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tv   Mail- Order Marriages in California  CSPAN  March 5, 2017 8:00am-9:12am EST

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announcer: next on american history tv, law professor and author marcia zug discusses how 19th-century gold rush planters encourage women to move west and married the states bachelors, with promises of protecting women's rights. however marcia zug argues that when brides came from asia, america's acceptance of mail order marriages evaporated. the presentation focuses on the new book, buying a bride: an engaging history of mail-order matches. it explores the legacy of california's immigration history. this 70 minute event is hosted by the california istorical society in san
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francisco. >> professor zug teaches family law, and often family law cuts into immigration. use the microphone to use during the q&a portion. it helps make sure we get to be on c-span as well. we thank c-span and marsha and all of you. these programs cost a little bit of money to do so if you would like to join or rejoin with us or purchase a book tonight all of that helps us do the powerful work that we do. we do 50 public programs a year, usually once a week.
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so it's always great to have that sustain support. so we thank you for being members. we thank you for purchasing tickets tonight and books. the professor teaches family law and oftentimes that cuts into differentimmigration, migration. she topics, whetheralso focuses on indian law, and one of the reasons i impassioned about this book as i listened to a hot cast and heard marcia. the book is fantastically written and provides an interesting perspective, a contemporary view on mail order brides and grooms. when she emailed me, i was more than happy to bring her to california to speak. so this is your first book? yes,
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it is. buying a bride: an engaging history of mail-order matches, which was reviewed by the new yorker, the atlantic, and the times literary supplement. she has also written articles, separation, deportation, and determination, should i stay or should i go. much of her work and continuing her work will be important, so i encourage you to read her articles. there is a great podcast about the jamestown part of her book. she has also advised the woman's refugee commission, the national child welfare association, and the southern poverty law center on issues facing native americans and immigrant families. she's a wonderful person to talk to. please support her work. we are grateful to have you. thank you for coming. ms. zug: hi. thank you so much for coming tonight. i want to thank patty and the california historical society, especially on this rain rainy day. i said y'all because i have lived in
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the south for 10 years, and that is all the south you will get for me. i am from new york city. i want to talk about the california portion of the book, but i want to give you a sense of how the book happened and my thought process. maybe it will be similar to some of what you all are thinking. i used to say you guys. i am from new york. i came into this book with the idea that, well, noticing that there seem to be a conflict. the historical representation of mail-order r bride seemed ood. this idea of these fine near women who went west, often as mail order brides and help to set up a west, were lauded as he rose, and we love them, then there was modern-day image of the
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mail-order bride as this abused and exploited woman who needs to be saved in the practice should be stopped, certainly regulated highly, and i was like, how do we have these two images? one of them has to be somewhat wrong. i went into the book thinking it is the historical one, that we are using the rose-colored glasses of history to miss -remember what actually happened. what i found as i was doing historical research and writing the book was that actually the good parts of mail-order marriage continue to exist today, and there are a lot of benefits of mail-order marriage. so i wanted to know why the change in perception, and california's history is really interesting because it was both at the forefront of these pioneer mail-order brides and also at the forefront of the changing
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perception of mail-order brides. i will talk about two separate periods of california history, the gold rush mail-order brides, then the ocus on the asian mail-order brides, japanese picture brides n particular, and how we got this change. so, let's see, i want to talk with a sense of why mail-order brides happened n the west. this is later than the period i am talking back, a map from the 1780 census. the white area is gender parity. the darker area is where you have more men. what do you notice? i'm not a professor right now, so i will answer my question. you notice on the east coast that you have relative gender parity. the further west you go, the more men you get, ok. so as the frontier is expanding, you get a situation where there are way
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more then that women. well, ok, so california in particular really exacerbates this am a because this is a normal pioneer migration story that this map shows, where everybody moves just a little bit west at a time, but as soon as everyone in this audience knows, california was different, right? gold. gold made people come out here real fast, a lot of them, primarily men, so all of a sudden instead of the slow settling that you had been getting up to this point, you get a rush, a gold rush, right? so all of these men start rushing out to california, and they leave the women behind. that is ok for a little while, but men get lonely and we need to figure out what we should do about it, and not only do men get lonely, large groups of men
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are not always considered a good thing. so one of the first ideas came from this woman. her name is a liza farnum and she had inherited land in california. her husband had come out here to settle, to stake his claim, and he dies. she had been left back home with her to bring young sons, and she knows that if she doesn't come out to california that she will lose her land, but she is a proper east coast woman and has been hearing some bad things about california. california does not have a great reputation. and, let's see, this is california's reputation, that everyone is violent and shooting each other in the face. maybe not quite that way, but this is not a place you want to bring two
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small children, ok. so, a lot of them had some interesting ideas. -- eliza had some interesting ideas. she thought the way you tame men is bring out women. the reason these guys are dangerous and violent and she does not want to be near them is because they don't have the civilizing influence of women. ok. so she comes up with an idea, let's bring women, so she does this call for brides, the california association of women, and it is widely endorsed, both on the east coast and west coast. on the east coast coming you get all these famous people who are, this is a great idea. this is wonderful. no one is better to leave this than farnham. she was well-known to chi was a doer. she got things done. so they are all behind her. there are some other things going on.
