The Impact of Expansion on Chinese Immigrants and Hispanic Citizens

Section Summary

In the nineteenth century, the Hispanic, Chinese, and white populations of the country collided. Whites moved further west in search of land and riches, bolstered by government subsidies and an inherent and unshakable belief that the land and its benefits existed for their use. In some ways, it was a race to the prize: White Americans believed that they deserved the best lands and economic opportunities the country afforded, and did not consider prior claims to be valid.

Neither Chinese immigrants nor Hispanic Americans could withstand the assault on their rights by the tide of white settlers. Sheer numbers, matched with political backing, gave the whites the power they needed to overcome any resistance. Ultimately, both ethnic groups retreated into urban enclaves, where their language and traditions could survive.