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[TIMELINE] Anti-Chinese Congress Meeting of Sept 28, 1885

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  • madchinaman
    ANTI-CHINESE CONGRESS MEETING http://www.wahmee.com/chapsix.html - Cronin organized a meeting called the Congress of Sinophobes (or, The Anti-Chinese
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 15, 2006
      ANTI-CHINESE CONGRESS MEETING
      http://www.wahmee.com/chapsix.html


      -

      Cronin organized a meeting called the Congress of Sinophobes
      (or, "The Anti-Chinese Congress") at Yesler Hall in Seattle on
      September 28, 1885. A president was appointed, along with officers,
      and several resolutions were made. They agreed that the Chinese had
      arrived illegally; had thirty days to leave; and that they would not
      be "[held] responsible for any acts of violence which may arise from
      the non-compliance of these resolutions."
      *
      The anti-Chinese movement, also known in some circles as "the better
      element" and spanning the Western states from California to Oregon
      to Washington to Wyoming, were in substantial agreement that the
      Chinese must go. Radical members of the movement wanted to load the
      Chinese into boxcars and ship them back to China. The
      more "conservative" members wanted to "talk the Chinese into going
      home."
      *
      In January 1886 a law forbidding Chinese to own real property was
      passed. Three other laws that would prohibit Chinese from obtaining
      public or private employment were blocked thanks in part to former
      Seattle mayor, Orange Jacobs, who called the laws unconstitutional.

      -


      But when the railroad was finished and jobs grew scarce, the Chinese
      were suddenly reviled. The construction boom was over and jobs were
      scarce. The Chinese scooped the few jobs available up because they
      worked for a wage that was less than that of white men. And if the
      Chinese were to stay, their cheap labor would permanently depress
      wages. The unemployed white men wanted the Chinese out. "Go home,
      John," they cried. "Go, John!"

      The anti-Chinese movement was born, and a vicious movement it was.
      Anti-Chinese campaigners made racist and hyperbolic claims. They
      cited that since a tariff protected businessmen against the
      competition of cheap Chinese, an immigration ban should protect
      laborers against cheap Oriental competition. So Congress curtailed
      the entry of Asiatics.

      The anti-Chinese movement was not satisfied. The movement wanted the
      Chinese who were already here to go home. A labor-oriented paper,
      The Seattle Call, referred to the Chinese as "the two-bit conscience
      of the scurvy opium fiend...the treacherous almond-eyed sons of
      Confucius?chattering, roundmouthed lepers?yellow rascals who have
      infested our Western country."

      The anti-Chinese movement, also known in some circles as "the better
      element" and spanning the Western states from California to Oregon
      to Washington to Wyoming, were in substantial agreement that the
      Chinese must go. Radical members of the movement wanted to load the
      Chinese into boxcars and ship them back to China. The
      more "conservative" members wanted to "talk the Chinese into going
      home."

      This rhetoric of hate and racism was followed shortly thereafter by
      violence. In Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, unemployed miners
      raided a Chinese campsite. The miners killed eleven people and
      burned down their shacks. The anti-Chinese movement referred to it
      as the "the successful action." Four days later, five white men and
      a group of Indians converged on a Chinese mining campsite twenty
      miles east of Seattle. They raided thirty-five Chinese hop-pickers
      during the night, shooting randomly, killing three, driving the rest
      away, and burning the campsite. Later that same week, Chinese
      working in the Coal Creek and Black Diamond coalmines were
      terrorized.

      Support for the Chinese was scarce. After the Wyoming Massacre and
      the following incidents of violence, a small group of lawyers,
      ministers, and public officials lashed out against the anti-Chinese
      movement. The Methodist Episcopal Ministers' Association called the
      anti-Chinese movement "cruel, brutal, un-American, and un-
      Christian." Others quoted the Bill of Rights, American treaties with
      the Chinese government, and criticized the movement's mistreatment
      of the Chinese.

      Such arguments were generally ignored, however. The anti-Chinese
      activists felt those who supported the Chinese were only in cahoots
      with the "Interests" -- the wealthy railroad- and land-companies.

      Enter Dan Cronin, a particularly vituperative anti-Chinese crusader.
      A shrewd propagandist from Eureka, California, Cronin arrived in the
      Pacific Northwest and spent most of his time in Tacoma, where he
      organized the Knights of Labor -- a labor sub-group of the anti-
      Chinese movement. While enlisting members of the Knights of Labor,
      Cronin also formed the Committee of Nine, which worked to expel the
      Chinese, divide the wealth, and attack capitalists.

      Cronin organized a meeting called the Congress of Sinophobes
      (or, "The Anti-Chinese Congress") at Yesler Hall in Seattle on
      September 28, 1885. A president was appointed, along with officers,
      and several resolutions were made. They agreed that the Chinese had
      arrived illegally; had thirty days to leave; and that they would not
      be "[held] responsible for any acts of violence which may arise from
      the non-compliance of these resolutions." The Chinese, then, had
      approximately thirty days to uproot themselves and return home. Many
      did, but many did not. Those who stayed didn't do so in a show of
      protest; rather, they stayed because they either had valuable
      investments in the Western states or they simply could not afford to
      buy passage back to China.

      Thirty days came and went. The Committee of Nine and its supporters
      took action on November 3, 1885, raiding the Tacoma Chinese
      community during the early morning. They ordered the Chinese to pack
      their things and escorted them to railroad boxcars. The Chinese were
      then taken to Portland, Oregon.
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