James W. Marshall discovered gold in the American River on January 24, 1848, and less than a month later, according to early pioneer William Heath Davis, the brig “Eagle” brought two Chinese men and one woman to California. Others appear to have come even earlier. In 1849 three hundred Chinese reached the “Golden Mountains,” and in 1850 forty-four ships are said to have brought almost 500 Asians to the state. The census that the state took in 1852 only reported the Chinese populations of Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, and Yuba counties. These figures totaled 9,809. The approximately 20,000 Chinese immigrants who arrived later in 1852 helped swell California’s overall population to more than 200,000.[1]

In May 1851, the San Francisco Alta California called the Chinese “industrious, quiet, and patient,” and predicted that “it may not be many years before the halls of Congress are graced by the presence of a long-queued Mandarin sitting, voting, and speaking beside a don from Santa Fe and a Kanaker from Hawaii.” The newspaper also noted that a few of the Chinese had applied for citizenship and observed that “The China Boys” will yet vote at the same polls, study at the same schools, and bow at the same altar as our countrymen.”[2]

California’s mines exerted the same pull on the Chinese as they did on other Argonauts who rushed to make a quick stake and return home. Constant pressure of population together with glowing reports of California’s opportunities provided the most important reasons for Chinese immigration. The people were poor and found land at home difficult to buy and expensive to rent. In California they might find not only gold, but also work in many other fields as well. Nevertheless, the average Chinese immigrant’s ties to his homeland were so strong that many years passed before the Alta’s prophecies came true. In March1790 Congress had restricted citizenship to free white persons. Even if citizenship had been available to them, however, very few Chinese would have taken so drastic a step.[3]

Nearly 5,000,000 Irish, German, and Scandinavian immigrants came to the United States in the thirty years between 1830 and 1860. In age and class, the Chinese resembled the European agricultural immigrants. Although a third to a half of the Chinese were married, most did not bring their wives with them in deference to tradition and because they expected to return home. This decision immediately established a pattern with far-reaching effects on the Chinese in California and other parts of the United States.[4]

The Chinese immigrants were not from the poorest economic group in their country, and some of them (the exact number is difficult to determine) were literate. The great majority of the Chinese who immigrated to California came from a few agricultural districts in Kwantung province, most of them west and southwest of Canton, the capital city. San Franciscans welcomed the Asians as laundrymen, domestic servants, cooks, and gardeners. In the mining areas, however, the Chinese received a more hostile reception because the miners saw them as substitutes for the slaves they had driven from the diggings.[5]

Chinese miners often had to be satisfied with claims other prospectors had abandoned as hopeless; when the Chinese profited from such claims through patient, hard work they only increased white hostility. In an age when murder of white men frequently occurred, Indians and Chinese often met the same fate. White miners drove them from their claims, burned their cabins, robbed, and assaulted them. Usually the Chinese avoided fighting back. In 1861, Andrew Wilson, who had recently left the editorship of the Hong Kong China Mail, observed about the Chinese “Their timidity and aversion to fighting is one reason why they are despised in a new country, where personal courage is of so much importance and is so highly valued.” In addition, since 1854 the Chinese had found court action beyond their power because a State Supreme Court ruling classified them as the same race as Indians. Therefore, according to statutes of 1850 and 1851 that excluded blacks and Indians from giving testimony in cases involving whites, they also were excluded from this right. Unless a white witness was present to testify for a Chinese person, assailants enjoyed freedom to be as violent as they wanted. [6]

Anti-Chinese feeling in California was a mixture of economic, racial, social, political, moral, and religious factors. Many Californians disparaged the Chinese for what they believed to be their habits and customs, for their clannishness, “heathenism,” way of life, and most of call, for their frugality and willingness to work hard for low wages. “It was admitted on all sides,” the editors of the Annals of San Francisco wrote in 1854, “that the Chinese were naturally an inferior race, both mentally and corporeally, while their personal habits and manner of living were peculiarly repulsive to Americans.”[7]

From their clothing (typically, cotton pants and loose over shirt, flat black hat or cap) to their queues, gambling, and opium smoking, the Chinese stood out even in California’s diverse population. They lived together in Chinese mining camps (and later in Chinatowns), at first from choice and then because they had no choice. But they were not eager to change their ways for American ways. From Indian Bar, Louise Clappe wrote to her sister, “We labor under great disadvantages in the judgment of foreigners.” Indeed, what most Americans came to believe about the Chinese contained little foundation of knowledge concerning their cultural, social, or political history. Understanding became frozen at the laundryman or opium smoker level for many years, and feelings about the Chinese showed strong contradictions depending upon whether the individual or group saw them as economically advantageous or threatening.[8]

