California and Racism Directed at Chinese

wausaubob

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in order to avoid consequences which might have included the state’s secession.

I move the above statement be stricken, your honor. :groundhog:There has been no evidence to support the assertion that Californians stated they would secede over the status of Chinese immigrant workers. Therefore the argument is stating facts not in evidence. :bounce:
Some Californians did assert that unless the United States substantially supported a railroad to connect California to the rest of the United States they might secede. However, since President Lincoln was willing to dedicate federal lands and federal borrowing capacity to this goal, the threat never materialized. :pig:

Any state might assert the right to secede over any issue that impaired its interests. However only one coalition which existed in 11 states, with allies in two more states, ever carried out the threat.
 
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WJC

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California’s determination to exercise its white supremacy is documented by the fact that two-thirds of the state’s lynching victims in the second half of the nineteenth century were Asians even though the race represented less than 10% of the state’s population. To such white terrorism may be added California’s “Chinese Codes,” which were analogous to the Black Codes in the South....
Thanks for your response.
I don't believe anyone here is disputing that there was racism in California, that Chinese were the object of discrimination and violence.
 

WJC

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the state [California] declined to ratify the 14th and 15th Amendments for nearly a century.
Thanks for your response.
It has not been unusual in the amendment process for states who did not initially vote for a particular amendment to conduct a vote later, after passage. It is not uncommon for legislative bodies to do the same, basically as an effort to correct bureaucratic mistakes, 'clean up', and assure consistency in the existing body of law.
Sadly, our adversaries use these examples to 'demonstrate' their point of view. For example, a story in Peoples Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party pointed out the hypocrisy in US efforts on behalf of human rights. They based this claim on the fact that Mississippi had just adopted the Thirteenth Amendment - in 1995!
(As it turned out, the Chinese were overly generous: because Mississippi didn't officially notify the US Archivist until 2012, the ratification was not official until 2012!)
 

WJC

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Unless you deny that federal polices such as failure to provide a carve-out for Chinese (as was done for Blacks) within the 1870 Naturalization Act and restrictions of the 1875 Page Act, 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, 1888 Scott Act, 1892 Geary Act and the final exclusion Act of 1904, I’ve provided abundant evidence that the federal government was prepared to go to great lengths to appease California’s racism in order to avoid consequences which might have included the state’s secession.
Thanks for your response.
I do not deny the facts. What I do question is whether those post- Civil War policies were intended to appease California secessionists in 1870, 1875, 1888 and 1904. The idea that secession was an option for resolving a state's issues with the Federal government had been settled in Texas v. White in 1869.
 

Philip Leigh

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in order to avoid consequences which might have included the state’s secession.
I move the above statement be stricken, your honor. :groundhog:There has been no evidence to support the assertion that Californians stated they would secede over the status of Chinese immigrant workers. Therefore the argument is stating facts not in evidence.
It's erroneous to conclude that words have more meaning than actions. The truth is just the opposite. A murder weapon, for example, is evidence although it cannot talk.

In 1832 South Carolina did not hold a secession convention but Nullification was a secession crisis nonetheless. Similarly, the Republican-controlled federal government's appeasement to California's demands for white supremacy are such actions that speak louder than words.
Some Californians did assert that unless the United States substantially supported a railroad to connect California to the rest of the United States they might secede.

Source please.
However only one coalition which existed in 11 states, with allies in two more states, ever carried out the threat.

That's immaterial. As noted, South Carolina's Nullification was a secession crisis that was averted.
 
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major bill

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I have not see where the Chinese were treated well in California nor almost anywhere in the United States to include Southern Plantations where Chinese were "bought" in the Caribbean/Cuba to replace the freed slaves.

The "coolie trade", or as some put it the Pacific Slave Trade of 1840-1875, is not a topic much studied in high school. I probably had heard of it in high school but did not understand it until college. I do not think very many Americans much care about the subject.
 

WJC

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Finally, your assertion that secession was not anything “more than an idle threat” does not square with the fact that the appeasement forced the controlling Republican Party to disclose its hypocrisy regarding racial equality. Essentially the concessions revealed that the GOP was only interested in citizenship and voting rights for the solitary racial minority—Blacks—who were reliably Republican-loyal.
Thanks for your response.
If there were threats to secede, they certainly were idle since California never began an effort to secede. Embarrassing politicians by showing their hypocrisy is neither new nor very effective in bringing about change.
Still, you have yet to provide documented evidence that secession was more than idle bar room talk.
 

Philip Leigh

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Thanks for your response.
If there were threats to secede, they certainly were idle since California never began an effort to secede.
That's immaterial. It was averted by appeasement.
Embarrassing politicians by showing their hypocrisy is neither new nor very effective in bringing about change.
You misunderstand the point. Like everyone, politicians hate to be forced into committing hypocrisy. It requires a powerful motivation, such as the potential secession of California.
Still, you have yet to provide documented evidence that secession was more than idle bar room talk.
I have cited numerous factual acts of appeasement by the federal government to avert it. You seem to think the concessions could have been won by nothing more than idle barroom talk. Common sense suggests that's unlikely, but if you disagree, we'll have to leave it at that.
 
