“It took very little time for such sour resentment to surface and, looking back at the history of Asians in the United States, it makes sense that the hostility with which the Japanese were received was merely a continuation of the anti-Asian sentiments that had existed for years. After all, the Japanese were not the first to experience such antipathy. The Chinese had come to America decades earlier, during the 1849 gold rush. Then, in the 1860s, more of them had followed, knowing they could find employment in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Working at much cheaper rates than their white counterparts, the Chinese were viewed with antagonism. They were stealing jobs from white men. They “work[ ed] cheap and smell[ ed] bad” and were subhuman, as Professor Elmer Sandmeyer, attempting to describe how white Americans perceived Chinese immigrants, wrote in his 1939 study titled The Anti-Chinese Movement in California. They were—as the 1879 California Constitution itself stated—“ dangerous and detrimental to the well-being or peace of the state.”
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