Chinese Exclusion Act Justified

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Nighat Ansari Start time-end time: 6:00pm-7:20pm How the Chinese Exclusion Act was Justified America, as a nation, was created by immigrants since its very inception. However, each time that immigrants from a distant land came to America, the “native” or residing population of the land struggled with new influence. Be it Columbus and his men discovering the “new world” or the many immigrants who came to America to find better opportunity during America’s Gilded Age. For many, entitlement to this land and its opportunities was so high that they disliked seeing any immigrants-European or Asian coming to their land to share their lifestyles. In addition, many white Americans were underpaid and mistreated in their workplaces due to industrialization…show more content…
Already struggling, white Americans did not want to share their limited opportunities. Their fear of losing jobs convinced them the Chinese Exclusion Act was justified. Supporters simply asserted that job availability would decline even more than it had in previous years. One such supporter of the Exclusion Act was Senator James Harvey Slater of Oregon, who said that Chinese laborers "competed with white labor...depress[ed] and demoralize[d] [labor] by underbidding and bringing it down to starvation prices" (Slater, p. 47). Slater and others like him were able to convince the white Americans and even older immigrants that the Chinese worker was willing to settle for lower prices and would give white Americans fierce competition. In many cases, it was true that Chinese workers worked for less money, but offered equal efficiency. People, already suffering pitiable working conditions and low wages saw Chinese immigrants as major threats not only to their country's job market, but to their livelihoods. Many thought that if the Chinese settled for lower wages and harsher conditions, no employers would hire any more white laborers, sending their families into starvation and deprivation. Hence, this fear would have motivated many Americans to strongly support the Chinese Exclusion…show more content…
Throughout American history, the white man had subjugated other races such as the Native Americans and African Americans. However, white Americans would not be able to directly control the Chinese and feared that Chinese culture would wrongly influence American culture. Many believed that the Chinese that emigrated were outcasts and criminals who didn't have respectable lives in China. Others believed they were conniving, "money-minded" people who wanted to usurp Americans’ work opportunities. Since they had never encountered a culture so radically different from theirs, many whites viewed Chinese culture with suspicions and claimed the Chinese would never be able to assimilate. Senator Slater explained, "The negro was native to the soil, born and bred under our jurisdiction...The Chinese are aliens, born in a foreign land, speak a foreign tongue...have a different not and will not assimilate" (Slater, p. 47). This may have scared many white Americans since they came to see the Chinese as rigid, different people who did not want to assimilate. Already enraged that the Chinese would usurp their jobs, white Americans now also saw the Chinese as invaders and as aliens that wanted to hog opportunities and money. Ultimately, it was not hard to convince an already enraged and desperate white population that the Chinese would never fit

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