Making Americans / Edition 1

Making Americans / Edition 1

by Desmond King
     
 

ISBN-10: 067400812X

ISBN-13: 9780674008120

Pub. Date: 06/15/2002

Publisher: Harvard University Press

In the nineteenth century, virtually anyone could get into the United States. But by the 1920s, U.S. immigration policy had become a finely filtered regime of selection. Desmond King looks at this dramatic shift, and the debates behind it, for what they reveal about the construction of an "American" identity.

Specifically, the debates in the three decades leading

Overview

In the nineteenth century, virtually anyone could get into the United States. But by the 1920s, U.S. immigration policy had become a finely filtered regime of selection. Desmond King looks at this dramatic shift, and the debates behind it, for what they reveal about the construction of an "American" identity.

Specifically, the debates in the three decades leading up to 1929 were conceived in terms of desirable versus undesirable immigrants. This not only cemented judgments about specific European groups but reinforced prevailing biases against groups already present in the United States, particularly African Americans, whose inferior status and second-class citizenship--enshrined in Jim Crow laws and embedded in pseudo-scientific arguments about racial classifications--appear to have been consolidated in these decades. Although the values of different groups have always been recognized in the United States, King gives the most thorough account yet of how eugenic arguments were used to establish barriers and to favor an Anglo-Saxon conception of American identity, rejecting claims of other traditions. Thus the immigration controversy emerges here as a significant precursor to recent multicultural debates.

Making Americans shows how the choices made about immigration policy in the 1920s played a fundamental role in shaping democracy and ideas about group rights in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674008120
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
06/15/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
402
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

I. Immigrant America

Immigration and American Political Development

A Less Intelligent Class? The Dillingham Commission and the New Immigrants

II. Defining Americans

"The Fire of Patriotism": Americanization and U.S. Identity

"Frequent Skimmings of the Dross": Building an American Race?

"A Very Serious National Menace": Eugenics and Immigration

III. Legislating Americans

Enacting National Origins: The Johnson-Reed Immigration Act (1924)

"A Slur on Our Citizenry": Dismantling National Origins: The 1965 Act

IV. Legacies

After Americanization: Ethnic Politics and Multiculturalism

The Diverse Democracy

Appendix

Notes

Index

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