Dec 19, 2017 in Sociology

The Chinese Immigrants in the USA

The Chinese migration into the United States of America commenced in the 19th century. The main aim of this move was to explore for available and satisfying numerous opportunities in the U.S. Among these included gold mining, business ventures and seeking for employment in the corporate sectors.

The Chinese were migrating to the U.S. with either their families or selected belongings (Hunsicker 45). Sometimes, they would travel without their loved ones. The journey to the U.S. by these groups started as early as 1800. The tempo for immigration later precipitated in 1848 due to a belief in the existence of a gold hill. It was a time, when there was rapid rash for perceived gold deposits lying within the U.S. soils during those periods.

Perceived Benefits

The rush for gold mineral was due to perceived opportunities. Obviously, pure gold and its by-products fetch a lot of finance to the dealers. This is no doubt the ultimate reason for the rush. The Chinese migrants had seen a window opportunity between them and poverty (Erika 76). What is meant here is that they were either to remain in their native country and succumb to prolonged poverty or to relieve themselves from this yoke by travelling to the land of great prospects. The main immigrants came from the Fujian and later Guangdong Provinces of China.

Most Chinese were by then successful enterprise men and women. They had seen an opportunity for spreading their tentacles to the global market. They were then ready for an eventful venture into this territorial market environment with the sole purpose of acquiring and establishing self-development. Among the business types that the initial immigrants were engaged in are: makeshift eateries, shops, laundries and kiosks.  

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Employment to various corporate institutions was another propelling urge. Majority of Chinese laborers were directly employed in the Railroad firms. The principal focus here by the owners was to spread the boundaries of railway and road networks. The coverage by the said amenities was quite prudent for easy travelling to different destinations and free movement of commercial; including personal items (Yung 132). The Chinese were gifted in such skills, hence, were mainly sought by the sponsors of these projects. In response to the demands that were also quite tempting, they went in droves.

The Journey to the Promised Land

The journey to the U.S. with the first docking at San Francisco was riddled with a lot of anxiety, lack of transport money and inadequate information about the real happenings in that place. The demand for cheap and quick labor resulted to an upsurge in immigration to the U.S. borders. The prospective laborers were being transported through voyage ships. The surge in numbers was precipitated by willingness of hiring firms to pay in advance the voyage companies (Zia 84). This was in response to the expected laborers who did not have the means of reaching their anticipated destinations. Others opted for borrowing, while the rest sought for donations from relatives and friends.

On the same subject, the surprise revelation of the Chinese influx in the United States was that, there had been a conflict in China then. This conflict is speculated to have been caused by rivalry in commercializing the opium.  The fears created by these wars led to escalation of immigrants to the U.S. soil. The harbor at San Francisco city became the first Chinese converging point, which was later named the first ‘China town’.

Works at the Transcontinental Railroad

The work at Transcontinental Railroad started in 1865. According to a source quite privy to the records of activities by then, most railroad workers were of male gender. The figure was tabulated to arrive at an approximate value of 95%, which means that the women category recorded a very minimal percentage; about 5%. These figures show that there was no gender balancing (Golden venture 112). Most of tasks were being handled by men.  The reason for this is because of men’s ability to lay down the railway tracks, which was mainly targeting the Western territorial areas. This work, of course, was speeded up and by 1868 it was completed.

Since such infrastructure like the discussed above usually influence other productive activities, commerce was induced. The Chinese residents along this facility began to engage in businesses like food kiosks and restaurants, opening laundry shades, makeshift shops and other forms of business. The said activities were performed by the women. In this plan, there was Western Pacific, Central and Eastern Pacific railroads, which were meant to connect several U.S. states. The creation of such links would later result to cohesive and prompt transport services to the ordinary citizens. 

Trading on the Pacific Waters

Having realized the benefits of international trade, the next frontier for this activity was the Pacific trading. It involved exchange of business items across the broad Pacific Ocean. This activity was quite synonymous with the Chinese-American pact after the two world wars. It is worth to note that even before the said relationship, the American merchants used this system in acquiring cheap labor from states like China. This trade contributed to the increased migration of Chinese to the United States. Other benefits, attributed to this form of trade, included provision of basic necessities and other secondary needs. Among the basic needs were: foods, clothing items, education, healthcare and diverse shelter materials. Yu Wing in 1854 became the first Chinese to graduate from the present Yale University.

The Gold Rush at California

The principal reason as to why the native Chinese migrated to the U.S. was to seek and get ways of acquiring some cash for their survival (Library of congress 187). The only sure way of doing this was through involving themselves in the gold digging occupation. This activity took place in the State of California and led to massive rush. It provided a comfortable and serene environment for the miners.

Residence

Most of the Chinese were residing in small settlement pools. They were regarded as the Chinatowns because they were predominantly flooded by the Chinese race only. The first Chinatown to be created is traced to the Pacific coast; that is in the San Francisco city. This was due to its location. The town is strategically located along the coastal harbor, thereby, providing the first home of the new immigrants.  