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her proposal to bring up brides was not the first female migration program. every time was unrest in the east, when factories started closing down and female factory workers were getting laid off, start striking, want equal pay that are unknowing and you want to get rid of them, so the idea from the reformers was we will move them out west. get rid of them, those unruly women. they cause problems. move them out west where they are want to, because out west they will take the unruly women because they don't have anything else. we will talk about what they actually have, but that is the idea. there had been a couple of decades worth of these
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programs of moving women out west for jobs. a lot of them became schoolteachers, and this was well supported. it was well accepted. her program was similar, so it wasn't that she propose something so radical. the difference with farnham's program was that there was not ny pretense. these women are coming up to marry the man and civilized them. ok, california, not surprisingly, is pretty thrilled with this idea. one of the california papers wrote, "this is the most glad inning intelligence of the day. the dawning of brighter days for a gold or land. the day of generation is not at nigh at hand." so they are super excited. i should step back a
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minute could i showed you a map of the gender disparity, but you know, california was not devoid of women, right? there are plenty of native women in california, and one of the questions that comes up a lot in the history of mail-order marriage is the relationship between the summer men and the indigenous women. and sometimes the men wound up wanting to have relationships with the local indian women, and that was the reason for bringing mail-order brides, because that was considered bad. i have a whole chapter on jamestown, canada, and net was a big concern of the government come because these men were abandoning the colonies. for instance, jamestown, if you remember hearing about it, not
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a nice place to live for a long time. one of the quotes i have about it in the book is -- not good tour is a material for sure there. women did not want to come. the men were dying, starving. those indian villages next-door had food and they were doing much better, and all the men cap abandoning jamestown and other settlements and marrying the indian women, and that was one of the reasons you get mail order brides. california is a little different. they do have relationships with the indigenous women, but not so good. so, it seemed to be something with the dangerousness of california, the mob mentality, but these men were not marrying the indian women. they were actually attacking them, so
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there was a lot of sexual violence in california, to the extent that within a generation, the indian female population of california was decimated. if you look at the census figures. between 1850-1870, indian men vastly outnumbered indian women. it was a very, very dangerous time to be an indian woman. so the men were having some sort of relationship with these women come up with they were not looking to them as marriage material, and it certainly was not curbing their violent instincts. this is different from what you get and a lot of other places, enter marriage with native women was common in the west, usually a monks to trappers, so when smaller groups went west and they often had relationships with the tribes because they help them with their trapping and collecting of first, then you
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have a lot more intermarriage, and that was one of the reason that places like washington and oregon wanted mail-order brides, but not so much california. there also seems to have been worse relationships between the settlers and the tribes in general. there are a bunch of horse storor stories about men who have relationships with indian women and then the indian women cut them up in pieces and kill them in their sleep, so there was a year of having a relationship with native women. that is not what was going on in california. if you can't have a relationship with indian women and there are no other women, then the idea of bringing out women get you very excited, so here is a little cartoon about a live woman in the minds. this guy has a wife. all the other men are proud of him, happy for him. this is so exciting. ok,
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so that's great. that seems to e the idea, win farnham says i will bring out women, they get super excited. otherwise they are stuck with this. they are adorable, but they are still trying to have their dances, but there are no women around. ok, so the men want women. great. fine. here is another one. what about the women? right? just because the men want the women to come out, it doesn't mean it is a good thing for the women to come out. so one of the things that goes wrong with farnham's plan is that she doesn't think about that. farnham is one of those victorian come you see from her picture, right? tight hair, very proffer, and does not look like she smiles much. her idea what she wanted to bring very
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proper, middle-class women out to california to tame the miners and teach them good christian values and how to be not only violent but debauched and those sorts of things, right? her appeal is not great. she appeals basically to women's idea of duty, right. she says, she and floors women to sacrifice their eastern comfort, this is her advertisement here, leaving their seat of luxury by the fireside of an eastern home and memberships in order to say the men from sin and debauchery. , well if you are a middle-class woman, you want to travel all the way to california, which does not have a great reputation, leave the comforts of your middle-class home, which by the way are not that
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comfortable. there is an interesting tally, a tally of her years housework. 360 dinners, 362 breakfasts, city room the chambers and stairs dust and 40 times. it is not like so easy out ease, and farnham is saying leave these comforts for less comfort out west, so the middle-class whim were not interested. they said, thanks, but no thanks. but the working class and lower-class women were interested because there lies out east were not so great. they did not have these comforts necessarily. they are getting kicked out of their factory jobs. their wages are going down. they are not being treated well, and they are interested, so about 200-300 of them apply for farnham's program, but they are not the
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women she was looking for. in the end, she takes like 3, 1 of whom leaves with the ship's captain somewhere in brazil, so it is like her, her maid, and one other person, so her program ones up not being dashed lines of not being a success, but it highlights what does work. she is too focused on saving the men and does not focus on what would be in the interest of the women. if you don't appeal to the women, they will not come as mail-order brides, but it also highlight some of the stuff that california should do. so california starts appealing to eastern women to make them come out here, and there are a couple of different things they do. two of which are very successful and will get repeated by later states with their mail-order bride programs that makes them successful as well. so the two big things are -- and property. out ease, we
