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The Children of ChinatownGrowing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850-1920$
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Wendy Rouse Jorae

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833131

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807898581_jorae

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Recentering the Chinese Family in Early Chinese American History

Recentering the Chinese Family in Early Chinese American History

Chapter:
(p.42) 2 Recentering the Chinese Family in Early Chinese American History
Source:
The Children of Chinatown
Author(s):

Wendy Rouse Jorae

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807898581_jorae.6

This chapter argues that, as white Americans increasingly agitated against Chinese immigration in the 1870s and 1880s, Chinese families found themselves the object of greater scrutiny. They became important players in the overall debate over the future of the Chinese in America. By the mid-nineteenth century, the image of the two-parent family was vital to white, middle-class Americans, who envisioned the home as a haven against the corrupting influences of the outside world. Fathers, and especially mothers, played crucial roles in preserving the innocence and malleability of their children. The changes accompanying industrialization, urbanization, and immigration threatened to undermine the sanctity of the middle-class American family and the ideal of the sheltered childhood. The apparently deviant family relations of the Chinese in San Francisco stood in opposition to the ideal two-parent family model of the American middle class.

Keywords:   Chinese immigration, two-parent family, middle-class Americans, industrialization, urbanization, sheltered childhood

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