The Chinese Experience in 19th Century America

19th Century American Ideas About Other Peoples

Chinese Exclusion: The Process

Exclusion: Chinese Perspectives



Forming a National Consensus in Support of Exclusion

The attempts by Westerners at the state and local level to stop the flow of Chinese immigrants or to marginalize them in employment was, as noted in previous activities, subject to challenge in the courts. To find a solution that could not be challenged, it was necessary to pass legislation at the national level, and immigration policy provided the means. Westerners used racism to appeal to Southerners for support of the Exclusion Act and other anti-Chinese legislation and Southerners gained the support of West Coast politicians for discriminatory legislation against the recently freed slaves.

The first excerpt from the Minority Report from the Senate inquiry into the 1875 election in Mississippi presents a negative view of happenings in Mississippi as a result of giving freed slaves voting rights. Later in the report, the minority senators address the question of race and express a concern that “orientals,” if ever allowed to become citizens, would by their numbers gain control of all level of government.

The Dooner illustration is another expression of this concern.

Questions are included with the reading and the illustration to help students in groups or as a class discuss and understand the role of racism in building national support for discriminatory legislation.


The Balky Team.
Uncle Sam, "Say, Mr. Wasp, You'll Never Get That Wagon Out of the Mud Unless Your Team Pulls Together. Can't You See Those Rocks?

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