The Chinese Exclusion Act
In the 19th century, the Qing government of China faced major setbacks in the wake of military conflicts with European powers, spurring economic downturn and an immigration exodus out of the country. Increasing numbers of Chinese began to arrive on the West Coast of the United States, drawn by the California Gold Rush and seeking new economic opportunities to support their extended families back in China. Soon, however, American economic conditions began to take on racist overtones, as public opinion began to turn against the Chinese. In this episode, we look at the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, its increasing legal restrictions, and the long-term consequences of the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.