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Social Science 3 ± Jose Rizal¶s Life, Works & Writings
CHAPTER 13: Rizal¶s Visit to the United States

Rizal first saw America on April 28, 1888. He saw the discriminatory treatment of the Chinese and Negroes by the White Americans. He kept notes of what he observed during the trip from San Francisco to New York, where he took a ship from England. Rizal was a man of truth, he wrote what he had seen and experience.

Arrival to San Francisco

The streamer Belgic, with Rizal on Board, docked at San Francisco on Saturday morning, all passengers are not allowed to land. The American health authorities placed the ship under quarantine on the ground that came from the Far East where a cholera epidemic was alleged to be raging. He discovered that the placing the ship under quarantine was motivated by politics. The ship was carrying 643 Chinese coolies.

Arrival to San Francisco

- At that time public opinion on the Pacific coast was against cheap coolie labor because the coolies from China were displacing white laborers in railroad construction camps. - After a week of quarantine, all first-class passengers including Rizal, were permitted to land. - May 4, 1888. the day he was permitted to go ashore, Rizal registered at the Palace Hotel. - Rizal mentioned in his diary the name of Leland Stanford. Who was the millionaire senator representing California. - The President of the United States that time was Grover Cleveland.

Across the American Continent

On May 6, 1888. Rizal left San Francisco for Oakland, nine miles across San Francisco Bay by FERRY BOAT. BOAT. May 7 ± Reno, Nevada May 8 ± Utah States May 9 ± Colorado May 10 ± Nebraska May 11 ± Chicago May 12 ± Niagara Falls May 13 - Albany

Rizal in New York

May 13, Rizal reached New York, thus ending his trip across American Continent. He stayed 3 days in the city and called it the ³big town´. He visited scenic and historic places. He was awed and inspired by the memorial to George Washington. He wrote to Ponce : ³He is a great man who, I think, has no equal to his country.´ May 16, 1888. he left New York for Liverpool on board the City of Rome.

Rizal¶s impression of America

Good impressions were: 1. The material progress of the country as shown in the great cities, huge farms, flouring industries, and busy factories. 2. The drive and energy of the American people. 3. The natural beauty of the land. 4. High standard of living. 5. Opportunities for better offered to poor immigrants.

Rizal¶s impression of America His bad impression was the lack of racial equality. There existed prejudice which was inconsistent with the principles of democracy and freedom of which the Americans talk so much but do not practice. ³They do not have civil liberty. In some states the Negro cannot marry a White woman, nor White man to a Negress. Hatred against the Chinese leads to difficulty for other Asiatics who, like Japanese are mistaken for Chinese by the ignorant, and therefore being dislikes, too.´

Rizal¶s impression of America

In 1890, two years after Rizal¶s visit to the United States, Jose Alejandro, who was then studying engineering in Belgium, he asked Rizal : ³What impression do you have of America?´ ³America,´ Rizal answered, ³is the land par excellence of freedom but only of the WHITES.´


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