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The Gentlemen's Agreement between the United States and Japan in 1907-1908 represented an effort by President Theodore Roosevelt to calm growing tension between the two countries over the immigration of Japanese workers.
After the Civil War, former Confederate states passed laws known as "black codes" that restricted the rights of former slaves.
More than 20 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island on their way to a new life in the United States.
Discontent, rebellion and social change defined the 1960s in the United States, shaking the country to its core.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States. Those on the West Coast were especially prone to attribute declining wages and economic ills on the despised Chinese workers. Although the Chinese composed only .002 percent of the nation's population, Congress passed the exclusion act to placate worker demands and assuage prevalent concerns about maintaining white "racial purity."
The statute of 1882 suspended Chinese immigration for ten years and declared the Chinese as ineligible for naturalization. Chinese workers already in the country challenged the constitutionality of the discriminatory acts, but their efforts failed. The act was renewed in 1892 for another ten years, and in 1902 Chinese immigration was made permanently illegal. The legislation proved very effective, and the Chinese population in the United States sharply declined.
American experience with Chinese exclusion spurred later movements for immigration restriction against other "undesirable" groups such as Middle Easterners, Hindu and East Indians, and the Japanese. The Chinese themselves remained ineligible for citizenship until 1943.
The Reader's Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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