Politicians revealed these contradictions as they tried to please their constituents or weighed the value of trade with Asia against what they believed to be the perils of cheap labor. Early in 1850, for example, Whig Assemblyman George B. Tingley (Sacramento) suggested excluding all foreigners from the mines because Californians might need all the gold they mined in the event of war with another country. He also did not want to see white laborers put in competition with the “Mexican peon, Chilian slave, or Sandwich Island serf.” In any case, he thought that the foreigners in California were “Devoid of intelligence sufficient to appreciate the true principles of a free form of government; vicious, indolent, and dishonest, to an extent rendering them obnoxious to our citizens.” Further, they exhibited “habits of life low and degraded; an intellect but one degree above the beast of the field, and . . . all these things combined render such classes of human beings a curse to any enlightened community.”[9]

But only two years later Tingley, now a state senator representing Santa Clara and Contra Costa, introduced a bill to legalize the enforcement of contracts enabling Chinese laborers to sell their services to employers for periods of ten years or less at fixed wages. When a similar measure actually passed the Assembly, the public reacted strongly against it. In a minority report on the Tingley bill, Democratic Senator Philip A. Roach (Santa Cruz, Monterey) warned “a ruinous competition should not be forced upon the people of the State, by bringing servile labor to contend against the interest of our own working class.” Roach recognized the need for cheap labor for the draining of swamps and the raising of rice and other crops. Thus he took a compromise approach and suggested that it should “only be lawful to employ such laborers in industrial pursuits not followed by our people.”[10]

Other aspects of Chinese immigration troubled Roach, who had been born in Ireland in 1820 and arrived in California in 1849. Roach suspected the Chinese authorities of sending their criminal population, saying, “A government as skilled in tact as is that of the Chinese Empire, could not fail to perceive the advantage of permitting its criminals to emigrate; for it could raise an immense revenue from the exit and relieve the treasury of the burthen [sic] of their support.” Roach, a leader in the Chinese exclusion movement for the next thirty years, also warned against what he thought miscegenation might bring: “In connection with this emigration, however, it might be proper to consider the physical effects of the commingling of the people of Asia, Africa and Europe. Some hybrid races are very short lived—others are subject to diseases of the blood—and others still to diseases of the mind.” Furthermore, Roach said, “With a population of so mixed a character, exposed to influences we cannot yet properly appreciate: we might permit to germ [sic] a pestilence as foul as the leprosy or the plague, with the howlings of insanity to devastate the land.” The legislature quickly shelved the “coolie” bills, and soon after the Committee on Mines and Mining Interests called the concentration of Asiatic races in the state “evil” and predicted that “The time is not far distant when absolute prohibition of entry will be necessary for our protection.”[11]

In California, the white population’s fears fluctuated with the annual Chinese immigration and with the current job market. During the years of low Chinese immigration, anti-Chinese feeling receded. But if 20,000 arrived, as they did in 1852, or 16,000 in 1854, or 14,000 in 1869, then animosity flared again. The politicians were quick to assess the public mood for political purposes. On April 23, 1852, Democratic Governor John Bigler responded to the Tingley bill with a special message to the Senate and Assembly on Asiatic immigration. Bigler told the legislators he was convinced that “in order to enhance the prosperity and to preserve the tranquility of the state,” measures would have to be adopted to “check this tide of Asiatic immigration.” The Chinese should be prevented from exploiting the state’s “precious metals, which they dig up from our soil without charge, and without assuming any of the obligations imposed upon citizens.”[12]

Bigler also asked the legislature to consider using its taxing power to limit Asiatic immigration. In 1850 the legislature actually enacted a foreign miners’ license tax at the suggestion of Democratic Senator Thomas Jefferson Green. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Green needed revenue for the bankrupt state treasury. He thought that cheap foreign labor could supply the state’s needs and enrich the treasury at the same time. But the $20 monthly tax enacted in 1850 proved to be too high and drove so many foreigners from the mines that American merchants protested the loss of profits.[13]

