February 7, 2017. The Civil War in the West 

February 9, 2017. Chinese Exclusion and Experience

Weekly Assignment 

How does the American Civil War look different when you include the West in its history?

Questions to think about while reading: 

Building off of our conversation Tuesday about the Gold Rush, this week’s readings focuses on historical complexity. Think about these questions as you look at our primary sources.

  • How do you structurally tell the story of an event like the American Civil War that had so many competing interpretations? Can we capture the complexity of past human life and interaction accurately through writing alone?
  • Is every bit of history worth saving and writing so that it can be remembered, or are some histories too toxic? Should some histories be forgotten?
  • What are the politics of historical memory? How do historical street or university building names, local monuments, and memorials play into the reterritorialization of our built environment and its memory?
  • How was the Civil War and Reconstruction a battle over slavery and race? How was it a war of imperial expansion into the West? Was there a relationship between the two?
  • Is there such a thing as historical justice and restoration?
  • What do you think were the motivations for the Chinese Exclusion Act? What was the result?
  • Is there anything distinctively “western” about the anti-Chinese propaganda and caricatures?

Multimedia 

Angel Island Profile: Tyrus Wong (the lead artist and animator for Walt Disney’s Bambi)

Chinese Exclusion: A Legislative History of the U.S. Congress

Images Related to the Chinese Exclusion Act & Debate 

Certificate of residence for Ju Sing, Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, MS 3642, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 3642.004.jpg.
Certificate of residence for Ju Sing, Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, MS 3642, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 3642.004.jpg.

Certificate of residence for Wong Kin Hay [?], Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, MS 3642, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 3642.002.jpg.

Certificate of residence for Wong Kin Hay [?], Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, MS 3642, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 3642.002.jpg.

Certificate of residence for Lem Shay, Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, MS 3642, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 3642.017.jpg.

Certificate of residence for Lem Shay, Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, MS 3642, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 3642.017.jpg.

"Chinese on Ferry," From the Chinese and Westward Expansion The Bancroft Library Guide: Photographs from the Burckhalter Family Collection [graphic]. Year unknown.

“Chinese on Ferry,” From the Chinese and Westward Expansion The Bancroft Library Guide: Photographs from the Burckhalter Family Collection [graphic]. Year unknown.

 

“Instantaneous” [Chinese men at the Oakland, Alameda, & Berkeley Ferry], Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

"Capital Stocks" [re. passage of Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese labor in stocks, Sen. Miller and Eureka looking on. Laborers rejoicing in background], Courtesy of Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

“Capital Stocks”
[re. passage of Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese labor in stocks, Sen. Miller and Eureka looking on. Laborers rejoicing in background], Courtesy of Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

"The Joker Makes His Appearance Once More" [ back cover of The Wasp] Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

“The Joker Makes His Appearance Once More” [ back cover of The Wasp] Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

"The Reconstruction Policy of Congress, as Illustrated in California," [1867?], Courtesy of Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

“The Reconstruction Policy of Congress, as Illustrated in California,” [1867?], Courtesy of Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

Easy Work. The way to repeal an act of Congress. [Cover of The Wasp], Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

Easy Work. The way to repeal an act of Congress. [Cover of The Wasp], Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

“Under Chinese Immigration. Under Chinese Exclusion,” The Wasp, Courtesy of Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

 

Important Civil War Legislation Related to the West 

1862: The Homestead Act, the Morrill Land-Grand Act, the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, Pacific Railway Act

Important Dates Related to Asian American Immigration & Citizenship History 

1790: Naturalization Act

1848: Gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill, Chinese laborers arrive to mine for gold with the rest of the world

1850: Foreign Miners Tax primarily targets Chinese & Mexican miners

1868: 14th Amendment: Citizenship status given to native born, due process, equal protection

1870: Naturalization Act amended to include “Freed Africans and their descendants.”

1875: Page Law: Prohibits contract laborers and Chinese women who might be prostitutes

1875: San Francisco tries to pass Anti-Queue Law requiring all Chinese arrested will have their heads shaved; Mayor vetoes law

1880: Approximately 106,000 Chinese in America; California passes anti-miscegenation law (no interracial marriage) largely to protect property rights through inheritance

1882: Chinese Exclusion Act: Prohibits Chinese laborers for 10 years, denies naturalization, does allow merchants, families & students to enter. By 1883, Chinese immigration drops from 40,000 to 23.

1885: Rock Springs Wyoming Anti-Chinese Violence; Political Codes Amendment allows for the segregation of Chinese in schools, public facilities, hospitals, etc.

