The Chinese Must Go

By Beth Lew-Williams,

Book cover of The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America

Book description

Winner of the Ray Allen Billington Prize
Winner of the Ellis W. Hawley Prize
Winner of the Sally and Ken Owens Award
Winner of the Vincent P. DeSantis Book Prize
Winner of the Caroline Bancroft History Prize

"A powerful argument about racial violence that could not be more timely."
-Richard…

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Why did anti-Chinese violence continue to rise even after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, reaching a terrible peak in 1885 and 1886?

In a powerful reinterpretation of Chinese exclusion, Beth Lew-Williams reveals how the 1882 act was deliberately limited in scope, poorly funded, and loosely enforced—because immigration policy at this time was still governed by diplomacy. Only in the late 1880s, with China perceived as weak, did the US unilaterally abrogate its treaty obligations and move toward outright exclusion.

The chronology really matters here: for Chinese immigrants it was a question not just of entry or exclusion, but of…

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