1882 LIBERTY HEAD $20 PR65+ Deep Cameo
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“Shall we have Chinese? NO! NO! NO!” This slogan could be seen on propaganda signs throughout the United States in 1882. Since the Gold Rush, the dissent for Chinese immigrants grew as white workers blamed them for economic malady and wage decreases, especially on the West Coast. It was not long before organized violence broke out across the west: in mines, on the railways, and throughout cities. Smaller cities attempted to pass laws to restrict Chinese immigration, but most of these were struck down by federal courts. Though the Chinese only comprised .002% of the nation’s population, Congress needed a solution so on May 6, 1882 President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act into law. This act banned all immigration from China for ten years and made Chinese neutralization illegal for those who were already here. In an effort to appeal the law, Chinese workers attempted to fight the constitutionality of the law from day one, but their efforts proved futile. In fact, the law would be renewed once more in 1892 and made permanent in 1902. It wasn’t until World War II that the restriction was lifted to allow a total of one hundred and five immigrants yearly as thanks for their assistance against the Japanese. Eventually the question of constitutionality was revisited once again in 1965 when the law was completely repealed and immigration restrictions for all races were lifted entirely.