The Chinese Experience in 19th Century America

19th Century American Ideas About Other Peoples

Chinese Exclusion: The Process

Exclusion: Chinese Perspectives



Understanding the Exclusion Act

Students should be made aware that the Exclusion Act set a precedent in American immigration policy for banning the immigration of entire ethnic groups. “Milestones in U.S. Immigration Policy” lists some of the major U.S. legislation that was particularly relevant to the immigration and exclusion of Asians.

Have students read the excerpts from the Exclusion Act. The questions that follow the excerpt are meant to help students comprehend the reading and consider the intent of the act. This handout can be completed together as a class, in groups, or individually.

A digital facsimile of the Exclusion Act is on the National Archives website of the 100 most important documents in U.S, history.

Two activities in the next lesson, “Getting Past the Gate” and “Voices of the Chinese” show the impact of the Exclusion Act on the Chinese and how the Chinese community found a way to continue to bring in immigrants despite this discriminatory law.

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