100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Yick Wo

Yick Wo

Racial Discrimination in the Dai Fou

“The Very Idea [is] Intolerable in any Country 184 where Freedom Prevails”

Yick Wo v. Hopkins

118 U.S. 356 (1886)

It did not take long for the news to reach China that gold had been discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California, in 1848. Waves of hopeful Chinese people, many from the southern provinces, headed for California, often for “Dai Fou,” their phrase for “the big city”—San Francisco. The lure of gold was not the only draw for these immigrants; they also wanted to escape the wars, uprisings, and natural disasters that had made life in China unbearable. The transpacific flow of newcomers had not abated by 1861, when a man named Yick Wo made his way to America, and to ...

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