What Economic Factors Drove The Immigration Of Asians To The United States Between 1865 And 1920 Essay Sample
It is well known that a land of immigrants is easily can be called the United States. Nowadays, more than 40 million people from other countries that moved in the U.S. for various reasons. Generally speaking, these people try to find new and better opportunities or freedom as their countries cannot provide them with decent payments or and that is why they decide to settle in the United States. However, from the founding of the nation, immigrants and the very phenomenon of immigration have been a very controversial topic, especially when the immigrants were in some way “distinct” from the dominant group at the time.
Presently, anti-immigration sentiments are still very strong yet in spite of different anti-immigration arguments; rising immigration is significant for economic, cultural, moral and political well-being of the United States. (Chen)
The immigration from the Asian countries in the United States is marked by 4 obvious periods. In 1848, with the help of gold boom in California and decaying of political and economic system in China, many Asians came to the United States.
6 years later, the Asians started arriving in San Francisco in very big amounts to find new perspectives and earn money. As the needs of the increasingly big mining community of the western part of the United States have to be filled, a lot of Asians became merchants. Later, they were employed as workers on the transcontinental railroad and in different plants. (Race, Right And Reparation, Law And The Japanese American Internment)
The phenomenon of immigration was unlimited at this time; however the majority of Asian immigrants thought that the money and the prosperity that would have got in the U.S. they would bring it back to their native countries. While a lot of immigrants from various countries came to settle in the United States forever, a lot of Asian immigrants worked for a time and returned home with money they had earned and saved. (Chen)
A lot of Asian immigrants, for instance, were single men who worked for some time and then and returned to their countries. As it was already mentioned at first, immigrants were attracted to the United States by the great opportunity to make a lot of money on gold fields in California. People worked for themselves or for other miners. (History Of The United States (1865–1918)
Some of immigrants who decided not to return to their home countries, created their own businesses like restaurants, bars, laundries etc. Gradually, Chinatowns appeared in different towns and cities of the U.S. After the gold rush, Asian immigrants worked as agricultural workers, built railroads throughout the western part of the country, and in low-paying industrial jobs. (Loc.gov)
After the gold discoveries slowed down, Civil War ended and all railroads were built, the unemployment rate began to rise in the United States, and especially in California where was the biggest percentage of the Asian immigrants, they worked as agricultural laborers and in various low-paying jobs. (Loc.gov)
As it was already mentioned, Asian immigrants viewed job in the United States as a temporary stopover and wanted to get back when they earned enough money: "I am returning home with purses and bags stuffed full. Soon I will see my parents' brows beaming with joy." (Calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu)
This desire to get back home also reflected the discrepancies and outright violence Asian immigrants faced while being in the United States. In the 1870s the economy of U.S. was on “burning platform” and job competition was high, this fact encouraged anti-Chinese xenophobia. Special clubs were created to denounce Asian immigration – “anti-coolie clubs”. (Calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu) White gangsters attacked Asian communities throughout the states.
In the end of 1879, advocates of immigration restriction achieved in introducing and enacting legislation in Congress to restrict the amount of Asian immigrants that arrive to 15 persons in one ship or vessel. The current President Rutherford B. Hayes vetoed the bill due to the fact that one can see the violation of the United States treaty agreements with China. (Dcc.newberry.org)
However, this legislation was still a significant victory for attorneys of exclusion. Led by supporters from the West part of the country, Democrats supported all-out exclusion of Asian immigrants. Even though that Republicans were vastly sympathetic to western concerns, Republicans were dedicated to a platform of free immigration. President Hayes decided, in order to appease the western part of the country and not to offend China, to seek a revision of the Burlingame-Seward Treaty according to which, China agreed to restrict immigration to the America. (History.state.gov)
The actions that were used to restrict Asian immigration showed a radical change in immigration policy of the United States. Earlier statutes had settled different aspects of the process of immigration, however had not placed clear limitation on immigration. The Page Law of 1875 was first who created a policy of direct federal control over immigration. It also includes the power not to give permission to enter some particular person such as criminals into the country. (The Page Act Of 1875 Immigration Act)
Transportation of Asian immigrants, for instance people who were not taken or moved to the U.S. by themselves from “China, Japan or any Oriental country” was also assumed a criminal activity, but coolies were not noted clearly as an excluded group. Port collectors were entitled with authority to inspect all passengers on all incoming ships and attest whether they belong to the excluded group. Until 1882, there were no additional legislation regarding Asian immigration and immigrants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Chinese Exclusion Act of May 6, 1882 (Chinese Exclusion Act) again set a group of persons that are restricted to enter the United States, but this restriction was only Chinese immigrants. Immigration of Chinese workers, “both skilled and unskilled and Chinese employed in mining,” was stopped for a decade, beginning 90 days after the introducing of the legislation. (Infoplease.com)
After this act, all Chinese people who want to enter the U.S. must have a special document from the government of China certifying their occupation and validity for immigration. “Diplomats, officers of the Chinese Government that travel upon the business of China and their body and household servants” were clearly emancipated from the provisions of the act. Nevertheless, people from low and middle class such as teachers, students, merchants must have documentation from the government proving their validity for immigration. (Dailykos.com)
The arguments from the economical point of view against immigration of Asian people have many shortcomings. The severe competitiveness on the labor market results in the decline of the cost of production and ultimately to better life in the United States.
According to Lehman: “As the cost of labor decreased, businessmen and producers could produce more efficiently, which could let them to lower their prices for products and services they compete for consumers’ dollars, immigrants may be observed as a good thing. Lower prices in turn increase the purchasing power of the American consumer, and therefore improve living conditions for all citizens.” (Lehman)
It is possible to observe such tendency right now, when small business owners use “illegal” immigrants to decrease their operating costs and therefore lower consumer prices” (Lehman). The arguments about such low-skilled labor workers have many implications as well. It is well known that immigrants take the hardest, back-breaking least desirable and least payable jobs.
Moreover, immigrants do not compete with native workers, who do not like such type of job. It is safe to say that the United States of America is in need of immigrants, as it is possible to observe, that native people do not want to dirty their hands in hard work, while immigrants are happy to earn money, making technical jobs.
Calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu,. 'Calisphere - California Cultures - 1866-1920: Rapid Population Growth, Large-Scale Agriculture, And Integration Into The United States'. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Dailykos.com,. 'US Since 1865: Restricting Immigration, 1918-1924 - Racism, Xenophobia And Misogyny'. N.p., 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Dcc.newberry.org,. 'Immigration And Citizenship In The United States, 1865-1924: Digital Collections For The Classroom'. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
History.state.gov,. 'Chinese Immigration And The Chinese Exclusion Acts - 1866–1898 - Milestones - Office Of The Historian'. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
History Of The United States (1865–1918). 1st ed. 2015. Print.
Infoplease.com,. 'Asian-American History'. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Loc.gov,. 'Chinese Immigration To The United States - For Teachers (Library Of Congress)'. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Lehman, Thomas E. Coming To America: The Benefits Of Open Immigration. 2007. Print.
Race, Right And Reparation, Law And The Japanese American Internment. 1st ed. 2015. Print.
The Page Act Of 1875 ( Immigration Act). 1st ed. 1875. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
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