Evolution of the Racial Exclusion Term Paper

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S. further supporting exclusion of targeted populations.

During this time frame many states passed laws that prohibited certain nationalities from owning land in that state or any other real property as well.

The 14th amendment which provides equal protection under the law was used to begin chipping away at the exclusionary policies, not only for Asians but for African-Americans.

The relationship between Chinese exclusion and the revolutionary improvements for African-Americans during Reconstruction often goes ignored, even though pre-Civil War state laws regulating the migration of slaves served as precursors to the Chinese exclusion laws. It was no coincidence that greater legal freedoms for African-Americans were tied to Chinese misfortunes. As one historian observed, "with Negro slavery a dead issue after 1865, greater attention was focused on immigration from China." Political forces quickly reacted to fill the racial void in the political arena (Johnson, 1998 pp 1112-1148)."

As racial exclusionary laws began to get challenged Supreme Court Justices initially agreed that African-Americans should be treated as equals however, Chinese people were so different from the Americans that the nation had a right to prevent them from owning property.

It was not long before the argument the constitution is color blind appeared and changed the attitude about excluding anyone from the rights to live, work and play in America based on heritage.

Jim Crow laws were enacted to continue the separate but equal beliefs of the politicians with regard to treatment of African-Americans. According to those who supported the Jim Crow laws, as long as there were separate but equal accommodations for Blacks and Whites the constitution was being obeyed. Trains had cars for Whites and different cars for Blacks. There were White water fountains in public buildings and water fountains that only Blacks could use (Davis, pp).

There were White schools and Black schools and other elements of life that were divided by providing a facility, tool or tool that could be used by Blacks and they were banned by law from using anything deemed for Whites.

These laws created Jim Crow cars wherein black passengers were separated from white passengers. Indeed, the word Jim Crow as a term denoting segregation first appeared in reference to these northern railroad cars. Responding to the federal law prohibiting racial discrimination on railroads (Civil Rights Act of 1875), Tennessee passed laws in 1881 protecting hotels, railroads, restaurants, and places of amusement from legal suits charging discrimination. The state also attempted to circumvent the federal anti-segregation laws in transportation by enacting statutes in 1882 and 1883 requiring railroads to provide blacks with "separate but equal facilities." Florida, Mississippi, and Texas jumped on the bandwagon, as did most other states by 1894(Davis, pp)."

The Jim Crow laws were similar to the Chinese Exclusionary Act because they singled out a race and allowed that race to be treated differently, however, the Jim Crow laws pretended to stay in line with the constitution and treat Blacks equally while the Chinese Exclusionary Act allowed the complete banning of all immigration from China to America.

My Opinion

If I were a White leader of society in the era where exclusionary laws were passed I would have objected to them. I would have worked to have them repealed because it is not right to choose how one is treated based on race.

The United States constitution is a powerful document and one that promises every person the same treatment in all aspects of life. Diversity is what makes the country a fun and interesting place to live and raise children and had I been alive at that time and been considered a leader I would have used my power and clout to get people to support the dismantling of all laws allowing racial exclusion.


Chinese Exclusion Act (Accessed 5-20-07)


Davis, Ronald Ph.D. Creating Jim Crow: In-Depth Essay (Accessed 5-20-07)


Definition of Jim Crow Laws (Accessed 5-20-07)


Johnson, Kevin (1998) Race, the Immigration Laws, and Domestic Race Relations: a "Magic Mirror" into the Heart of Darkness, 73 Indiana Law Journal 1111-1159, 1112-1148

Racial policy and racial conflict in the urban United States, 1869-1924 *.

From: Social Forces | Date: December 1, 2003 | Author: Shanahan, Suzanne | More results for: evolution of racial exclusion laws[continue]

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