The History of Chinese Immigration in the United States: Background information when reading Spider Love Song and Other Stories

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Spider Love Song and Other Stories

by Nancy Au

Spider Love Song and Other Stories by Nancy Au X
Spider Love Song and Other Stories by Nancy Au
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    Oct 2019, 184 pages

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Elisabeth Cook
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The History of Chinese Immigration in the United States

This article relates to Spider Love Song and Other Stories

Black and white photo of immigrants milling through San Francisco's Chinatown circa 1900Large-scale Chinese immigration to America began in the mid-1800s, partly in response to economic instability in China during the Taiping Rebellion, a civil war that lasted from 1850-1864. Like many others, Chinese immigrants were also drawn by the California Gold Rush.

After the gold rush ended, many Chinese people stayed on in the U.S. to work jobs or start their own businesses. During this time, the Chinese gained a reputation as hard workers who would perform cheap labor. The truth was that many Chinese workers were exploited and given little or no choice in the conditions of their labor, being paid substantially less than white workers and forced to take on more dangerous tasks. When economic depression hit the country in the 1870s, white laborers would come to view the Chinese as competition. This set the stage for Congress passing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

This act drastically limited Chinese immigration, preventing Chinese laborers from entering the U.S. and ...

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