Inside the Vault: Chinese Exclusion Act
by Gilder Lehrman Staff
In 1882, the US government passed legislation that prohibited Chinese immigration for ten years and declared Chinese immigrants ineligible for naturalization. It was the first act in American history to place broad restrictions on immigration. In the July 29, 2021, session of Inside the Vault, Karalee Wong Nakatsuka, 2019 California History Teacher of the Year, joins us as we examine documents from the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s that document American attitudes toward Chinese immigration.
Click here to download the slides from the presentation.
Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented
- “The Chinese Question,” Harpers Weekly, February 18, 1871
- Committee on Foreign Affairs, Report on Chinese Immigration, House Report No. 2915, August 5, 1890
- Spotlight on Primary Source: San Francisco’s Chinatown, 1880
- Video: “Tracing the Origins of Chinese Exclusion” by Jane Hong
- Video: “Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America” by Erika Lee
- Video: “Chinese Exclusion and the Rise of the Gatekeeping State, 1882–1929” by Jane Hong
Use the timestamps below to jump to the topics you want to view
- Events leading up to the Chinese Exclusion Act: 2:10–28:54
- The Chinese Exclusion Act: 29:12–38:32
- Consequences of the Chinese Exclusion Act: 38:33–59:10