- Chinese Workers
Use the Questions to Consider in the book as a way to involve
students in the selection and expand their understanding of it. The questions
and possible answers appear below.
1. According to Dodge's account, why did the Chinese railroad workers
resort to violence to stop the Irish from injuring them with their blasting?
Apparently there was great animosity between
the Irish and the Chinese railroad laborers who worked above them. The
Irish would set off dynamite blasts and not warn the Chinese and some
of their men were injured. After a complaint to the company failed to
stop the dangerous practice, the Chinese retaliated by blasting their
own dynamite and burying some Irish workers. The incident stopped the
dangerous events and established a measure of respect between the two
2. What kinds of problems does An English-Chinese Phrase Book indicate
were being experienced by Chinese in the United States in the late 1800s?
Answers will vary. It is clear that the Chinese
were used to defending themselves against bad treatment. The phrase
book arms them with mostly defensive statements like "I don't cheat,
even a boy," "I cannot trust you," and "He claimed my mine." The book
also gives them phrases that express why they might have struck someone
or suffered some form of punishment. It is clear that the Chinese faced
many difficult problems and had to bear the further frustration of only
being able to express themselves in terribly limited ways.
3. How did the Chinese Exclusion Act justify barring Chinese laborers
from coming to the United States?
The Chinese Exclusion Act simply states that
"in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of
Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain
localities within the territory thereof." The Chinese were deemed a
threat to "good order" and therefore excluded from entering the United