The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred practically allChinese from American shores for ten years, was the first federallaw that banned a group of immigrants solely on the basis of raceor nationality. By changing America's traditional policy of openimmigration, this landmark legislation set a precedent for futurerestrictions against Asian immigrants in the early 1900s andagainst Europeans in the 1920s. Tracing the origins of the Chinese Exclusion Act, AndrewGyory presents a bold new interpretation of American politicsduring Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. Rather than directlyconfront such divisive problems as class conflict, economicdepression, and rising unemployment, he contends, politicianssought a safe, nonideological solution to the nation's industrialcrisis--and latched onto Chinese exclusion. Ignoring workers'demands for an end simply to imported contract labor, theyclaimed instead that working people would be better off if therewere no Chinese immigrants. By playing the race card, Gyoryargues, national politicians--not California, not organizedlabor, and not a general racist atmosphere--provided the motiveforce behind the era's most racist legislation.
Politics-Social-Sciences, Social-Sciences, Emigration-Immigration,