1886 State of Emergency in Seattle For Anti-Chinese Violence

On February 7, 1886, war broke out between the residents and the Chinese Residents in Seattle. The mob was objectively meant to force the Chinese residents out of Seattle. The violence had a great impact, to a point where President Grover Cleveland ordered a state of emergency and declared martial laws. Large numbers of federal troops were sent to Seattle to restore order. What followed was weeks of lockdown of Seattle. The anti-Chinese riot broke into groups – those who favored the forceful eviction and those who wanted an eviction through a legislative process.

The Anti-Chinese movement

The Anti-Chinese movement began as a political instigation and incitation by the local politicians during the 1884 elections who focused on Anti-Chinese sentiments and how the Chinese were potentially taking the Economic Activities that belonged to the people of Seattle. Technically, the urge to drive out the Chinese from Seattle was caused primarily by the growing Chinese population potentially seen as a threat to job positions and economic opportunities. The harsh economic conditions that had prevailed in previous years were seen as potentially impacting the existing economic conditions.

The Confrontation

Several laws were passed in Seattle that targeted the removal of the Chinese people in Seattle. These laws were secretly supported by the Judges, who were also pretending to be against the forceful eviction of the Chinese people. The groups demanding Direct Action against the Chinese people, on the morning of February 7, 1886, began marching into Chinese homes and forcing them out to the docks to leave Seattle. Several delegations were done to quell the tempers, including the confrontation with the Sherriff McGraw, where one assailant was shot dead. By the time the troops of soldiers arrived to restore order, a handful of Chinese was left. Most had gone voluntarily, following what had happened to the Chinese people in Tacoma. During the delegation, free ticket ships were offered to take Chinese away. The order was finally restored after martial laws were declared.