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Coolies and Cane: Race, Labor, and Sugar in the Age of by Moon-Ho Jung

By Moon-Ho Jung

How did millions of chinese language migrants prove operating along African americans in Louisiana after the Civil conflict? With the tales of those employees, Coolies and Cane advances an interpretation of emancipation that strikes past U.S. borders and the black-white racial dynamic. Tracing American rules of Asian exertions to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean, Moon-Ho Jung argues that the racial formation of "coolies" in American tradition and legislation performed a pivotal position in reconstructing techniques of race, kingdom, and citizenship within the United States.

Jung examines how coolies seemed in significant U.S. political debates on race, exertions, and immigration among the 1830s and Eighties. He reveals that racial notions of coolies have been articulated in lots of, usually contradictory, methods. they can mark the development of freedom; they can additionally signify the barbarism of slavery. Welcomed and rejected as neither black nor white, coolies emerged regularly as either the salvation of the fracturing and reuniting country and the scourge of yankee civilization.

Based on vast archival study, this research is sensible of those contradictions to bare how American impulses to recruit and exclude coolies enabled and justified a sequence of historic transitions: from slave-trade legislation to racially coded immigration legislation, from a slaveholding country to a "nation of immigrants," and from a continental empire of occur future to a freeing empire around the seas.

Combining political, cultural, and social heritage, Coolies and Cane is a compelling examine of race, Reconstruction, and Asian American history.

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Extra info for Coolies and Cane: Race, Labor, and Sugar in the Age of Emancipation

Sample text

32 The United States had an obligation to outlaw coolies on American ships, Ward and his predecessors urged, for the sake of free labor and free trade. S. diplomats in China, no group of Americans studied and criticized the transport of coolies to the Caribbean more assiduously than southern proslavery ideologues. They, however, drew conclusions that had little to do with ending coercive practices in Asia and the Caribbean; rather, their obsession with the Caribbean and coolies developed into a moral rebuttal to abolitionism.

S. soil. Indeed, after years of inaction (other than investigative resolutions), Congress finally began deliberations on a federal law to extricate Americans from the coolie trade. In March 1860, Rep. Thomas D. Eliot, a Republican from Massachusetts, tried to introduce a bill and its accompanying report by the House Committee on Commerce (charged with inquiring into the “expediency” of banning American participation in the coolie trade to the Caribbean). Withstanding a series of procedural objections and a lone substantive protest against “the principle of the bill” by Rep.

S. racial, national, and imperial interests. Beyond “the practical enslavement of a distant and most peculiar race,” the prospect of mass migrations of “free” Chinese male laborers also troubled Reed. S. interests. ” Reed thought the latter more likely and, alluding to the Chinese in the Philippines and the Dutch Indies, envisaged a “bloody massacre” borne from the oppression of “a vast aggregation of troublesome populace” in a foreign colony. ”27 Incensed by the impotence of his legal threats, Reed soon amplified his rhetoric to a level that exacerbated the general confusion.

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