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Article 2-Civil Disorder and the American West

Article 2-Civil Disorder and the American West - The U.S...

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The U.S. army was called on several occasions in the late nineteenth century to respond to domestic disorder within the United States. Perhaps one of the most memorable occasions took place in Wyoming in 1885 when furious Union Pacific Railroad miners took out their frustrations on weak Asian immigrants. This dispute was the first experience with labor-related racial disorder. Such civil disturbance duty forced the army to start an internal defense mission where none had existed before. At first, these immigrants were considered a good source of cheap labor. These immigrants gained a reputation for being good workers that were willing to work long hours in horrible conditions for less pay than whites. In 1868, the U.S. signed the Burlingame Treaty with China which provided Chinese immigrants with “most favored nation” rights, privileges, and protections. Racial tensions were intensified by job competition between Americans, Europeans, and Chinese immigrants. Corporate leaders used these immigrants to minimize labor costs, maximize profits, and prevented other labor unions to grow. Not surprisingly, these business, industrial, and government leaders used their wealth and influence to support legislation that would assure continued Chinese immigration and would protect those immigrants already in the U.S. from any sort of abuse of Americans and labor unions in particular.
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