The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 placed a moratorium on the immigration of Chinese laborers to the United States. This legislation served as both the culmination of racial intolerance that had been building since the 1850's and a grim foreshadowing of similar exclusions of Asian Indians (1917), Japanese (1924), and Filipinos (1934) looming on America's political horizon.

Finally repealed by the Magnuson Act of 1943 (which also established quotas for Chinese immigrants and made them eligible for citizenship), the Exclusion Act and the events that precipitated it reflect one facet of American life that is often overlooked in an attempt to understand the nation in the midst of industrialization.

This web site is designed to shed light on otherwise ignored elements of Chinese life in Nineteenth Century America, including: reasons for emigration to California (California Dreaming), myths surrounding the indentured servant (i.e. "coolie") after the Civil War (Coolie Fiction), organizations designed to assist Chinese laborers in California (Helping Hands), tensions between white and Chinese workers (Labor Pains), political posturing that allowed the Exclusion Act to become law (Racial Politics), and a collection of articles and suggested sources for further study (Read All About It).

This site was written and designed by Frank Diller.

Last Modified: 12/20/98

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