In Rock Springs, Wyoming, white miners perpetrated a massacre of Chinese workers. Bitter over increasing Chinese immigration and labor, the white miners destroyed Chinese homes, killed twenty-eight men, and drove hundreds of others from the town.
In Yick Wo v. Hopkins, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to apply race-neutral legislation discriminatorily against a specific race. The Court stated that “subjects of the Emperor of China who have the right to temporarily or permanently reside within the United States, are entitled to enjoy the protection guaranteed by the Constitution and afforded by the laws.”
In Henderson v. Mayor of New York, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional state laws requiring an immigrant head tax—a “per head” tax levied on shipowners for each immigrant transported into the US that was ultimately paid by the immigrant himself in the form of increased passenger fare.
Congress passed the Desert Land Act to promote the development of arid western lands. The act allowed settlers 640 acres of public land at a cost of twenty-five cents per acre in return for settlers’ promise to irrigate the land within three years.