In the period between 1870 and 1910, there were demographic upheavals in the US connected to reorganization of racial order with social and political boundaries between groups shifting, new groups emerging…
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During this period all racial groups including whites, blacks, Indians, Mexicans and others were affected. Between the country’s Civil War and World War II, the US underwent profound racial reorganization with officially recognized group categories expanding and contracting, socially acknowledged boundaries between groups becoming blurred and shifting, and with both citizen and public actors passionately debating on who belonged to which group. The country’s basic components on racial order were revised, revisited and generally altered; however, whites never lost their position at the top of status hierarchy. Q.1 Between 1870 and 1910, USA witnessed the greatest influx of immigrants with more than 20 million immigrants entering the nation in this period partly as a result of the country’s gains in industrial revolution. Initially, new immigrants from northern and western Europe with industrial skills were welcomed; however, other immigrants coming from south and Eastern Europe were unwelcomed by resident Americans. These immigrants lacking skills came at a time when huge arrival of untrained labor caused the Native Americans feel that their lifestyle was under threat by arrival of fresh immigrants having various values and ideas. Some immigrants had an extra burden of the easily noticeable characteristics that made them prone to attacks by anyone seeking justification to carry out such attacks. The onset of hard financial times in 1870s saw immigrants and European-Americans struggle for jobs usually set aside for the Chinese. The hard economic times resulted in dislike and even racial suspicion and hatred, which resulted in anti-Chinese riots in California for exclusion of Chinese immigrants in the USA. Hatred and intolerance toward immigrants resulted in endorsement of immigration laws that greatly hampered immigration. In 1875, the USA passed the page law that prohibited entry of Chinese women and the Chinese exclusion act of 1882 refused entry of all Chinese laborers without making explicit mention of Chinese women; hence, page law continued to regulate their entry. The law prohibited the entry of all Chinese women since immigration officials assumed most of women were prostitutes. Nevertheless, Chinese merchant class was exempt since the law hindered male Chinese laborers from bringing their family to the US, hence limiting their permanent settlement in USA. Later, Japanese immigrants who came three decades later after passage of the page law experienced less harsh policies (Lee 249). Since the exclusion of Chinese from gold mines in California in 1850s, segments of California society consistently opposed the employment of Chinese and the pressure to exclude Chinese increased. The slowdown of 1870s meant the notion that Chinese men and white women were able to share became unpalatable and difficult to maintain. The depression indicated to white women that the Chinese had not only usurped jobs from them but also forced the reduction of wages of women who had jobs (Brown and Peter, 64). Convergence toward exclusion relied on the logical racial workings construction and attachment of mediocre status and meaning to immigrant groups via discourse, formal and informal categorization. The convergence relied on racial claims that Japanese were inassimilable and racially undesirable in the same way as the Chinese; hence, early racial claims offered an effective framework for meaningful construction and ultimate exclusion. Gender and race mattered in this period with their meaning constructively interconnected; hence, race was not an objective truth for exclusionists to discover but rather the claims that they had to make to express. Through discursive and symbolic
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