As a result, the legislature repealed the tax in 1851 and then re-enacted it in 1852, setting the amount at $3.00 a month. In 1853 the legislators raised the tax to $4.00; more significantly, they published the tax bill in Chinese and distributed it widely. In 1855 another bill exempted from the tax naturalized foreigners and foreigners who declared their intention to become naturalized. Since the legislators at this time did not consider exclusion either practical or desirable, they decided on a policy of exploitation directed at the Chinese. Both state and county treasuries came to rely heavily on the tax money. The tax proved to be a successful source, bringing in nearly one quarter of the state’s entire revenue between 1850 and 1870 when the state Supreme Court finally declared it unconstitutional.[14]

Nevertheless, the Whig element of the legislature did not intend to ignore the lucrative trade possibilities with China and other parts of the Far East. Responding to Bigler’s message, a Senate committee worried that anti-Chinese legislation might “retard, if not prevent, the realization of our sanguine expectations of becoming the medium through which not only America, but Europe will continue that commercial intercourse which has ever been a source of wealth to those nations which have been engaged in it.” Although deeply disturbed by the “threatening hordes” arriving daily, the senators said, “Your Committee would not recommend the adoption of any policy which could disturb the harmonious commercial relations now so happily existing between the country and China.” Writing in a similar vein in 1853, Whig Assemblyman T.T. Cabaniss of Shasta County reminded his fellow legislators that the policy of the United States was to obtain a monopoly of the East Indian trade. In 1856 a committee composed of two Democrats and an American Party member bluntly expressed the heart of the Democratic position, saying, “We would remove every unnecessary restriction upon the trade between [the United States and China]. We desire their trade—we desire to monopolize their commerce—but we do not want them.” Plainly, conflicting interests affected both legislators and their constituents and continued to do so for many years.[15]

In his message on Asiatic immigration, Governor Bigler touched upon another grievance against the Chinese when he said, “I have mentioned in the preceding portion of this communication, that numbers of Asiatics have been and are being sent here, under contracts to labor for a term of years in our mines at nominal wages, and their families have been retained as hostages for the faithful performance of the contracts.” Bigler struck a sensitive nerve with this sentence because much white indignation over the Tingley bill focused on the method by which the Chinese came to California, a variant of the indenture system used by Englishmen two centuries earlier. In the middle 1800s a thriving trade arose in laborers kidnapped from China and shipped to Cuba and South America. These men were held under labor contracts closely resembling slavery. The word “coolie” alone was enough to arouse resentment in whites. The word may have come from kuli meaning muscle in Tamil, a language of the Coromandel Coast of southern India. Some Californians believed the Chinese immigrants in their state were slave or “coolie” laborers.[16]

Many Chinese did come to California by contracting to pay for their passage by the “credit ticket” system. Some borrowed from relatives; others obtained money from passage brokers in Canton and Hong Kong, either without security but at high interest rates, or on the security of relatives. In 1853 four directors of the Chinese Benevolent Association told the Assembly Committee on Mines and Mining Interests that a large majority of the Chinese came as their own masters and with their own means. Others, they said, borrowed money, some pledging their children as slaves. The directors stated that some contract labor had been used at first, but then abandoned as unprofitable, probably because it was not suited to the shifting pattern of work in the mines. Nonetheless, entrepreneurs from time to time recruited large groups of Chinese for work on the railroads, for factory owners, and for farmers. In 1869 San Francisco importer Cornelius Koopmanschap told a convention of Southern planters investigating the use of Chinese labor that he had brought 30,000 Chinese to California.[17]

The questions that have not been satisfactorily answered are what percentage of the Chinese came as independent laborers, what number came in organized groups, and whether these groups were pledged to work for stated lengths of time or simply for the duration of a particular job. The types of work into which the Chinese moved, such as laundry, restaurant, and domestic work suggest an independence inconsistent with contract labor. Also considerable evidence exists for independence in the gradual movement of the Chinese into skilled trades, and in their desire to improve the wages paid to them. “The grand complaint raised against the Chinese is,” Andrew Wilson wrote in 1861, “that they are most of them coolies held to servitude—in fact slaves, who unfairly compete with free labour; but I could find no ground for this allegation.” In 1862 a joint select committee of the California legislature reported that it was satisfied that there was “no system of slavery or coolieism amongst the Chinese in this State.” The committee also mentioned that the Chinese leaders had furnished a list of “eighty-eight Chinamen who are known to have been murdered by white people, eleven of which number are known to have been murdered by Collectors of Foreign Miner’s License Tax—sworn officers of the law.” The committee admitted that the number of murders cited was probably lower than the actual figure and added, “It is a well-known fact that there has been a whole-sale system of wrong and outrage practiced upon the Chinese population of the State, which would disgrace the most barbarous nation upon earth.”[18]