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have the women's right movement, the seneca falls convention, but the laws are changing so quickly, partially because they don't have to, ight. the women are protesting and all that, but we don't have to listen to them. california wants women to come, so one of the first things they do is decide that we will get rid of he common-law property regime, which means that when a woman marries a man, her legal identity gets covered by his. she no longer has a legal identity, and more importantly, she no longer has her own property rights. this was one of the big things that the women's rights movement on the east coast was trying to get rid of, that married women would keep their separate property, property they bring into the marriage, and property
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they earned during the marriage, because it seemed unfair that once you get married and now your husband has all of your property that you bring into it and that you earned during the marriage, and there's nothing you can do about it. you now have to ask him for money for anything you might want come and he has no obligation to give it to you, so women out east are very upset about the system. california goes, well, since we are crating our own laws anyway, why do we not do that? i'm not guessing at what they are thinking. when you actually look at the transcripts from the constitutional, california constitutional convention, they say things like being a batch or with the hope of one day getting married, i think we should not adopt those eastern property laws. they knew exactly what they were doing. they are trying to make the laws of california attractive so that women who are thinking, might be inclined to immigrate, will have a stronger incentive
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to do it. so they change the property law, and you actually do see that this change is how the women out in california view their value. they recognize they are viable, and have power because of that. there is this great ad i'd love from this california woman. she places an advertisement in the newspaper for a husband. it says "a husband wanted by led who can wash cook, sew, drive nails etc. -- you can see she can write. could one stands, ride a horse, great many things too numerous to be named here. ow for her terms to her age is
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one of your business. she is neither handsome nor bright. old men need not apply. there must be $20,000 or she for her to perform all of the above. this is not something you would see on the east coast, but she knows with the gender disparity that the men are willing to recognize the value of women, and she is upfront. she knows she can do all of these things, and it is valuable, and not only is she asking for this money, but because of the way the law has changed in california, she gets to keep it. on the east coast, you might get some dowry or something like that, but your husband has control of it until
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he dies. you are hoping he dies before you come otherwise you are out of luck. here, this is her money to achieve gets it. f this marriage doesn't work out, she has got protection, right? and the second part of that is the other change, which is the divorce laws, right? so california decides they are going to have liberal divorce laws, and they do this for two easons. one reason is, one reason is to incentivize the women to take the risk, right? you are going cross-country to marry a man you don't know, well, that is risky. no one is going to say it is not, but if you can get out of that marriage, it is as is a little less risky, right? the other part of it that it frees up women to marry more men. we don't have polygamy, but we can
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have serial monogamy. so the idea was you only get to keep your life if you can keep your wife. if marrying her does not automatically mean she is your wife, you have to convince her every day to stay married to you, because there is a miner right next-door showing her his rocks -- i mean the gold ones, and she will leave you for him if you don't make marriage worthwhile to her, right? and there are some fun letters from east coast women about this. there is one east coast women writing a little scandalized. she is writing back home to her friends in new york. " colonel she is commenting on all this oing around. there is this other california woman who i
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admire. she is describing the benefits of california's divorce law. she says i tell you women are in great demand in this country whether they are married or not. you need not think strange if you see me coming home with a good-looking man and a pocket full of rocks. it is all go here for the ladies to leave their husbands, to bring out of three do it. this is not uncommon or unknown, so california sets up a situation where they incentivize women who don't have the greatest prospects out east to take the risk of mail order marriage, marry someone they don't know. they are very much like the 49ers. there are a lot of dangers, but the rewards can be great, and it orks very well. within 10-20
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years, california is that gender parity. it happens very, very fast. part of that has to do with california. california is an easier place to live. they get more families. once they hit gender parity, a lot of these rules disappear, so they don't stay the most progressive state on women's rights. that becomes other states that need to incentivize women to come. you ever wonder why wyoming was the first state to gave women the right to vote? it was way back then too. it wasn't they were so progressive. it was that they realize one of the best ways to get women was to give them rights, then actually a whole lot of women's rights advocates started advocating women should move to these places, move with their feet, and convince people that you will not stay where you are not treated fairly, so california is the first of the
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states to consider mail-order marriage. there is a lot they learned from eliza farnham's proposal. even though she doesn't ring over any actual mail-order brides, her idea is replicated for the next 50 years or so. there are these ail-order expeditions that bring over groups of eastern women to western mining towns, western logging towns, and are very, very successful. one of the most successful ones is the mercer girls exhibition, which you may have made not heard about come and that one brings hundreds of women out to the washington territory. ok. so, this is one story. but then there is the second story. california is all in favor of these women coming. they
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support. they change their laws. that is all well and good. here are some lonely bachelors. i am partial to the one with the cat. he looks sensitive. ms. zug: you know, fine. then we get a hange. so the mail-order brides i am talking about are white women coming out to marry white men, but soon after this period, you get a lot of anti-asian sentiment. chinese immigrants have been brought over to build the railroads. that was fine when they were being built, but now historically we are in a recession and there is all this anti-chinese sentiment. they are taking our jobs. there is that horrible cartoon. and you start getting all of these mmigration laws to exclude chinese immigrants from coming.
