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Why Did Chinese Immigrate to the United States?

In: Historical Events

Submitted By takahiro556
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Why did Chinese immigrate to the United States? After civil war had settled down, many immigrants came to America to live from many countries such as Germany, Ireland, and England. There are as many as 12 million immigrants at this time. Regarding Chinese immigration, they immigrated to the United States from 1849 to 1882. Between this period, America had California Gold Rush, which is one of the reasons Chinese people immigrated. Because the Chinese Exclusion Act was taken into practice, no more Chinese people could immigrate to the United States after 1882. Chinese immigration is the divergent point for Chinese’ lives who lived in America. The main reason Chinese immigrants came to America after Civil War was for work. As a consequence, most of the Chinese immigrants were single men. Especially in California, Chinese people arrived. There is the promise of gold in California during 1850s. It was called California gold rush. After they gained money in America, they usually went back to their country. Chinese immigrants began doing their own business such as running restaurant and laundries. In addition, they started their agricultural laborers. Even though the hard work such as transcontinental railroad construction that connects the coast to coast did not give them good pay, they just work for money. There were two large rail road companies in the United States at this time: Central Pacific and Union Pacific. They began competing as soon as congress took the Pacific Railroad Act into action. However, railroad was so dangerous labor that Central Pacific could not maintain white men as their worker anymore. Consequently, Central Pacific ended up recruiting Chinese men for their replacement of white men. A Comment from one Chinese laborer says “The rugged mountain looked like stupendous anthills. They swarmed with celestials, shoveling, wheeling, casting, drilling and blasting rock and earth.” There were estimated 500 to 1,000 workers dead because of this job, according to historians. Chinese immigrants became one of the biggest issues in America around 1860s. In 1870s, the United States drastically had an economic recession. According to the 1870 consensus, 99 percent of Chinese immigrants who were living were in the West. American people thought Chinese immigrants were the reason recession came because it was considered that they stole white man's’ job. That is why unemployment rate increased in 1870s. The San Francisco bulletin board said, “Why is it that these people are beaten and maltreated at high noon on our streets and no arrests invariably recorded?” This is the beginning of Anti-Chinese violence and legal harassment for Chinese immigrants. America also coerced Chinese people to shave off their queues and prohibited Chinese immigrants from enrolling schools that have white people. They were treated as well as African American was. Also, Chinese people got brutal beatings. To make matters worse, many of their businesses were burnt down.
In 1882, the United States finally put the Chinese Exclusion Act into action. After this law was enacted, Chinese people completely stopped from immigrating to America. It has been effective for ten years. The Act is to prohibit Chinese immigrants from working in the United States. However, there were some exceptions for Chinese teachers, students, merchants, and people who have American citizenship. Because of Chinese immigration, population of U.S increased after Civil War. Since The Chinese Exclusion Act was taken into action, population decreased from 100,000 to nearly 85,000. Because of this law, the Burlingame Treaty that is free immigration between the United States and China was negated. Besides, in congress debates, people talked about racism and discriminatory prejudice against Chinese and African American. One senator said this, “the Caucasian race has a right, considering its superiority of intellectual force and mental vigor, to look down upon every other branch of the human family…we are the superior race today.” The Chinese Exclusion Act began being harsher and harsher. Chinese immigrants who have right to return were also forced to go back to China in 1889 by the Scott Act. Later on, other Asians were also prohibited from entering the United States. This is the first law of prohibition of race-based restrictions. After 1882, Chinese visitors who want admission to America had to take strict screening process so that they could prove that they met the requirements for entering. In 1892, the Geary Act was enacted. The Act has three requirements. One is to extend the ban on Chinese immigrants for ten years. Two is to create a presumption that persons of Chinese descent were residing in the United States unlawfully. Three is a requirement for labor to acquire a certificate confirming their legal status.
In conclusion, Chinese immigrants came to America for gaining money and return to China. This is the main purpose for the most Chinese immigrants. Most of them worked at Railroad Company, so many laborers died after they began working. All Chinese people were excluded by the Scott Act because Chinese immigrants got America into recession. Since recession began, Chinese immigrants were treated badly from white men. As a result, they were blamed for unemployment issues by white men. Therefore, Chinese immigration to the United States were accepted in the beginning. They gradually became a national problem. Finally, Chinese people had to go back to China by the Exclusion Act.

The. Chinese Immigration to the United States in the 1800s (n.d.): n. pag. Web. <>.
"Chinese Immigrants in the United States." N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014. <>.
"Chinese Immigration to the United States - For Teachers (Library of Congress)." Chinese Immigration to the United States - For Teachers (Library of Congress). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <>.
Yoon, Diana H.; Chin, Gabriel J., "Chinese Exclusion Act." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S, "Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005, and "Chinese Exclusion Act." Dictionary of American History. 2003. "Chinese Exclusion Acts." HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2004. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <>.
"Chinese Exclusion Act." Dictionary of American History. 2003. 23 Oct. 2014 <>.…...

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