Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Third Asiatic Invasion

The Third Asiatic Invasion: Migration and Empire in Filipino America, 1898-1946

Rick Baldoz
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 309
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Third Asiatic Invasion
    Book Description:

    The first half of the twentieth century witnessed a wave of Filipino immigration to the United States, following in the footsteps of earlier Chinese and Japanese immigrants, the first and second Asiatic invasions. Perceived as alien because of their Asian ethnicity yet legally defined as American nationals granted more rights than other immigrants, Filipino American national identity was built upon the shifting sands of contradiction, ambiguity, and hostility.Rick Baldoz explores the complex relationship between Filipinos and the U.S. by looking at the politics of immigration, race, and citizenship on both sides of the Philippine-American divide: internationally through an examination of American imperial ascendancy and domestically through an exploration of the social formation of Filipino communities in the United States. He reveals how American practices of racial exclusion repeatedly collided with the imperatives of U.S. overseas expansion. A unique portrait of the Filipino American experience, The Third Asiatic Invasion links the Filipino experience to that of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Chinese and Native Americans, among others, revealing how the politics of exclusion played out over time against different population groups.Weaving together an impressive range of materials - including newspapers, government reports, legal documents and archival sources - into a seamless narrative, Baldoz illustrates how the quixotic status of Filipinos played a significant role in transforming the politics of race, immigration and nationality in the United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-8988-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    On October 22, 1934, a young couple, Rafael Lopez de Onate and Eleanor (Ellen) Wilson McAdoo, appeared at the Riverside County Clerk’s Office in California to apply for a marriage license. They did not actually get married that day, as California law required prospective partners to file a three-day “notice of intention to marry,” so their visit to the clerk’s office was the first step in a multipart process.¹ The couple’s decision to file their application in Riverside was curious, as both De Onate and Wilson McAdoo resided in West Hollywood, California, about seventy miles away. The pair likely wanted...

  5. 1 The Racial Vectors of Empire: Classification and Competing Master Narratives in the Colonial Philippines
    (pp. 21-44)

    The late nineteenth century was a time of rapid political transformation in the Philippines. A national independence movement had taken hold, putting three centuries of Spanish colonial rule on the verge of collapse. This struggle was quickly derailed, however, as the Philippines were dragged into the American imperial orbit during the Spanish-American War. Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. Meanwhile, the American drive for an extraterritorial empire created problems at home as lawmakers struggled to justify the nation’s acquisition of overseas territories. The United States itself was a...

  6. 2 Transpacific Traffic: Migration, Labor, and Settlement
    (pp. 45-69)

    Empire and migration go together, inasmuch as industrial development and growth of international trade networks spurred large movements of people across national borders and made it cheaper and simpler for individuals to traverse the globe. New transportation and communications networks collapsed the spatial and ideological distance separating metropole and colony, facilitating the two-way flow of people back and forth across the Philippine-American divide. Despite hyperbolic claims made by nativists and anti-imperialists, most American statesmen did not expect the Philippines to become a major source of immigration to the United States. This turned out to be a serious miscalculation, though the...

  7. 3 “It Is the Fight of This Nation against the Filipinos”: Redrawing Boundaries of Race and Nation
    (pp. 70-112)

    The growing visibility of Filipinos in the American West during the 1920s drew considerable public attention in a region that had long been the locus of anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. Discriminatory measures restricting the socioeconomic mobility of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries evolved into a more generalized campaign to curb the entry and settlement of all Asian groups in the United States, a movement that reached its apex with the passage of the 1924 Immigration Act.¹ As U.S. nationals, Filipinos were exempted from the restrictive quotas established by the law, a...

  8. 4 “Get Rid of All Filipinos or We’ll Burn This Town Down”: Racial Revanchism and the Contested Color Line in the Interwar West
    (pp. 113-155)

    Early efforts by lawmakers and nativists to control the Filipino immigrant population and keep them “in their place” using conventional methods achieved mixed results. While these legal measures severely restricted the social and economic mobility of Filipinos, immigration from the islands grew steadily during the late 1920s, with an estimated population of around forty-five thousand living in the U.S. mainland by 1930. Western nativists had warned of an impending Filipino “invasion” dating back to the mid-1920s, but their calls for legislative action on the issue failed to generate much national attention. The failure of the federal government to curtail immigration...

  9. 5 “To Guard the Doors of My People”: Exclusion, Independence, and Repatriation
    (pp. 156-193)

    The volatile political events of the late 1920s and early 1930s placed a national spotlight on Filipino immigration and settlement, which up until that point, had been primarily a regional issue. Nativist leaders characterized the race riots on the West Coast as the inevitable outgrowth of permissive government policies that allowed for the unrestricted immigration of another unwanted and unassimilable population. Restrictionists made effective use of the newfound public attention paid to the issue and hoped this notoriety would galvanize public support for exclusion. Spokespersons for the anti-Filipino movement warned of even more violence and political strife unless the federal...

  10. 6 “Another Mirage of Democracy”: War, Nationality, and Asymmetrical Allegiance
    (pp. 194-236)

    The years leading up to World War II witnessed a series of domestic and international political shifts that profoundly altered the contours of U.S.-Philippines relations. The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, as discussed in the previous chapter, established a framework for Philippine independence, but full autonomy was not scheduled to go into effect until the completion of a ten-year probationary phase, set to end in 1946.¹ During this period, a Commonwealth government was established in the islands and tasked with implementing a national constitution and managing the transfer of sovereignty. For most residents of the Philippines, life under the Commonwealth system...

  11. Epilogue
    (pp. 237-240)

    The advent of Philippine independence ushered in a new era in Filipino American politics, though the political trajectory of the two nations has remained closely intertwined throughout the postcolonial era. The status of Filipinos in the United States, to be sure, saw some marked improvement in the period after the war. Racial barriers to citizenship were dismantled as result of the wartime efforts of Asian Americans, and other discriminatory measures, such as proscriptions on intermarriage and property rights, became increasingly untenable, leading states to repeal many of these laws in the years immediately following the war. Filipinos in the United...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 241-286)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 287-296)
  14. Index
    (pp. 297-300)
  15. About the Author
    (pp. 301-301)