Postbellum Electoral Politics in California and the Genesis of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

18 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021 Last revised: 29 Oct 2021

See all articles by Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Linan Peng

Depauw University - Department of Economics and Management

Date Written: September 16, 2021

Abstract

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. This led some Republican strongholds such as California to become competitive and also forced Republicans to embrace stricter immigration proposals. In this paper, we argue 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.

Keywords: Immigration, Chinese Exclusion Act, Anti-Chinese Movement, Political Economy

JEL Classification: J15, N31, H59

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Peng, Linan, Postbellum Electoral Politics in California and the Genesis of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (September 16, 2021). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 21-29, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3925085 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3925085

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Linan Peng

Depauw University - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

Greencastle, IN 46135
United States

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