Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882

The only law in U.S. history that singled out a particular ethnic group, this act restricted any Chinese immigrant who was skilled or unskilled in the business of mining, effectively excluding all hopeful entrants from China.

The justification given was that it helped to maintain law and order.

The act was extended ten years later as the Geary Act and remained in place for decades afterward.

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that large-scale immigration reform altered the number of allowable international immigrants.

We have included a copy of the law as well as questions and answers for students.

For more information on this era, please check out our Rise of Industrial America and Response to Industrialism PowerPoints.