Get Out, Yellowskins, Get Out
DESCRIPTION: "The Yellowskins here in these hills Now know how it appears To have their gold by others stole As we have suffered for years. Get out, Yellowskins, get out (x2), We'll do it again if you don't go. Get out, Yellowskins, get out!"
EARLIEST DATE: 1958 (Burt)
KEYWORDS: China gold homicide
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Burt, p. 157, (no title) (1 short text, 1 tune)
NOTES: Reportedly based on an incident of July 1885, in which eight white men shot up a camp where 32 Chinese were digging for gold. None of the murderers were ever punished. I must say, though, that Burt's finding a song about the incident seems awfully convenient. The flip side being, of course, that the song seems to accurately reflect the vicious and irrational anti-Chinese prejudice of the era.
J. Franklin Jameson, Dictionary of United States History 1492-1895, Puritan Press, 1894, p. 131. says of this event, "In 1885, twenty-eight Chinamen were murdered by miners in Wyoming and $147,000 of property was destroyed."
A period of extreme restrictions on Chinese immigration followed. A series of treaties in 1844, 1858, and 1868 had opened the doors for immigrants from the far east; 105,000 Chinese were identified in the 1880 census. An attempt to restrict immigration was passed by congress in 1879 but vetoed by President Hayes. In 1880, an agreement was reached with China to limit immigration. This also made it harder for those who left the United States for China to return. In 1888, immigration was stopped entirely. In 1892, laws were passed permitting expulsion of the Chinese. The limits were clearly unfair, since Europeans were still permitted to enter the country in large numbers, but what else is new? - RBW
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