While Chinese immigrants in the U.S. had to
deal with the threat of armed attackers, they also were harassed
by punitive laws and regulations, many targeted solely at them.
The Foreign Miners License tax law required all non-native born
workers to pay the exorbitant rate of twenty dollars per month
for the right to mine. The Sidewalk Ordinance of 1870 banned the
Chinese method of carrying vegetables and carrying laundry on
a pole, while in San Francisco, the Queue Ordinance of 1873 outlawed
the wearing of long braids by men, a Chinese custom. Chinese immigrants
were prohibited from working for federal, state, and local governments,
and from educating their children in public schools. For several
decades, a law was in place that prevented Chinese immigrants
from testifying in court against Americans of European descent--effectively
placing thousands of immigrants outside the protection of the
In the economic
depression of the 1870s, hostile attitudes toward Chinese immigrants
only became worse. Although most immigrants to the U.S. during
this period were not Chinese, Chinese immigrants were often singled
out as the cause of the nation's high employment rate and low
wages. In one
1878 pamphlet, a labor organization warned against the damaging
effects of Chinese businesses.
"MEN FROM CHINA come here to do LAUNDRY WORK. The China
Empire contains 600,00,000 (six hundred millions) inhabitants.
The supply of these men is inexhaustible.
Every one doing this work takes BREAD from the mouths of OUR WOMEN.
So many have come of late, that to keep at work, they are obliged
to cut prices."