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Two Faces of ExclusionThe Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States$
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Lon Kurashige

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469629438

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469629438.001.0001

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First Downpour

First Downpour

Chinese Immigrants and Gilded Age Politics, 1876–1882

(p.35) 2 First Downpour
Two Faces of Exclusion

Lon Kurashige

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the first policy to restrict Chinese immigration to the United States by tracing its background in broad political transformations during the Gilded Age, including the end of Reconstruction, rapid industrialization, and swings in the business cycle. It provides a close analysis of congressional voting patterns during two Congresses that approved bills to restrict Chinese labor immigrants, the first (passed in 1879) was vetoed by the president, while the second (passed in 1882) became the law of the land. The debate over both policies revealed the polarization of views in Congress and the broader society about the Chinese. The return of the Democrats to power and the Midwestern revolt against big businesses (often identified with the Republicans) combined with racial prejudice to win support for the restriction of Chinese workers.

Keywords:   Chinese Exclusion Act, Fifteen Passenger Act, Gilded Age, George Hoar

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