The Gold Rush: Chinese Immigrants In California

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The Gold Rush
The Gold rush in California and states west of the rocky mountain represented financial wealth for many immigrant’s groups across the globe because of the demand of a labor force. California’s population alone significantly increased due to the emigration of foreign labor groups. For Instance, “In San Francisco, the population grew from 1,000 in 1848 to over 20,000 by 1850. California's overall population growth was so swift that it was incorporated into the Union as the 31st state in 1850” (Immigration to the United States). Ideally, the population growth benefited the state economically as revenue could then be generated.
Nevertheless, Chinese immigrants embodied a large percentage of the labor force in the western region.
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In fact, Chinese workers typically charged only twenty-six dollars per month, while most white workers charged over thirty dollars per month” (California Gold Rush). Employers were certainly entailed to hire large quantities of Chinese laborers to ensure a profitable margin. By the 1860’s, “twenty-four thousand Chinese, two-thirds of Chinese population in America, were working in the California mines” (Takaki, p.180). As the result, Chinese laborers had been undercutting employment of competitors: mainly white workers, who were costing employers more money. Politicians in the western region also appreciated the existence of Chinese laborers. “Governor McDougal, the governor of California during most of the Gold Rush, even said they were “one of the most worthy of our [California’s] newly adopted citizens”, illustrating how accepted the Chinese immigrants were at the beginning of the Gold Rush” (California Gold Rush). In addition to the likes of employers and politicians, the media also contributed to the positive social image of many early …show more content…
According to Chinese immigration and the Transcontinental railroad, “Central Pacific offered higher pay to its white workers and provided them with meals and shelter; meanwhile, Chinese laborers received lower wages and were expected to find their own food and tents. Chinese workers often had to live in the underground tunnels they were constructing, and more than one thousand died in accidents and avalanches while laboring in the mountains” (Transcontinental Railroad). Although, Chinese laborers represented most of the Central Pacific Workforce, they remined underrepresented regarding work benefits and labor conditions for the exact same work. Drastic measures were also taken upon workers who refused to work. For example, during the winter of 1866, workers were faced with horrible snow conditions in which they were forced to continue development. In response, thousands of Chinese workers went on strike to contest the working conditions: demanding wages of forty-dollars a month and eight-hour shifts. These demands were seemingly like that of many white laborers. However, “in response, the managers moved to break the strike. They wired New York to inquire about the feasibility of transporting ten thousand blacks to replace the striking Chinese” (Takaki 182). Reserve labor forces were essential in the organizational success for many enterprises such as the Central Pacific Railroad workforce, as this remained a trustworthy

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