The Opium Debate and Chinese Exclusion Laws in the Nineteenth-century American West

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University of Nevada Press, 2007 - History - 132 pages
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America's current struggle with drug addiction is not the nation's first. In the mid-nineteenth century, opium-smoking was decried as a major social and public health problem, especially in the West. Although China faced its own epidemic of opium addiction, only a very small minority of Chinese immigrants in America were actually involved in the opium business. It was in Anglo communities that the use of opium soon spread and this growing use was deemed a threat to the nation's entrepreneurial spirit and to its growing importance as a world economic and military power. The Opium Debate and Chinese Exclusion Laws examines how the spread of opium-smoking fueled racism and created demands for the removal of the Chinese from American life. This meticulously researched study of the nineteenth-century drug-abuse crisis reveals the ways moral crusaders linked their anti-opium rhetoric to already active demands for Chinese exclusion.
  

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This is a good book on how the opium debate affected Chinese exclusion in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ahmad argues that although economics were the primary reason for excluding Chinese ... Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER i
1
Into the Wests Caves of Oblivion
17
Threats to Body and Behavior
36
CHAPTER 4
61
SmokingOpiums Continued Presence
77
Notes
91
Bibliography
113
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About the author (2007)

Diana L. Ahmad is an associate professor of history at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

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