The Treaty of Burlingame

This treaty recognized the presence of the Chinese in the U.S. It was signed specifically to safe guard the human rights of this group. One of the focuses of this treaty was to ensure fair treatment of Chinese citizens just like the native U.S. citizens. It, however, did not last as anticipated due to political pressure.

Acts that undermined the Chinese Human Rights in the Ancient America

As the saying goes that where there is a will, there is a way; the Chinese citizens had a will. In other words they had a vision and that dream has finally been fulfilled. The upsurge of their influx in the American territorial borders earned them envy from the original natives (Moyers 96). Despite several humiliations they stayed. This led to several organizations to stage protests and demand immediate action by the central government on the ‘interference’ on their soil.  The government had no choice  but to review their laws and statutes on immigration subject. This was compounded by the fact that there were some top government officials in hierarchy who were sympathizers to the protesters. The then president had to sign the famous ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ into law.

The said act was assented to in the year 1882 after its passage by the U.S. Congress. It was to completely ban the Chinese and their activities in the U.S. This surprise turn of events made the victims (Chinese) feel insecure. They, therefore, devised some means of surviving. This move led to the formation of a Chinese Union group to continue agitating for their rights and majorly to protect their businesses. The move by the congressmen to quash the rights previously enjoyed by the endangered group did not only left the victims explicitly wounded but also created a wedge between the two groups. The Chinese were undoubtedly beleaguered in this matter, since they were barred from either intermingling or intermarrying with any white American

The Geary Act

Ten years later, in 1892, another decree was issued, which extended the ban. This was to control the movements of all foreign Asian community, entering the borders of the U.S. This group was mainly restricted, especially the new entrants. The act recognized only the white Americans and no other race. In other words, the Chinese were still victims of such injustices due to their original status. This also had grave consequences upon violation of these rules. Why did it have real consequences? The consequences were real due to the nature of their authentic prosecution channels in the Federal court of law.

The Chinese, however, did not completely disembark from the U.S soil. They continued to toil through with their businesses. They saw the insatiable opportunities, hence, were not ready to leave and rather hung on, despite the conspicuous humiliation they underwent. This is both amusing and amazing but at the same time encouraging. They were more determined with their future. The Chinese then felt they should not be fazed by the threats they get. This made them even to cooperate with the Americans during the famous world wars, which took place between 1918 and 1945.

The resumption of close ties

The first indication of resumption came in 1943. This was when the official representative, Magnuson, sponsored a bill, seeking a repeal of the discriminatory law. It was passed and later became synonymous with the public as the Magnuson Act.

Immediately after the World War II, the relations between the Republic of China and that of the U.S. government officially normalized. The cooperation between the two countries gradually improved to its best, leading to the 1965 mass movement of the Chinese from their motherland into USA. With this event there was a feeling that a full repeal of the previous heinous act (the Act of Chinese Exclusion) had been finally realized.

The Chinese contribution to the U.S. economy

It has been agreed that the biggest contributors to the national economy are the middle level and the lowly ranked jobs. These jobs mainly involve technical skills and manual application that are required for full economic gains. What are the actual impacts of these? Of course, there is no denial of the fact that artisan workers, factory laborers and middle level employees contribute a lot through their levies on taxes and creativity. These are critical to the government for overall provision of vital services. The Chinese race is well-known for such jobs. Most of the Caucasian Americans in those periods were unable to deal with careers of that nature, therefore, left them for the Chinese.

The Chinese were everywhere in the Eastern region of the U.S. They were in small businesses, working on the farms, laborers in factories and mine fields. Their occupation resulted to full industrialization of the Eastern part. States like California sprung to full development and recognition because of this. There were gold mine fields, agriculture (growing of wheat in large scale) and small enterprises, which were used to jumpstart U.S. economy.

Chinese Presence in the South 

The Chinese later, after witnessing segregation in some previously occupied areas, decided to move southwards. The Chinese after settling formed their own schools for their children after witnessing some discrimination in the white schools. Some opted for private tutors to deliver education services to their juveniles. Further segregation was witnessed after they were viewed by the original natives as people with a lot of problems. Some publications portrayed the Chinese race as slum dwellers, prostitutes, gamblers and opium dealers. The opium was then used for medical purposes.

The Present Day Chinese-Americans

Due to the relaxed punitive laws, most of Chinese (in USA) feel some sense of belonging to the United States of America. Currently, the U.S. is awash with the Chinese race. Many of them serve in different sectors that contribute positively to the economy as professionals. There are Chinese descendants in the national defense team, health sector and manufacturing. They also feature in tourism, education and business enterprises.

Many of the Chinese presently have also embraced diverse religion. Some have either become Christians or Muslims, hence, shunning their renowned Buddhism. This is a sign of tolerance. Despite the long suffering the Chinese people succumbed, their activities contributed positively to the U.S. economy.

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