There have been people from many different countries, nations, and religions who have decided to migrate from other places to the United States throughout history. But perhaps none have come in more mass than the Chinese. With declining economic and political conditions at home, many literally saw coming to the United States as a "golden" opportunity. Once arriving here though, many found out it wasn't as opportune as they thought.
The immigration of Asians to America was a big part of American History. This is especially true for the Chinese because they were one the first minorities to immigrate to the U.S. in mass. Asians are still the fastest growing minorities in the U.S. to date. Since their arrival, various laws and treaties have been constructed which have changed the face of American History. Asians are still known more for what happened to them more so than they are for their contributions to American History.
After being dubbed "Gold Mountain" in the 1840's, California attracted fortune seekers from all over the world. "Between 1840 and 1880, approximately 370,000 Chinese immigrated to Hawaii and California" (Daniels 8). Many saw America as the land of opportunity. During the California gold rush starting in 1848, many Chinese came to the U.S. hoping to strike gold and return turn home rich. In 1852 alone, more than 20,000 Chinese immigrants set foot in San Francisco. There was a foreign miner's tax imposed, which drastically reduced the number of gold miners. While some did manage to strike gold, many of them failed in their attempt and ended up becoming laborers. "The census takers in 1860 found that virtually 100 percent of the Chinese in the Contin...
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... office. Chinese now also have the right to vote.
The Immigration Act of 1965 allows for a second wave of Asian immigrants. "20,000 Chinese were permitted each year to enter the United States" (Takaki 103). Families of Chinese immigrants already living here were permitted to move to the United States as well. Between 1965 and 1984, 419,000 Chinese came to the U.S. This was greater than the total number of people that immigrated the whole previous century. By 1985, New York's Chinatown, which had never had more than 15,000 people at one time, was now home to 100,000 Chinese immigrants. The second wave, unlike the first, was comprised of more females than males. Females accounted for fifty-two percent of those who immigrated between 1965 and 1975. "Of the 300,000 foreign college students in the U.S. in 1980, half of them were Asian countries.
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