However, the gold rush season was short-lived and they started looking for other things to do. Therefore, most of them joined the local workforces and sought for a livelihood like everyone else. Soon, there were many Chinese moving to the country in search of employment.
Many writers still treat opium smoking by Chinese as a moral and even ethnic issue, as if Chinese were somehow more guilty than other people of addiction to opiate drugs.
Chinese-American historians have tended to shy away from the subject entirely. Do they feel that it somehow reflects badly on their culture or themselves? Must one keep quiet about one's predecessors' vices, in spite of the horrifying damage that was sometimes caused, in order to validate one's cultural inheritance?
We don't think so.
Opium use among Chinese immigrants was very widespread, economically important, and -- until -- perfectly legal in most parts of the United States and Canada. The smugglers of opium, most of whom were European-Americans, were criminals, though tolerated and even respected in the Pacific Northwest.
Smokers of opium, the majority of whom in those days were Chinese, may have been addicts but were neither criminals nor outcasts. Opium made hard lives more bearable and, perhaps due to easy availability and modest prices, seems not to have caused nearly as much violent crime as alcohol did then or as opioid drugs like heroin and oxycontin do nowadays.
So we propose to discuss opium use among North American Chinese frankly and straightforwardly. We feel that there is no shame in what happened a hundred years ago and that there are lessons in it for the modern world. While many American and Canadian Chinese of the late s may have been addicts, their cultural systems kept the drug under control in spite of that.
We in the early s should learn to do the same. Beecher, the newly appointed and unusually bribe-resistant Collector of the U. Customs office at Port Townsend, pulls off a coup. Learning that steamers on the Washington-Alaska route often loaded illicit opium at Victoria on the way north and then brought it back south labeled as a staple commodity, he posts a pair of trusted men as spies in Victoria.
In November they send word to Beecher that the steamship Idaho has loaded fourteen suspicious barrels marked "Ships Stores" at Victoria and proceeded north. When the Idaho reappears, it is searched rigorously. Only pounds of opium are found, hidden in a washstand.
What has happened to the rest?
Luckily, Beecher's informants learn that most of it has been offloaded at Kassan Bay Fish Saltery at the south end of Alaska. There he discovers the fourteen barrels, labeled "Salted Fish" but filled with smoking opium of the best quality. This provided the same kind of incentive and potential for abuse as modern rules allowing police departments to keep vehicles used for transporting illegal narcotics.
In Beecher's case, he may have been exaggerating the amount he got from reselling the half-pounds of opium.
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|Social norm - Wikipedia||Immigration Roger Daniels Immigration and immigration policy have been an integral part of the American polity since the early years of the American Republic.|
Chinese exclusion act The Chinese exclusion act was a movement that prohibited Chinese immigration; people used it as a discrimination against Chinese. The Exclusion of Chinese was the beginning of tougher laws and negative attitudes directed towards other Asian groups.
After the passage of the Exclusion Act, Americans from many parts of the country became increasingly concerned about other Asian groups coming into the country. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Western philosophy is racist Academic philosophy in ‘the West’ ignores and disdains the thought traditions of China, India and Africa.
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