The Transcontinental Railroad: A Success or and American Flaw

Essay by mljdtfHigh School, 10th gradeB+, October 2014

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Although the Transcontinental Railroad was one of the most amazing accomplishments during the formation of the United States, it was also one of the events that shed light on American racism and discrimination. The railroad was a major scam because men such as the president, vice president, and investors were the only ones who profited, while the men who were actually building the railroad got little-to-no pay. Men of all different races were discriminated against, treated differently, paid in different amounts, and given little amounts of food. The men did backbreaking work in the worst of conditions, while the men that ran the railroad sat back and gained wealth off of it.

A vast array of different nationalities came across the country in search of work, and when news of the railroad being build become publicly known, the men had found, or believed they found, what they were looking for.

These men became the core of the project because "[the railroad] could not have been done without the workers" (Ambrose N.L.I.I.T.W. 21). They put their backs into this brutal work, being told to work longer hours and more days. In fact, "Their chief characteristic was how hard they worked" because without their efforts, the railroad would not have been accomplished in such a time frame (Ambrose N.L.I.I.T.W. 21). The scam comes into play here because even when the workers pay was delayed, they kept working under the false impression that they would be paid double the next time around, which they soon learned was not the case at all.

Having much diversity within the workers made them a vulnerable target for both racism and discrimination. "Whether they came from Ireland or China or Germany or England or Central America or Africa or Elsewhere…" men from all over the world came...