At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/24/2015
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $14.60
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 55%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $14.60   
  • New (6) from $30.64   
  • Used (12) from $14.60   


With the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese laborers became the first group in American history to be excluded from the United States on the basis of their race and class. This landmark law changed the course of U.S. immigration history, but we know little about its consequences for the Chinese in America or for the United States as a nation of immigrants.

At America's Gates is the first book devoted entirely to both Chinese immigrants and the American immigration officials who sought to keep them out. Erika Lee explores how Chinese exclusion laws not only transformed Chinese American lives, immigration patterns, identities, and families but also recast the United States into a "gatekeeping nation." Immigrant identification, border enforcement, surveillance, and deportation policies were extended far beyond any controls that had existed in the United States before.

Drawing on a rich trove of historical sources—including recently released immigration records, oral histories, interviews, and letters—Lee brings alive the forgotten journeys, secrets, hardships, and triumphs of Chinese immigrants. Her timely book exposes the legacy of Chinese exclusion in current American immigration control and race relations.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807854488
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 5/19/2003
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 498,530
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Erika Lee is associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Closing the Gates 19
Ch. 1 The Chinese Are Coming. How Can We Stop Them? Chinese Exclusion and the Origins of American Gatekeeping 23
Ch. 2 The Keepers of the Gate: U.S. Immigration Officials and Chinese Exclusion 47
Pt. II At America's Gates 75
Ch. 3 Exclusion Acts: Race, Class, Gender, and Citizenship in the Enforcement of the Exclusion Laws 77
Ch. 4 One Hundred Kinds of Oppressive Laws: The Chinese Response to American Exclusion 111
Pt. III Cracks in the Gate 147
Ch. 5 Enforcing the Borders: Chinese Exclusion along the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican Borders 151
Ch. 6 The Crooked Path: Chinese Illegal Immigration and Its Consequences 189
Pt. IV The Consequences and Legacies of Exclusion 221
Ch. 7 In the Shadow of Exclusion: The Impact of Exclusion on the Chinese in America 223
Epilogue: Echoes of Exclusion in the Late Twentieth Century 245
Afterword: Following September 11, 2001 253
Notes 257
Bibliography 295
Acknowledgments 311
Index 315
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)