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Gold Rush

Essay by   •  December 20, 2010  •  708 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,357 Views

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I chose the Wyatt's theme, "Exclusion, The Chinese, and Daughter's Arrival" as part of my take home essay assignment. I chose this theme because I found the information very interesting and learned so much on what Chinese immigrants had to go through during the Gold Rush Era.

The chapter is about the arrival of Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush. They experienced discrimination and often overt racism, and finally exclusion. Action often in the form of legislation was used against Chinese immigrants and started as early as the 1850 Foreign Miners' License Tax law. In 1850s the Six Companies also called "Tongs" were formed in San Francisco to represent and organize Chinese interests. Pierton W. Dooner's, the author who wrote "The Last Day of Republic" says that "a scheme of immigration was fixed upon by which every immigrant was assured a support" - meaning the loans and payback programs by which most immigrants, with the help of the Six Companies, financed their trips to California. This act eventually leads to the 1864 San Francisco riot and the birth of the Working Man's Party.

In 1854 the California State Supreme Court categorized Chinese with Blacks and Indians, denying them the right to testify against white men in courts of law. During the 1870s, an economic downturn resulted in serious unemployment problems, and led to more heightened outcries against Asian immigrants. Racist labor union leaders directed their actions and the anger of unemployed workers at the Chinese, blaming them for depressed wages and lack of jobs, and accusing them of being morally corrupt. As a consequence of this hostility, local and statewide restrictions continued to be enforced against the Chinese. Eventually, the United States government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the act which prohibited Chinese "laborers" from entering the US effectively halted immigration from China. This law stood in place until its repeal in 1943.

The condition of Chinese women remained at the center of racialist debates because it revealed the contradictions within a venerable culture that suddenly found itself oppressed by an upstart one. The 1868 "Remonstrance" treated prostitutes or "abandoned women" as a problem to the United States. In 1850s and 1860s the sale of female children to procurers reflected the political and economic hard times that had provoked Chinese immigration to California in the first place. In China Men a woman author gives the working Chinese

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