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Because the Chinese were willing to work for lower wages, everyone’s wages stayed low.
This was fine with the company, but white miners resented it.
Soon Chinese men were working alongside whites at jobs from farming to cigar‑making.
When it came time to build the transcontinental railroad east from Sacramento, Calif., over the Sierra Madre Mountains, Chinese workers, though physically small, proved to be reliable, strong and very tough. Blasting tunnels through hard rock, cutting ledges for the railroad along cliffs and mountainsides was dangerous, difficult work.
By 1885, there were nearly 600 Chinese and 300 white miners working the Rock Springs mines.
The whites—mostly Irish, Scandinavian, English and Welsh immigrants—lived in downtown Rock Springs.
There was more violence—in Arizona and Nevada as well as California.
Outside it was after sundown, and dark, but still the men knew immediately where they were. Clambering out of the cars and onto the railroad tracks, they saw that little was left of the homes they fled in panic a week before. Even more horrifying, there still were bodies in what had been Chinatown’s streets.
Not that many—perhaps a dozen; two dozen at the most.
Out of the 12,000 Chinese who built the Central Pacific, about 1,200 died on the job. Because their families were not with them, the men did not mind living eight or nine to a room to save on rent. They could afford to accept jobs at a lower rate of pay.
In 1869, the Central Pacific met the Union Pacific in Utah, and the nation had a transcontinental railroad. They began, in the eyes of white workers, taking jobs away from the white men.