The Impact Of Chinese Immigration In California

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Introduction During the Gold Rush of 1848-1849, California began to experience a large wave of Chinese immigration to the United States. Stories of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill drew thousands of Chinese immigrants into North America from various parts of Asia. These immigrants, who were primarily poor peasants, flooded the “Golden Hills” we know as California in pursuit of better economic opportunity. To fill in the needs of the increasingly widespread mining communities in the West, many Chinese immigrants ultimately became merchants, railroad workers, agricultural laborers, mining laborers, and factory workers. 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. 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. Despite facing these challenges, however, the Chinese labor force intensified the multicultural nature of Western society and distinctly helped to shape the American West as we know it today.

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