The Burlingame Treaty permitted almost unlimited and unrestricted immigration by Chinese to the United States. It annulled several state laws that had restricted Chinese immigration. Passed at a time when significant domestic opposition to Chinese immigration was emerging, it was the final agreement with China that encouraged immigration before the federal government introduced severe restrictions.
The Burlingame Treaty of 1868 allowed Chinese immigration to the United States with few regulations. Chinese had begun coming to the United States mostly because of the discovery of gold in California, and they also played an important role in constructing railroads. In addition, they served as a source of cheap labor for American businesses. Their numbers gradually increased during the mid-nineteenth century. Around 1850, approximately 10,000 Chinese came to the United States. During the mid-1850’s. By 1867, approximately 50,000 Chinese lived in California alone.
Canton, the only Chinese port open to American trade during the mid-nineteenth century.
The Burlingame Treaty amended the
The treaty is named after
The growing opposition to Chinese immigration was strongest in the western part of the country. American-born workers vehemently objected to the presence of and further immigration by Chinese, whom they perceived as competitors for their jobs. Indeed, anti-Chinese riots occurred in San Francisco in the latter part of the 1870’s. In the 1876 national elections, both Democrat and Republican candidates took anti-Chinese immigration stances in their platforms. However, in 1879, when both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a bill to regulate Chinese immigration, President
The Burlingame Treaty was eventually annulled by subsequent American legislation. Pressure from various interest groups within the United States led to the passage of multiple acts that gradually reduced Chinese immigration. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 basically prohibited Chinese from coming to the United States. After numerous renewals, its ban was finally lifted in 1943.
Chen, Jack. The Chinese of America. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980. Lee, Erica. At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration During the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. Tsai, Shih-shan Henry. China and the Overseas Chinese in the United States, 1868-1911. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1983.
Alien land laws
Angell Treaty of 1880
Bayard-Zhang Treaty of 1888
Chae Chan Ping v. United States
Chinese Exclusion Cases
Geary Act of 1892
Immigration Act of 1882