Life was tough in China during the mid 19th century. People did not have enough food or money, and cities were overpopulated. Young Chinese men heard about opportunities for work in the United States such as farming, gold mining and railroad work. They believed it would be a great place to start over again. Young Chinese men came to this country with great hopes of making money, and sending it back to their families, and eventually returning to their homeland.
Things proved to be different when they arrived and started working in the United States. I can imagine how horrible life was for Chinese immigrant workers at the time. As a group, they made up a large proportion of the Railroad workers. They were forced to work on the most difficult parts of the railroad. Their work day was extremely long. Their living conditions were inadequate; no protection was provided against bad weather or frequent avalanches.
As more Chinese stayed in this country, laws such as Foreign Miner's Tax and Exclusion Act were made to make life more difficult for these workers so that they could not bring their families to America. I believe they decided to stay in the United States because they still had families waiting for their help back in China. Thus, they wanted to show the United States that they could do something to make it better. Their experiences help me understand that Chinese immigrants are some of the strongest, most resilient and proudest people in the world.
I believe that many American people still do not know how much about the history of Chinese immigrants and their experiences in the United States. Some do not know how much the Chinese have been contributing to this country. I am not sure exactly why, but the impression I get from looking at an American history textbook is that there is very little mention about Chinese immigrants and their contributions in the United States. Almost all of the focus has been placed on white people of European background and...
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