- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; New edition edition (May 19, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807854484
- ISBN-13: 978-0807854488
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 New edition Edition
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"Lee addresses a multiplicity of issues and deftly weaves together several themes that, in the past, had been treated separately."
Makes a very significant contribution to both Asian American history and to U.S. immigration history. The amount of research that went into this book is prodigious. (Sucheng Chan, University of California, Santa Barbara)
"Makes a very significant contribution to both Asian American history and to U.S. immigration history. The amount of research that went into this book is prodigious."
-- Sucheng Chan, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Lee has authored a masterful book, well written and based on extensive research in both English and Chinese sources."
-- "American Historical Review"
Lee opens a new chapter in immigration history with a rich, poetic and careful transnational account of how the 'exclusion period' produced anxiety, division and successful resistance among the Chinese it failed to exclude. She strikingly demonstrates how this drama changed the whole story of immigration restriction.--David Roediger, author of Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past
The book, eloquently written with rich original materials, contributes to the existing literature on United States immigration history and Asian American studies, and challenges scholars to see a significant connection between Chinese exclusion and the United States as a gate-keeping nation.--Journal of American Ethnic History
Makes a very significant contribution to both Asian American history and to U.S. immigration history. The amount of research that went into this book is prodigious. Lee addresses a multiplicity of issues and deftly weaves together several themes that, in the past, had been treated separately.--Sucheng Chan, coeditor of Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities during the Exclusion Era
This is the most thorough, complex, and subtle study I have read about Chinese immigration during the era of exclusion. Erika Lee's book offers both a remarkable social history of the Chinese immigrants who challenged the laws meant to keep them out and a sobering account of how suspicions of nonwhite immigrants legitimated the expansion of repressive state power. A major contribution to the history of immigration, race, and nation in modern America.--Gary Gerstle, author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century
The book deepens and integrates our knowledge of the linkages between racist ideologies and national legislation, local politics, and the growth of federal bureaucracies. It is a model of scholarship that will impel topical discussions and policy debates among students and scholars alike.--The International History Review
At America's Gates is the strongest, best grounded, and most persuasive assessment of the long historical shadow Chinese exclusion has cast over the development of American immigration policy.--Journal of Social History
Well documented, well researched, and highly readable.--New York History
The author's openness and sensitivity to the inherent problems and flaws with the government records of the Chinese immigrants . . . demonstrates her seriousness and carefulness as a scholar, and her skillful dissecting of a body of enormously complicated materials makes the book a remarkable historical study. With its elegant style and clear language, this book can be appreciated not only by scholars and graduate and undergraduate students but also by the general public.--Journal of American History
Lee has authored a masterful book, well written and based on extensive research in both English and Chinese sources.--American Historical Review
Extensively researched. . . . [At America's Gate: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943] is helpful when trying to understand our government's complicated laws regarding immigration: encouraging foreigners to immigrate when their services are needed and excluding them when it seems appropriate.--Journal of the West
Scholarly substance wrapped up in . . . a well organized and clearly written package . . . The single most useful book on the history of Chinese exclusion. . . . The strongest, best grounded, and most persuasive assessment of the long historical shadow Chinese exclusion has cast over the development of American immigration policy. It deserves a wide readership.--Journal of Social History
In telling this Chinese American story as an American story, Lee defies limiting historiographical categories that too often have narrowly defined scholarship. She thus begins to break down barriers that have separated historians of Chinese America and immigration from American history. In opening a wider conversation among historians as well as with policy makers and the American public, Lee makes her subject especially relevant in the post-September 11 world.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Lee's book is an important study on Chinese exclusion and its importance for nation building and US immigration policy. . . . Lee's careful archival work and mastery of relevant literature is evident, and her study is especially poignant because of its tie to her family's history. This is an impressive and sophisticated [book].--Choice
A compelling, readable narrative.--Law and History Review
At America's Gates is a tour de force in Chinese immigration history. . . . Lee's work is comprehensive in its historical and archival research and progressive in its transnational discourse, which explores both the local and global dimensions of Chinese immigration and exclusion that is embedded in the critical language of ethnic studies. . . . Her book is accessible to a wide readership and written with literary grace and passion.--Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
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Overall, I believe her argument to be just and well formulated. However, it is hard to believe that the Chinese alone caused the US to become a "gatekeeping" nation. American Nativism extended far beyond the Chinese during this time. At the time of the Exclusion Act of 1882, for example, Americans already had a distaste for the new stock immigrants coming into the US. The Immigration Restriction League, as a another example, sought virulently to exclude most (if not all) immigrants like the Italians, Slavs, and numerous others. Indeed, it could be argued that the Chinese were just the first victims of American Nativism and American treatment for Chinese merely reflected future treatments towards other immigrants groups. As a result, the Exclusion Act of 1882 was just the first set of Acts arising from a predetermined goal at ultimately excluding all immigrants. The Chinese were just the first set of victims.
I would recommend this book as a good learning tool, especially for someone who learns best through repetition. It definitely drives its points home. I would not really recommend this book to someone for casual reading or someone who already knows about the Exclusion Era because it is simplistic and the writing style is frustrating.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed by the 1943 Magnuson Act which permitted Chinese nationals already residing in the country to become naturalized citizens. It also allowed a federal quota of 105 Chinese immigrants per year, although significant Chinese immigration did not occur until the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965. I suggest you read further at [...]