1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

A whole class of people, forbidden from ever becoming citizens . . . forbidden from even entering the country-their rights torn up and trampled on, left with no political redress. This was the United States of America from 1882 through 1943―if you had the misfortune to be Chinese.

The United States Congress banned all Chinese from becoming U.S. citizens from 1882 through 1943, and stopped most Chinese from even entering the country starting in 1882. ["Forbidden Citizens"](http://www.thecapitol.net/Publications/ForbiddenCitizens.html), a book by Martin Gold, recounts this long and shameful legislative history. Congress passed restrictive legislation between 1879 and 1904. The most notorious was the [Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Exclusion_Act), described as "one of the most vulgar forms of barbarism," by Rep. John Kasson (R-IA) in 1882.;xNLx;;xNLx;These laws targeted not only immigration, they banned citizenship, even for legal immigrants who had arrived before the gate was closed in 1882. Barred from becoming voters, the Chinese had no political recourse against repeated discrimination.;xNLx;;xNLx;Because their appearance and lifestyle were so different, it was easy to tyrannize the Chinese. Insisting that the Chinese could not assimilate into American culture, lawmakers actively blocked them from doing so. Democrats and Republicans alike found the Chinese easy prey.;xNLx;;xNLx;Martin Gold assembles the complete legislative history of Congress's Chinese exclusion laws into his book. By reviewing the old so that we can learn about the new, this timeline visualization is based an outline of his book and related documents to compose these small stories from the background to the present.;xNLx;There is also a version of [this timeline in Chinese](http://jeremy-wu.com/1882CEA.html).

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

This was the first federal law excluding a single group of people from the U.S. on the basis of race or ethnicity alone.

Reported Arrival of Chinese in US

The Pallas, a China trade vessel from Canton, dropped anchor in Baltimore in 1785. Three Chinese in her crew were reported to be the first recorded Chinese arrivals on US soil.

First Count of Chinese in US

First U.S. Census counting the number of Chinese as "Asiatic" in the state of California in 1860.

Naturalization Act of 1870

Senator Charles Sumner unsuccessfully sponsored an amendment that would have allowed legal immigrants to become American citizens

15 Passenger Bill

Congress attempted in 1879 to restrict Chinese immigration by limiting the number of Chinese passengers permitted on any ship coming to the U.S. to 15.

20-year Chinese Exclusion Act

Congress attempted to suspend the immigration of skilled and unskilled Chinese laborers for 20 years, and expressly prohibited state and federal courts from naturalizing Chinese persons.

Scott Act of 1888

Congress prohibited all Chinese laborers who left the United States, or who in the future would choose to leave, from reentering.

Geary Act of 1892

Congress extended all previous Chinese Exclusion Laws by ten years.

Burlingame Treaty

The Burlingame Treaty of 1868 established formal friendly relations between the U.S. and China, with China receiving most favored nation status.

Indefinite Extension of 1902

Congress indefinitely extended all Chinese Exclusion Laws that are consistent with treaty obligations

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