In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island

By Edward Corsi | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER II
MATCHING WITS WITH JOHN CHINAMAN

OF ALL the enigmas represented at Ellis Island John Chinaman takes first prize. Matching wits with him has always been a task replete with excitement for immigration officials.

Obviously the natural points of entry for Chinese laborers are the ports of the west coast, and it goes without saying that there is a well-organized traffic in Chinese labor, participated in not merely by Chinese but also by Americans.

The willingness of the imported coolies to work for a few cents a day, an amount sufficient to buy lodging, simple clothing, and rice, has constituted an extended threat to American labor ever since American immigration began. Their religion and ancient beliefs, their contempt for western civilization and their resistance to Caucasian assimilation have always been considered as a menace to American institutions. It was common knowledge that the population of China was approximately six hundred million, and that social conditions in the main bordered on degradation. Those Americans not in the racket of trafficking in Chinese labor coined the slogan, "Thwart the Yellow Perill"

The records show that practically every day, boat loads of Orientals were landed at the ports of Seattle, San Francisco, and elsewhere while Chester A. Arthur was President of the United States.

Responsible delegations from the West journeyed to Washington to besiege President Arthur personally, urging him to demand

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