Like similar volumes such as “Women in Congress” and “Hispanic Americans in Congress”, “Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress 1900-2017” continues the successful historical analysis on minority groups in the legislative branch of the Federal government. As stated in the title, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have been members of Congress dating back to the 1900s. This diversity has had a positive effect on the lawmaking system in the United States.
It took many years for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to gain any real power in Congress, and World War II was a turning point for many people. The U.S. held hundreds of Japanese in internment camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and resentment between the two sides festered as the war raged on. This had consequences for Asian and Pacific Islanders in the Philippines and Guam, who originally were protected by the U.S., but eventually experienced the negative effects of the war. Still, some saw this as a chance to prove they belonged in the United States just as much as anyone. One of the biggest achievements for Asian and Pacific Islanders was Hawaii, which became an official U.S. State in 1959.
There are many notable Asian and Pacific Islander Americans mentioned throughout this book; Patsy Takemoto Mink, who became the first woman of color elected to Congress in 1964, and Dalip Saund the first Asian and Pacific Islander American elected to Congress with full voting rights in 1956. The book gives a comprehensive overview on the history of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress that have helped shape the country over the last century. This is especially important because this is one of the strong points in the U.S. legislative system, because American citizens value that their voices are being heard. Promoting people of all backgrounds to be a part of the law making process allows the people to feel represented.
Overall this book is extremely informative, and it was enjoyable to learn all about how Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have become such key players in the U.S. Congress.
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About the author: Blogger contributor Nicholas LaPorte is an intern in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales office.