The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

This week we took a look at how attitudes towards Chinese immigrants arriving in America in the late 1800’s became increasingly negative.  Political cartoons of the time show how resentful some workers (even other immigrant groups) had become about the low wages Chinese immigrants were paid and the competition they represented:

On May 6, 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was approved.  It was the first major law restricting immigration into the United States, and the first to do so on the basis of origin and race:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or having so come after the expiration of said ninety days to remain within the United States. More

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