The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Synopsis

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was a historic act of legislation that demonstrated how the federal government of the United States once openly condoned racial discrimination. Once the Exclusion Act passed, the door was opened to further limitation of Asians in America during the late 19th century, such as the Scott Act of 1888 and the Geary Act of 1892, and increased hatred towards and violence against Chinese people based on the misguided belief they were to blame for depressed wage levels and unemployment among Caucasians.

This title traces the complete evolution of the Exclusion Act, including the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, the factors that served to increase their populations here, and the subsequent efforts to limit further immigration and encourage the departure of the Chinese already in America.

Excerpt

A comprehensive study of the Exclusion Act of 1882 provides an ideal method for students and others to see a living example of a significant piece of legislation in American history, and to observe how such a far-reaching law frequently comprises a complex record of events that both precede and follow its passage.

Leading up to the passage of most significant pieces of U.S. legislation are a collection of events, human emotions, political stances, public outcries, and other factors that fuel its conception, aid in its passage, and contribute to its evolution as a law of the land.

Likewise, the life of a legislative act includes not only its early stages of conceptual development, enactment, and implementation, but also public reaction to its enforcement and effectiveness as a law. In the case of some pieces of legislation—the Exclusion Act among them—a complete study must include the Act’s amended forms and ultimate repeal.

The purpose of this book is to trace the complete history of the Exclusion Act, including the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, conditions that worked to increase their populations here, and eventual efforts to limit further immigration and to encourage the departure of Chinese already here.

The book will examine conditions in China that led to a situation where many Chinese felt their only option was to leave a country ravaged by war, economic distress, and natural disaster. Opportunities within their own country were virtually nonexistent, and one of the best options for improving their lives was to leave China and seek employment opportunities elsewhere.

Much of the rationale on the part of Chinese to seek this employment in California was the advent of a completely unexpected historical event—the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in northern California. Suddenly, there seemed to be the potential for the attainment of real wealth for a minimum amount of effort, and thousands of Chinese decided to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.