Page Law (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Designed to prohibit Chinese contract workers and prostitutes from entering the United States, the law eventually excludes Asian women in general.
Summary of Event
On February 10, 1875, California congressman Horace F. Page introduced federal legislation designed to prohibit the immigration of Asian female prostitutes into the United States. Officially titled, “An Act Supplementary to the Acts in Relation to Immigration,” the Page law evolved into a restriction against vast numbers of Chinese immigrants into the country regardless of whether they were prostitutes. Any person convicted of importing Chinese prostitutes was subject to a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of not more than five thousand dollars. An amendment to the law prohibited individuals from engaging in the “coollie trade”: the importation of all illegal Chinese contract laborers. Punishment for this type of violation, however, was much less severe and was much more difficult to effect, given the large numbers of Asian male immigrants at the time. As a consequence of this division of penalties, the law was applied in a most gender-specific manner, effectively deterring the immigration of Asian females into the United States. Within seven years following the implementation of the law, the average number of Chinese female immigrants dropped to one-third of its previous level.
An elaborate bureaucratic...
(The entire section is 1451 words.)
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