What Were the Motives and Rationalizations Used to Justify the Oppression of Ethnic Minorities in California during the 1850s and 1860s?
During 1850s and 1860s is a period between which minorities living in California were very much deprived of their rights. Whites, especially those of the Anglo-American nativity, oppressed other races disregarding them as inferior unlike them who were innately superior. Among others, such beliefs led to the making of policies which gave legal sanctions to discrimination against these groups of people who were considered minors.
The Anglo-American feared, competing with the foreigners fairly. They feared that the well-equipped, skilled and experienced Mexican miners would exploit their readily available gold too soon leaving them with none. Well, the Spanish-speaking miners interpreted the white-men’s fear as the ‘jealous of the white men’. California policy makers made policies such that aliens became ineligible to citizenship.
The native Anglo-American citizens of California wanted to thrive economically although the presence of other ‘minority’ races and citizen of other nationalities obscured their pursuit for it. Legislatures then sought to benefit economically by charging all foreign miners a monthly 20$ license fee. The tax, being an unbearable burden, Mexicans would not manage. Consequently, of all the 15,000 miners who were in the region then, 10,000 of them chose to leave by1850 (Rawls, 1983, p. 141). The lesser number of miners left behind could not make a much contribution to the treasury as the one before. The significant effect that their exit had on caused on California’s revenue forced legislator to ease the tax burden. In 1852 there was a policy which was engineered in such a way to make sure that aliens were ineligible to citizenship (Rawls, 1983, p. 147). It was particularly targeted at ridding Chinese off California who had become so resilient against the previous tax enforcements. The policy was closely tied to economic benefits by seeking a 50$ head tax on every immigrant.
Works Cited
Bean, Walton, and James J. Rawls. California: An Interpretive History. New York: McGraw Hill Book Co, 1983. Print.

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