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Angel Island: Gateway of the Pacific

            One of the largest and most wealthy countries in the world, the United States of America, has gone through many changes in its long history. From winning its independence from Great Britain to present day, America has changed dramatically and continues to change. A term first coined in the 1840s, "Manifest Destiny" helped push America into the next century and make the country part of what it is today. During the late 1880s and 1940s immigration was a form of Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny was a 19th-century doctrine, belief and government policy of imperialistic expansion defended as necessary or benevolent.
             There was concern among the U.S. public, as well as policymakers and the press, that "new" immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, as well as Asia were somehow different from previous generations of Western European immigrants to the United States and whether their supposed differences posed a threat to U.S. society and culture. The so-called science of eugenics helped drive this concern, the notion that ethnic groups had inherent qualities and that some ethnic groups had better qualities than others. These beliefs tied in directly to concerns about immigration and immigration policy. Immigration stations, such as Angel Island, were a symbol of exclusion. The purpose these stations were to enforce the Chinese exclusion laws and to serve as a detainment center for those deemed unfit for U.S. citizens. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by Congress. Chinese immigrants were judged solely though the terms of the exclusion laws. This act exiled Chinese laborers from arriving in the United States. This was the first time ever that a specific ethnicity was banned from immigrating to the U.S. Racism against the Chinese and other Asian races was strong, so the ban remained for ten years, but was eventually made "permanent". These Exclusion laws had taken away the rights, not only as an immigrant but as a human being.

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