Chinese Immigration to America in the 1800's

1474 Words6 Pages
Immigration has been prevalent in The United States of America since the days of colonization in the 17th century. Masses of migrants around the world have sought a place in which to escape persecution, gain economic fortunes, and live their lives in freedom. America has always symbolized the land of opportunity everyone has been looking for, as exemplified by the inscription on The Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Of the copious number of immigrant groups to come to America, the Chinese definitively embodied this vision, and took advantage of their opportunities. Some of the reasons many Chinese chose to immigrate to America in the 1800’s were because of dreadful conditions in China, hopes of economic prosperity seen in the Gold Rush of 1849, and labor demands from the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Even though the Chinese immigrants would provide a lasting impact on a growing America in the 19th century, they would never get the proper credit they deserve.
The negative circumstances surrounding China in the 19th century were critical in driving masses out of the country. For one thing, China is no stranger to droughts, in fact “The four famines of 1810, 1811, 1846 & 1849 are reported to have killed no fewer than 45 million people in China over a 39-year period” (Barnes, 2011). The droughts across parts of the mainland during the 1840’s had left farmlands badly infertile and arid. Lack of rain caused provinces such as Guangxi and Henen to suffer crippling famines, leaving many malnourished and/or dead. The unpreparedness ...

... middle of paper ...

...nese immigrants that came to America in the mid 1800’s came for the same reasons as every immigrant group, dire situations in their native lands and the opportunities for economic prosperity. Having escaped their misfortunate pasts, the Chinese immigrants took the opportunities afforded to them in the gold mining fields and on the railroad tracks. Providing a much needed labor force to America at the time, the Chinese would never get their just credit. Instead they would be discriminated more in the years to come. Acts such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 would greatly reduce the number of Chinese immigrants allowed to come into the country ("The Chinese," n.d.). Coupled with measures put in place by the state of California such as the “Anti-Coolie Act of 1862”, the Chinese immigrants faced humiliation after contributing so much to the United States of America.

More about Chinese Immigration to America in the 1800's

Get Access