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Even though much of their efforts would be unsuccessful, the actions demonstrated that above all else, they wanted to become Americans and be treated just like any other American.Rather than accepting the demeaning stereotype of them as perpetual foreigners, Chinese Americans showed that they wanted to assimilate into American society and contribute to its growth, prosperity, and culture.The project pitted the Union Pacific (working westward from Nebraska) and the Central Pacific (working eastward from Sacramento) against each other for each mile of railroad track laid.At its peak, 9,000 to 12,000 Chinese worked for the Central Pacific in some of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs (different sources have different estimates on exact numbers).While in California, Chinese miners experienced their first taste of discrimination in the form of the Foreign Miner Tax.This was supposed to be collected from every foreign miner but in reality, it was only collected from the Chinese, despite the multitude of miners from European countries there as well.
Officials of the Central Pacific were able to end the strike and force the Chinese workers back to work by cutting off their food supply and starving them into submission.When some Chinese miners objected and refused to pay the unfair tax, they were physically attacked and even murdered.Eventually, the Chinese tried to go to court to demand justice and equal treatment but at the time, California's laws prevented Chinese immigrants from testifying against Whites in court.The most important factor was economic hardship due to the growing British dominance over China, after Britain defeated China in the Opium War of 1839-1842.In addition to prospecting for gold in California, many Chinese also came as contract laborers to Hawai'i to work in sugarcane plantations.
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As a result, many murders went unsolved as many murderers went free.