CHINESE MIGRATION TO THE WEST AND THE US 17
CHINESEMIGRATION TO THE WEST AND THE US
Migrationinvolves the movement of people from one place to another in searchof better way of life (Spitzer,2011). It can be either voluntary or involuntary. Throughout human historymigrations have taken There are different scales of migrationintercontinental which occurs between continents and intercontinentalwhich is between a country and a continent interregional which isbetween countries (Spitzer,2011). The most common migration is rural urban migration which involvespeople moving from countryside to the city in search of betteropportunities. Migration started in East Africa where first humangroups relocated to various locations in the world. A person movingfrom one country to another is called an emigrant immigrant is aperson moving from one country to another to acquire new residence. Arefugee is a person who runs away from his country of origin in fearof persecution due to nationality, race, religion, being a member ofa certain social group and political opinion. Internally displacedperson is one who leaves his place of origin due to poor politicalenvironmental and social conditions Migration stream where peoplemove from a country or region to a certain destination. Peoplemigrate because of various reasons putting into consideration theadvantages and shortcomings of staying or moving. In addition theyconsider other factors such as cultural barriers, transportationcost, mode of transport and the terrain. This paper will discussChinese migration to the west, that is Europe and the USA In additionit will explain the factors that led to migration and the challengesthey faced during migration. Moreover factors that contributed totheir exclusion from the west and their response to the exclusionwill be discussed.
Thereare different types of migration external migration which involvesmoving to a new residence in a different state continent or countryemigration which is the movement of people from one country toanother population transfer where the government force people torelocate on basis of ethnicity or religion. This is also referred asforced migration (Adler& Gielen, 2002). .Impelled migration is when people leave a country because of harshconditions such as war, political instability and religiousconflicts step migration which is from a place of origin to finaldestination (Matt,2011). For instance, moving from town, to a city or from a farm to avillage chain migration which involves movement of people within afamily or group of people. The chain starts when one member of thefamily sends money to relocate the rest of the family to a new place.This type of migration result to cluster migration where people fromthe same origin settle in a particular neighborhood or town returnmigration where immigrants move back to their place of originseasonal migration where people move for a period of time because oflabor or climate conditions.
Migrationto the west
Duringthe 1840s and 1850s there were newspaper publications about awonderful land in the northwest called Oregeon. The land hadfavorable weather and fertile soil. Missionaries who visited theOregon praised it in the letters they sent back home in the east.Other publication on opportunities available in land attracted manypeople from the east. In addition, increasing population in the eastmade people migrate to the west. The emigrants to the west came fromdifferent groups of American society. Majority were farmers werecattlemen who build ranches or farms in the west. Businessmenjournalist, gamblers and miners also moved to the west. During themigration African American slaves travelled west to get theirfreedom. Slaves who managed to run away were given their freedom ifthey made it to the west. There was an opportunity to start a newlife as farmers.
OnMarch 15 1848, a news letter from San Francisco proclaimed that goldmine has been found. By May the same year a number of gold seekersmoved to California and by end of year there were thousands of goldseekers in the town. Within a short time people moved from all overunited states to acquire riches from gold in California.Consequently, the boom towns developed very quickly and by the end ofthe gold rush California had more than 300,000 migrants. However notall migrants were interested with the gold, others came to startbusiness. For instance, some sold clothes, others food and miningtools. Moving to the west become easier after the gold rush whichlasted four years. This is because canals were built and there wasimproved river transport. Additionally, the steam boat made it easierfor settlers to move west through the harsh rivers. Finally, manypeople wanted to move to America because they believed it was thedestined land and it was meant to expand the Pacific Oacen. Thisbelieve was knows as manifest destiny.
Migrationto the USA
Thehistory of rail roads is linked as the main cause of immigration andemigration to the United States. The immigrants helped in theconstruction of the railroads and later used them to move to the westand start new settlements in the western states. The construction ofthe first transcontinental rail road began in 1862 when PresidentAbraham Lincoln approved the pacific railway act. The American civilwar delayed the work for several years. However, the constructionbegan in 1866 where two American companies competed to see whichcompany could lay most miles of the railroad. However, both companieshad strong financial incentive and the railroad joined up.
