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California Anti-Chinese Legislation, 1852-1878

1852: Foreign Miners’ License Tax required a $3 monthly license fee on miners ineligible for citizenship (i.e., Chinese).
1852: Commutation Tax required shipmasters to prepare a list of foreign passengers, and ship owners to post a $500 bond for each, which could be commuted by paying a tax of $5 to $50 per passenger. The law was an attempt to dissuade Chinese immigration.
1855: Tax of $50 imposed on shipmasters or ship owners for each foreign passenger ineligible for citizenship (i.e., Chinese). The California Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in 1857.
1855: Foreign Miners’ License Tax increased to $6 per month, and set to increase $2 higher each subsequent year. Repealed by the state legislature in 1856, establishing the tax at $4 per month.
1858: Chinese individuals were forbidden from landing in California except during weather-related emergencies. The California Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in 1862.
1862: Chinese Police Tax levied a $2.50 fee on all Chinese living in the state, with a few exceptions. (The term "police" referred to the legislative authority to regulate for the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the state.) The California Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional later in 1862.
1863: Chinese individuals were disallowed from testifying in criminal or civil cases.
1863: Chinese children were excluded from public schools.
1867: Living areas were required to have at least 500 cubic feet of air for each resident. (Chinese housing was the primary target of the law.)
1870: Steep fines up to $5000 were imposed on individuals who imported Chinese into the state without a "certificate of good character." The California Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional.
1876: Chinese laborers were barred from working on county irrigation projects.
1878: Chinese individuals were barred from owning real estate.
Sources consulted:

Jerome A. Hart, The Kearney-Kalloch Epoch reprinted on-line by the Museum of the City of San Francisco [www.sfmuseum.org].

Charles J. McClain, In Search of Equality: The Chinese Struggle Against Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

Elmer Clarence Sandmeyer, The Anti-Chinese Movement in California (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991).


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