Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chapter 18

This chapter discussed a lot of the oppression experience by those who weren't white during the later 1800's. This included Chinese, African-Americans, American Indians, and others. For example, the Homestead Act was created to help all peoples without money and resources able to have land to develop and live off of. However, this proved to only benefit whites more than others, because in order to keep the land the tenant must develop it by  planting crops and building a house on it. To do this one must have money and resources that the recently freed slaves, and immigrants did not have; therefore, they were not able to keep the land. This act excluded Chinese peoples from being able to attain land, and displaced many American Indians. 
The Chinese immigrants, who came during the Gold Rush, in 1849, were mainly here to earn money to send back to their families, not to stay for life. However, the whites moving out west to earn money during the Gold Rush as well thought that the Chinese were stealing jobs that were rightly theirs and rioted against them. Because of all the strife and turmoil, the federal government issued the first law discriminating against a specific race in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This stated that no more Chinese peoples could not immigrate to America for the next ten years unless they were merchants. 
The American Indians were highly discriminated against as well. The Indians hastily sided with the Confederates during the War Between the States, and after the war this proved to have been a bad idea. In 1887 the Dawes Severalty Act was passed that stated that did allow the Indians the ability to gain citizenship and land ownership, but it demanded the dissolution of their tribes as legal entities. But like the Homestead Act, it did not end up allowing the Indians to have land, instead whites came out of the woodwork in demands for the disbanded reservation lands. And those that did obtain land lacked the proper tools to take care of it. The Indians were also told to assimilate, to lose their native languages and speak only english, and to not wear Indian clothing. 
The recently freed slaves were particularly discriminated by southern white supremacists. For a while, they were stopped from holding government positions and the ability to vote. The "understanding clause" made the voters have to prove their knowledge in order to be able to vote. But they gave African Americans almost impossible text to read and understand that they did not give to the whites. And the "grandfather clause" was also implemented saying that one could not vote unless their grandfather had voted. This denied voting to many recently freed slaves who's grandfathers did not have the ability to vote. These were commonly called the Jim Crow laws. In Plessy VS. Ferguson, separate facilities were allowed as long as they were equal; however, this was rarely what happened. The African-Americans facilities were always lesser quality. In the 1890's lynchings rose to an all time high. Ida B. wells was an African American newspaper writer who campaigned against these lynchings. 
Through the times of reform the country showed favoritism to whites. However, in current times, even though the mix of people hasn't changed the country of America has become a much more open and fair country to all peoples.

No comments:

Post a Comment