Thisgreat work was not possible without Chinese and Irish labors whodominated the workforce. The Chinese laborers came in large numbersthrough the Central Pacific Railroad. As such over 12000 Chineseimmigrants were employed which comprised of eighty percent of thelabors in Central Pacific railroad construction. James Sturbridge theforeman of the construction was impressed by the Chinese who diddangerous work willingly. For instance, they could blast some areasin the treacherous Nevada, to pave way for the track. Before therailroad was completed the Chinese labors could lay a ten miles trackin twelve hours. After the completion of the first transcontinentalrailroad the immigrants who entered the US started using the train tomove west. Increased population in the west brought more businessmento the railroads. FactorsThat Led to the Chinese Migration to the U.S.
TheChinese immigration to the U.S. started way back in the 18thcentury up to the 20thcentury. It was largely driven by the following factors thatencouraged their emigration from their country to the United Statesof America. They included:
Referredto as the transpacific trade, it is the first form of documentedevidence that supports immigration of the first Chinese to the U.S.The docking of the first sail boat off the shores of the Americancoastal line created a pathway for trade between themselves and theAmericans.
HostilePolitical Tension within Their Country
Heightenedpolitical tensions that had ensued among the country’s dynastyleadership triggered the emigration to the west. There had beengrowing animosity between the Manchu Qing and the Ming dynasties.This hatred culminated into the Taiping Rebellion which to date isone of the most historic wars that had claimed lots of lives.Millions of soldiers and civilians died in this war and this promptedthe survivors and sympathizers of both dynasties to scamper forsafety. They would therefore travel to the U.S. to seek politicalasylum (Wu, 1989).
Dueto the failures of the Qing dynasty, the Chinese people underwentthrough tough economic challenges that forced them to source foralternative sources of income (Wu, 1989). They had to work in orderto sustain their families back at home as there was a stagnation inthe growth of their economy. This is owing to numerous politicalfactors.
Themigration has however been explained by researchers as havingoccurred between two phases/waves, that is: between the periods of1840s-1880s and between late 1880s-1965. The Chinese got employed invarious sectors. The first phase included:
CaliforniaGold Rush Era
Thisera began when Marshal James found gold in California in the 19thcentury (Takaki, 1989). This would then go ahead to attract bothlocal and foreign individuals to search for the precious metal in thestate. A huge number of Chinese individuals were employed in thesemines. Moreover, they continued searching for gold in these goldmines that had abandoned at the time (Chu, 1967)
Thousandsof Chinese workers were employed in the railroad construction thatwould see every state in America connected to the rail line. A hugepercentage of workers were of Chinese origin who had migrated intothe U.S. to seek for employment.
Thissector also attracted a lot of Chinese immigrant workers who at thetime had been the most preferred owing to their cheap labor and theirhuge numbers.
Thesecond wave however occurred between 1882 and 1965 and involved theimmigration of Chinese individuals into America owing reasons thatrevolved around: diplomacy, seeking for higher education withinAmerican Institutions as well as wanting to trade the merchandise.
Challengesfaced during the migration into U.S.
TheChinese people faced many challenges as they settled into their newlyfound homes within America. Owing to the fact that they were notnatural habitants within the country, they were ostracized from thecommunity by being denied certain rights or forbidden in undertakingor practicing certain things that seemed to contravene the practicesof the American public. These issues are clearly depicted in:
Thegrowing Chinese people faced discrimination among the Americanpeople. This led to them being ostracized by being assigned specificgeographical settlement areas. They were allocated land that was in arural setting and confined to live in these areas only. They werecommonly referred to as Chinatowns (Calvin, 1967).
TheChinese were constantly faced with racial discrimination from theAmerican public. Most of them also faced harm from violent attacksfrom these individuals and this would necessitate them to operateamong groups so as to shield themselves from such incidences. Theseincidences also made the Chinese grow a thick skin and develop a highdegree of tolerance towards the American public.
TheChinese were often poorly remunerated. This would further see most ofthem living in abject poverty as well as seeing them lack funds tosend to their families back in their home country.
