Beginning in 1882, Chinese laborers were denied access to the United States. This moratorium on immigration was the culmination of anti-Chinese sentiment that had been building in America since the 1850's. It also served as a precursor to the exclusion of other Asian peoples (Asian Indians in 1917, Japanese in 1924, and Filipinos in 1934) looming on the horizon.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was ultimately repealed in 1943 by the Magnuson Act which established quotas for Chinese immigrants and made them eligible for American citizenship. With the moratorium in place for over half of a century, this legislation and the factors behind its becoming law provide a glimpse into America's concerns over foreign labor as it became an industrialized nation.

This web site seeks to shed light on Chinese life in 19th Century America including: reasons for emigrating to California , two glossaries that explain the myths surrounding the indentured servant (i.e. "coolie") after the Civil War and organizations designed to assist Chinese laborers in California , tensions between white and Chinese workers , political posturing that allowed the Exclusion Act to become law , and a collection of articles and suggested sources for further study .

This site was written and designed by Frank Diller.
Last Modified: 05/30/99

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