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In the 1850s, Chinese workers migrated to the United States, first to work in the gold mines, and took agricultural jobs and factory work, especially in the garment industry. Chinese immigrants were particularly instrumental in building railroads in the American West. As Chinese laborers grew successful in the United States, many became entrepreneurs in their own right.
The Chinese Exclusion Acts were not repealed until 1943, and then only in the interests of aiding the morale of a wartime ally during World War II. With relations already complicated by the Opium Wars and the Treaties of Wangxia and Tianjian>, the increasingly harsh restrictions on Chinese immigration, combined with the rising discrimination against Chinese living in the United States in the 1870s-early 1900s, placed additional strain on the diplomatic relationship between the United States and China.
* Republished from [https://history.state.gov/| Office of the Historian, United States Department of State]