A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution

October 1, 1987 – January 11, 2004

National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

3rd Floor, Armed Forces History Hall

See on Map Floor Plan

The Constitutional process is examined by considering the experiences of Americans of Japanese ancestry before, during, and after World War II. During World War II almost 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were forced to leave their homes, sell much of their property at enormous losses, and move into U.S. government-built detention camps as a result of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942.

However, in spite of this community's loss of rights, many young Japanese Americans volunteered for duty in the U.S. armed forces, serving with great distinction in both the European and Pacific theaters of war. The most famous were members of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, a group composed almost entirely of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the detention camps. On view are more than 1,000 artifacts and photographs relating to the experiences of these Japanese Americans.