1888: Scott Act: No re-entry permits for Chinese immigrants or visitors

1892: Geary Act: Extended the Chinese Exclusion Act for 10 more years, ID cards required with pictures to be carried on all Chinese Americans, along with listing defining physical attributes

1902: Chinese Exclusion Act extended for an inter-determinate period, also includes Hawaii and Philippines

1904: Extended indefinitely (“without modification, limitation, or condition”)

1907: Gentlemen’s Agreement: prohibited Japanese & Korean laborers

1913: Alien Land Laws prohibit buying or owning land by “aliens” or those “ineligible for citizenship.”

1917: Barred Zone Act: Prohibited Indian and other South Asians from immigrating

1920: 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, but did not include majority of Asian women due to citizenship laws

1922: Ozawa vs. US: Japanese immigrant at UC Berkeley who was married with two children. He only spoke English and was denied citizenship. He was a Christian and temperance leader. He argued in the Supreme Court that Japanese were of lighter skin compared to Italians, Greeks, and other Europeans.

1923: US vs. Thind: Already a citizen of Indian descent, he served in WWI, and was active in the Indian Independence Movement. He argued that “mongoloids” were white

1924: Native Americans granted citizenship for the first time

1934: Tydings-McDuffy Act: Establishes fifty year requirement for Filipinos

1943: Repeal of Chinese Exclusion Acts in context of World War II

1946: Indian & Filipino immigrants granted the right to naturalization

1952: McCarren-Walter Act: does away with racial restrictions on citizenship, but it was anti-communist, anti-gay & lesbian

1965: Immigration Act: Does away with national quotas, establishes preferences

 

Want to learn more? Suggested Sources Related to Chinese Immigration and Exclusion 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Rhae Lynn Barnes is a member of the Society of Fellows at USC and Assistant Professor of American Cultural History at Princeton (beginning 2018). She earned her Ph.D. at Harvard University and B.A. at U.C. Berkeley. She is the co-founder of U.S. History Scene.
  • Paul Delio

    The American Civil War looks a lot different with the inclusion of the civil war. Perhaps the most influential incident in changing how the civil war is perceived is the Battle of Sand Creek. The Battle of Sand Creek, or the massacre of the Cheyenne Indians, took place in 1864 as a large group of Union calvary attacked a village of Cheyenne Indians. The attack is considered a massacre because the cavalry killed roughly seventy to one hundred and fifty Native Americans, two thirds of which were women and children. This attack puts a darker tone on the story of the civil war. The union and it’s soldiers are seen as admirable in their fight to end slavery and beat the confederacy. If you include the west in the history of the civil war it adds a much darker tone because of the deaths of thousands of native americans.

  • bennett shafer

    When a history of the West collides with the traditional narrative of the Civil War, it becomes clear how the original context of the Civil War is much too narrow. Historians have failed to look beyond the classic Eastern view of the war that focuses on a relatively confined focus dealing with certain states and battles. A newer history suggests that the West played a much more important factor in the war and drew much of Lincoln’s attention. For instance, the fact that many thousands of Confederate and Union troops were stationed in L.A. reflects how much importance was placed on Southern California. In addition, the war helped play into an imbalance of power in favor of Lincoln that helped him push through many initiatives aimed at the West. At this state in U.S. history, politicians began to see the advantages of Westward expansion, and the war may have, ultimately, been a determining factor in the push West. Furthermore, many of Lincoln’s actions taken in the West (Homestead Act and threatening of Utah) reflect the federal governments power. What was once an uncharted, lawless land was slowly turning into a more civilized, controlled federal land.
    On a little darker side, events in the West uncover a forgotten/untold history with the Civil War. The massacre of the Cheyenne Indians represents a segment of history that has long been left out of Civil War rhetoric. The war saw many atrocities and many historians harp on the mass destruction that resulted in over 600,000 Americans lost. However, history is slow to write about the many other atrocities that occurred because of the war. The often foggy, spontaneous, and barbaric emotions of war led to some pretty gruesome massacres of Indians. The massacre of the Cheyenne Indians (a known passive group of Native Americans) may have been provoked by the militaristic mindset at the time. Ultimately, the context of the Civil War must be expanded to accommodate for the West’s large contribution.

  • Moises Cortes

    When taking into account events going on throughout the West during the time of the Civil War, we obviously see that there was much else going on in the nation other than a fight to preserve the Union. We see that this notion of westward expansion and dealing with the natives is still in motion. Although California was already a state by the time the Civil War broke out, there was much ‘unoccupied’ land between California and the states east of the Mississippi. With Lincoln’s Homestead Act of 1862, many people rushed to settle west. As people moved, once again the ‘problem’ of natives arose. As we see in the Documents of the Sand Creek Massacre when Colonel Chivington is been investigated and asked why he attacked, he says that he believed the natives at the camp were hostile to the whites as well as the Native American chiefs not being in peace with whites. This thinking that natives are savages and will attack whites persists. And the taking of their land continues.

