From Leon Ma Guerriro's BIOGRAPHY of JOSE RIZAL...the coming of the 20th century were coming to the surface. If Japan was in the rising tide of the Imperial Restoration, the US across the Pacific had just completed the gigantic Re-construction after the Civil War...staring eagerly across the seas to its "manifest destiny" in Hawaii, Samoa, Alaska, Japan, Korea, and China. At home the Americans were plunged in agrarian discontent, inflation, political corruption., Rizal landed in San Francisco at the beginning of a bitter presidential election campaign which would end with the incumbent Democrat Cleveland losing to the Republican Harrison on electoral votes although he had a plurality of the popular vote.
But Rizal traversed the continent too rapidly to feel the spirit of the great democracy or even to grasp the vastness of its future. Being educated in Europe and sensitive Asian he observed America, raw, grasping, restless with growing pains, could offer neither leisure nor inspiration for him. The American jealous of any cheap competition that might threaten their rising living standards, only excited his contempt and dislike.
"They put us in quarantine because our ship carried 800 Chinese; election were then being held in San Francisco and the government, seeking votes, was making a great show of adopting rigorous measures against the Chinese to capture the sympathies of the people. They notified us of the quarantine verbally, without telling us how long it was going to last (it lasted about 13 days, and even longer for the Chinese and Japanese) yet on the same day unloaded 700 bolts of silk without fumigating them." Race prejudice and, on top of it, the valuings of money over human life were enough to turn Rizal against America. " America is undoubtedly a great country," he concluded, "but still has many defects. There is no true civil liberty. In some states a Negro cannot marry a white woman or a Negress a white man. The hatret of the Chinese leads to other Asian aliens like the Japanese being confused with them and their being looked down too. Custom officials are excessively severe. However, as they well say, they offer a country to the poor man who is willing to work."
One would conclude that he was not sorry to leave the "land of opportunity." He boarded the CITY OF ROME to London from New York harbor. He enjoyed himself aboard the second largest ship making the trans Atlantic by demonstrating the Pilipino game of "Yoyo."
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