3/21/14

U. S. Getting 2500 "chinks" to work on Panama Canal


Chinese laborers were recruited to provide cheap labor in many parts of the world in the 19th century including Panama when railroads and the canal was built at the turn of the 20th century. A 1906 Atlanta Constitution article explained the procedures and policies for recruitment, treatment, and payment of the 2500 Chinese initially wanted to help dig the Panama Canal.

The tenor of the article is that the U.S. will be careful to be truthful in their recruitment procedures, making sure that each recruit fully understands the nature of the work, the living conditions, and what they will be paid.


However, the statement that each coolie will "be thoroughly scrubbed" suggests a condescending attitude that may indicate the men will not be accorded respectful treatment in other ways. Indeed, the preparation for their medical exam involves 100 men at a time coming into a hall "clad only in a piece of string and his paper tag."



The article describes and justifies the very low wages that will be paid on the grounds that they will make more than they would if they stayed in China. It also expressed concern about bringing too many Chinese because of their propensity to form unions, and the danger of strikes occurring which would impede the building of the canal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me