Chinese Immigration Essay

Submitted By MIAheat6
Words: 714
Pages: 3

Hist157- 0204
Chinese Immigration I disagree with the statement that compared to other immigrant groups, Chinese immigrants found the legal and social conditions of the late nineteenth century in the United States favorable to their success. However, the economic conditions of the late nineteenth century in the United States were highly favorable to their success. Chinese peasants left their villages to become laborers in the American West. The first wave of Chinese migrants was skilled workers, easily attaining jobs within American cities. Americans could not survive on such low wages and eventually issued laws, restricting Chinese immigration into the United States. The United States’ economy was very problematic toward the end of the nineteenth century. The later end of the century had been a phase of extraordinary economic expansion. Railroads were over-built and several mines were opened, receiving much publicity. Droughts depleted farmer’s supply crops and further contributed to their debts. The time period worked out well for immigrants, as businesses could not compensate employees at desirable rates. The Chinese were desperate for any source of pay, despite the amount of labor required. American companies opened up to the Chinese, pleased with cheap labor and satisfactory work. Lee Chew, a former Chinese immigrant, began his working career as a servant earning $3.50 a week. After two years, Chew’s salary increased to $35 monthly (Chew). Several popular professions among Chinese immigrants were extremely dangerous and unsafe, leaving many severely injured and lifeless. Chinese immigrants were willing to work hard and take their chances to make it big and become wealthy. Chew eventually developed his own laundry business and became a general merchant in the heart of New York (Chew). Social conditions in the United States were not very encouraging at the time, as issues of crime, disease, poverty, and unemployment were imposed upon the general public. An overwhelming majority of the American population lived in poverty. Chinese immigrants added to these elevated destitution levels, working for significantly less money than the average employed American citizen. Living conditions at the end of nineteenth century were horrific. The bulk of new immigrants and poverty-stricken people lived together in congested tenements. Nevertheless, most Chinese immigrants lived amongst each other in overcrowded cities across the country known as “Chinatowns.” Surprisingly, numerous citizens supported urban life at the end of the nineteenth century, such as Adna Ferrin Weber. Weber wrote in his 1899 article that “the variety of occupation, interests and opinions in the city… leads to a broader and freer judgment and a great inclination to and appreciation of new thought, manners, and ideals (Weber).” Dense and diverse cities led people to more superior innovation. Political implications mildly affected the potential success of Chinese…