Indeed, the Chinese in California soon found that they needed an organization to help them in their new life. The Chinese government lacked consulates in the United States, and as a result a leadership vacuum developed. In 1851 a group of Chinese formed the Kong Chow association, a district organization that included all the Cantonese from six of the seventy-two districts or counties of Kwangtung province. By 1854 six district organizations representing fifteen counties had been formed. Five of these district organizations in turn made up the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, which Americans first called the “Five Companies,” and later the “Six Companies.” With the help of lawyers, the association continually battled city, state, and federal laws designed to restrict the civil rights of the Chinese in California.[19]

This organization, a type of coordinating council for the Chinese in California, acted as an employment agency, boarding house, census taker, and debt collector. The Six Companies also provided hospital care, legal counsel, and police services. In addition, it was responsible for shipping deceased Chinese back to China for final burial. As an information bureau and refuge for new immigrants and a social club for Chinese in town between jobs, the organization was almost indispensable. Each member paid a departure fee when he returned to China and a registration fee to help defray the organization’s costs. No Chinese person was allowed to leave for China without a clearance from the Six Companies stating that he had no outstanding debts, including, of course, borrowed passage money. Writing in 1868, Reverend Augustus W. Loomis, a prominent Presbyterian minister engaged in Chinese missionary work in San Francisco, reported that some Chinese complained that the Six Companies’ assessments were so high they prevented many Chinese from returning to their homeland. In the hands of powerful men the system could be subject to abuse and to corruption, and many Chinese found that the debt-bondage system kept them in California far longer than they ever expected to stay.[20]

Of those who returned to China, many came back to California again, some bringing their families with them, but most returning alone to continue their lives as sojourners. The reluctance to allow Chinese women to leave their country, together with the tradition that a wife should remain to perform the burial and mourning rites for parents, prevented the Chinese from establishing families in the United States. Until the trade in Chinese prostitutes ended in 1925, many of the women who came to California only furnished more ammunition for the anti-Chinese forces clamoring for exclusion. Arrests of prostitutes formed the highest percentage of San Francisco’s Chinatown crime between 1850 and 1870. Control of the profits from prostitution, narcotics, and gambling laid the basis for the vicious tong wars that made lurid headlines in newspapers during the 1880s and 1890s. The most serious social problem of Chinese men in the United States was the lack of women in their society.[21]

An idea of the imbalance between men and women can be seen from the ratio of Chinese males to one hundred Chinese females: 1,858 in 1860; 1,284 in 1870, and 2,106 in 1880. During the period of unrestricted immigration, 1850 to 1882, only 8,848 Chinese women came to the United States. During the same period, over 100,000 men reached America. Many women died, however, and others returned to China; by 1890 only 3,868 women still remained in the country. Chinese women did not begin to approximate the number of Chinese men in the country until the middle of the twentieth century.[22]

For both sexes and for many years, the life decisions resulting from adherence to tradition and custom disrupted families, delayed assimilation, and prevented the establishment of a substantial second generation. In 1890, for example, the Chinese born in America made up only 2.7 per cent of the total Chinese population. Immigrants who brought their families with them, or who had families soon after they arrived, established ties with their new communities more quickly than others. Chinese allegiance tended to stay with Chinese organizations and with Chinatown. Meanwhile, most Americans viewed the Chinese male-female imbalance as a problem in morality, instead of attempting to understand its underlying causes, which were Chinese tradition and later, America’s restrictive immigration laws.[23]

The fact that most of the Chinese who came to California were single males, or at least appeared to have no families, was another strike against them as far as white workers were concerned because it meant that the Chinese could afford to accept lower wages. Nevertheless, the Chinese, who had a long tradition of guild organization, were just as eager to upgrade their earning power as the whites. Before 1868, employers in general paid Chinese workers approximately $30 a month. One of the reasons for the renewed agitation against the Chinese in the late 1860s and early 1870s, after a period of relative calm, was the upward trend of Chinese wages. In the matter of wages, the Asians could not be right. If Chinese wages were low, the whites accused the Chinese of debasing labor; if the wages were high, workers criticized employers for paying the Chinese salaries approaching those paid to whites.[24]

