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

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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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