Throughout United States history, Asian immigrants that have come to the United States have had to endure a lot of suffering, pain and discrimination. An article that talks about what Asian immigrants experienced coming to this country is “Immigration and Livelihood, 1840s to 1930s” by Sucheng Chan. The article focuses on Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Asian Indians immigrant groups that struggled coming to America. Their struggles, oppressions, discriminations, hardships faced and survival is discussed in this article. Chan focuses on the time of 1840s to 1930s in mostly California and Hawaii. Asian immigrant’s main focus in the United States was to earn a living. There were many similarities in the occupational history within the five major groups; there were also some differences.
The first group to set foot into the New World is the Chinese, arriving in Hawaii. Hawaii is known for their sugar plantations. Chan says, “the first Chinese to reside in Hawaii for any length of time were men skilled at sugar making.” (Chan, 2011, Pg. 88) This makes sense since the Guangdong province is one of China’s major sugar-producing areas. By the 1830s, there were several Chinese sugar companies on the islands of Maui and Hawaii. A law was enacted in 1850, which forbid Chinese workers from leaving the islands without permission. Another law was enacted which made Chinese illegal to sign on as sailors on outbound ships. These laws basically prevented them from leaving the plantations. With the sugar plantations expanding, the need for more labor was required. The first group of Chinese arrived in 1852, which had to sign a five-year contract. Around 50,000 Chinese set foot in Hawaii between 1852 to the end of the nineteenth century. (Chan, 2011, Pg. 89)
With the number of Chinese increasing, many people felt negatively about the Chinese. Missionaries and politicians thought that the Chinese presence is endangering the survival of the Hawaiian...