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Eugenics, Citizenship, and Immigration


Eugenics, Citizenship, and Immigration There is an irreconcilable resistance to amalgamation and social equality that cannot be ignored. -Representative Clarence ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Eugenics, Citizenship, and Immigration

Eugenics, Citizenship, and Immigration
  • There is an irreconcilable resistance to
    amalgamation and social equality that cannot be
  • -Representative Clarence F. Lea, 1924

  • Peaked during the Progressive Era (1890-1914)
  • Before 1890 immigration primarily from
    Northwestern Europe (Great Britain, Ireland,
    Canada, Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland,
  • 1890-1914 South and Eastern Europe
    (Austria-Hungary, Italy, Russia, Greece, Romania,
  • Majority were non-Protestant, spoke unfamiliar

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How Immigrants Were Viewed
  • Competition for jobs, housing, and public
  • Threatened prosperous Americans by crowding the
    largest cities
  • Bred crime and disease caused social problems
    instead of being the victims of them

Definition of Citizenship
  • After the Civil War, whites and persons of
    African descent were eligible for citizenship
  • In some cases, everyone not black was considered
    white, but
  • Takao Ozawa, a Japanese immigrant, was denied
    citizenship by the Supreme Court in 1922 because
    he was white but not Caucasian
  • The Supreme Court also denied citizenship from
    Singh Thind, a Hindu, because he was Caucasian
    but not white

Eugenicists Goals
  • Stop the decline of American intelligence
  • insure aprogressive upward evolution
  • Define citizenship based on race
  • Stop the immigration of Eastern Europeans and
    others polluting America
  • Prevent the immigration of anyone who might
    prove costly to society

Supporters of Immigration Restriction
  • Boston-based Immigration Restriction League
    pushed for immigrants to pass a literacy test
  • President Calvin Coolidge Restricted
    immigration is not an offensive but purely a
    defensive action. 1924

Direct Causes of Restriction
  • Outbreaks of smallpox, typhus and cholera in New
    York increase scrutiny of immigrants
  • Fear of spies and the openness of borders creates
    anxiety during WWI
  • A statement by Leon Kamaiky that essentially said
    3 million Polish Jews would come to America if
    given the means

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Strategies of Eugenicists
  • Used graphs, pedigree charts, and the results of
    hundreds of IQ tests to provide shocking
    scientific evidence
  • Use graphics, such as pictures from Ellis Island
  • Call immigrants degrading names, such as
    Carriers of the Germ Plasm of the Future
    American Population
  • A Study of American Intelligence by Carl Brigham,
    which provided a scientific rationale

Harry Laughlin
  • Used statistics, charts, graphics, etc. from the
    ERO to present the immigration problem to the
    House Committee on Immigration
  • Appointed Expert Eugenics Agent by the committee
  • Influenced Representatives to oppose immigration

Challengers to the Eugenicists
  • Herbert Spencer Jennings
  • Testified before Congress about Laughlins flawed
    statistics testimony cut short
  • Ignored in favor of Laughlins lurid findings
  • Representative Adolph J. Sabath
  • Argued for assimilation in a Congressional debate
  • Dr. Frederick Lam
  • Worked to convince officials that liver fluke, a
    common disease among Chinese immigrants, was

Immigration Policies
  • Immigration Restriction Act of 1924
  • Scale the number of immigrants down by allowing
    only 2 of each groups population in the US
    according to the census of 1890
  • Reduced quota of Southern and Eastern Europeans
    from 45 to 15
  • Coolidge rallied support with his slogan America
    must remain American
  • Deportation of foreigners with ailments, even
    non-communicable diseases

Effects of These Policies
  • Immigration from Asia and Africa is essentially
    cut off
  • Source of immigrants returns to former areas
  • Ends the era of the most immigration in history

Modern Repercussions
  • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 replaces
    the racism of the 1924 act
  • New system gives preferences to refugeespeople
    with relatives in the United States, and workers
    with needed skills
  • Only 16 of foreign-born people now come from

  • The Self Made Man
  • Harry Laughlin
  • Pie Charts
  • Immigrant Picture
  • Social Origins of Eugenics
  • Race and Membership in American History The
    Eugenics Movement
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