at the time. Living in China was far more miserable. It was sort of like people from South of the border working half price today.

John P 08/01/2017.

By "America" I assume you mean the USA, which was a successor state to the British colonists of the east coast of North America. Indeed Spain had "owned" much of the Americas for nearly three hundred years, including southern and south-eastern parts of what became the USA, but Spain was out of the picture by the early 1800s, though some Spanish words have entered American English (e.g. lasso; lariat; canyon; sierra; names such as Los Angeles - not seen in British English.)

The railways were built by American financiers, and indeed some of the labour force was Chinese, especially on the western sections.

armouror 08/01/2017.

1 the chinese were the Work Force for the Railways

SSS 08/01/2017.

1. The Chinese immigrant railroad workers were in fact slaves who were sold in America by their own countrymen! 2. White Caucasian Europeans were the dominant race in America at the time 3. As I said before, the Chinese immigrants were slaves 4. They were no threat.

Athena 08/01/2017.

They were not forced to come over and work.

That was the work they could do and they did not have a welfare state back then.

Immigrants, surprise surprise, were expected to work.

They were legal immigrants who assimilated into the culture and are prominent Citizens to this day.

Elaine M 08/01/2017.

You're on the intenet, you can't do a basic search?


The manual labor to build the Central Pacific's roadbed, bridges and tunnels was done primarily by many thousands of emigrant workers from China under the direction of skilled non-Chinese supervisors. The Chinese were commonly referred to at the time as "Celestials" and China as the "Celestial Kingdom." Labor-saving devices in those days consisted primarily of wheelbarrows, horse or mule pulled carts, and a few railroad pulled gondolas. The construction work involved an immense amount of manual labor. Initially, Central Pacific had a hard time hiring and keeping unskilled workers on its line, as many would leave for the prospect of far more lucrative gold or silver mining options elsewhere. Despite the concerns expressed by Charles Crocker, one of the "big four" and a general contractor, that the Chinese were too small in stature, standing at about 58 inches (1.5 m), weighing about 120 pounds (54 kg),[77] and lacking previous experience with railroad work, they decided to try them anyway.[78] After the first few days of trial with a few workers, with noticeably positive results, Crocker decided to hire as many as he could, looking primarily at the California labor force, where the majority of Chinese worked as independent gold miners or in the service industries (e.g.: laundries and kitchens). Most of these Chinese workers were represented by a Chinese "boss" who translated, collected salaries for his crew, kept discipline and relayed orders from an American general supervisor. Most Chinese workers spoke only rudimentary or no English, and the supervisors typically only learned rudimentary Chinese. Many more workers were imported from the Guangdong Province of China, which at the time, beside great poverty, suffered from the violence of the Taiping Rebellion. Most Chinese workers were planning on returning with their new found "wealth" when the work was completed. Most of the men received between one and three dollars per day, the same as unskilled white workers; but the workers imported directly from China sometimes received less. A diligent worker could save over $20 per month after paying for food and lodging—a "fortune" by Chinese standards. A snapshot of workers in late 1865 showed about 3,000 Chinese and 1,700 white workers employed on the railroad. Nearly all of the white workers were in supervisory or skilled craft positions and made more money than the Chinese.

Anonymous 08/01/2017.

There was no legal or illegal, just immigrants. They were paid. The Spanish were long gone it was the building of the transcontinental railroad building from both ends. In California, the white men were drunken rabble, losers at the Gold Rush game, with little interest in hard, dangerous work. The Asians went about it methodically, They brought their woks & tea and lived soberly at the work site. Only because of the Chinese was the railroad eventually completed. Then as now, the immigrant attracted bullies but also compassionate people.

staisil 08/01/2017.

The Chinese chose to work.

White male landowners were dominant.

The Chinese were legal.

The Chinese were perceived as a threat for taking away jobs from white men.

poornakumar b 08/01/2017.

1. Were they forced to work or did they do it by choice? : by choice

2. Who was dominant in America at the time, were they Spanish? : Anglo-Saxons

3. Were they legal or illegal immigrants? : Legal

4. Why were they a threat? : The inherent paranoia of WASP Americans

Gigapie 08/01/2017.

They did it by choice, to make money, you moron. They were a "threat" only to white racist fuckbags.

Lucifer Morningstar 08/01/2017.

Chinese immigrants bought their way to America by slave traders. Americans ran America as Gold had been found in California and now the railroad was going connect east coast to west coast. The Industrial Age was just starting in high gear. There was no legal or illegal immigrants back then but being a male property owner was at the top of the heap. No the Chinese were not perceived as a threat.