The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen`s Agreement with Japan in 1907 Both Illustrate

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen`s Agreement with Japan in 1907 both illustrate the exclusionary policies enacted by the United States towards Asian immigrants during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, was the first federal law to prohibit a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. It suspended Chinese immigration for ten years, and was later extended in 1892 for another decade. The act was motivated by anti-Chinese sentiment, fueled by fear of labor competition and perceived cultural differences. The act also barred Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens, making them the only group in U.S. history to be ineligible for citizenship based solely on their race.

The Gentlemen`s Agreement with Japan, signed on February 21, 1907, was an informal agreement between the United States and Japan that restricted Japanese immigration to the United States. The agreement was reached after decades of tension and discrimination against Japanese immigrants, culminating in the San Francisco School Board`s segregation of Japanese students. In exchange for Japan`s voluntary restriction of immigration, the United States agreed to allow Japanese immigrants already in the country to bring their families over and to end school segregation in San Francisco.

Both the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Gentlemen`s Agreement with Japan illustrate the discriminatory policies and attitudes towards Asian immigrants that were prevalent in the United States during this time period. These policies reflected a larger trend of nativism and xenophobia, as American society struggled to adapt to the influx of foreign cultures and labor. They also had long-lasting effects on Asian communities in the United States, creating barriers to assimilation and perpetuating negative stereotypes.

In recent years, there have been efforts to acknowledge and reverse the harm caused by these exclusionary policies. In 2012, a resolution was introduced in the U.S. Senate to formally apologize for the Chinese Exclusion Act, and similar efforts have been made to acknowledge the harm caused by the Gentlemen`s Agreement with Japan. These actions serve as an important reminder of the dark history of exclusionary policies in the United States, and the ongoing struggle for equality and justice for all people.