irish immigrants transcontinental railroadPosted on December 6th, 2020
Before the Chinese began working on the Transcontinental Railroad, they worked on smaller railroad projects, and in 1863, they completed the train tracks for the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad Company. This year, we have chosen the transcontinental railroad as our topic. Most of the work force in the union pacific was made up of Irish immigrants. By the mid 1860s, however, the leaders of Central Pacific had realized that it was difficult to recruit railroad workers and keep them on the job. Utah is about to throw a big celebration for the 150th anniversary of the May 10, 1869, completion of the transcontinental railroad. For many, completing the Transcontinental Railroad symbolized achievement and national unity—yet it was built with mostly immigrant labor. Irish immigrants, freed slaves and Mormons also worked on the transcontinental railroad. The Irish Railroad Workers Project is in the process of creating a digital archive that documents, examines, and explains the contributions, experiences, and lives of the many Irish people who worked on America's first transcontinental railroad. The conditions were merciless, dangerous and harsh.” In 1862, the United States Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Acts, a group of acts that would promote the building of a cross-country railroad system. This led to foremen such as Charles Crocker hiring Chinese workers. These included the civil war veterans from both sides, African Americans, Irish immigrants, and an increasing number of Chinese immigrants who were largely mistreated. Utah State University . Irish Labor on the Transcontinental Railroad By Rose Beatty. This was due to a shortage of labor because of the gold rush, which eliminated a lot of the labor. They They had to work in dangerous territories, and work lengthy hours, and they received low wages for the hard work they did. To fill the gap, Central Pacific turned to Chinese immigrants, who were traveling across the Pacific Ocean in increasing numbers, 40,000 in the 1850s alone. Railroads had been built from the Atlantic coast to Nebraska. Irish immigrants were instrumental in building the railroad system in the country. By linking with the existing railway network of the Eastern United States, the road thus connected the Atlantic and Pacific coasts … This was due to the general prejudices of the time. When work on the Transcontinental Railroad began, neither Union Pacific nor Central Pacific wanted to hire these immigrants. The Irish originally went to America for job opportunities, and as an escape from the Great Potato Famine. Quite a few Irish immigrants … Of the five million immigrants that came to the United States from 1815 to 1860, about 40 percent were Irish (O’Donnell). The Transcontinental Railroad. They were one of the main forces that made the transcontinental railroad work. Irish immigrants were the primary early builders of the Central Pacific Railroad, which ran west to east from Sacramento, California. Some of us work or have worked on the railroad. The majority of Central Pacific laborers were Chinese immigrants from the Canton Province who moved due to overpopulation at home and rumors of opportunity and a literal "Mountain of Gold" abroad. But they often, fairly, demanded more money for their work. The Great Railroad Revolution: The History of … The Linda Hall Library Transcontinental Railroad website was created with generous support from the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Foundation. A transcontinental railroad in the United States is any continuous rail line connecting a location on the U.S. Pacific coast with one or more of the railroads of the nation's eastern trunk line rail systems operating between the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers and the U.S. Atlantic coast. The Last Spike , Thomas Hill, 1881. The Celestials. Their number was tens of thousands and they came from diverse areas. Courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad Museum. As many as 15,000 Chinese immigrants helped build the railroad. Chinese immigrants work on the transcontinental railroad. Now, the goal was to connect a railway from Nebraska to the Pacific coast. In the mines, on the railroads and ranches, in laundries, in certain manufactories, in hotels and family kitchens, as cooks and domestic servants, the Chinese proved good workers. Ironically, the famous photos show few of the workers who built the road. This video was created by Jenny Jarvis and Nikki Mecham. Management of the initial railroad work was not very inspirational, and pay was not exactly high; as a result, many Irish workers walked off the job. The Linda Hall Library Transcontinental Railroad website was created with generous support from the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Foundation. Irish immigrants will be remembered at an event in the US state of Utah celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 'Golden Spike', the moment when the First Transcontinental Railroad … Weber County is a collection of railroad towns and people whose lives have been affected by the railroad. W hen one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. Although most of the Chinese immigrants came from strictly agricultural districts, once in America, they seemed capable of turning their hands to anything and everything. Herds that once numbered between 30 and 40 million dwindled. Even still the railroad companies relied on their labor and they were valued as hard workers on the railroad and good track layers. In 1862, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies began building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from … It is a sad time in history. The Chinese worker crews were thought of as better behaved than the Irish workers. The acts were officially signed into law in July of that year by President Abraham Lincoln. The Transcontinental Railroad is considered the greatest contributor to the loss of the bison. Most Irish and Chinese immigrants were recriuted to come over to American and work on building the transcontinental railroad. The "First Transcontinental Railroad" is the popular name of the U.S. railroad line (known at the time as the "Pacific Railroad") completed in 1869 between Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska (via Ogden, Utah and Sacramento, California) and Alameda, California. Labor on the Transcontinental Railroad The majority of the Union Pacific track heading westward was built by Irish laborers, by Mormons who constructed much of the track in Utah, and after the war by veterans of the Union and Confederate armies. The Transcontinental Railroad was completed when the final "Golden Spike" was driven into the rail bed on May 10, 1869. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in … Chinese and Irish Workers in the Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad Saturday, March 25, 1:00pm-3:00pm Location: United Irish Cultural Center, St. Francis Room, 2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco Free event. The site offers visitors a brief history of the building of the transcontinental railroad as well as information on the history and technology of 19th century railroads. They also received company-provided boiled beef and potatoes and drink of both water and alcohol. 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. It is a Digital Story that was created mainly for the fourth grade. Hell on Wheels: Wicked Towns along the Union Pacific Railroad, by Dick Kreck. The site offers visitors a brief history of the building of the transcontinental railroad as well as information on the history and technology of 19th century railroads. As construction began, the bison needed to be eliminated so the Native Americans could be contained and progress could continue. “Snow fell so deeply that they had to build roofs over 37 miles of track so supply trains could make it through. Irish immigrants, freed slaves and Mormons also worked on the transcontinental railroad. The Irish immigrants had a huge effect on building the transcontinental railroad. The First Transcontinental Railroad (known originally as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the ... (often Irish) with a gang of 30 to 40 Chinese men generally constituted the force at work at each end of a tunnel; of these, 12 to 15 men worked on the heading, and the rest on the bottom, removing blasted material. The railroad was six years in the making, with the physical labor conducted largely by immigrants – Irishmen making up a hefty portion. After calling it the Pacific Railroad for a time, this railway system was later dubbed the First Transcontinental Railroad. Irish workers were paid $35 a month, and a living space (tent). Sources . Transcontinental Railroad Expanding Rail Transportation Even when Abraham Lincoln was President, plans were being made to connect railways that would allow one to travel from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. Chinese immigrants did most of the work on the Central Pacific track. Working conditions were so terrible, many people died while on the job. mistreatment of workers building transcontinental railroad Central Pacific Workers . "Snow fell so deeply that they had to build roofs over 37 … To the Irish, this was a blessing. Join us for this event about the key roles and treatment of Chinese and Irish workers in creating the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. This year, multiple events and exhibits celebrate the Chinese workers' role in the historic feat, acknowledging that 600 miles of the most hazardous part of the Central Pacific route was mainly built by the thousands of the men brought in to … The Irish were the first group to be hired in great numbers for work on the transcontinental railroad. Irish immigrants faced discrimination and were sometimes viewed as dirty drunks who were not afraid to go on strike. However, a large number of men kept on working on the transcontinental railroad project. This was backbreaking, dangerous work. 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