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Book Review of Chinese Labor in the United States Between 1850-1880.

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Book Review of Chinese Labor in the United States Between 1850-1880.

Page 1 of 10
Jacqklyn Simmons

December 23, 2009

Book Review

Chinese Labor in California, 1850-1880 By Ping Chiu

The Central Pacific Railroad performed its groundbreaking ceremony in

Sacramento, California in 1863. The area over which the railroad was to be built

was covered with rough terrain, particularly Sierra Nevada. This created a production

set back in the tracks that needed to be laid for the railway. The railroad were in

need of five thousand employees who could work permanently.

Many of the Chinese who had worked the mines were

experiencing the hardship of the tough recession. They were seeking employment

in areas outside of their expertise of which they had become accustomed to performing.

Employment for many of the Chinese was scarce and unavailable. The Superintendent

of the railroad experimented with Asian employment by first hiring fifty Chinese workers

of which he granted the privilege of filling the dump carts.

The fifty Chinese workers were so efficient in completing their task that

superintendent Strobridge granted further duties of driving the carts and loading

them. As a result of this, railroad agents scouted for the Chinese throughout towns

in California. By the following year the railroad had employed three-thousand

Chinese workers on the payroll.

This book is an economical study of the Chinese migration to California during

the financial growth period between 1850 through 1880. The migration took

place two years following the construction of the railroad. Significantly the author Chiu

point out the chain of events that encouraged the migration of the Chinese when the

opportunity became available. The author states emigration was due to a series of failed

wars, rebellions, civil disorders,...

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