The Asian Experience In America Essay Research

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The Asian Experience In America Essay, Research Paper There have been people from many different countries, nations, and religions who have decided to migrate from other places to the United States throughout history. But perhaps none have come in more mass than the Chinese. With declining economic and political conditions at home, many literally saw coming to the United States as a “golden” opportunity. Once arriving here though, many found out it wasn’t as opportune as they thought. The immigration of Asians to America was a big part of American History. This is especially true for the Chinese because they were one the first minorities to immigrate to the U.S. in mass. Asians are still the fastest growing minorities in the U.S. to date. Since their arrival, various

laws and treaties have been constructed which have changed the face of American History. Asians are still known more for what happened to them more so than they are for their contributions to American History. After being dubbed “Gold Mountain” in the 1840’s, California attracted fortune seekers from all over the world. “Between 1840 and 1880, approximately 370,000 Chinese immigrated to Hawaii and California” (Daniels 8). Many saw America as the land of opportunity. During the California gold rush starting in 1848, many Chinese came to the U.S. hoping to strike gold and return turn home rich. In 1852 alone, more than 20,000 Chinese immigrants set foot in San Francisco. There was a foreign miner’s tax imposed, which drastically reduced the number of gold miners. While

some did manage to strike gold, many of them failed in their attempt and ended up becoming laborers. “The census takers in 1860 found that virtually 100 percent of the Chinese in the Continental United States were still living in California” (Chan 28). Shortly after arriving in California and Hawaii, many of the Chinese realized that they were not going to strike it rich but they had no money to return home. “Many landed such jobs as farm workers, domestic servants, cooks, common laborers, laundry, and cannery workers” (Groliers). Some of them came out better off landing jobs as labor contractors, merchants, and restaurant operators. “Those remaining became grocers, herbalists, interpreters, and letter writers to cater to the needs of their fellow

countrymen”(Groliers). Many of the Chinese laborers were part of the railroad crews that built several railroads including the transcontinental railroad between 1865 and 1869. “In 1867, two thousand Chinese railroad workers decided to strike for a week” (Chan 92). At it’s peak, more than 10,000 Chinese workers worked on the transcontinental railroad. One of the biggest problems the Chinese had to face here was having very few rights if any rights at all. They endured racism and discrimination from a lot of people and there we no laws to help them. There was no aspect of their lives that was left unaffected. The San Francisco school system was segregated, and with all the racial tension, San Francisco opened a school for Chinese children in 1857. After years of

Anti-Chinese violence in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the school closed in 1871. The anger carried over into the workplace. Many people felt that the Chinese were taking all of the opportunities and jobs. The Chinese were hit especially hard during the economic depression. Many would refer to Asians as Chinks and tell them to go back to where they came from. The Chinese were blamed for causing the economic decline and were in some cases beaten and killed. “Violence against Asians surfaced in the early 1850’s” (Chan 48). It was especially hard for the Chinese because they were not allowed to testify against non-Chinese in court. Many Chinese were attacked during the Anti-Chinese movement. So many of the assailants were not prosecuted. Many of the employers and interviewers