Those who decided to immigrate to America, during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, went through many difficulties such as legal discrimination, physical intimidation and violence, trying to live the supposed “American Dream”. The Chinese immigration started around the year 1850. It began soon after the California Gold Rush and ended with the signing of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. One of the reasons the Chinese came to America is they wanted to to hit it big to send money back to their poor families at home. They also thought to stockpile the money and bring back to China with them.
The large numbers of immigrants that came during the nineteenth century angered many of the American natives and lead to them to blame the lack of jobs and low wages on the immigrants, especially the Asian communities. This resentment lead to the discrimination and legal exclusion of immigrants, with the first and most important law passed being the Chinese Exclusion Act. However, the discrimination the Chinese immigrants so harshly received was not rightly justified or deserved. With all of their contributions and accomplishments in opening up the West, they were not so much harming our country but rather helping it. The Chinese immigrants started flooding in through the West coast to California around the time of the Gold Rush, looking for economic opportunity.
In the starting time of 1858, the Chinese community had started coming to different parts of Canada considering the push and pull factors that had led them here. Because of the lack of workers in the British Columbia region, the Chinese were able to receive jobs in gold mining. Most Chinese were told to build roads, clear areas, and construct highways, but were paid little because of racism. The Chinese today are considered one of the most successful races in Canada because of the push and pull factors that they had come across, the racism that declined them and the community of the Chinese at the present time. The immigration story of the Chinese had forced them to make a living, or work for what they wanted to one day become known for.
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... ... middle of paper ...
Liping Zhu shares the dramatic story of the Denver Riot which led to the Chinese Exclusion act in his book The Road to Chinese Exclusion. Zhu illuminates this time of anti-Chinese society in the United States with a large pull for nativism. The way in which Zhu writes about this riot and the consequences that followed shed light on just how anti-Chinese Americans were at the time. Before this time, Asian immigrants were untrusted but never to this extreme. Over time as more and more Asian, specifically Chinese, immigrants arrived the American society felt as though they were being outnumbered in the labor work force.
There were many reasons for the Chinese to come to America. Overcrowding, poverty, war, and other catastrophes in China were all reasons (push) for traveling to America, as well as effective external influences. The discovery of gold was a major pull for Chinese peasants in coming to the West Coast. America's labor needs were the most important external catalyst for immigration. However, there were very few ways of traveling to the United States.
Throughout the Gold Rush, members of the Chinese labor force played significant roles in both the social and economic development of the American West, particularly with regards to the construction of the transcontinental railroad. As gold discoveries slowed down and the Civil War gradually came to an end, the First Transcontinental Railroad was finally completed between Omaha and Sacramento. Over time, unemployment began rising across the country, especially in California, where a vast majority of Chinese immigrants resided in. The welcoming of Chinese immigrants slowly began to wear off as the white working class perceived a threat to their livelihood that these immigrants could potentially cause, leading to an increase in racial tensions. These growing tensions culminated in the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and eventually closed U.S. borders to all Chinese laborers, with the exception of ethnic Chinese individuals.
The American idea of freedom and equality for those seeking the American Dream was soon betrayed by the legislation excluding the Chinese people from immigration to America from the years 1882 to 1943. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was a pivotal law rooted in a history of American racism and violent prejudices towards the Chinese based on the labor market, a fear of cultural takeover, and social differences. 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. Soon after the first wave, many more Chinese immigrants began to arrive 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.
With a major war going on in their country many Chinese found themselves falling poor and into debt. The gold made a lot of Chinese want to come to America in hopes of striking it rich and living the “American Dream”. They began to voyage across the ocean to California. Upon arriving a lot of the Chinese were able to find jobs in the mines or working on the railroad. ("Chinese Immigration to the United States.")
The outflow of more than 10 million teals of silver in 1848 intensified the copper-silver exchange rate problem. The influx of foreign goods caused the people to go broke.Many Chinese women also came to America to marry Chinese merchants who had settled in America. The women, however, were first raised in China, and then brought over to the US when they were ready to marry. This practice stemmed the belief that it was safer and cheaper this way. After all, the anti-Chinese sentiment on the West Coast was increasing and as it was, many Chinese in the US had financial difficulties.