Introduction to "The Chinese American Experience".

Key Issues related to "The Chinese American Experience".

Biographies of people related to "The Chinese American Experience".

Index of the Articles and Illustrations found in Harper's Weekly.

Articles and Illustrations organized by type.

Use the links above to navigate this web site.

Burlingame Treaty (1868)

In 1867, the Chinese government made an extraordinary request of the American minister to China, Anson Burlingame: that he head a Chinese diplomatic mission to the United States and European nations. The request was evidence of the high degree of trust and confidence that the Chinese government placed in Burlingame. The minister resigned his position to accompany two Chinese envoys on the tour. The mission resulted in an agreement by the American and Chinese governments to revise the 1858 Treaty of Tientsin. The amendment to the Treaty of Tientsin, commonly known as the Burlingame Treaty, was signed in Washington, D. C., in July 1868.
Under the terms of the Burlingame Treaty, both countries were to recognize "the inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home and allegiance, and also the mutual advantage of the free migration and emigration of their citizens and subjects, respectively for purposes of curiosity, of trade, or as permanent residents." The United States government had insisted on the free immigration provision to counter the Chinese government’s prohibition of its subjects emigrating. Another clause stipulated that "Chinese subjects visiting or residing in the United States, shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities, and exemptions in respect to travel or residence, as may there be enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation." The privileges and immunities provision was aimed at protecting Chinese in the United States against discrimination, exploitation, and violence.
Sources consulted:

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

Shih-Shan Henry Tsai, The Chinese Experience in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986)

This site is brought to you by…
Website and all Content 1998-1999 HarpWeek, LLC
Please report problems to