Closing the Gate
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barred nearly all Chinese from US shores for ten years. Gyory traces the origins of the Act, contending that rather than confronting divisive problems such as class conflict, politicians sought a safe, non-ideological solution to the nation's industrial crisis.
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In 1882, only a few years after it enacted a series of landmark civil rights laws, Congress passed an Exclusion Act slamming the door on Chinese immigration. Why the dramatic turnaround? A powerful anti-Chinese movement, driven by racism and fear of economic competition, had taken hold among whites in the West and had produced a wave of anti-Asian state laws. Americans east of the Rockies didn't share Western sentiments, but eventually Eastern politicians yielded in order to attract Western votes. Gyory gives us an absorbing picture of the exclusion movement, of Western anti-Chinese leaders, and of the Easterners who went…
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