Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

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A Railroad Titan Explains Why the Chinese are Good for White Workers

The "divide-and-conquer" tactics used by bosses pitted different ethnic groups against one another and native-born workers against all immigrants. It often worked out better for white workers than for Asians. Charles Crocker, one of the "Big Four" titans of Northern California industry and railroads (and chief magnate of the Pacific Union railroad), explains the tactic during Congressional hearings on the future of Chinese immigration.

I think that every white man who is intelligent and able to work...who has the capacity of being something else, can get to be something else by the presence of Chinese labor easier than he could without it. After we got Chinamen to work, we took the more intelligent of the white laborers and made foreman of them. Several of them who never expected, never had a dream that they were going to be anything but shovelers of dirt, hewers of wood and drawers of water are now respectable farmers, owning farms. They got a start by controlling Chinese labor on our railroad.

Source | Charles Crocker, "Testimony before Congress," Report of the Joint Special Committee to Investigate Chinese Immigration, Senate Report No. 689, 44th Congress, 2nd sess., 1876-1877.
Creator | Charles Crocker
Item Type | Government Document
Cite This document | Charles Crocker, “A Railroad Titan Explains Why the Chinese are Good for White Workers,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 3, 2023,

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