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.
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. This paper highlights the significant impact of large-scale Chinese immigration to California during the Gold Rush, the lasting contributions made by the Chinese towards Western ... ... middle of paper ... ...e arms, which was largely due to their passion for work, diligent nature, and willingness to work for less money than others. Chinese workers played a significant role in both the internal development and economic enhancement of California, particularly with the successful completion of the Central Pacific Railroad in May 1869. As immigrants, the Chinese greatly changed the nature of the West from a purely social perspective, through the establishment of new languages, religions, and cultural customs. Over time, Chinese workers faced poverty and significant anti-Chinese sentiment, which severely limited their participation after the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.
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.
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.")
Word soon reached China that "Gum Saan," the "Gold Mountain" as the Chinese referred to America, was a land of opportunity for those seeking a better life. The first large number of Chinese arriving in America in the mid-1850s, like many other immigrants to the new land, found no "gold mountain" from which instant wealth could be attained. However, America's expansion to the West and the economic boom of the Gold Rush era did provide particular employment possibilities for the Chinese. They quickly became an inexpensive but formidable work force for the construction of the western portion of the transcontinental railroad system. They also played an important ... ... middle of paper ... ...at the Chinese were living outside of the work camps and Chinatown, "a small but ever-increasing number of Chinese came to view the United States as a country in which they could live, marry, and raise children.
They traded with each other quite often, and American businessmen went over to start businesses in China, which helped out the economy a lot. When the Gold Rush started, there was a really bad disease that had gone all over southeast China. This made many Chinese leave in hopes of striking gold and becoming rich in America, although almost all of them did not. Since they did not find gold, they were forced to take on jobs, which were hard work and low pay since they were immigrants. Most of them worked on the railroads because "the Gold Rush had fueled the demand for rail lines to link the east and west coasts of North America."
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 earliest Asian immigrants into any US territory were Chinese laborers in the Islands of Hawaii as early as 1836. These immigrants left a long-lasting impression on industrialists and wealthy European-American through their dedication and hard work (Takaki 21-23). Eventually this led to massive importation of Chinese labor to build everything from cities, bridges and even railroads throughout the rest of 19th century. Since owner can control or decides the labor wage, they had lowered the wage of those jobs to gain the maximum profit. In the west coast numerous Chinese laborers were massively imported as late as early 1900s to build cities.
It should be noted that only a very small number of Chinese immigrants came to the United States prior to 1850. This number began to increase dramatically between the year 1850 and 1882, when the news of the discovery of gold mines in California reached China. At that period of time, western invasions and civil unrest had led to inflation, starvation and loss of land in southern China. Therefore, many young men sailed for the "Gold Mountain" ... ... middle of paper ... ...#20986;版社，南 京，1999年。Duanmu yiwan，Perspectives of the American Society and Culture, Nanjing University Press, Nanjing，1999 李小兵、孙漪、李晓晓，《 654;国华人：从历史到现实》， 四川人民出版社，四川，2003年 。Li Xiaobing, Sun Yi, Li Xiaoxiao, Chinese in America: from History to Present, Sichuan People's Press, Sichuan, 2003 http://www.acwang.com/dragon/drxuhao/drch7s1.htm http://www.acwang.com/dragon/drzqs/zqsphwd/phwdidx.htm
Many Chinese workers do not even know about trade unions or collective bargaining, which is a tool that laborers have been able to take advantage of in America. By outsourcing production overseas, these corporations seek to take advantage of cheaper labor in China, a ho... ... middle of paper ... ...s with Workers Who Threatened Mass Suicide." CNET News. CBS Interactive, 12 Jan. 2012. Web.