Essay on Transcontinental Rail Road

1295 Words Nov 29th, 2011 6 Pages
Kirsten Bernstein
Early American History
December 6, 2011 Transcontinental Railroad The Transcontinental Railroad was a significant event in American History. This railroad was the work of two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, which built their lines as fast as they could until they met in Utah in 1869. Once this complex building project was completed, the United States was now connected from coast to coast by railroad tracks and led to an era of westward expansion. What few people realize is that this turning point in American history could not have happened if it were not for the immigrant groups who helped to build this remarkable railroad. Irish
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Railroads provided opportunities to ship livestock and produce and to carry supplies and items otherwise unavailable on the frontier. The Irish immigrants had a huge effect on building the transcontinental railroad. Most of the work force in the union pacific was made up of Irish immigrants. This was due to a shortage of labor because of the gold rush, which eliminated a lot of the labor. They had to work in dangerous territories, and work lengthy hours, and they received low wages for the hard work they did. Central Pacific officials believed, “Irishmen were inclined to spend their wages on liquor.”(PBS 1) The Irishmen received 35 dollars per month with board provided. After working twelve to sixteen hour days the men used their free time to drink and fight. However while working they had to be careful about Native Americans. Irish laborers were killed by Native American war parties. The Native Americans fought for protection, they believed that the building of the railroad violated treaties established by the United States government. The Irishmen were known as the pick and shovel men. They also were the tracklayers, masons, and blacksmith. Eventually the Irishmen started to agitate over the wages they were receiving. Charles Crocker, the chief of construction, told Strobridge to recruit some Chinese in their place. These made the Irishmen abandon their dispute. This was the turning point to Crocker hiring companies to put advertisements in China of the

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