The Central Pacific Railroad at first paid its Chinese workers $30 a month, and they housed and fed themselves. White workers received $30 a month as well as board and lodging. In 1867 the Chinese struck the railroad and won a $4.00 raise. After 1868 their earnings in other fields went up as well, and employers paid them $1.75 to $2.00 a day for skilled labor and $1.50 for unskilled work. White workers who were paid daily received more. For example, blacksmiths earned from $2 to $4 a day, boilermakers received $3 to $4, and bricklayers $5 to $6.[25]

As a result of the decline of placer mining, after 1863 about 10,000 Chinese left the mines in the following five years. Some went back to China—between 1864 and 1867 more Chinese left California than arrived in the state. The majority of the ex-miners from Placer, Amador, and El Dorado counties, however, went to work on the Central Pacific Railroad. Charles Crocker hired the first Chinese in 1865, and he estimated that the railway at times employed 8,000 to 10,000 Chinese working on the line. Not more than 35 per cent of these men were newcomers; the remainders were Chinese who had lived in the state for some years. As they moved from the mines into railroad building and other occupations, white workers responded with fear and in 1866 and 1867 they formed numerous anti-coolie clubs united under a state organization. During an 1870 parade and mass meeting, labor organizations declared their purpose was to exclude the Chinese from California. [26]

By 1869 the Chinese had found places in a number of different economic areas including agriculture, manufacturing, industry, and service trades. They fished, gardened,

Chinese Railroad Workers at Secret Town Trestle
Sierra Nevada


(Courtesy of the California State Library)

raised fruit, cleared land, cut wood, worked in dairies, and on hop plantations. In addition they labored in wool and shoe factories, knitting mills, and clothing, cigar, and cigarette factories. They were laundrymen, houseboys, coal heavers, cabin servants, sailors, and laborers of all kinds. One of the most basic of white labor’s complaints against the Chinese was that they were, if anything, too efficient and too hardworking. Even San Franciscan Frank M. Pixley, one of the most hostile witnesses to testify at the Congressional investigation of Chinese immigration in 1876, admitted, “many of them are most excellent and good laborers.” Pixley also acknowledged that the Chinese came to California voluntarily and if they came under labor contracts they did so voluntarily.[27]

Their qualities as workers, combined with their relative cheapness, made the Chinese favorites of California’s manufacturers and farmers. The wealthier classes welcomed them as cooks and houseboys, especially as female labor was scarce during California’s early years as a state. Together with Christian missionaries, employers and manufacturers formed the strongest pro-Chinese group in the state, followed by shipping interests and importers. Groups favorable to the Chinese said that they worked only at those trades and in those occupations that white labor avoided. Thus, they argued, the low wages of the Chinese did not affect the salaries or working conditions of the whites. They also pointed out that the Chinese provided labor for agriculture and for the many construction needs of the state such as the building of roads, levees, and canals. The 1862 California Senate and Assembly report on Chinese population stated: “If a partial Providence has endowed us with ten talents, let us use them to gain other ten; and let us infuse into our benighted neighbors the blessings of that higher and purer civilization which we feel we were destined to establish over the whole earth.”[28]

In some instances white labor’s concern about Chinese competition was emotional and anticipatory. For example, the leaders and followers in the anti-Chinese movement of 1867 did not compete directly with Chinese workers. At a meeting of the Anti-Coolie Association on March 6, 1867, the men present, with the exception of the cigar makers and shoemakers, did not vie for jobs with Asians. They were wine merchants, ship carpenters, plumbers, masons, boilermakers, and lumbermen. From the beginning, skilled laborers and non-factory workers led the anti-Chinese movement in the cities. Some of them had no immediate reason to fear Chinese competition, but evidently thought that because the Chinese had entered so many other fields, they might soon be moving into their occupations.[29]

During the winter of 1867, white workers moved decisively to exclude Chinese laborers from construction work in San Francisco. The incident involved 400 white workingmen who attacked a group of Chinese excavating for a street railway. The crowd stoned the Chinese, injuring several, and burned their huts. Although the Chinese resumed work on this project, there is little reference to subsequent construction work by Chinese laborers in San Francisco, either skilled or unskilled. In California’s rural areas, however, the Chinese continued work in heavy construction for another 20 years.[30]

Many Californians assumed that the state had only a single market, but several markets actually existed at the same time. These labor markets did not compete directly with each other. By 1869 Chinese labor was concentrated in the low-price, low-wage fields, primarily in agriculture and in industries competing with imports from out of the state. A majority of the white workers were in the high-wage, high-price fields and in non-import competing industries. Nonetheless, whites accused the Chinese of monopolizing certain industries and, when economic depressions struck, of being their prime cause.[31]

