How was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act ultimately the codification—and end result—of decades of anti-Chinese sentiment?



The United States is widely acknowledged as an economic and political or civil society powerhouse in the entire globe (Venture 1). The United States is comprised of various people who come from different cultural environments. A good example is the Chinese society. Regrettably, the Chinese society struggled a lot especially in trying to fit into the American society. This was made difficult by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (Venture 1). In spite of the persistent determinations of the Chinese to establish themselves into the American society and develop their communities, the Exclusion Act still made their lives more difficult particularly for those who had spent years and time and were already living in America (Venture 1).

The importance of studying the Chinese Exclusion Act’s Impact

The modern society is highly determined by the historical events. Therefore, if the modern generation is familiar with historical events, it is easy to comprehend the current events (Sattelmeyer 10-15). In addition, learning from previous errors will we as a people be able to come up with informed decisions on what courses of action we are supposed to take in the future. The Chinese Americans have today made remarkable contributions to the growth and advancement of the United States though complications were unjustly introduced to impede their assimilation (Sattelmeyer 10-15).

Principal concerns of the Act

Signed into an enforceable Act by the then American President Chester A. Arthur, the Chinese Exclusion Act was later to be a product of 30 years of ethnic tensions and bitterness. The Act was an unfair especially for the hardworking Chinese Americans. Today, the Exclusion Act is ranked among the most unreasonable and largely weak laws to ever be publicized by the central government (Newman 3).  The racist views that came up especially during the late 18th century at a time when the implementation of the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law, represent America as a state in persistent enthusiasm to lay blame on others particularly times of need.

The key effects of the Exclusion Act

Finally, the need to have someone to blame led to America’s financial woes. As it is widely known, the post-Civil War rebuilding in America needed a lot of money and so much resources. However, a few individuals other than the Chinese community were ready and capable of providing the much needed manual work and hard work. It emerged that, by regulating the Chinese immigration into America, the Americans were actually blocking their own economy from prospering.

Another issue that was revealed by detractors of the Chinese Exclusion Act was the fact that the Chinese population appeared to be the only targeted. People from other origins were free to settle into the United States without restrictions. This leads to the assumption that the Chinese Exclusion Act was an act mainly motivated by discrimination which further challenges America’s objective of being a free and tolerant country.

In conclusion, though the Act was later abolished, the disagreements and direct impacts reveal that the Act was ethnically prompted. In general, it is highly believed that the Act actually bruised the bond between the Chinese community and the Americans. As research studies continue to be developed, the Americans should be more tolerant and learn to accept the differences in cultures. Even though, Chinese migrants and Chinese-Americans have supported the U.S. economy, ethnic problems still do occur.

Works Cited:

Gabler Hover, Janet, and Robert Sattelmeyer. “American History through Literature.” eNotes. 2006. Gale Cengage, Web. 17th March 2016. literature/

Golden Venture. “Chinese Immigrants to the US”. 2007. Web. 17th March. 2016.

Newman, John J., Schmalbach, John. United States History. 2nd. New York: AMSCO, 2002. Print.




Leave a Reply