The United States is known for its prosperity, freedom, opportunities, and equality, but this has not always been true. Throughout the history of the United States many races, religions, and even its own citizens have been subjected to discrimination and injustice. I have chosen articles that discuss some types of discrimination and injustices that have occurred. Freedom was a constant struggle in the period between 1877 and 1945. The people discussed in the following articles represent only a portion of those who suffered.
The first article that I chose was written by Saum Song Bo in October 1885. The article, entitled Letter in American Missionary, addressed the struggle that Chinese-Americans endured during the 1880s. The United States was trying to raise money for a pedestal that the Statue of Liberty would stand on. The statue was being given to the United States as a gift from the French, whom also deprived the Chinese of liberty. The Statue of Liberty was said to represent freedom and liberty for all persons who live in the United States regardless of race, religion, or nationality. The Chinese that were in the country were being treated as second class citizens and endured discrimination, prejudice, and physical violence. Their freedom and liberty were unequal to all other races and creeds but were still expected to contribute toward the building and funding of the pedestal. Many Chinese were unable to enter the country during this time and the Chinese who were already here were not allowed to become citizens. The article expressed the frustration that Saum Song Bo, a Chinese-American, felt during this time frame as well as the injustices that the Chinese endured.
In the early 1880s Congress began to exclude immigrants from China from entering the country and by 1902 this decision became permanent. The Chinese that already resided in the United States were not allowed to become citizens or have the rest of their families join them. The goal of America during the 1880s was to achieve “liberty and greatness” for all but this was not true for the Chinese. (619) The Chinese demanded equal rights and wanted the same freedoms that everyone else enjoyed. Many of the Chinese resided along the West Coast where their children were unable to attend public schools until 1885 when Tape v. Hurley ordered the city to admit them. (619) The mistreatment and exclusion of the Chinese led them to live in isolation and distrust all others. How can a country that prides itself on liberty and justice for all treat the Chinese with such disregard but at the same time expect them to help fund and create a pedestal that only reminds them of the lack of liberty they have in the United States.
The second article that I will discuss was written by John Steinbeck in 1938. On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath discussed the effects the Great Depression had on migrants and how they were viewed in the American eye. Americans viewed migrant...