Date of Award

Spring 2013

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Masters Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Charles Williams

Second Advisor

Emily Ignacio


The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first piece of U.S. legislation to bar a specific ethnic group from immigrating to U.S. soil, thus demonstrating how regional agendas can and do turn into national policies. However, despite its impact and historical significance, the Chinese exclusion movement is often only vaguely referenced within general history texts. In this thesis, the author analyzes the experiences of Chinese immigrants in California and Hawaii and discusses how such experiences present a fuller understanding of the politics behind the Chinese Exclusion Act.