Research on Transcontinental Railroads
Researchon Transcontinental Railroads
Researchon Transcontinental Railroads
Mr.Doolittle has in the present day risen to respect the ChineseAmerican society and pay honor to their ancestors because of theirinvolvement in the construction of the transcontinental railroads ofAmerica. On May 8th, 1999, the Colfax Area Historical Society placeda headstone along the freeway 174 in Cape Horn, California todistinguish the hard work of the old Chinese Americans in laying railtrails that joined the west and east coasts for the first time1.The Chinese helped in building the California railroad, although theywere first considered too little to complete such an earth-shatteringmission.
TheChinese were hired to build the railroads, and they were paid anapproximate of $28 per month to build, blast and lay tracks over theuntrustworthy topography of the High Sierras. They lived in smallsimply made households and prepared their food that mostly consistedof mushrooms, dried oyster, fruit, fish, and seaweed. By 1868, mostof the workers in the railroads were Chinese, and they hadconstructed the Transcontinental Railroad over the Sierras all theway to the internal plains2.The railroads met on May 10 1869 at Promontory, Utah, and the finalten miles were completed in twelve hours.
Ifit were not for the hard work of the Chinese personnel in buildingthe railroads of America, the progress, and advancement in America asa country would have been overdue by years. They toiled andpersevered throughout the harsh climatic conditions, rough workingconditions and the meager wages and salaries that they used toreceive. Among the initial employers of the Chinese was James HarveyStourbridge who afterwards became a construction administrator and hehad eighteen Chinese workers in 1852 who worked on his farm inSacramento County3.The Chinese workers had many sheer embankments, and they used theirtechniques that they had been taught in China to complete theerrands.
IrisChang wrote a narrative history of the Chinese in America, and justlike other articles and books, the ancestors of the Chinese Americansare the ones responsible for the progress that is there in the UnitedStates. They should, therefore, look back in pride about the goodwork and accomplishment of their ancestors. The Chinese employeesshould be honored and applauded today just like on the final day ofthe joining of the railroads. Their main achievement was the standardbuilding of the best engineering scheme in the 19th century that isknown to have united the United States of America.
Thechapter five of Iris Chang repeats many mistakes and has fictitiousadd-ons that are copious in other secondary historical texts. IrisChang has a tantalizing introduction to the chapter five of her book,but she has been unable to add any new information to the one that wealready have through acquiring new information from other primarysources or verbal stories from the offspring of the Chinese railroadpersonnel. This chapter attempts to reduce the justified credit tothe Chinese engineers for their unique schemes of construction, andthe final eight engineers who placed the last ten miles of therailroad in 18694.This chapter also misses the importance of the challenging andpivotal contributions of the Chinese towards creating the presentday`s Transcontinental America and thereby does not do the history ofthe Chinese justice.
Duringthis time, Iris Chan is not very conversant with the history of theChinese engineers, and he knows just little about this particularsubject. In most of the instances in this chapter, there is a lot ofcopy pasting and paraphrasing the work of other authors, and she hasonly done little in researching on the subject. Iris Chang`s plan isto depict the Chinese society and their early relatives as sufferers,instead of telling about the accomplishments and achievements thatthey made in the adversity that they worked under.
Theaudience that Iris Chang is trying to address in her book can only bethe modern day Americans who do not know anything about the Chineseand the transcontinental railroads. The Chinese citizens and the oldAmerican citizens who lived during the years that thetranscontinental railroads were built are well conversant with therole of the Chinese in the construction5.Iris instead is more focused on exploiting the people that she iswriting about by continually repeating mythology and deceit abouttheir involvement in constructing the west.
Someof the myths and lies that she uses do not make sense, and an exampleis on page 53, where she states that "disembarking on theeastern coast of Central America, traveling by wagon across theisthmus6."The cape was not traversed in carriages, and there was not more thana tapered track that was crossed on foot or a donkey, and it remainedthat way until the railroad was completed. On page 54, she says that"in 1962, the central Pacific railroad corporation headed by thebig four was awarded a contract to lay tracks eastward fromSacramento." This is however not true because the CentralPacific railroad company was never given a treaty of laying tracks,and they were instead sanctioned to build a railroad to theCalifornia boundary.