With their railroad-acquired skill in blasting, the Chinese offered real competition to whites in the quartz mines. They also competed with white women, especially in the textile industries and particularly during times of depression. Asian and Irish domestic workers also vied for work, again especially during a depression. In manufacturing the Chinese competed with white manufacturers making cheap goods like cigars and shoes. White manufacturers of more expensive goods competed with eastern companies and for the most part encountered difficulty in meeting their prices. The problems of manufacturers, both Chinese and white, in the late 1860s and early 1870s, had more to do with the need to change from the “sweatshop” to a factory organization than with Chinese versus white labor.[32]

Before 1867 a chronic labor shortage existed in California. This situation changed between 1869 and 1874, however, as both Chinese and white immigration increased. From November 1868 until April 1869, large groups of unemployed men gathered in the cities and formed the nucleus of discontent against the Chinese. Irish-Americans formed the vanguard of the anti-Chinese movement in the cities. Having borne the brunt of nativism and prejudice in the East, they were quick to find their own scapegoats in the competent Chinese. The Irish held one strong trump card—the vote—and in union with the German-American bloc, they began to apply political pressure in earnest during the 1860s and 1870s.[33]

As the Chinese became the most important issue in state politics, candidates of all parties had to take this pressure into account. The strong labor movement in San Francisco meant that the city’s vote determined state elections and influenced national elections as well, especially when presidential elections were close. The anti-Chinese vote could not be ignored because California’s electoral votes combined with those of Washington and Oregon could give the presidency to the political party that made the most convincing promises to exclude the Chinese from the nation. During the 1860s the Chinese “question” became entangled with the black “question” as Americans struggled with the issue of voting rights for the freedmen.[34]
Notes: Chapter II

