Description

    [Broadside]. Denis Kearney and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Published in late 1877 or early 1878 by Isodore Nathan Choynski, this lithograph, measuring 14" x 11" on heavy stock, is titled "The Tables Turned/You Sabe Him? Kealney Must Go!" and depicts Denis Kearney, founder and president of the Workingman's Party of California, in a prison uniform and standing behind bars, being taunted by several Chinese immigrants. The picture ran shortly after Kearney was jailed for inciting a riot. Mildly toned along the margins with slight tearing along the bottom edge. Upper and lower corners lightly damaged.

    Denis Kearney (1847-1907), a native of Cork, Ireland, left home at eleven and became a sailor on American steamships. He settled in San Francisco in 1868 and became an American citizen. Kearney joined the Public Safety Committee of William Tell Coleman in 1877 and, in August of the same year, established the Workingman's Party. The Party was the mouthpiece for anti-Chinese sentiment and was used to denounce local businesses, including the Central Pacific Railroad, for employing Chinese immigrant labor as well as blaming the "Coolies" for the depressed wage level in the state. By 1879, the party, known by their slogan "The Chinese must go!", had made enough political headway as to acquire one-third of the delegates to the California Constitutional Convention. They succeeded in passing through many anti-Chinese laws, but he and his party faded away in the early 1880s. His only legacy was his (self-proclaimed) influence on the national Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, itself built upon revisions to the earlier Burlingame Treaty of 1868.


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    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    12th Saturday
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