Essay about Historical Analysis of Chinese immigrant

Submitted By jlim_2013
Words: 1039
Pages: 5

Historical Analysis(Chinese in the 19th century)
In the context of immigration, America has brought in immigrants from all different parts of the world that consisted of variety of different cultures. The expansion of the west and the rush to the foothills attracted many immigrants like the Chinese. The Chinese came to the United States in the 19th century to get out of poverty and to obtain a quick economic opportunity. Seeking a change as the Chinese visualized America as country with opportunity and freedom. Upon their arrival to the US during the 19th century, Chinese immigrants were racialized in comparison to European workers and the Anglo white natives, as evidenced by their violation of rights in a court of law and the racial discrimination they faced in the labor force. The racialization upon their arrival affected the racial order in US society during the 1800s in that there arose a domination of whites in the political and economic realm. As the Chinese came to America in the 19th century, the distinct boundaries between the Asian nationalities and the European immigrants continually appeared over time. The Chinese were often perceived as a degraded race and was never given the choice of assimilation. As the Case of George W. Hall represent, Chinese were seen as “danger” and was defined as a clearly :”inferior race”(18). The mainstream of whiteness or the nativists often expressed concerns about the integrity of racial composition and.violated constitutional rights of Chinese. The Chinese were legally discriminated and politically deprived as the mainstream Whites made them ineligible for naturalization. As Hall’s case mentions, “ no chinese person could testify against a white person in a California court”, “that none but white makes can become electors”(18). The lack of political support on the issues of naturalization prevented the Chinese from entering the society of white culture. With the rising social tensions, Chinese settled into their own cultural environments and labeled themselves as “sojourners”. The Chinese realized the distant chance of assimilating into the society and planned their journey back to their homeland or assembled into organized groups in order to be less vulnerable and resist abuses from the external forces.
The involvement of Chinese laborers in United States labor force was important to the development of racial order. The labor force was distinguished by the need for immense amount of working men in order to supply the gold rush and the Central Pacific railroad. The Chinese workers were seen as laborers that required no skill and their wages were cheaper than the non Chinese workers. The Chinese immigrant workers provided industrialists and manufacturers to undercut the wages. As Alexander Saxton wrote in The Indispensable Enemy:Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California, “manufactories went under of found ways of reducing costs. Chinese were available”(298). Due to the cheap labor and their cheap living cost, the non-Chinese races and the natives drew a line against the Chinese establishments and portrayed the Chinese workers as major competitors in the white labor force. Often, Chineses were racialized as slave-like beings and “coolie labor”. As Saxton wrote, “but they(chinese) were different and “degraded”, “to make people wonder”(305). The Chinese was often seen as the inferior race or unwanted foreign workers. The perceived notion that the mainstream society stated was that Chinese’s different cultural and racial background often made them incapable of becoming good citizens. As Governor Bigler stated in his message to state legislature, “they would never be able to assimilate and become good citizens”. These racialization of Chinese immigrants practically led to discrimination in the workforce. The California Foreign Miners Tax Law provides an extensive example. In 1850, California State legislature passed this act, levying a twenty dollar monthly fee for the