The eugenics movement had a significant influence on U.S. immigration policy. Politicians, reformers, and civic leaders imbued with a sense of Americanism and scientific justification enacted laws to limit immigration to what they regarded as “desirable” types.
English statistician Francis Galton, the founder of the eugenics movement.
During the late nineteenth century, scholars and scientists applied naturalist
Within the United States, the opportunities and challenges of the early twentieth century brought the eugenics movement to the forefront of progressive reform efforts, specifically related to limiting the influx of immigrants. After the U.S. Civil War ended in 1865, increasing numbers of Asians and eastern and southern Europeans came to the United States in search of brighter futures. Many well-established American citizens opposed the growing foreign population and demanded a return to the core Anglo-American Protestant values and the stock of people upon which they believed the United States had been built. Publication of
Eugenics, rising xenophobia, and the progressive spirit of the early twentieth century resulted in new restrictive rules in U.S. immigration policy. Advocates of the eugenics movement pressed state and federal governments to take action to foster eugenics goals. Eugenicists succeeded in influencing the passage of state laws supporting
The eugenicists’ plan for “race betterment” attracted many followers during the first decades of the century. Prominent and influential figures, including Presidents
Black, Edwin. War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003. Engs, Ruth Clifford. The Eugenics Movement: An Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2005. Kline, Wendy. Building a Better Race. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Pickens, Donald K. Eugenics and the Progressives. Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, 1968.
Birth control movement
Immigration Act of 1924