These images both portray immigrants being subject to checks of their current health. Whether you are coming form the East coast at Ellis Island or the West coast at Angel Island, immigrants get their health checked for any infectious diseases. Immigrants had to pass through numerous examinations before they can enter the States. It goes to show how much of a struggle it is to migrate to the United States. It’s a struggle just to leave your country, but then once you arrive, you must go through different examinations before you can enter.
Chinese Exclusion Act: This Federal law suspended immigration, in specific Chinese immigration. This ban lasted for about ten years. The California Gold Rush marked the first mass Chinese immigration to the United States. Understanding this law is important to also understand the context of these two pictures. Both of these images represent the attitude and feelings against the Chinese immigrants. The White community in the United States considered themselves the “supreme race” and they clearly were not welcoming of people who were neither white or black. Does the fact that the “white” folks were the majority race, mean they had the right to discriminate against other minority groups? Obviously no, but this was not the popular view in the late 1800’s.
The first picture represents a flyer which invites the white folks to come and ratify the Chinese Exclusion Act and suspend all immigration from South East Asia. The second picture similarly represents the anger the whites have for the Chinese, who continue to use their good work ethic to take the jobs of the “white folks.” This cartoon represents the California Gold Rush and the cheap labor Chinese immigrants provided to build the city infrastructure.
The two photos above symbolize both Chinese immigration and Italian Immigration.Most of the immigrants who arrived from China were attracted to northern America for the gold rush, with time they began to open up their own businesses. In the first photo it appears as though the Chinese people were having something done against their will in order to be in the United States, this may also symbolize why there was a Chinese exclusion act that came about causing the Chinese population to drop to 62,000 in 1920.This act was a sign of hatred from americans and other immigrants. This exclusion act ended chinese immigration for nearly a century.
The second photo seems of a more peaceful way to come into the United States. The Italian family seems like they are coming in peacefully with no problems or re-enforcement as they arrive into Ellis Island. The primary reason for Italians to come into the United States was to escape the overcrowded population in Italy and to escape low wages and high taxes. From 1820 to 1978, Italian immigration amounted to 10.9 percent of the total foreign immigration.
This is a bunch of working class Chinese immigrants who came to California looking for gold.
This is a family who came to American during the 1890s. They look different from the previous picture because they look like they were ready to settle in American and they don’t look like they going to dig for gold or anything. In the first picture of how people dressed, we can see that they still keep some of their Chinese dressing style as well as the second picture. The first picture also shows that 5 people staying in one big room, maybe they will be sharing this room for their stay in America, showing the hard living environment in America during the immigration period.
On May 8, 1882, the United States passes the Chinese Exclusion Act which banned the immigration of the Chinese into America. The Americans blamed the Chinese immigrants for taking their jobs and lower the wage levels. This act was not repealed until 1943.