    We see that the Civil War was not only being dealt with in the South, it too was in its own kind of way being dealt with in the relatively newly formed state of California. We see that factions arise in the southern California region that are pro-confederacy which makes Lincoln put much attention, effort, and soldiers to ensure California stays in the Union.

  • Linda Rose

    In considering the West while examining the American Civil War, and certainly one must, the problems brought on by expansion are surely in the forefront. Leading up to the secession of the South, every new state entering into the Union caused heated debate and division between regions and political
    factions. Each admission led to controversy over whether the new state would be a slave state or a free state and ended in begrudging compromises. Bleeding Kansas is just one example of just how tenuous the agreements were.
    Once the war began the far West was considered too valuable to lose to the predominately Confederate-leaning populous. San Bernardino had become a Confederate bastion in Southern California and the Union went to great lengths to contain them. It was important for the Union to secure valuable real estate, including the port at San Pedro and, at the battle of Glorieta Pass,
    Colorado’s gold fields. The Union however did not contain its battles to fighting with Confederate soldiers. Unfortunately one such battle resulted in a massacre of people who as far as is known, were
    living under the rules set forth for them by the Union officers at Fort Lyon. The incidents that occurred during the Sand Creek Massacre are among our Country’s more shadowed history. The Union Army that attacked the Cheyenne and Arapaho people who were living, ostensibly under the protection of the American flag, broke every rule of warfare. Even if everything Colonel Chivington put forth in his testimony had been true, the slaughter of surrendering men, along with women and children would be considered abhorrent and unlawful. If, as John S. Smith testified, Chivington called the attack to let his men see action and secure himself a hero’s election in his upcoming bid for Congress in Colorado, then so much the worse. Although most of the fighting during the Civil War didn’t occur in the West, the Western states and territories surely had an effect on the outcome and aftermath of the Civil War.

  • Kyra Schoonover

    The American Civil War is commonly taught as the battle of the North against the South, a regional clash that had the Mason-Dixon line as its neat geographic break. Considering the West as a major role player in the Civil War, and perhaps even as an instigator of the war, changes this traditional perception. Civil War history is apt to mention “Bleeding Kansas” and the debate over allowing slavery in the new territories as an impetus for the war. In fact, the Civil War’s reach extended far westward beyond Kansas, into Colorado and present day California. The debate was also not solely about slavery, as the question of how to deal with Indian natives was closely tied to the war itself.

    As we have learned, California had its own contingent of pro-Confederacy sympathizers in what is now San Bernardino County. Due to the racial hierarchy already present in Southern California, and the pressing demand for labor, many in this region advocated for the Confederate cause. The passage of the Homestead Act in 1862 had caused an influx of settlers into western Indian territory, aggravating already fragile relations between Indians and the new Americans. When the US military organized troops in present day Colorado, they came into direct contact with Indian tribes. The Sand Creek Massacre saw the deaths of hundreds of Cheyenne people at the hands of Colorado Cavalry. This incident exemplifies the ways in which the Civil War was closely related to the ongoing war to remove the Indian people from their territory. The Western regions of the United States participated in the Civil War by providing men, by providing ideological support, and ultimately by raising important questions about who had certain rights in this country, in terms of both Native Americans and African Americans.

  • Krystal Cervantes

    The American Civil War looks different when you include the west because it is almost always taught as a war between the North and the South. The west is really only brought up when discussing how the South wanted California as a slave state. One of the newer things I learned in regards to the west and the Civil War was how Southern California was widely sympathetic to the Confederacy. This was not all too surprising given how it had growing numbers in the rising Chinese and Mexican populations. The territories of the west also add to the dynamic between the North and the South. For example, Utah was not yet a state, but Lincoln had a strong hold over that territory because he was able to hold their marital practices over them as something he could destroy. He was strategic in how he tried to keep power away from the South.

    Including the west into the discussion of the Civil War also changes it from just being a war of those for and against slavery. With the Homestead Act and growing promise of wealth and land, there was a massive influx of a variety of people heading westward. Freed slaves and women were gaining more power, even if only slightly, and the problems that existed in the North and South regarding race and racial power began to also play large roles in every day life in the west. This also became a massive problem for the Native Americans who had been moved to the west several years prior. There were battles that occurred between the U.S and other Native American tribes that could be argued as being either Indian wars or battles of the Civil War because of the continued push westward for more land to be annexed as either free or slave states.