What caused our country to choose racism over open-mindedness, to choose exclusion over inclusion? Why could we not accept the Chinese immigrant in a country of foreigners? Could it have been jealousy? The thought of someone being better than the American people was something that was unacceptable so in turn we passed laws forbidding those of another race entry into our country. I suppose when the national anthem states “the land of the free” it wasn’t pertaining to the Chinese. There were two main reasons why the United States passed and maintained the Chinese Exclusion Acts, the economical situation and the racism, all regarding to competition.
“Whereas, in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese foreigners to this country endangers the good of certain localities within the territory thereof:” This is an excerpt from the Chinese exclusion act of 1882. It was the first law regulating the Chinese entry into the United States. There was much that centered on it that made it even worse than it initially appears. There were two different classes of laws that were made against the entry of the Chinese. There was “coolie labor” as well as laws relating to the regulation of general admission. Coolie labor is when a certain race is better functioning in different conditions. The Chinese, for example, worked great in the tropical weather. The Burlingame Treaty in 1868, among other things, prohibited coolie labor yet employers used veiled tricks to get around this treaty. The Exclusion Acts were also passed in Australia and Canada. In Australia, the Chinese were considered a “public danger” therein the reason for the exclusion act. In the United States however, it was competition that made the fight stronger. Whenever two groups are in economical pursuit it is “fertile field” for conflict.
State Cross Country Meet I can still remember the day I ran at the state Cross Country Meet. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. It took place in Round Rock, Texas during my sophomore year in high school. I never forget that day; it is a great experience for anyone to get to go through. It was 11: 45 a. m. as I was standing outside getting ready for the big race. It was cold, wet, and ...
In 1869, the Central Pacific Railroad was finished and thousands of white and Chinese workers were put out of work. Many drifted to San Francisco. The Chinese, initially coming over for labor or railroad didn’t often continue that line of work. In San Francisco, they were going into a variety of fields and pushing out the whites. Society, yet not wanting to support the immigrants, still preferred the cheap labor/costs to the expensive. The Chinese had a much lower standard of living therefor were able to work for much cheaper wages. The Knights of St. Crispin, a shoemaker’s organization, were the first to lead the anti-Chinese movement in the early 1870. One can see how the economics had an effect on the decisions of the Chinese Exclusion Acts. The job/worker ratio was not in the Chinese’s favor.
“In America we are one and all ill-treated as if we were criminals, no distinction being made between officials, merchants, students and ordinary people. There the disgrace inflicted upon us may be said to be carried to its fullest limit.” A Chinese singer said this about the racism, which is the other main problem that caused the exclusion acts to be carried through. A great example of the racism and the seriousness of the exclusion acts is the following. The brother of the merchant telling this story was born in the United States yet he went to Canton to receive a Chinese education. Upon completion, he came back, in first class with his United States papers in hand. In San Francisco, he was held in the “pen”, rough quarters in which detained immigrants stayed. He contacted his father whom was soon on his way. The father hired an American lawyer whom he paid but that couldn’t get the son out. He next went to an interpreter whom said that with one hundred dollars he could have had his son out if given to the right person. The interpreter did this and the son was set free. The exclusion act wasn’t followed to perfection seeing as how the natural born citizen was held simply because he was Chinese, not even a laborer and racism is seen the same.
... especially in California, for the exclusion of Chinese immigrants from the United States. The result of this pressure was the Chinese Exclusion Act, passed by Congress in ... profound effect on America. Primarily, the Chinese supplied the labor for America's growing industry. Chinese factory workers were important in California especially during ...
The first exclusion law was passed in 1882 suspending Chinese laborers from coming into the United States for ten years. This was re-enacted in 1892 and in 1902 congress yet again, renewed for an indefinite period, all laws regarding the prohibiting and regulating of incoming Chinese. Much of the problems started after the completion of the railroad when the silver stocks went into a panic and in the winter of 1870 and 1871 there were three workers for every one job: two Caucasian and one Chinese. Also the over immigration and depression from 1869 to 1874 contributed to the competition for jobs. One miner recounts his, and that of his fellow workers, opinion to Senator Jones of Nevada:
“You have got some thousands of workman here in exactly the same position as I am. When these are driven out, what will be the situation? You have a society now that is governed by patriotic instincts, a society that maintains civil government; maintains schools and churches and all the institutions of civilization; all around you are the houses of American workmen whom you know, whose language you understand; whose traditions, hopes, and fears are common to our race; whose gods are your gods, and whose affections are your affections. What will you have in their place? Instead of them you will have Chinese hovels, Chinese huts everywhere; and instead of an American civilization, you will have got a Chinese civilization, with all its degrading accessories, precisely as you might find it in China. Around you would be a population of Chinese tastes, Chinese language, and Chinese customs.”
This is the “danger,” the miner says, of letting the Chinese workers come into the United States. He needs the job and its wages to stay the same in order to supply for his family of a wife and four children to continue in the same standard of living. Close to this time is when California passed laws prohibiting Chinese from obtaining business licenses or owning real estate. Federally, the Scott Act prohibited Chinese laborers from coming into the country and preventing those who had left from re-entering. The Chinese Exclusion Act, which was very similar, prohibited most Chinese from entering the United States, which was vetoed by President Taft but over-ridden by congress. This went against and brings back up the Burlingame Treaty which had welcomed American nationals into China and that provided Chinese nationals with immigration and employment rights for a person from “a most favored nation.” This all supports the theory of racism. The constant battle of staying on top tends to build up grievances to those that are thought guilty.
The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA as defined properly, is a law “that prohibits the discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress.” (United States Department of Justice) The law protects people that have disabilities, or ...
In conclusion, I feel that the main reason that the Chinese Exclusion Acts were passed and maintained was because of the Americans competitive edge going against their will to get the most for their money. Between the period when the act was passed and the 1920’s, the Chinese population in the United States dropped sixty percent. The racial tension dropped considerably since the whites felt less threatened. Finally, in 1920 Governor Stephens of California was able to say “the Chinese cannot be considered a menace for the future.” The end had yet to come, but it was at least on the way.