The Chinese Experience in 19th Century America

19th Century American Ideas About Other Peoples

Chinese Exclusion: The Process

Exclusion: Chinese Perspectives



Introducing the Lesson

Studying Chinese Exclusion provides a good opportunity to distinguish between the terms “prejudice” (which refers to attitudes) and “discrimination” (which refers to actions) and see how these two ideas are related. In this lesson, students will examine actions that were taken to discriminate against the Chinese and exclude them from American society. The local and state ordinances that students look at in the first activity are all examples of discrimination that grew out of the prejudice discussed in the previous lesson.

Discuss the terms “prejudice” and “discrimination” with the class and come up with a class definition for each term. Ask for contemporary examples of prejudice and discrimination against groups in society to make sure students understand these terms. Ask if students can give examples of prejudice towards the Chinese in 19th century America.

In addition to the activities designed for students, there are two resources provided that could be used as additional or background information by the students in the lesson. “Milestones in U.S. Immigration Policy” briefly outlines immigration policy that affected Asian immigrants and “Legislation Affecting Rights of Chinese Immigrants” references specific, mainly state, statutes affecting Asian immigrants.


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