THE LEGAL STATUS OF ARMENIANS IN FRESNO COUNTY (1880-1920) – 2016-4

Summary

Hasmik M. Yesayan

Key words – discrimination, nativism, restrictive covenants, immigration policy, natives, “undesirables”, racial classification, citizenship.

This article makes an attempt to investigate the legal status of the Armenians settled in Fresno, California in the 1880-1920s in the context of national policies of the United States. The Nativism, an Anglo-Saxon influential movement, formed in 19th century was aimed at maintaining racial purity, and the United States government adopted a variety of different laws for that purpose. The most essential of these laws was the law on refugee citizenship, which was accompanied by discussions about the ethnic origins and the refugees deprived of the rights came across serious obstacles in all of the legal and social fields and the immigration restricting laws of 1921-1924s, which resulted in significant reduction of the Armenian immigration to the United States, including California, Fresno.

The article discusses the origin and the reasons of the national discrimination against the Armenians in Fresno County, caused by nativism, as well as the inter-ethnic relations between the Armenians and the natives. It reveals the restrictive covenants, which were aimed at «undesirables», including Armenians. These laws created complications and obstacles for the Armenians in their new homeland, Fresno.

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