This essay considers the dynamic relationship between immigration, migration, national identity, and racial formation in United States history, with a close focus on the early twentieth century, when these phenomena were dramatically mobilized. More specifically, it focuses on a set of interlocking social and intellectual movements – immigration, internal migration, and intellectual connections – that shaped an early phase of immigration restriction, and draws upon the biographies of several prominent eugenicists to showcase the relationship between social movements, intellectual currents, and national borders. This history, the author concludes at the end, is especially relevant right now, with the effort to re-establish hard walls along national borders to achieve eugenic, bio-political ends.
Racial formation; white supremacy; history of the USA; Madison Grant; Earnest Sevier Cox; Lothrop Stoddard; W. E. B. Du Bois
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