Essay on The Chinese Exclusion Act

Essay on The Chinese Exclusion Act

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“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door. "
The Quote on the Statue of Liberty, engraved 1903
The United States of America was founded on the idea that anyone could leave their destitution and ‘make it’ in America. This idea came to be called the American Dream; a phrase that was written into being around 1850. Not thirty years later, however, an entire immigrant group would be barred from entering the country, and that bar would last for sixty-one years. The Chinese Exclusion Act was put into law by President Chester Arthur in 1882 and repealed in 1943. During that period, all Chinese laborers were barred from immigrating to the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act stagnated the growth of Chinese Culture in the United States and led to the racial stigma that fueled racism against Japan in the Second World War.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted to curb the influx of Chinese immigrants seeking work in the failing post-Civil War economies. The Chinese settlers created enclaves in many West-Coast cities; the most famous of these being the “China-Town” in San Francisco. Anti-Chinese sentiment grew from the Nativist policies of Denis Kearney, his Workingman’s Party, and California statesman John Bigler. White power organizations fought against Chinese immigrants as well, specifically the Supreme Order of Caucasians in April 1876 and the Asiatic Exclusion League in May 1905. They stated that Chinese laborers had driven wages down to an unacceptable level,[1] Resultantly, they fought against the rights of Chinese Immigrants, many of whom had been natur...


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... Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882. Accessed August/September, 2013. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/chinex.htm.

Dundes Renteln, Alison. "A Psychohistorical Analysis of the Japanese American Internment." Human Rights Quarterly 17, no. 4 (1995): 618-48. doi:10.1353/hrq.1995.0039.

Gyory, Andrew. Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Railton, Ben. The Chinese Exclusion Act: What It Can Teach Us about America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

US, Congress. "Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882." Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882. 1882. Accessed August 22, 2013. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/chinex.htm.

USCIS. "WW2 Japanese Relocation Camp Internee Records." WW2 Japanese Relocation Camp Internee Records. Accessed August 22, 2013. http://www.japaneserelocation.org/.


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