Project Description

Washington DC, US: Chinese Exclusion Act


chinese-exclusion-act-handbillDuring the 1850s and 1860s, the Chinese were mostly welcomed in the US as much needed physical labor. However, the tide turned with the economic depression of the 1870s, which left many blaming the Chinese for taking away American jobs. California labor unions and newspapers started an anti-Chinese movement that spread through the country and made its way to Congress.

In 1882, Congress passed the first ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’: the first time in history that the US restricted immigration on the basis of nationality or race. Canada and Australia passed similar discrimination acts to stop Chinese laborers entering their territories. It wasn’t until the 1940s that these acts were finally repealed.

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