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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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Rising Tide of Fear

Rising Tide of Fear

White and Yellow Perils, 1904–1919

(p.86) 4 Rising Tide of Fear
Two Faces of Exclusion

Lon Kurashige

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the growing distrust of Japanese immigrants and the increasing push for Japanese exclusion against the backdrop of Japan’s rise as a global power. President Theodore Roosevelt supported Japan during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and made clear his desire that Japanese immigrants be given naturalization rights to become U.S. citizens. He also strongly opposed calls for Japanese exclusion coming from the West Coast, which included a series of legislation that discriminated against the Japanese in California and other western states. Influential private citizens like missionary Sidney Gulick and business magnet Andrew Carnegie also came to the defense of Japanese immigrants. Yet Roosevelt bowed to political pressure and got Japan to stop sending labor immigrants to the U.S through the Gentlemen’s Agreement (1908). The outbreak of World War I proved a turning point in the exclusion debate; even though exclusionist calls were calmed given that Japan was a U.S. ally, Congress passed the restrictionist Immigration Act of 1918, which restricted a broad range of Asians, although not the Japanese.

Keywords:   Theodore Roosevelt, Japanese exclusion, Russo-Japanese War, Immigration Act of 1918, World War I, Alien Land Law, Sidney Gulick, Andrew Carnegie

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