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WJC

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That's immaterial. It was averted by appeasement.
Thanks for your response.
So to summarize:
  • No evidence that California threatened to secede over the issue of Chinese immigrants has been provided.
  • California's legislature never even began consideration of secession over the issue of Chinese immigration.
  • There was federal immigration legislation over a period of thirty-four years which we are asked to believe was passed with no other purpose but to avert California seceding over the issue of Chinese immigration.
 

WJC

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Like everyone, politicians hate to be forced into committing hypocrisy. It requires a powerful motivation, such as the potential secession of California
Thanks for your response.
We'll just have to disagree on this: from what I've witnessed and the lessons of history, politicians have a built-in immunity to charges of hypocrisy.
More importantly, there has been no evidence provided to show that Californians seriously considered seceding over the issue of Chinese immigration.
 

WJC

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I have cited numerous factual acts of appeasement by the federal government to avert it.
Thanks for your response.
No, you have provided a list of Federal immigration legislation- the 1870 Naturalization Act and restrictions of the 1875 Page Act, 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, 1888 Scott Act, 1892 Geary Act and the final exclusion Act of 1904- that you claim, without evidence, were drawn up and passed specifically as appeasement in response to a threat by Californians to secede over the issue of Chinese immigration.
No evidence has yet been provided to show that Californians seriously considered seceding over the issue of Chinese immigration.
 

John Winn

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I've watched this thread for a bit because I have an interest in the history of the west and California is pretty close to home and the issue of how to treat Chinese is germane to the history of several western states. I'm going to offer an opinion (but one based on lots of reading).

I don't have sources to cite at hand but will just say that in all I've read I've not once seen a reference to secession being considered in either California or Oregon, although both states had southern sympathizers and laws limiting the rights of non-whites (Oregon put it in its constitution before the war). The southern sympathizers did plot to seize gold to send to the Confederacy in a few cases and were strongly Democratic but most didn't want to admit slaves because, if nothing else, they would rob whites of jobs. I think many sympathizers felt the Republican platform threatened to let the federal government get out of bounds and shared that feeling with the slave states but they didn't want to leave the Union.

People in California, Oregon, and Washington were concerned with fighting the natives and that's what all the state troops who replaced the regulars did during the war. There might have been one incidence in California where troops came in to control Confederate sympathizers but there were none in Oregon (although some folks thought, for a while, that such might happen in the southern counties). When Joe Lane didn't win the VP his political career was over. He, personally, was pro-slavery but his views weren't generally popular in Oregon or California. He pretty much lived an isolated life on his ranch until he died.

So, that's my two cents worth (maybe less since I'm not providing references) but I'll go out on a limb and say I don't think there was any sort of organized movement to consider secession in California (and definitely not in Oregon) even though both states definitely had a lot of citizens who were sympathetic to the rhetoric of the slave states.

Commence firing if you feel compelled - I've power-vacced all the spiders out of my old bombproof and replaced some sand bags and will just open up a nice Pinot Gris for a hot afternoon and let you blast away. It's only an opinion.
 
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Philip Leigh

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Thanks for your response.
No, you have provided a list of Federal immigration legislation- the 1870 Naturalization Act and restrictions of the 1875 Page Act, 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, 1888 Scott Act, 1892 Geary Act and the final exclusion Act of 1904- that you claim, without evidence, were drawn up and passed specifically as appeasement in response to a threat by Californians to secede over the issue of Chinese immigration.

Here's how you quoted me in the OP:

Judging from their conduct against Chinese residents in the second half of the nineteenth century, California may well have seceded if the federal government had not passed laws that forced a decline in number of Chinese living in America. (Italics added.)

I stand by that.

No evidence has yet been provided to show that Californians seriously considered seceding over the issue of Chinese immigration.

Not true. The motivation was first attenuated and then averted by the cited federal Acts that led to a decline in the Chinese share of the state's population from 10% in 1870 to 4% in 1900. Without such Acts the state's Asian population share was certain to grow significantly as Chinese women joined the resident Chinese population that was 95% male thereby producing large gains in Asian-American citizens and intensifying demands by California's whites for white supremacy "home rule."[/QUOTE]
 

WJC

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Not true. The motivation was first attenuated and then averted by the cited federal Acts that led to a decline in the Chinese share of the state's population from 10% in 1870 to 4% in 1900. Without such Acts the state's Asian population share was certain to grow significantly as Chinese women joined the resident Chinese population that was 95% male thereby producing large gains in Asian-American citizens and intensifying demands by California's whites for white supremacy "home rule."
Thanks for your response.
That's an interesting assertion of the effects of "the cited Federal Acts", but is not evidence that Californians seriously considered seceding over the issue of Chinese immigration.
 

wausaubob

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Empire Express:Building the First Transcontinental Railroad

David Haward Bain. Penguin Group, New York 1999.

