despair ”: kearney blasts chinese immigration H u m a n i t i e s

despair ”: kearney blasts chinese immigration H u m a n i t i e s

Complete the Primary Source Essay 1 by choosing ONE of the three selections below.

Essay Instructions:

Select ONE of the primary source readings from those included below and write an essay on the selection. In writing this essay, integrate information from the textbook with the primary source reading. Write an introduction paragraph and present a thesis to the reader. Choose relevant and specific examples to support your arguments in an appropriate number of body paragraphs. Write a unified essay while answering each of the bulleted questions and organize the information by placing it in logical sequence. Come to a conclusion in a separate paragraph.

The use of any other sources beyond the one(s) assigned as well as the textbook (Textbook) in writing the essay is not expected. If other sources are used to gather information they must be documented and “historical” or written by a professional historian. If information (not just quotations) is used from a source and not documented, that is plagiarism, a form of cheating. See the section on documentation and Academic Honesty in the Syllabus. Also, if direct quotations are used from the sources assigned, textbook, or any other material they must be properly documented and a works cited page included.

Some of the sources below are available online through the College of Du Page Library or other websites. A library card is not needed to access them, just utilize your basic COD login/password.

Essays should be 900 to 1100 words long (not including works cited), double-spaced with normal margins, in a 12 font, and your name and a title at the top. Indicate paragraph separation by indenting the first line rather than adding additional space. The essay should be in formal English, using proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. Again, 900 words is the absolute minimum requirement.

Submit the essay by following the instructions associated with the link at the bottom of this page.

Primary Source Selections and Topics (the readings are available in the links below):

1. READ:

“Our Misery and Despair”: Kearney Blasts Chinese Immigration at:


The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 at:


Daniels, Roger, “No Lamps Were Lit for Them: Angel Island and the Historiography of Asian American Immigration,” Journal of American Ethnic History, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Fall, 1997), 3-18. Roger Daniels.pdf

Using the sources above as well as readings from your textbook, compose an essay in which you consider the following questions:

  • What does Denis Kearney object to regarding the Chinese workers? Who was he referring to with the term “American”?
  • Why does the Chinese Exclusion Act only apply to Chinese laborers?
  • How do the experiences of immigrants at Angel Island compare to those who arrived at Ellis Island?
  • Nonetheless, how did Chinese immigrants demonstrate their “agency” by circumventing immigration laws? (“Agency” is a term that historians often used in regard to marginalized people; synonyms in this context are “power” or “influence”)
  • What are the long-term implications regarding US socio-economics and politics regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act and the treatment of Asians arriving on the West Coast?


The Introduction and Chapters I, V, VI, IX, X, and XI from


Using the source above as well as readings from your textbook, compose an essay in which you consider the following questions:

  • Why did the rise of the industrial metropolis in the late nineteenth century lead to increased social segregation in cities across the United States?
  • Who was Jacob Riis? How did Riis depict life in the tenements? Was it completely negative or did he indicate any positive characteristics of that life?
  • Compare the image on page 75 or Riis’ book with the one at the top of this page taken by Lewis Hine. Both men were considered to be progressive photographers, but can a difference be discerned behind their respective intent?
  • How did Riis display the ethnic and racial prejudices of the day?
  • What is the significance of his use of the word “Other” in the title?


Andrew Carnegie, “Wealth” (1889) at

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Eugene V. Debs, “Capitalism and Socialism” (1912) at

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Using the sources above as well as readings from your textbook, compose an essay in which you consider the following questions:

  • Why did the ideas of the Gospel of Wealth and Social Darwinism appeal to many Americans in the late nineteenth century?
  • Who were America’s new industrial workers? Under what conditions did they work and live?
  • What efforts were made to alleviate those conditions? How effective were these efforts?
  • What were the different strategies and rationales proposed by Carnegie and Debs to improve the conditions of workers?
  • Can a contradiction be discerned in how Carnegie gave away his fortunes versus how his company subsequently treated the workers? Ultimately how did the workers fair in improving their livelihoods based on the Homestead strike?

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