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so you get the chinese exclusion act that barred all laborers from entering. eventually, we pretty much through the laws prevent the majority of chinese immigrants from coming to this country, and the ones that are here, note new immigrants can come. they can't marry and have families. that was intentional. they could not naturalize. so the only way you would get a chinese citizen, a person of chinese descent who is un-american citizen, is through birth citizenship, but you can't have babies if there are no women. so you stop not only the male immigration, but the female immigration, and they are successful. during this period, we start getting a lot of japanese immigration, which
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had not happened before. things are changing in japan. they are now letting people leave japan, and things are bad in japan. there is a big famine going on. a lot of the immigrants who come from japan actually aren't, would not necessarily consider themselves japanese at the time. a lot of them were okinawans. okinawa was conquered, invaded by japan, occupied by japan. they were very oppressed by the japanese rule. icing something like 60% of the okinawan population during this period leaves the island, so there is massive immigration from open our. there is also occupation of south korea, so during this period south koreans are going o be considered as japanese. quickly becomes clear that this is a loophole that needs to be
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close, but japan does not want an outright ban, so they come up with a gentleman's agreement, which is you won't ban, you being the united states, japanese from entering. japan would just stop its own citizens from coming, but we will make an exception for wives of japanese immigrants who are already in the united states. so, this is where you get the rise, the creation of picture brides because you have all of these japanese men who are in america. they can't marry anyone here. there are ew japanese women in america at this point. the laws mean they cannot marry anyone who is not japanese, and the gentleman's agreement says that if they are married, they can bring their wives over, but it is dangerous for them to leave the country because if they
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beat the country, two things might happen. if they go back to japan, they will get conscripted into the emperor's army, which is something that don't want. the other thing is that it is not all clear they will get back into the country, so what they do is they start mirroring picture brides, women whose pictures they meet through an advertisement or intermediaries who they had no relationship before hand. they were married by proxy, which is recognized in japan is a valid marriage, so the women come over here as their wise and are let into the country. there is a hearing at angel island. there was a lot of questioning of these women, whether or not these were real marriages, things like that, and it becomes increasingly clear to a lot of these white californians that this gentleman's agreement isn't really working, because all of these women are still coming over and they are
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getting married, married to these men, then they are having babies, then there is all this stuff about their crazy fertility rates. oh, my goodness, japanese women are sometimes having three, not quite, but we need to stop this. we need to shut this down. now before that happens, and it will happen, there are some other arguments made. the japanese brides are a little different than the east coast women, who have more protections, right. i was talking to you about these california laws that protect them. the picture brides are in a much more carry situation. if they don't marry these men, they need to get remarried when they come to the united states because we are not sure about proxy carriages, but if they don't marry these men, then they have to go back on, which a lot of them say will bring shame on their families. a lot of the men lie to them, but because of their situation it is harder for them to find
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someone else. in california, ou are a white eastern woman and the guy turns out to between five-year's older than he says he was and the business he is president of is a fruit stand on the corner, you just go and find someone else here it these women can't. they have to marry the man whose papers say they are married to, so hey are in a more precarious situation for that reason. one of the themes of the book is that the more legal protection that a mail-order has, the better off they are, but even so a lot of these women do decide to marry these men, and they still use the gender disparity to their advantage, so there still aren't enough women. a lot of them wind up working. a lot of the complaints they had, that the men they married don't work, so the women do a lot of cooking, a lot of laundry, things like that. they make their own money. and a lot of them stay with their husbands and raise families, but they are controlling the money and they are powerful in the relationship for that reason, but a lot of them also leave these guys. they have their independent source of income. now they are here. you see these japanese newspapers with
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all columns of mail-order brides who have left of their husbands. they found other japanese men who would treat them better and they leave for them. the divorce rate for the japanese mail-order brides is about four times as high as it is for non-japanese women in california at that time. and the anti-japanese government basically uses this to show that these women are morally debauched and eventually uses it to show that picture brides need to be shut down, and they re successful. there are
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concerns about the hordes of women entering, and they start accusing them all of being prostitutes, and if they are not prostitutes, they are these debauched women who we don't ant here. ok. so, the change that we see in california is that when the race of the women changes, the acceptance of mail-order marriage evaporates, right. now these women are seen as subverting immigration law, as subverting or threatening obviously the racial purity of the country, and california again is at the forefront of a movement with mail-order brides and immigration in general to ban undesirable people come immigrant groups considered undesirable, from entering the country, so the asian exclusion acts are the most severe, but
