The Legacy Of The Railroad

3488 Words14 Pages
Introduction: On May 10th, 1869, a large crowd gathered at Promontory Point, Utah to celebrate the completion of one of the most impressive engineering feats of the 1800’s: the Pacific Railroad. After six years of grueling work, millions of dollars spent, and many battles against Native Americans fought, sea to shining sea was finally connected by two ribbons of iron. The United States was transformed by the new railroad: Masses of immigrants flocked out to the newly connected territories in pursuit of better lives, towns cropped up over night along the route, and an agricultural empire was born as farming machinery was brought to the fertile western plains of the United States. The profoundly positive impact the railroad had on the United States came at a great cost, however. The more than 12,000 Chinese immigrant workers of the transcontinental railroad were treated poorly and unjustly throughout construction, and Native American empires in the plains laid in ruins from the white-American military and pioneers that induced conflict with indigenous people and the government that annexed their lands. These negative consequences of American progress force a question to be asked; did the socioeconomic benefits the Pacific Railroad brought to white American citizens justify the unequal respect and maltreatment given to the Chinese immigrant workers and the Native American tribes? This is the question this essay will answer, as it examines the role the Chinese workers had in
Open Document