Theauthor employed a personal authority while writing this book becauseshe uses made up myths, lies imaginations, and exaggerations in thebook and most of the facts that she tries to bring out are notdocumented. This is evident on page 62 when she states that "worstof all, they tolerated floggings from their supervisors, who treatedthem like slaves." She only imagined this, and there is nodocumentation of such treatment of the Chinese engineers taking placein the Central Pacific railroad7.She also argues that the Chinese secured an increase of $2 in theirsalary, whereas Crocker did not hear their negotiations.
Thedocument was received with mixed reactions, for there are some peoplethat praised Iris Chang for her good work, saying that the book wasthe best and brought out the realities of life of Chinese. They wentthrough hardships so that they could make a living, and they werepaid meager salaries but did not stop working. The Chinese are themain reason for the development of America and the position that itcurrently holds internationally. Other people, however, noticed howbiased and inaccurate the book was, and that it was a disappointmentreading it. It lacks perspective and the desire to find racism anddiscrimination in places where it does not exist8.She does a good job in weaving the stories of young and brilliantbusiness people in China in a more American way, and she does notaddress the growing population of the immigrant Chinese into themetropolitan cities.
Champeon,Kenneth. 2003. "Iris Chang – The Chinese In America – BookReview". Bookpage.Com.https://bookpage.com/reviews/2948-iris-chang-chinese-america#.WOOIUbiB1kg.
Chang,Iris. 2003. TheChinese In America.1st ed. New York: Viking.
DOOLITTLE,HON. JOHN T. DOOLITTLE. 2015. "CHINESE-AMERICAN CONTRIBUTION TOTRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD". Cprr.Org.http://cprr.org/Museum/Chinese.html.
Hofsommer,Donovan L. 2002. "Nothing Like It In The World: The Men WhoBuilt The Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869, And: Empire Express:Building The First Transcontinental Railroad (Review)".TechnologyAnd Culture43 (1): 169-170. doi:10.1353/tech.2002.0018.
Noble,Barnes. 2004. "The Chinese In America: A Narrative History".Barnes& Noble.http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-chinese-in-america-iris-chang/1111517935.
Strobridge,Edson T. 2003. ""The Chinese In America: TranscontinentalRailroad," By Iris Chang". Cprr.Org.http://cprr.org/Museum/Chinese_In_America_Chang.html.
1 Iris Chang, The Chinese In America, 1st ed. (New York: Viking, 2003).
2 Iris Chang, The Chinese In America, 1st ed. (New York: Viking, 2003).
3 HON. JOHN T. DOOLITTLE DOOLITTLE, "CHINESE-AMERICAN CONTRIBUTION TO TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD", Cprr.Org, 2015, http://cprr.org/Museum/Chinese.html.
4 Donovan L. Hofsommer, "Nothing Like It In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869, And: Empire Express: Building The First Transcontinental Railroad (Review)", Technology And Culture 43, no. 1 (2002): 169-170, doi:10.1353/tech.2002.0018.
5 Barnes Noble, "The Chinese In America: A Narrative History", Barnes & Noble, 2004, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-chinese-in-america-iris-chang/1111517935.
6 Barnes Noble, "The Chinese In America: A Narrative History", Barnes & Noble, 2004, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-chinese-in-america-iris-chang/1111517935.
7 Edson T. Strobridge, ""The Chinese In America: Transcontinental Railroad," By Iris Chang", Cprr.Org, 2003, http://cprr.org/Museum/Chinese_In_America_Chang.html.
8 Kenneth Champeon, "Iris Chang – The Chinese In America – Book Review", Bookpage.Com, 2003, https://bookpage.com/reviews/2948-iris-chang-chinese-america#.WOOIUbiB1kg.
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