What Did The Gentlemen`s Agreement And The Chinese Exclusion Act Have In Common

Many scholars explain the institution of the Chinese exclusion law and similar laws as the product of the widespread anti-Chinese movement in California in the second half of the 19th century. The Chinese have been a significant minority on the West Coast since the mid-19th century. At first they worked in gold mines, where they showed a way to find gold. As a result, they encountered hostilities and were gradually forced to leave the field to go to urban areas such as San Francisco, where they often simply carried out some of the dirtiest and hardest jobs. Americans in the West have emphasized their stereotype of Chinese as degraded, exotic, dangerous and competing for jobs and wages. Senator John F. Miller of California, a supporter of China`s exclusionary law, argued that Chinese workers “mechanically… blunt nerves, but little influenced by heat or cold, wired, sinewy, with iron muscles.┬áPartly in response to this stereotype, organized work in the West has made limiting the influx of Chinese into the United States one of its goals. In other words, the exclusion was the result of an anti-Chinese atmosphere at the base. Other scientists have argued that exclusion should be attributed to top-down politics and not to an upward movement, explaining that national politicians manipulated white workers to gain electoral advantage. Still others have adopted a “national thesis of racism” centered on endemic anti-Chinese racism in early American national culture. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first major law restricting immigration to the United States. Many Americans on the West Coast attributed to Chinese workers lower wages and economic dysfunctions.

Although the Chinese make up only 0.002 percent of the country`s population, Congress passed the exclusion law to appease workers` demands and allay prevailing concerns about maintaining white “racial purity.” Despite these laws and court decisions, the Japanese population continued to grow and Japanese immigrants continued to inherit the property. The U.S. statutes explained that all children born on American soil, regardless of the loyalty of their parents, automatically became U.S. citizens.