Opposition to Chinese Immigration (1878) Primary Source Activity

chinese immigration

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“The Chinese have now lived among us, in considerable numbers, for a quarter of a century, and yet they remain in separate, distinct from, and antagonistic to our people in thinking, mode of life, in tastes and principles, and are as far from assimilation as when they first arrived….

They fail to comprehend our system of government; they perform no duties of citizenship; they are not available as jurymen; cannot be called upon as a posse comitatus (sheriff’s deputies) to preserve order, nor be relied upon as soldiers.

They do not comprehend or appreciate our social ideas, and they contribute but little to support of any of our institutions, public or private.

They bring no children with them, and there is, therefore, no possibility of influencing them but our ordinary educational appliances.

There is, indeed, no point of contact between the Chinese and our people through which we can Americanize them. The rigidity, which characterizes these people, forbids the hope of essential change in their relations to our people or our government.

We respectfully submit the admitted proposition that no nation, much less a republic, can safely permit the presence of a large and increasing element among its people which cannot be assimilated or made to comprehend the responsibilities of citizenship…..

The great mass of the Chinese residents of California are not amenable to our laws.  It is almost impossible to procure the conviction of Chinese criminals, and we are never sure that a conviction, even when obtained, is in accordance with justice.”

Click on the link below to download the full primary source document and analysis questions:

Opposition to Chinese Immigration 1878 primary source activity


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This entry was posted in Civil War and Reconstruction Era, Gilded Age & Industrial Revolution Era, Gilded Age & Progressive Era, Populist Era & Industrial Revolution, U.S. History. Bookmark the permalink.

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