On This Date in Legal History

In March 1897 the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark was argued before the United States Supreme Court. The following facts were presented– Wong Kim Ark was born in San Francisco in 1873, and he continuously maintained a residence there. When he was around twenty-one years old, he visited relatives in China. Upon his return, he was prevented from re-entering the United States because his parents were of Chinese descent. The United States District Attorney argued that his case fell under no exception to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Supreme Court disagreed.


During this time in American history, inspectors probed each person of Chinese descent attempting to enter the country. They tried to place barriers to their entrée. (The New York Historical Society Chinese Exclusion Act Exhibit.)

On March 28, 1898, Justice Gray wrote, “the American citizenship which Wong Kim Ark acquired by birth within the United States has not been lost or taken away by anything happening since his birth.” “That said Wong Kim Ark has not, either by himself or his parents acting for him, ever renounced his allegiance to the United States, and that he has never done or committed any act or thing to exclude him therefrom.” Learn more at http://goo.gl/CbWqIK.

About Tina Nelson
Tina Nelson

Tina Nelson is an attorney and mom. She created the LAWSUIT™ board game to teach her three children about the law. The game was an instant success. Copyrights and a patent were obtained, and Professional Games, Inc. was born. Professional Games, Inc. created this blog to educate and keep its friends and customers regularly updated about our American legal system.
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