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what you start seeing on the east coast is a repetition of both european mail-order brides using mail-order marriage to subvert restrictive immigration laws, and then the government tweaking these immigration laws to try to catch these women and keep them out of the country. so we have a situation where california's history explains both the respect and the glorified history of mail-order marriage, when the women were seen as helping the country. part of the manifest destiny, they were supported, protected when they were. when they were seen as threats, then mail-order marriage could become more risky, but
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mail-order marriage is still provided opportunities for women who would have otherwise been excluded. today, so i will leave you with this, this is still what is happening. the people who come over use mail-order to come over, they know that there are risks, but they come over because they believe that the opportunities offered by mail-order marriage are superior to the opportunities they have at home. we have lots of laws in place to protect them. the more laws we have, the safer it is for them to come. the newest group who is using mail-order marriage is gay men, because of you think about what is going on in a lot of places in eastern europe, it is not so safe to be a gay man or gay person. there are lots of
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anti-gay laws, and now that we couples can use this to come to the front of the immigration line. it is the same history happening over and over again. and looking at the situation today with immigration, how long marriage and family priority class is questionable -- lasts is questionable. the debate, whether or not we should prioritize workers or good immigrants versus bad immigrants or family immigrants. and we will see how that plays out. so thank you very much. and i look forward o your questions. >> you mentioned there were some people who brought out
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hundreds of brides. what was in it for the people who are doing the bringing? professor zug: a number of different things. great question. money, fame, and love. so, sometimes they wanted the women too. so it was like, we all draw lots to see who will be the person to bring back the bride because we are all only here and there could be money as well, so i will go back and organize the expedition and each of you just been -- chip in money and i will take my fee. mercer who brings out the log just -- largest group, he is elected president of the new college, he winds up being a state legislator. they love him. if you bring out women to lonely men, your political career is set. so there were lots of incentives to do it and the only downside would be if you
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fail at it, then you are not liked. if you say you will bring all of these women and you ask for money and you do not bring any, that could be a bad thing. in most cases, they were successful and they didn't even have to bring that many for the men to be pleased. >> o, what -- i am thinking about women from south america and mexico, so what is the difference between bringing 50 women from south america into san francisco, they are not -- i do not are they marriagable. i am thinking about men who brought women and prostituted them, so how is that different from the mail order brides? professor zug: good question. i define the mail-order marriage in the book. a mail order bride is not a trafficked woman, she is not a prostitute. she is a oman that chooses to immigrate
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for marriage, to marry somebody that she does not know, but of her own volition, knowing she is going for marriage, she is not tricked. if she is tricked into becoming a prostitute, then she is a trafficked woman. actually, that is a -- a fear hat is around, but in modern ail order marriage, many are worried that they are lied to and they will be brides and turn out not to be. the trafficking tends to be with lying about jobs. you can come to america, we will hire you to work at this sort of thing, because mail-order marriage is not a good way to bring over a lot of women, it is hard. you can only sponsor, one man can only sponsor in his lifetime, a
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few of them. more than one, but maybe 2-3 tops. you have to find a lot of men willing to do this to bring over a lot of women, so it is easier to set up a fake cleaning company or something and get work permits to bring over women for trafficking. so the international trafficking organizations that have looked into it have not found that mail-order marriage is the way that women are trafficked into the country. so, if a woman that is trafficked, she is not a mail order bride. arranged marriages are also not mail-order marriage. the woman must decide that this is omething they want to do. >> so, when a woman in the gold rush era comes from the east to the west, when and how and who
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decides the woman is going to be matched with this individual man for the first marriage? professor zug: the woman decides who she wants. and what happens is, the ship pulls up in the harbor and all of the men are there in their sunday best. there has been a run on all of the suits, barbershops, and all the men are there and some of them have cruder tactics than others. in some towns, some of them show literally the big old rocks and propose as the women are coming off the ship. and sometimes that worked. what usually happened, very few of them married right away. what they did is they said, hold on, all the men want to marry immediately that day. and the women said, we are going to settle in and we are going to get to know you a little bit. and a lot of them worked for some time, because there was a
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demand for female skills, so they worked as seamstresses and teachers, getting to know the men. and then they would pick ho they wanted to marry. and they are promised that in these agreements, they will not be forced to marry. and once in a well, some of them do not marry. but almost all of them do. a few of them do not marry and they are not made to you. and the men have to convince them it is in their interest to marry. the women that do marry quickly tended to be women, so with the mercer brides, the new york times embedded a reporter with one of the groups, so he sends back dispatches to the east because people are fascinated by the whole thing and one of the women that mary's right away is -- marries right away is an 80-year-old woman that mary's like a 25-year-old and -- marries like a 25-year-old, and obviously she went out there to get married. and he got a funny
