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Teaching Primary Source: “Why the Chinese Should Be Excluded,” James D. Phelan (1901)

Primary Source: “Why the Chinese Should Be Excluded,” James D. Phelan (1901)

ames D. Phelan, the mayor of San Francisco, penned the following article to drum up support for continuing to prohibit Chinese immigration. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882 and again in 1892. In 1902, the act would come up for another vote. In his letter advocating for continuing the policy, Phelan expresses racist ideas that were common among white Americans at the time.

James D. Phelan
Stanford University Press


What does the San Francisco mayor's writing reveal about this time period in general?
RH.2 - Main Ideas, RH.6 - Author's Purpose


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