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Document Analysis #1

Jonah Mismash

Document #1

The two documents I read were both concerning the issue of Chinese immigration to the Untied

States in the late nineteenth century. Both documents were from either side of the debate. One titled

The Evil Of Chinese Immigration was an address from the Californian Senate to the people of the state

on why the Chinese were a detriment to American culture and society. The other document seemed like

an almost direct response to the first one. Written by Yan Phou Lee, it was titled The Chinese Must

Stay, and argued for the point that its title was trying to make.

The Evil Of Chinese Immigration outlined many reasons why the people of the United States

should want the Chinese immigrants to leave, most of which were drastic over exaggerations or

problems and claims formed by racism or lies, or by different situations that put the Chinese

immigrants in a bad spot. The claim that the Chinese live in horribly unsanitary conditions and that this

was not only a decremented to them but also to the American people living around them. They also

showed a lot of distaste for the smoking of opium and claimed that they were spreading it to the young

population of white Americans. They also made the claim that the Chinese women were too lewd for

our cultural norms and that they brought disease that the young population was getting infected with by

doing their business with them. And probably the largest claim they made was that they were stealing

jobs from American laborers because they would work for less money. All these claims boil down to

the main issue I believe, which is that they didn't assimilate. The white Americans didn't like that they

spoke a different language and had habits foreign to their own, but how did the Chinese respond to

this?

In 1882 then US Government passed the Chinese exclusion act which greatly restricted the

immigration of the Chinese to the United States. Yan Phou Lee wrote a response to the rampant racism
against his people in 1889. He starts with talking about how hypocritical it is that Americans claim to

stand for equality and self empowerment, yet they have such an issue with racism and segregation. He

then goes down a list of claims that Americans have made about the Chinese and poses an argument

against them. In the text, its obvious his distaste for these statements as he rights very sarcastically in

some of them. While I feel that this document is somewhat emotionally driven, as he makes some

outlandish claims of his own, it doesn't mean it is not valid. He argues against the claims that the

Chinese are unruly and unsanitary by basically saying that they are the complete opposite and that all

the want to do is the same as any other American immigrant, start a new life of opportunity in a land

that is dedicated to that goal. I feel his most powerful argument is his response to the claim that The

Chinese refuse to assimilate. To this he basically says why should we? We are treated poorly and

looked down upon, not given equal treatment under the law, taxed for no reason and aren't given credit

for what we contribute. I think Mr. Lee could have written his entire argument off of this.

In conclusion I think that all the claims that people in America made about the Chinese were

grounded in very little evidence, if any at all. I really enjoyed reading Yan Phou Lee's response to the

Chinese Exclusion Act. I think both of these are examples of an issue of intolerance that used to plague

America. The Chinese Must Stay was a perfect response to such rampant hatred founded on poorly

formed lies.