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description about her, how pleased she is with her strapping buck. and another woman, a woman -- mother of boys. she is a widow with many small children and she needs help and she gets married the day that the ship lands. but most of the 20-year-old women weight and -- wait and then they decide and eventually they arried. the very few of them marry within a month. >> i am assuming that it became less seven issue order happened less frequently when there was an easier mode of transportation, more things like the transcontinental railroad. professor zug: it changes. you do not get expeditions anymore, but actually the goal of mail-order marriage is after
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you have the railroad, because now it is less risky. if i have to take a couple of months long ship ride that costs a lot of money, then i am a little more hesitant. it now it is only a three-day train ride and if it does not work out, i can go back home. some of them do, though most of them do not. they come out and there are these funny stories about he failed to suit. so a woman comes out and takes a look and says -- hmm, but she actually likes wyoming, so she stays because all the other guys are like, stay, maybe you will like us. and she will stay even if she does not marry him. but there are instances where they turn around and go back home because it is easier and more affordable. the other part is the real rise of the classified ads for this, now you have papers going back and forth, mail going back and forth easier. instead of women
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getting off of the ships and seeing the men for the first time, but they have been in contact with them through the mail. they have advertisements in things like the matrimonial news and there are tons of them and they are just, 19th-century tender -- tinder basically. they had correspondence with a particular man and they go out to meet him. and that is because communication and transportation have gotten easier in the latter half of the 19th century, you get many more. and the other aspect is the signal corps. you have a greater gender disparity, all of these women that have no marital prospects -- because it is not equal anymore. all of these men died. if they want to get married, they have a better chance if they go west, where fewer men have died in the civil war. so a lot of women consider it in a way that they would not have considered it
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earlier. >> what was the situation on child support? was it your first husband that you had children with? was a second husband expected to support them? professor zug: it was different than it is today. men ave the right to the children. this and that could be an issue leaving them. and if they were going to enforce that, but part of what is going on in these female friendly western states is they do not enforce a lot of these laws that favor men. so there is an interesting case from colonial virginia about a broken engagement. and the woman is the one who does the jolting and under the law-- gilting, and under the law she should be in a lot of trouble. that nobody is willing to convict her of anything because
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there are so few women and she has this power. so the virginia legislature kicks it to england, which just hims and haws and they do nothing, then they make a change that says, if it happens again we will really do something good and another woman does it and -- something. and then another woman does it and they say, 12, if you say something in church we will forgive you. even if the law is against them, until you have a situation where the men are not worried about leasing the women anymore, the laws that a man would retain custody of the children probably would not be as enforced. but i have not seen one of those cases where a woman has divorced her first mail order husband for another man and there was a custody
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fight over the children. think hey were just able to take them. good question. >> in your research, did you find anything about african-american women and mail order brides and the west? professor zug: yes, they were certainly not as numerous, ut there were african-american male order brides. and -- mail order brides. and there was a group called the busy bee club, similar to what was in tucson, arizona where they were worried the men were getting into trouble because there were not enough women, so they bring women over. and they are very similar in terms of the motivation for what is going on. you have a gender disparity, you have the race aspect of it, they cannot married white women that are there -- marry the white women that are there. and there are not so many of them either. so hat is different is there were
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not so many african-american men who, there was really not the concern for the intermarriage with the native women the way you had with the white men, which was a big factor in why a lot of the governments were wanting to support these expeditions. i looked for that research and there is some, but i wonder if there is more out there that i did not find. it certainly, there are examples of african and american -- african-american women coming over. that there were prospects out west and, you know, a lot of it has to do with the situation back east. and post ivil war was often not so good and in west had the possibility of offering more. >> i was curious, you are talking about the japanese mail order brides
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and i think you said if they decide not to marry this guy or they divorce him, they had an independent source of income. i was curious what that source of income was? professor zug: they had to marry them to get off of angel island, so they have to marry initially. what a lot of them did was these traditional female jobs -- they were innkeepers, waitresses, barmaids, and they would, they would be the ones running these businesses so they would get the money. and that enabled them to seek, to leave their husbands in a way that a lot of women cannot if they feel like they are financially dependent on their husbands. it's a even if they do not leave with a lot of money, they have the skills that will allow them to leave and they know that they have these businesses that were thriving, because you have
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large japanese communities with very few women and all of the men want a nice home-cooked meal and most of them do not have wives, they want somebody to do their laundry, the traditional female work. so they were able to get good wages doing that. >> i want to sk one more. with the gold rush, there was a lot of people from different places, in a lot of different cultures and whatnot. it did the mail order brides -- diwas there are a lot of mixing, somebody from spain who would marry summary from south carolina -- somebody from south carolina? professor zug: most of the women who came over o the, through these expeditions, where american-born. they were
