Date of Graduation

Spring 2008


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

P Hummasti


During the mid to late 1800s, Californians developed an attitude of hatred toward the Chinese that ultimately led to the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. When the Chinese first arrived to California, they received a warm welcome. However, a deep hatred for the Chinese soon replaced that welcoming attitude. As a result of this hatred, the Californians passed a variety of laws discriminating against the Chinese. Finally, the national government became involved and passed the exclusion law. This is a study of how Californian's approval of the Chinese turned into a deep hatred that left many Chinese fearing for their lives, of how this hatred developed into a national issue, and of the impact of the exclusion act on California after its passing. It argues that the anti-Chinese movement derived its strength from the ordinary citizens of California. This theory is supported by an 1885 incident of a northern Californian town in which the local citizens successfully removed their Chinese inhabitants. Other supporting materials include newspaper editorials and articles, autobiographies, interviews conducted by both the state and federal governments, and debates held in the United States Congress and the California legislature.


Chinese Exclusion, California, San Francisco, Eureka, anti-Chinese sentiment

Subject Categories



© Sarah C. Randow

Campus Only