History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the Mckinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 8

By James Ford Rhodes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII

To Arthur's administration belongs the credit of having practically settled the Chinese question. It was one that Arthur could not evade. Brewing for a long while, it came to a point where the nation must act. As it was a vital question for California and Oregon, these States prevailed over enough senators and representatives from the States east of the Rocky Mountains to compel the national Congress to do their bidding. As California was the head and centre of the movement against the Chinese our attention must be directed to that magnificent domain.

With the Chinese question before the Civil War we need have no concern. There were mutterings portending a great storm, there was hostile legislation, for the most part neutralized by Court decisions; but if there had been a wall erected in 1865 around the Pacific States as there had been around China, the Chinese question would not have loomed large enough to attract the historian's attention. And toward the end of the decade, 1860-1870, California, so to speak, shook hands with the Orient across the Pacific. Anson Burlingame, who had been sent as minister to China, had, with the consent of both countries, become Chinese envoy to the United States and in 1868 he, with a Chinese deputation, arrived with power to negotiate a treaty. The Burlingame treaty, one of the eventful steps, opened the door of the

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