Chinese Exclusion Act 1882 Essay, Research Paper
Chinese Exclusion Act 1882
The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882. The
Chinese Exclusion Act was not passed because of fear of increasing
population the United States. It was passed because of racism. It was
also passed because Americans were scared of losing their jobs.
Chinese were sought for jobs in mines and railroads. Racial tensions
increased as more and more Chinese emigrated, occupied jobs, and
created competition for jobs.
The Chinese came to America in search of opportunities.
Others fled China because of economic problems. The Gold Rush
happened during a period of poverty in China, which encouraged the
Chinese to emigrate to the US. In California, the Chinese newcomers
soon became an exploited work force, especially since they were
predominantly male, but the wages they received in the economy were
better then the ones they received in China . Many
Chinese became miners, and some developed the laundry business.
Owners of the Southern Pacific Railroad, who sought to complete the
transcontinental railroad, imported thousands of Chinese because they
were patient and cheap.
Opposition in California was both immediate and strong.
During the Gold Rush, thousands of Americans from the East, began
to have nativists attitudes. Also non- American whites, who had
suffered from Eastern nativism, attacked the Chinese in order to
elevate their status. Many Chinese immigrants faced discrimination
from many different groups. American miners felt that the hard-
working and low- paid Chinese were reducing their wages. Americans
claimed that jobs were scarce, and that the Chinese were stealing their
only jobs. The Americans also believed that the Chinese were sending
too much gold back to China. They believed the wealth should stay in
the United States. The Chinese were considered strangers. They
remained with their own kind and were very productive. Immigration
taxes and laundry-operation fees, were passed in order to limit the
success of the Chinese workers. Cartoons and propaganda
demonstrated hate toward the Chinese. Some slogans reinforced the
view that Chinese “worked cheap and smelled bad”
Even though Chinese people were discriminated,
immigration was still in progress. Many Chinese felt that their
opportunities were still better than in China. Efforts were made to ban
Chinese immigration, and a bill was passed in 1879. It was vetoed, by
President Hayes, because it violated the Burlingame Treaty. In 1882,
The Chinese Exclusion Act banned the immigration of Chinese
laborers for 10 years. The population of the Chinese emigrating into
the US, decreased from 61, 711 to 14, 799. Teachers, merchants,
students, and visitors were exempt from the act. The Chinese
Exclusion Act created many problems due to different interpretations
of the law and the inability for port officials to make or get quick,
clear decisions. After the ten years were up, a new treaty was made in
which China agreed to exclusion of Chinese laborers for ten years. In
1906, earthquake fires detroyed all family records, and the Chinese
found a chance to use false names and identities, and came to their
fake relatives already in the US as paper sons and daughters. In
response, the city of San Francisco created a prison-like detention
center for incoming immigrants at Angel Island in 1910, where
officials screened and deported fake incomers.
In Conclusion, the Chinese Exclusion Act made a great
impact on the American people as well as on the Chinese. Many
reasons were could have been the reason the US applied this act to the
Chinese. Many Americans feared losing their jobs, therefore they took
action. They also feared the spread of Communism from China.
American reputation remains tainted by its racism and inhumane
policies towards the Chinese in the latter part of the 19th century and
the early part of the 20th century