After the first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States in the early 1840s during the California Gold Rush, many Chinese people continued to travel across the Pacific, escaping poor conditions in China with hopes and ambitions for a better life in America. Many more Chinese immigrants began arriving into the 1860s on the Pacific coast for work in other areas such as the railroad industry. The immigrants noticed an increasing demand for their labor because of their readiness to work for low wages. Many of those who arrived did not plan to stay long, and therefore there was no push for their naturalization. The immigrants left a country with thousands of years of a “decaying feudal system,” corruption, a growing population, and the downfall of the Qing dynasty. By 1894, over one million Chinese lived and worked abroad with about 90,000 of those Chinese people in America. Originally, the United States had significant plans for Chinese immigration to California. These plans would better its trade relationship with Asia and further develop the still new land of the Pacific coast. The demand for jobs increased as a result. The Chinese Opium Wars with Britain, the Red Turban Rebellion, and a harsh economy all served as motivation to exit China and find a new life in Gam Saan, the Gold Mountain. For many immigrants, the Gam Saan led to possibilities of employment, higher pay, larger houses, stable food, fine clothing, and no war. These hopeful immigrants first arrived voluntarily and as free laborers.
As an economic future for Chinese immigrants began to look bright, the job market began to be saturated by Chinese laborers working for low pay and long hours, eventually causing the growing sense of anti-Chinese sent...
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Chew, Lee. "The Biography of a Chinaman." Independent Magazine 19 Feb. 1903: 417-23. Print.
Gottesman, Ronald, and Richard M. Brown. "Chinese Americans." Violence in America. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999. U.S. History in Context. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
Takaki, Ronald T. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1993. Print.
United States. Cong. Senate. The Joint Special Committee To Investigate Chinese Immigration. Report of the Joint Special Committee to Investigate Chinese Immigration. February 27, 1877. 44th Cong., 2nd sess. S. Rept. 689. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1877. Print.
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