The Treaty of Wanghia was the first time the United States established relations with China. When Britain defeated China in the opium wars and forced them to open cities to trade with west, America was quick to negotiate as well. The Treaty established five ports: Guangzhou, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, and Shanghai, open to trade with Americans. It also allowed for protection of American missionaries in China, tutoring of Americans living in China to learn Chinese, and the rights of Americans accused of crimes in China to be tried by American officials. The Treaty also protected the Chinese from opium smugglers by stating that any American involved with the opium trade would be prosecuted. The Treaty of Wanghia is prominent; as it is the first time the United States had diplomatic relations with a country in Asia. It also gave the United States a more neutral stance between China and Britain, allowing for more benefits for Americans.
Lithograph published in Harper's Weekly in "Views of Chinese" Article
This lithograph depicts Chinese men eating a dinner of vegetables and rice below the deck of a steamship that is traveling from Alaska down to San Francisco. Two white men look upon the scene, one a cook and the other a passenger. This document is important as it illustrates the magnitude of the amount of Chinese men traveling to America. There is a clear cultural difference between the Chinese and the Americans- their appearances, their clothing, their food and the way it is eaten. The Chinese are dressed in their typical loose garments and hat with a traditional haircut and braid. They are also eating their homeland cuisine of rice and vegetables. Also, the illustration depicts the living conditions on the boat. Despite being poor, the Chinese men in the image can afford a large staying area on a ship, although cramped.
Photograph taken by Eadweard Muybridge near Tuloumne Co. on the American River
This photograph is of the common Chinese-American gold miner. This man is panning for gold in the river while still wearing his Chinese clothing and hat. Again, there is an obvious cultural difference between this man’s appearances compared to the Americans’. Chinese workers would pan for gold all day in the hot sun in hope of sticking rich and sending the money back home to their families. The title refers to the man using a derogatory term ‘heathen’, which shows the negative attitude towards the new immigrant gold miners.