- Emily Pan
Community Reactions When Chinese Exclusion Bill Becomes A Law
Community reactions to Chinese Exclusion Bill (Image Courtesy of History center of San Luis Obispo County)
That was how the community reacted when the Chinese Exclusion Bill was signed by the President. The Tribune reports, "The news that the ex-Chinese Bill had received the President's signature awakened much enthusiasm amongst our citizens and the American flag speedily decorated innumerable flagstaffs throughout the city...The San Luis Band appeared on the balcony of the Cosmopolitan and [played] several joyful airs" (San Luis Obispo Weekly Tribune).
Moreover, they "traced the history of Chinese immigration into this country and the change in public opinion which at first regarded the Chinaman with indifference presently became agreed as to his dangerous and unwelcome character, and finally became a unit in opposing his coming here. It had taken a series of years to awaken the people of the East to the danger of the immigration but that result had at last been accomplished, and the legislation which had culminated in the passage of the present exclusion bill declared the sentiment of the whole American people. This was not a political movement. It was the unanimous declaration of a principle which applied not only to the leprous hordes of China, but to the pauper labor of other parts of the world, of Norway,, Russia, Italy and elsewhere which threatened to engulf our institutions" (San Luis Obispo Weekly Tribune).
The paper goes on to say that the Chinese Exclusion Act proved "the principle that America was for Americans" (San Luis Obispo Weekly Tribune).
"San Luis Obispo Weekly Tribune" 5 October 1888