On October 11, 1906, the San Francisco Board of Education attempted to force the 93 Japanese students who were attending public school in San Francisco to attend the segregated Chinese school. The school board was responding to pressure from the Asiatic Exclusion Leauge in California that had the ultimate goal of ending Japanese immigration to California. Japanese Americans protested, but when they were unable to succeed in their efforts to change the School Board's decision, they alerted the Japanese media and Japanese government officials.
Japan officially protested. On October 26, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt publicly opposed the San Francisco School Board's decision. He did not fundamentally disagree with the point of view of exclusionists who wanted to limit immigration from Japan.
He did not want to antagonize or incite an international incident with Japan, which had catapulted to the position of a world military power. In his State of the Union Address the President delivered to Congress on December 3, 1906, he admonished those who refused to respect Japanese immigrants in the United States as uncivilized.
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