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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.
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