Chinese Immigration into America
Surprisingly, Asian Americans have been in America for over 150 years.
They are as diverse as the immigrants from Europe, ranging from China, Japan,
Korea, Cambodia, Korea, Philippines, India, Vietnam, and Laos. (Takaki, page 8)
When many people think of American Immigrants, Asians are on the last of their
lists. In The Uprooted, Harvard historian, Oscar Handlin, prize winning book
with the subtitle "the Epic Story of the Great Migrations that Made the American
People," completely left out the "uprooted" from the lands across the Pacific
Ocean. (Takaki, page 10) This paper will give some information pertaining to
the Chinese immigration into America.
China is one of the world's oldest civilizations. It influence have
reverberated throughout Asia. It's presence is felt in many of the surrounding
cultures. The Chinese people have tried to keep their society pure from
outside sources. When foreigners entered their homeland and poisoned the
population with drugs, the culture could not stop the imminent alteration of
their ways. China was weakened severely and was taken advantage of by many
Chinese came to America for a myriad of reasons. The main reason was
because of the myth of the Gam Saan ("Golden Mountain.") Other reasons were
due to overpopulation, poverty, hunger, flooding, high taxes, bad economy,
collapsing government, and crop failure. (Takaki, page 38) James Marshall
discovery of gold in California in 1848 prompted many Chinese to take a sojourn
into America to get rich quick. A young man in Canton wrote to his brother in
Boston saying, "good many Americans speak of California, Oh! Very rich
country! O hear good many Americans and Europeans go there very much. I think
I shall go to California next summer." Stories like these built up this dream
of the "Golden Mountain." The plan for most Chinese was to make their
fortune, and return home to their family. The dream of getting rich quick has
been around for ages. Due to this, a trickle of immigrants turned into a deluge.
The whole thing began in 1835. William Hooper, a young man from Boston,
visited a sugar mill in Hawaii. He became determined to start the first sugar
plantation in Hawaii. Without a large supply of laborers, Hooper hired
"Chinamen" to aid in the success of the plantation. From this humble beginning,
sugar grew into a large industry that would need a steady supply of laborers.
(Takaki, page 22) In 1848, after a war with Mexico, the United States obtained
a region known as California. Finding Californina to be a commercial and
agricultural center, it became America's gateway to Asia. (Takaki, page 20)
With the large fertile lands of California, workers were needed to help reap the
profits that would flow in. Aaron H. Palmer, a government official, stated, "No
people in all the East are so well adapted for the clearing wild lands and...