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eastern native women. the men they married may not have always been. that is an interesting question, i guess i never really noticed that -- in the backgrounds of the men, they were the 49ers and other people, but some of them certainly might have been people coming from europe or other places like that. the women less so. you do not get the european mail order brides ntil you start getting the 1924 quota act, because one of the things those laws do is make it almost impossible for single women to immigrate to america, because you are considered a likely public charge, because you need a man to sponsor you. so all of these women come all these stories about these women who have been on their own, really skilled, i have money and it will not be a problem. and they are like, you need a guy. and they are sent
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back, because they are assumed to be a likely public charge. we will hear this term again, we are starting to, about four people using our services. this is not a new idea. they were very concerned about letting in poor immigrants who need state support and single women were automatically assumed basically to need that state support. so if you are a single woman wanting to come to america, your best chance was do a mail-order marriage. that is where you get a lot of mail order brides. otherwise before that they came over by themselves. it was not that mail-order marriage -- if everything is equal, people do not choose mail-order marriage. today, people choose it because it is not that easy to come to the country. the easiest way is through marriage to an american citizen. it puts you at the top of the list. if it didn't, i do not think we would have mail order brides. >> i am curious
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about the woman whose quote you shared, you listed her attributes and she wanted the gold rock upfront. did she get it? professor zug: i wish i knew that. i have researched her so much. i want to know so much about her and i do not. i wish i did. i - i bet she did. it do not put that in there unless you think you have a shot. i have a whole chapter on the rise of matrimonial ads and the difference between the male ads and the female ads. and the male ads are what they want the female to do, wash clothes, cook food and whatever. and the women's are a little, making it clear they do not just want to be some sort of drudge. i will
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come out there, but i am valuable and you need to recognize it and i am doing this because i want to increase my marital prospects. especially after -- when we get into the late 19th century. they can marry on the east coast. there are people to marry. but firm -- for various reasons, they may not have found someone. this expands their options. maybe somebody out there is better, maybe they will appreciate me more. one thing that is also going on at the east coast is there is a panic about surplus women. yes. so the surplus women scare is the idea that there are too many single women and what are we going to do with them? they are really need -- it comes mostly from britain, but we have it on the east coast as well, these government officials are freaking out that there are all these unmarried women and it is a problem and we need to do something about
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them. if you are leaving -- if you are living a society that calls you a surplus woman, maybe you want to go somewhere that does not call you a surplus woman. that wants you. and when you get off the boat, they are all excited and happy hurrah, you know. so, that's what goes on a lot as well. in england, there are these women rights societies that actually set up immigration programs because -- women's rights in england are just not happening so quickly. and that the best thing for a lot of women into physically move from britain, which does not appreciate them, to they go to british columbia, which is a very similar history. as weh have in california and the pacific northwest. there is a whole issue there, also, they need women because the americans are crossing the border and are going to annex
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british pol lumia -- british club in. --british columbia. they want them to cross the border, but they went in to be canadian. these americans will not stay here if there are no women so we need to bring over women and then the men will stay. there are all these political implications as well about, you know, making sure you have enough of a population, in this case to fight off an american invasion. so, it's an interesting history. anyone else? >> i just love this stuff. what about the mormon women? i just want to throw that out there. i do not know if that is completely separate. >> they were in family groups. i did not see any mormon mail-order brides, and i think that is because they traveled together. one thing you see in the colonial period, you do not have
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mail-order bride to the northeast because the northeast colonists are the religious refugees. they went withs, their women. they traveled in family groups, so you do not have a gender disparity. in the southern colonies, which were plantations, which were cash crops, they were men who came over to make their fortunes. and, you know, they do not bring women very much, especially once it became clear that things were terrible. things were terrible in the northeast as well, but, you know, when you are getting persecuted and potentially killed, they're still better. are coming inns family groups. in virginia, georgia and south carolina, when the women come, the first groups come, they think it is awful. they starts, their indian raids. the reputation of what is going on in the southern colonies is back to england in a women want to come anymore. -- and no women want to come
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anymore. i think the mormons were like that, too. you never got a situation where you had large groups of men without women. they actually have more of that problem now, if each man gets a couple women, then we have problems. well, it made happy fair but it essentially problematic. there are all these stories about taking boys out of the community partially so that you mean, if you, i have a 50-50 birthright but some men have 10 wives, and some men who have none, so you need to get rid of those. but that a separate. -- is separate. podcast on npr that talked about the need for multiple women in houses such as polygamy such as wrenching but that was needed during the gold rush.
