The population of the United States of America is composed of immigrants (Takaki 29). The country is believed to have the highest number of immigrants in the whole world.
The Native American ancestors are said to have come from north Asia long ago before the civil war. After the war and in the beginning of the twentieth century, around twenty five million people immigrated to the state in search of jobs and other opportunities (Takaki 36).
This set of immigrants came from European countries such as Russia, Italy and many others. There were also immigrants who came from Africa especially during the slave trade. This explains the reason as to why there are many black Americans in the state today.
Chinese and Japanese immigrants arrived in the US in the 19th century (Chang 48). They had run away from the political and economic difficulties back in their homelands. Their population was increasing and there was scarcity of land well knowing that farming was the main economic activity in china and Japan during that time.
Therefore just like their European counterparts, they had great hope that they would gain economically by entering US. Most of them hoped that they would go back to their motherland after acquiring wealth but many of them ended up staying permanently. The Chinese had heard of the California gold rush and looked forward to acquiring wealth out of it and go back to their ancestral home (Takaki 12).
Some of them were merchants and others sailors but most of them worked with the mining companies which were looking for cheap sources of labor. Unfortunately, they were not able to live that dream since very few of them became rich and they could not live their job since it gave them steady income.
Towards the end of the 19th century, more than 25% of the Californian laborers were Chinese immigrants. That explains the reason as to why today there are many Americans of Chinese origin in the Californian state and the San Francisco city of the United States of America.
Most of the Chinese immigrants arrived in the US in the middle of the nineteenth century. Many of them were mainly men who first settled in California. To elk out a living, they first worked at the mining companies and later on the transcontinental railroad which needed a lot of laborers at that particular time.
As the railway line continued to be built, they moved along with it in the eastern direction. Moving to a new area demands people to look for jobs or economic activities in order to be able to put food on the table. The Chinese laborers mainly built the western part the railway line. The great iron railway line across America owes its existence to the Americans of Chinese origin. The Chinese immigrants did the most difficult part of the job by digging the tunnel through the Sierras using hammers, chisels and black powder (Chang 24).
This is the tunnel where the railroad would pass through to the other side of the mountain. Only few Chinese women were able to get to the US mainly because of the duties associated with women. They had to stay behind and raise their children. Those who were lucky to go were the wives of the merchants. There was also a big problem in getting jobs that women could be able to do. On the other hand, the Japanese immigrants to US reached the same place almost two decades after and the rural
Pacific Northwest became their home
Whenever a large number of people stay in a given area, communities will definitely come up and this is what happened with the Chinese immigrants.
They formed communities in Western cities and since they were mainly men, they later intermarried with the locals and gave rise to the Chinese Americans but this did not come with ease. They first settled in cities like San Francisco as small male communities because they had great problems getting assimilated in the American society (Chang 173). It takes quite a long time for a foreigner to be socially accepted in a new place.
This is because of difference in culture, religion, language and other factors. Similarly, people will first want to learn what type of a person one is before they can fully trust and accept him or her. When people of different origins are forced by circumstances to be in the same place, several things will take place. They will intermarry and a new culture and language are bound to arise. A strange culture was introduced by the Chinese in the
American soil and they also enriched their own
After the completion of the railway line, the Chinese immigrants lost their source of income and started living in ghettos in the western cities (Thornton 147). That lead to the rise of social problems and discrimination against Asian citizens arose especially after laws permitting that were passed.
These people started businesses in the form of restaurants and laundries to be able to survive. They also took part in agricultural activities especially in the area of horticulture. Others worked in the light manufacturing industries, tailoring and shoe making shops. Because they were not able to get married quickly and raise families due to the unbalanced sex ratio, that resulted to the rise of prostitution and other vices like gambling.
Most of the Chinese women who had got in the US by that time engaged in prostitution. To counter this act, the government banned prostitution and the number female engaging in it greatly went down. In the year 1882, the Chinese exclusion act which brought to an end Chinese immigration was passed (Takaki 121). No more Chinese were allowed to get into the American soil except those who had family members there.
According to the government the Chinese laborers had already posed a lot of danger to their system and therefore more could not be allowed to get in. The worst came when the Geary act was passed in the year 1892 and banned the entry of the relatives of the Chinese already in the US. Other laws prevented the intermarriage between the Chinese men and the white women and thus the Chinese men took very long to get married.
The Chinese formed clans and district associations which helped them to deal with their own matters. The membership of these organizations was determined by family relationships, where they came from and other common interests. The clans assisted its members in the immigrations of their friends and relatives and in finding jobs.
The district organizations took care of cemeteries and made sure that the remains of the dead people were exhumed and taken back to their ancestral homes for final burial. The two organizations made sure that the new immigrants got temporary accommodations.
They also settled disputes involving any of their members. Above the clan and the district associations was the Chinese consolidated benevolent association which the Americans referred to as the Chinese six companies. This is the association that wholly led the community and saw to the success of various court cases especially those which were to do with discrimination against the Chinese.
Before going to California the Japanese had already reached Hawaii and worked in the sugar plantation (Niiya 143). When the Chinese were banned from getting into the US, the companies that they were working for ran short of laborers. The market for the commodity was growing and the plantations needed more labor to meet the demand.
For production to be maximized, companies make use of enough sources of labor that should be having the necessary skills. To make sure that they continued with their production, they started recruiting Japanese. To work in the plantations, the Japanese did not need to have any special skills. Therefore there were no limitations and many of them came for the jobs.
The Japanese laborers who were recruited were given good wages in addition to food and accommodation. Their passage fee was also paid and all that acted as a form of motivation and attracted a good number of them. After some time the same misfortune happened to them and no more Japanese could enter the state except relatives of those who were already there. Similarly, that was also to be banned after their numbers greatly increased.
Those who were already in the country began forming groups depending on the time they had arrived. Those who had come before 1924 formed a group called the Issei and those who were born in the US became the Nisei (Masterson and Funada-Classen 23). The Japanese immigrants were used by the US during the Second World War.
The Japanese assimilated the Chinese philosophy know as Confucianism (Ingram 18). Therefore their beliefs and traditions became similar to those of the Chinese. The founder of the philosophy compares the relationship of a king and his subjects to that of a father and his children (Ingram 18).
According to the believers, a person should always work towards making life better for others. Even after leaving their country, the Japanese still upheld their culture. These helped them to live a peaceful and happy life with one another. The Japanese Americans still had their traditional bath place in addition to the western style bathroom. They used these public baths for relaxation and as a center of relaxation and socializing among community members (Niiya 142).
Culture is one of the things that are affected when people migrate to different areas. The people are also likely to slightly change their language and assimilate a portion of that of the host country. When different people with different cultures come together; they enrich one another with their cultures.
This is what happened when the Japanese immigrated to US. Most of the Asian traditions that are still common within the United States of America trace their origin to Japanese immigrants. Martial art which is commonly known as karate or the empty hand is one of the widely known Asian tradition in the United States (Ingram 19).
Chang, Iris. The Chinese in America: A Narrative History. London: Penguin, 2004. Print.
Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War Ii. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1997. Print.
Ingram, Scott. Japanese Immigrants. New York: Facts On File, 2005. Print.
Masterson, Daniel M, and Sayaka Funada-Classen. The Japanese in Latin America. Urbana, Ill: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2004. Print.
Niiya, Brian. Japanese American History: An A-to-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present. New York, NY: F
Takaki, Ronald T. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Boston [u.a.: Back Bay Books [u.a., 1998. Print.
Thornton, Jeremy. The Gold Rush: Chinese Immigrants Come to America (1848-1882). New York: Power Kids Press, 2004. Print. acts On File, 1993. Print.