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Since the birth of America the United States has been a place of hopes and dreams for the downtrodden trapped by poverty famine and political instability in their homelands These masses have historically turned to the United States as a way to make a better life for themselves and their families but these people have not always found the lives they dreamed of making in the United States The United States has a rather shameful history of treating its immigrants poorly Immigrants throughout the history of the United States have been avoided persecuted and discriminated against and yet they have borne these overwhelming burdens because as miserable as their conditions in America have been they have always been better than those in their homelands The Chinese immigrants to this country in the mid-nineteenth century had several motivations for leaving their homeland Some came to the United States to escape the turmoil of the Opium War that had taken over China at the time This conflict between China and Great Britain exploded when the Chinese government outlawed the importation of opium and ordered the destruction of British opium stored in the city of Canton at which Great Britain immediately declared war on ChinaMorrow 29 This conflict combined with the vast problems of poverty and famine in China caused many of the Chinese to look toward the United States for a solution 2 Around the same time these events were taking place in China the California gold rush was picking up momentum in the United States Only a handful of Chinese were living in the United States when gold was discovered in 1848 but news of the discovery soon reached China According to one account many saw this as an opportunity to escape the extreme poverty of the time Many peasant families were forced to sell one of their children usually a girl in order to survive Paying forty dollars cash or signing a contract to
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