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because there was less of that ranch phase, take care of cal because the manner of hunting for gold. the buehrle, ird have two -- people are like i have already have two. >> there was no polygamy. mormon communities, but mail order brides would not have been in a polygamist relationship because they had the power, right? what's interesting that happens over and over again is mail-order bride are able to negotiate for a better deal than their counterparts, either back home in different places, so the mail-order bride in the new france calling, they enter into these marital contracts which are way better than anything the french women back home would have had. they're getting greater property andhes, and - -portions promises to do or not do certain things. they have more choice over the men. there are all these laws. i was asked earlier if the women
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were forced to marry. no, but sometimes the men were. in new france, if you did not marry when you had the opportunity, so, if you wanted to be a bachelor, then you lost all of your hunting rights. because the government wanted everyone to get married but they knew they could not force the women. the women you needed to treat well. the men you could actually start fining and punishing if they did not step up and, you know, do their duty to populate the calling, because -- the colony, because one of the things with new france as well was that the french king did not want to bring over so many immigrants, did not want to depopulate france for new france. so, he decided we are going to grow the colony through natural means. so, it meant that, ok, we are
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going to bring over these women but you had better marry them and you better have a lot of children with them. and, actually, they really did. like, if anyone here is french-canadian, you're probably related to them. like 80% ofk it's the current french population is descended from these 800 women. they were having babies. that's chapter two. any others? descendent ofhe a picture bride. this would be my italian grandmother came to new mexico and married my spanish great-grandfather. they communicated with the photograph and letters but my great-grandfather sent the money to. bring her back. who paid for transportation in the california bride system? >> that was one of the reasons
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why farnum's plan didn't work, because their was -- there was no one paying for it. all the working-class women who wanted to do it, they do not have the money to pay for it. later on once we had the railroads, then it was the men who sent in the ticket, those were more affordable. like the mercer brides, the men took up a collection and then mercer chartered a ship and the women had free passage. usually in order to have a successful program than men need to pay the way for the women. look atay, if you modern mail order marriage, the men typically are paying, not only paying for the women to come over but there are certain financial requirements. they need to have a certain amount of income under u.s. law before they are allowed to sponsor a mail-order bride. so, to make sure that, you know, they need to protect the women.
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thatve a lot of laws currently protect mail-order bride's, one of which is to make sure that they are marrying someone who has a decent financial situation. but, yes, there were a lot of italian mail-order bride's. what year would this have been? oh, a really long time ago. ok, because i was going to say, italians were also caught up in these quota acts, so a lot of them could not come over because italians, eastern european, they were all limited to their, like, census numbers from 1880. yours came over really really. and it worked, right? >> one million kids. in fact, the -- has a winery in napa. he had stretched even to california but started in new mexico. >> i have actually heard about quite a few, you know, descendents of picture bride's, mail-order bride's, and people
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often wonder what the rate of success is for mail order marriage is. i don't know historically, that is harder to say, but statistically speaking, modern mail order marriage is are as at least as accessible and likely more successful than the average american marriage. so, i have serious -- theories for why this is which i discussed in the book, but the short answer i think is that m mail order marriage is, you know what you are getting. you know what the benefit of that marriage is. as long as both people keep their end of the deal, then you have no reason to end the marriage. one of the reasons we do not like mail order marriage today as it seems antithetical, or to our concept of the love match, right? you are marrying for something. love is much better. but marriage is based on passion. when the passion goes away, a
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lot of times people leave each other looking for the next passion. but if you are marrying for stability and financial reasons haveo, you know, you someone to take care of the home and do those things, as long as the people are still doing that, you know, there is no reason for the marriage to end. now i'm getting some faces. can love happen in these marriages? yes. one of the quotes i end the last chapter with, there is an interview asking a mail-order bride from ukraine whether or not she loves her husband and she is like, love, love? i wasn't thinking about love in ukraine. i was thinking about do i have enough bread to feed my child. how can i not love a man who has been so good to me and my daughter? love is not the reason they start with these marriages but if they are treated well, and they're happy in them, there is
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no reason why love can't come after. you all so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span 3. follow us on twitter @cspan history for information on her schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. >> recently, american history tv was at the american historical association central meeting in denver, colorado. we spoke with professors, office and graduate students about their research. this interview is about 20 minutes. >> we're


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