Chinese Immigrants In Northern California

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Chinese Immigrants in Northern California Throughout its history the United States has seen a great ebb and flow in the amount of immigrants entering the country. For a country that was founded by immigrants many of its policies in the 19th and 20th centuries sought to exclude and limit the amount of immigrants coming from many continents, including Asia and Africa. Chinese Immigrants increasingly started showing up in Northern California at the start of the gold rush in 1849 and would establish a large enclave known as China Town in San Francisco. Immigrants from China were particularly targeted with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, that made illegal, the influx of Chinese laborers that had been migrating to the US just a few years prior.…show more content…
Many miners passed through this community on their way to work the Gold Mines. The miners faced a reality filled with discrimination as the white miners resented their presence. When finding gold did not pan out, many Chinese immigrants moved on to building railroads, but because they were willing to work much cheaper than others they were often treated harshly for taking the jobs of whites who were trying to support their families but were not willing to work for the same pay. Economic difficulties were not the only reason that ethnic Chinese were looked down upon, the creation of ethnic enclaves including the largely populated China Town in San Francisco, created an image of the Chinese that conflicted with the American culture of the time. In these communities they kept much of their culture from China, they didn’t need to speak English and were isolated from other communities. According the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, “…as with most immigrant communities, many Chinese settled in their own neighborhoods, and tales spread of Chinatowns as places where large numbers of Chinese men congregated to visit prostitutes, smoke opium, or gamble.” (Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Acts) Many people found the purported behavior to be objectionable and harmful to the moral fiber of America. Many of the Chinese immigrants who worked to complete the railroad system ended up in San Francisco. Where the Chinese community was steadily growing. “The formation of an urban Chinese community and the industrial development of the city paralleled each other. In 1860, only 2,719 Chinese resided in San Francisco, representing 7.8 percent of the Chinese population in California. Ten years later, the Chinese population in the city had soared to 12,022, a 343

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