[1] William Heath Davis, Seventy-Five Years in California (San Francisco: John Howell, 1929), 338; Ping Chiu, Chinese Labor in California, 1850-1880 (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin for the Department of History, University of Wisconsin, 1963), 13; Mary Roberts Coolidge, Chinese Immigration (New York: Arno Press, 1969; lst. ed., 1909), 17, 498; James J. Rawls and Walton Bean, California, An Interpretive History (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993), 146; Elmer C. Sandmeyer, The Anti-Chinese Movement in California (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1939), 12. Sandmeyer points out the difficulty in estimating the number of Chinese in California in the early years. See pages 16-17; California, Senate Journal and Appendix, Document 14, 4th Sess., 1853, Governor’s Message and Report of the Secretary of State on the Census of 1852, of the State of California, 7, 29-31, 55, 57. El Dorado County was presumed to have 40,000 inhabitants; with this estimate added to the total California population, the state was reported to have an entire population of 264,435.
[2] San Francisco Daily Alta California, May 12, 1851, p. 2, col. 3.
[3] Dr. Ping Chiu, personal interview by Sheila Skjeie, Dec. 2 and 9, 1971, Sacramento, California; Sucheng Chan, This Bittersweet Soil: The Chinese in California Agriculture, 1860-1910 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986), 19-20; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 14; Richard H. Dillon, The Hatchet Men: The Story of the Tong Wars in San Francisco’s Chinatown (New York: Coward-McCann, 1962), 14-15; U.S., Congress, Immigration Act of March 26, 1790.
[4] Leon F. Litwack, North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), 162; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 18,21; Esther Baldwin, Must the Chinese Go? (New York: H.B. Elkins Press, 1890), 14-15; Stanford M. Lyman, “Strangers in the Cities,” in Charles Wollenberg, ed., Ethnic Conflict in California History, (Los Angeles: Tinnon-Brown, Inc., 1970), 83-85; Philip H. Choy, “Golden Mountain of Lead: The Chinese Experience in California,” California Historical Quarterly, 50 (September, 1971), 270-271. A more recent view cites later research stating that more Chinese women accompanied their husbands to California and the United States than has been recognized by Coolidge, Lyman, or Sandmeyer. See George Anthony Feffer, “From Under the Sojourner’s Shadow: A Historiographical Study of Chinese Female Immigration to America, 1852-1882” in the Journal of American Ethnic History, Spring 1992, Vol. 11, Issue 3.
[5] Chan, This Bittersweet Soil, 16-18; Dr. Ping Chiu, personal interview by Sheila Skjeie, Dec. 9, 1971, Sacramento, California; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 19-21, 23, 25; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 25-26.
[6]Sacramento Daily Union, Aug. 14, 1869, p. 4, col. 3; Rodman W. Paul, “The Origin of the Chinese Issue in California,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 25 (September 1938), 185; Lyman, “Strangers,” 72; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 255-256, 258; Ira B. Cross, A History of the Labor Movement in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1935), 73-74, 77; Dillon, Hatchet Men, 51; John Haskell Kemble, “Andrew Wilson’s ‘Jottings on Civil War California,” California Historical Society Quarterly, 32 (December 1953), 209, 303; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 45; People v. Hall, 4 California, 399. Dr. Ping Chiu believes that justice for the Chinese depended more on the local courts and sheriffs than on the ability of the Chinese to testify, personal interview by Sheila Skjeie, Dec. 9, 1971.
[7] Theodore Henry Hittell, History of California (4 vols. San Francisco: N.J. Stone, 1897) 4:99; Paul, “Origin of the Chinese Issue,” 185; Cross, Labor Movement, 75; Lyman, “Strangers,” 89-90; Rawls and Bean, California, 178; Frank Soule, John H. Gihon, M.D., and James Nisbet, The Annals of San Francisco (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1855), 530.
[8] Lyman, “Strangers,” 63-64, 67; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 38; Louise Clapp, The Shirley Letters from the California Mines, 1851-52 (New York: Ballantine Books, 1971), 143; See also Stewart W. Hyde, “The Chinese Stereotype in American Melodrama,” California Historical Society Quarterly, 34 (December 1955), 357-367.
[9] California, Journals of Senate and Assembly, lst Sess., 1849-50, Minority Report of the Select Committee on Mineral Lands, Feb. 9, 1850, 809.
[10] Paul, “Origin of the Chinese Issue,” 185, 186-187; California, Senate Journal, 3d Sess., 1852, Appendix, Minority Report of the Select Committee on Senate Bill No. 63, 671-72.
[11] Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of California (7 vols., San Francisco: The History Company, 1886-1890),VI:657; Lyman, “Strangers,” 90; California, Senate Journal, 3d Sess., 1852, Appendix, Minority Report of the Select Committee on Senate Bill No. 63, 672-673; California, Assembly Journal, 3d Sess., Report of the Committee on Mines and Mining Interests, 830- 831.
[12] Cross, Labor Movement, 73; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 16; California, Senate Journal, 3d Sess., 1852, Special Message from the Governor of California to the Senate and Assembly of California in Relation to Asiatic Emigrations, 373.
[13] California, Senate Journal, 3d Sess., 1852, Special Message from the Governor of California, 376; Leonard Pitt, “The Beginnings of Nativism in California,” Pacific Historical Review, 30 (February 1961), 28-30; Chiu, Chinese Labor, 10; Rawls and Bean, California, 120.
[14] Lucile Eaves, A History of California Labor Legislation (Berkeley: The University Press, 1910), 112-113;Eugene H. Berwanger, The Frontier Against Slavery (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971; lst ed. 1967), 74; Paul, “Origins of the Chinese Issue,” 194; Pitt, “Beginnings of Nativism,” 32; Rawls and Bean, California, 126.
