The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship, 1870-1965

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Overview

The Qualities of a Citizen traces the application of U.S. immigration and naturalization law to women from the 1870s to the late 1960s. Like no other book before, it explores how racialized, gendered, and historical anxieties shaped our current understandings of the histories of immigrant women. The book takes us from the first federal immigration restrictions against Asian prostitutes in the 1870s to the immigration "reform" measures of the late 1960s. Throughout this period, topics such as morality, family, marriage, poverty, and nationality structured historical debates over women's immigration and citizenship.

At the border, women immigrants, immigration officials, social service providers, and federal judges argued the grounds on which women would be included within the nation. As interview transcripts and court documents reveal, when, where, and how women were welcomed into the country depended on their racial status, their roles in the family, and their work skills. Gender and race mattered.

The book emphasizes the comparative nature of racial ideologies in which the inclusion of one group often came with the exclusion of another. It explores how U.S. officials insisted on the link between race and gender in understanding America's peculiar brand of nationalism. It also serves as a social history of the law, detailing women's experiences and strategies, successes and failures, to belong to the nation.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American Ethnic History - Beatrice McKenzie
Martha Gardner's full and richly detailed book . . . is an insightful analysis of the application of United States immigration and citizenship law to women across a broad spectrum of classes and races between 1870 and the late 1960s. . . . Gardner's devotion to her sources, evident in the stunning details she provides, makes the history come alive.
From the Publisher

"Martha Gardner's full and richly detailed book . . . is an insightful analysis of the application of United States immigration and citizenship law to women across a broad spectrum of classes and races between 1870 and the late 1960s. . . . Gardner's devotion to her sources, evident in the stunning details she provides, makes the history come alive."--Beatrice McKenzie, Journal of American Ethnic History
Journal of American Ethnic History
Martha Gardner's full and richly detailed book . . . is an insightful analysis of the application of United States immigration and citizenship law to women across a broad spectrum of classes and races between 1870 and the late 1960s. . . . Gardner's devotion to her sources, evident in the stunning details she provides, makes the history come alive.
— Beatrice McKenzie
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691144436
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 11/9/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 568,053
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha Gardner is Assistant Professor of History at DePaul University.

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Table of Contents

In the Shadow of the Law 1

PART I: Wives, Mothers, and Maids

Chapter One: Immigrants, Citizens, and Marriage 13
Chapter Two: The Limits of Derivative Citizenship 31
Chapter Three: Seeing Difference 50
Chapter Four: Constructing a Moral Border 73
Chapter Five: Likely to Become 87
Chapter Six: Toil and Trouble 100

PART II: Citizens, Residents, and Non-Americans

Chapter Seven: When Americans Are Not Citizens 121
Chapter Eight: When Citizens Are Not White 139
Chapter Nine: Reproducing the Nation 157
Chapter Ten: Women in Need 176
Chapter Eleven: At Work in the Nation 199

PART III: Marriage, Family, and the Law

Chapter Twelve: Families, Made in America 223
Chapter Thirteen: Marriage and Morality 240
Conclusion: Regulating Belonging 254
A Brief Guide to Archival Sources 257
Acknowledgments 261
Index 263

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