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Hannah M

on 23 January 2013

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Transcript of SOCIALS 3.2 PART B

SOCIALS 3.2 PART B Hannah M In the 1880’s Canada brought in 1500 Chinese to build the CPR through the mountains of BC. They labor was cheap, and they worked for half a white mans work. 1 of 10 died of malnutrition, exhaustion, accident or murder. Canada needed a railway that would stretch from one side of the country to the other. The land where some of the railroad was built in this area was mountainous, making the work difficult and dangerous. Workers were in short supply. Between 1881 and 1884, as many as 17 000 Chinese men came to B.C. to work as laborers on the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Chinese workers worked for $1.00 a day, and from this $1.00 the workers had to still pay for their food and their camping and cooking gear. White workers did not have to pay for these things even though they were paid more money ($1.50-$2.50 per day). Although they were being paid less, Chinese workers had to do the most back-breaking and dangerous work as well. They cleared and graded the railway's roadbed. They blasted tunnels through the rock. Fires and disasters. Landslides and dynamite blasts killed many. There was no proper medical care and many Chinese workers depended on herbal cures to help them. The practice in the West of using cheap Asian labor had its origins in the "coolie" (a word derived from Hindu, meaning a hired laborer, later used for Indian and Chinese laborers) trade in the mid 1800s. When China lost the opium wars for the second time, one concession was the right of foreign powers to recruit Chinese for overseas work. China did not allow their nationals to settle abroad, so workers were hired out under contract. The first to use coolies was Britain. With the prohibition of the slave trade, it needed to replace freed Black slaves on colonial plantations. As it turned out, the depraved conditions aboard coolie ships and of their work were not unlike slavery. The Railway builders in Canada, were verging on bankruptcy and facing delay, so they borrowed from the American success of contracting thousands of laborers from China. The 15,000 who came to British Columbia, some from the United States, proved reliable, industrious, law-abiding and sober. They came willing to work cheap, at one-third the pay of Whites, purchased their own gear as well, and were willing to do dangerous and deadly work that Whites refused to do. The practice of hiring Asians spread to the mines, sawmills and logging camps, and canneries. Again, employers found the Chinese, Indian and Japanese willing to put in longer hours for less pay and to take seasonal work. Even though they had good their attributes, the Asian workers were considered undesirable. Asian settlement following the completion of the railway gave rise to “yellow peril,” an expression that arose in North America early in the 20th century. It labeled danger to migration from Asia, suggesting that implied loose morals would corrupt White society and cheap labor would deny jobs to Canadians and Americans. The message that underlined was that Caucasians would be harmed by the “yellow hordes.” Such prejudice ultimately resulted in the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923. Anti-Asian Riots 1907 Even though Canada tried to stem the flow, the Chinese were the largest group of immigrants to keep coming in search of work. But like other Asian workers here, they knew that however poor the wages abroad, those left at home were poorer. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/settlement/kids/021013-2031.3-e.html
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