Denialfor Country Citizenship Rights
Upuntil before the assent into law of the Magnuson Act, the Chinese hadbeen denied the rights of being granted citizenship rights within theU.S. This also extended to the Chinese who had been born withinAmerica.
Chineseincome was subject to a higher government tax owing to the fact thatthey were considered non-citizens. This made it much harder for themto make savings as well as support their abroad families.
Thesemovements were held in protests against the Chinese people by theAmerican population. Most of them demanded for the immediatedeportation of all the Chinese immigrants from the country.
ChineseExclusion Act of 1882
ThisAct was signed into law in 1882. It among many things prohibited theChinese people or their culture from being assimilated into theAmerican way of life. This law also empowered the U.S. to suspend theimmigration of any Chinese within America. This was as a response tothe growing insecurity among the American public over the growingnumber of Chinese locals. This law further portrayed the Chinese asbeing individuals of lower social and intellectual standing and theywere not valued enough. However, these laws were reviewed by theMagnuson Act in the 20thcentury (Soennichsen,2011).
Factorsthat led to exclusion
Theneed for the US and western governments to bar Chinese from visitingtheir countries arose from the following main factors.
Duringthe late 19thand early 20thcentury, this was the era when western countries were undergoinginfrastructural revolution. This made them to import cheap andskillfully labor from China so they could work in the undergoingprojects. However, Chinese continued coming in those countries, theybecame a threat to the employment opportunities (Morrison, 2011). They would take up any job that came their way leaving noopportunities for the resident of these countries. This made US andtheir western government counterparts to restrict more Chinese fromgetting into their countries.
USconsidered the immigrants immoral, due to this they claimed that suchimmigrant’s specifically Chinese people were responsible for thecrimes committed. They believed that foreign immigrants alsothreatened national security by intruding new ideologies. Otherwestern government’s clamed immorality caused by the immigrants ledto the arising of deadly diseases that were a threat to the lives oftheir citizens. They claimed that immigrants practiced prostitutionand they smoked opium. They also believed that they also broughtdiseases from their country. In a bid to prevent further crimes andto reduce the spread of such diseases, US and their counterpart’swestern governments imposed restrictions from incoming Chinese people(Daniels,Graham, & Patterson, 2001).
Thenumber of Chinese people that travelled to western countries topractice entrepreneurship and search for job led to a gradualincrease in population. The increasing population exerted pressure onthe limited resources that were in these countries. Since they werealso intermarriages, the western countries claimed that relationshipslead to corrosion of western cultures by the eastern cultures. Theyclaimed that Chinese brought their cultures, which were being adoptedby their citizen. In order to reduce this influence, westerncountries decided to impose restrictions.
Westerncountries effectively enforced immigration restrictions through thelaws they established. For instance, Russia was the only majorEuropean county to enforce system of passports and trade regulations.They achieved by establishing laws that ensured the restrictions.They also achieved this through radicalization. Russia Revolutionprompted fear of foreign radicalism, which scared away immigrantssuch as the Chinese.US passed a series of measures aimed at Chineseresidents. They established a law that required special licenses forChinese businesses or workers to prevent nationalization. They alsoadopted discrimination method where Chinese people were subjected todiscrimination so they could go away. However, this violatedBurlingame-Seward Treaty. This led to US to signing another treaty,the Angel Treaty that permitted to restrict, but not completelyprohibit, Chinese immigration (Morrison, 2011). The Act also requiredevery Chinese to carry a certificate identifying his or her status asa laborer, merchant, diplomat or merchant.
Inconclusion, it is evident that Chinese migration to the west wasdriven by various factors. Notably, the migration was faced bynumerous challenges, especially the excrusion by the hostgovernments. However, China reiterated to the move adopted by thewestern countries. Chinese government negotiated with the USgovernment concerning the Act established by Congress of US, theChinese Exclusion Act in 1882. With the Chinese governmentintervention, they suspended the immigration of Chinese laborers fora period of 10 years. In addition, Merchants in China responded tothe humiliation of the exclusion acts by organizing an anti-Americanboycott in 1905, though this movement was unofficial (Valentini,2013). China also reiterated back by welcoming foreign trade butwestern merchants had no privileges. China imposed trade restrictionto US and other western countries. Issues that made animosity to risebetween China and western countries.
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