Rich in detail, superbly written, it is a treat to read.

Let me quote from p. 689 describing a quote from a Republican Congressman about the developing Credit Mobilier scandal:
"'Oh, you know about these sons-in-law and brothers-in-law, 'he scoffed, 'that don't help in the least.' If the transactions were all right, he thought, why should Vice-President elect Wilson register the stock in his wife's name, or Representatives Eliot and Brooks have drafted their sons-in-law? He was sure that sooner or later there would be a resolution to expel Oakes Ames as a briber. 'The worst part of this whole business is that the men who are most corrupt will escape,' he said, 'while those who are little to blame will be made scape-goats. It is always so.' The lucky individuals were the Congressmen and Senators who were concurrently paid attorneys and lobbyists for the corporations, many of whom had been elected with railroad money. The Credit Mobilier scandal, he said dejectedly, was but a small part of a long term corruption of far greater magnitude. Fn 21"

If you want to understand what was called reconstruction, see an example of corrupt immigration policy, see corporate malfeasance at a high level, from which we apparently learned very little, you have to get this book, and read it.
 

ForeverFree

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I am somewhat frustrated.

When we discuss the SC nullification/secession threat, or secession winter 1860-61, we are able to cite docs from people of the era, we know who the leaders of secession efforts are, we know what they said, and we can make judgments by looking at primary sources.

In this case, I have no idea of the actual persons who were in this CA secession movement, or the numbers of them, or the actual words/arguments they used, or the extent of their influence, for example. Several reasons have been suggested for why there might have been secession, but I have not heard from any actual people of the era who articulated the need for secession based on which of any factors.

I understand CA had a lot of issues with the federal government, but so did a lot of states which did not secede. And while there was real nullification/secession crisis in SC in the 1830s, and we did have unilateral secession in 1860-61, it is not clear that there was this momentous occasion where CA actually stated it was near or at the brink of secession.

One thing we can say for sure is that Chinese immigrants and Native People caught heck, and I guess there is uniform agreement on this point. But I wish I could hear more of actual people's voices, and also, of any differing opinions that people had at the time concerning secession.

- Alan
 
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MattL

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I've watched this thread for a bit because I have an interest in the history of the west and California is pretty close to home and the issue of how to treat Chinese is germane to the history of several western states. I'm going to offer an opinion (but one based on lots of reading).

I don't have sources to cite at hand but will just say that in all I've read I've not once seen a reference to secession being considered in either California or Oregon, although both states had southern sympathizers and laws limiting the rights of non-whites (Oregon put it in its constitution before the war). The southern sympathizers did plot to seize gold to send to the Confederacy in a few cases and were strongly Democratic but most didn't want to admit slaves because, if nothing else, they would rob whites of jobs. I think many sympathizers felt the Republican platform threatened to let the federal government get out of bounds and shared that feeling with the slave states but they didn't want to leave the Union.

People in California, Oregon, and Washington were concerned with fighting the natives and that's what all the state troops who replaced the regulars did during the war. There might have been one incidence in California where troops came in to control Confederate sympathizers but there were none in Oregon (although some folks thought, for a while, that such might happen in the southern counties). When Joe Lane didn't win the VP his political career was over. He, personally, was pro-slavery but his views weren't generally popular in Oregon or California. He pretty much lived an isolated life on his ranch until he died.

So, that's my two cents worth (maybe less since I'm not providing references) but I'll go out on a limb and say I don't think there was any sort of organized movement to consider secession in California (and definitely not in Oregon) even though both states definitely had a lot of citizens who were sympathetic to the rhetoric of the slave states.

Commence firing if you feel compelled - I've power-vacced all the spiders out of my old bombproof and replaced some sand bags and will just open up a nice Pinot Gris for a hot afternoon and let you blast away. It's only an opinion.

Agreed and well said.

Pretty much sums it up.

"I'll go out on a limb and say I don't think there was any sort of organized movement to consider secession in California (and definitely not in Oregon) even though both states definitely had a lot of citizens who were sympathetic to the rhetoric of the slave states."

If there was an organized movement we would have documented record like we do in the other organized movements.

Additionally there were plenty of people in between throughout the US and Confederacy. People who didn't really support either side. A lot like the "Loyalists" in the American Revolution, many just wanted to be left alone or had their own grievances with the State and/or Federal government separate from anything going on.

By this standard every State probably had a "secession" movement and almost every decade lol. I mean Texas secession movements exceed this level of organized movement every decade as far as I can remember, just because they're Texas.
 

WJC

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After three pages of discussion, no documented evidence has been provided to show that Californians seriously considered seceding over the issue of Chinese immigration.
Instead, there has been speculation and opinion, together with evidence of other well-documented concerns California had, totally independent of Chinese immigration.
 

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