[15] California, Senate Journal, 3d Sess., 1852, Appendix, Report of the Committee on the Governor’s Special Message in Relation to Asiatic Immigration, 734, 736; California, Assembly Journal, 4th Sess., 1853, Appendix, Doc. 28, Second Minority Report of the Committee on Mines and Mining Interests, 20; California Senate Journal, 7th Sess., 1856, Appendix, Minority Report of the Committee on Mines and Mining Interests, submitted March 10, 1856, 4, 6.
[16] California, Senate Journal, 3d Sess., 1852, Special Message from the Governor of California to the Senate and Assembly of California in Relation to Asiatic Emigrations, 375; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 51; Lyman, “Strangers,” 69; Rawls and Bean, California, 126; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 25-26.
[17] Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 43; California, Assembly Journal, 4th Sess., Appendix, Doc. 28, Second Report of the Committee on Mines and Mining Interests, 10; Alta, July 15, 1869, p. 1, cols. 3, 6.
[18] Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 387-390; Kemble, “Andrew Wilson’s ‘Jottings’,” 304-305; California, Senate and Assembly Journals, 13th Sess., 1862, Part 1, Appendix, Report of the Joint Select Committee Relative to the Chinese Population of the State of California, 3-4, 7. See Philip P. Choy, “Golden Mountain,” 270, for the contention that contract labor was a common practice in the United States and that “An Act to Encourage European Immigration,” passed by Congress on July 4, 1864, gave official sanction to the contract system.
[19] William Hoy, The Chinese Six Companies (San Francisco: Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 1942), 1-2, 6-7, 9-11.
[20] Ibid., 10-11, 18-21, 23-24; Augustus W. Loomis, “The Six Chinese Companies,” Overland Monthly, 2 (September 1868), 223; Alexander Saxton, The Indispensable Enemy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), 7-9; Choy, “Golden Mountain,” 269-271; Lyman, “Strangers,” 69-70.
[21] Loomis, “Chinese Women in California,” Overland Monthly, 2 (April 1869), 345; Lyman, “Strangers,” 83-84; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 13, 17, 34-35; Dillon, Hatchet-Men, 41, 365.
[22] Lyman, “Strangers,” 83-84.
[23] Ibid., 86; Stanford M. Lyman, “Marriage and the Family Among Chinese Immigrants to America, 1850-1960,” Phylon Quarterly, 29 (Winter 1968), 321-322, 328, 330.
[24] Chiu, Chinese Labor, 35; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 389-90; Cross, Labor Movement, 74.
[25] Alexander Saxton, “The Army of Canton in the High Sierra,” Pacific Historical Review, 35 (May 1966), 149; Chiu, Chinese Labor, 35, 47; Bancroft, California, VII:350. Bancroft lists many different occupations and gives both daily and monthly wages.
[26] Chiu, Chinese Labor, x, 45-46, 63; U.S., Congress, Senate, Report of the Joint Special Committee to Investigate Chinese Immigration, Sen. Report No. 689, 44th Cong., 2d Sess., 1876 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1877), 667, 669; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 45-47; Eaves, Labor Legislation, 14-15, 125.
[27] Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 342-43; Cross, Labor Movement, 74-75; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 20-21; Paul, “Origin of the Chinese Issue,” 185; U.S., Congress, Senate Report No. 689, 15, 17-18. The Report’s introduction stated, “the resources of California and the Pacific Coast have been more rapidly developed with the cheap and docile labor of Chinese . . . . the Pacific Coast has been a great gainer.” See page iv.
[28] Chiu, Chinese Labor, 53-54; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 17; Cross, Labor Movement, 76; Eaves, Labor Legislation, 106; Rawls and Bean, California, 178; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 33, 79; California, Senate and Assembly Journals, 13th Sess., 1862, Part 1, Appendix, Report of the Joint Select Committee Relative to the Chinese Population of the State of California, 12.
[29] Chiu, Chinese Labor, 53-55; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 17; Eaves, Labor Legislation, 106; Rawls and Bean, California, 178; Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 33.
[30] Saxton, Indispensable Enemy, 6-7.
[31] Chiu, Chinese Labor, xi-xii, 137-138; Rawls and Bean, California, 178.
[32] Chiu, Chinese Labor, xi-xii, 136; Dr. Ping Chiu, personal interview by Sheila Skjeie, Dec. 9, 1971, Sacramento, California ; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 398-399.
[33] Kemble, “Andrew Wilson’s ‘Jottings,’” 307; Coolidge, Chinese Immigration, 39-40, 346-347, 350-351, 398; Cross, Labor Movement, 74; Rawls and Bean, California, 178; Saxton, Indispensable Enemy, 27-29.
[34] Sandmeyer, Anti-Chinese Movement, 45. In his book Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act, published in 1998, Andrew Gyory contended that most American workers were not interested in seeking Chinese exclusion. A spirited discussion between Gyory and Stanford Lyman took place in the journal New Politics, Vol. 7, no. 4 (new series), whole no. 28 (Winter 2000) and Vol. 8, no. 1 (new series), whole no. 29 (Summer 2000). Lyman rebutted Gyory’s arguments and Gyory responded. To read the articles online, see and, accessed Feb. 7, 2002. It is the present author’s conclusion that most of the laboring classes and some of the manufacturers in California definitely favored Chinese exclusion and persistently pursued that end until they achieved success. See Lucile Eaves, California Labor Legislation, 2-3; and Rawls and Bean, California, 185. The Irish-born population of San Francisco in 1870 was 25,864 and the German-born population was 13,602. See U.S., Ninth Census, Vol. I, 1870, The Statistics of the Population of the United States, embracing the tables of the race, nationality, sex, selected ages, and occupations (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872), 347, 389 and U.S., Census, compendium of the Ninth Census, Vol. IV, 1870, compiled pursuant to a concurrent resolution of Congress and under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872), 401.