Postbellum Electoral Politics in California and the Genesis of the Chinese Exclusion Act

After the Civil War, the Democratic party carried an important electoral penalty from being associated with the war. To deal with this penalty, the party took increasingly anti-immigration positions to compete with Republicans. Vincent Geloso argues that adopting anti-immigration and raising awareness against immigration made California increasingly competitive in electoral terms. This electoral competitiveness can serve to explain the genesis of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.

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Image courtesy of interviewee

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