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Defectives in the Land – Disability and Immigration in the Age of Eugenics - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Defectives in the Land: Disability and Immigration in the Age of Eugenics

Douglas C. Baynton


The movement to restrict immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was primarily intended to keep people with disabilities, otherwise known as “defectives,” out of the United States. Restriction advocates such as the Immigration Restriction League, legislators who drafted and voted for the laws, and immigration officials who administered the laws shared this intent and expressed it in language derived from eugenics. Histories of immigration restriction have focused on race and ethnicity, while largely overlooking the central role of disability in crafting the image of th ... More

Keywords: immigration, restriction, selection, degeneracy, disability, defect, defective, handicap, eugenics, history

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780226364162
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226364339.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Douglas C. Baynton, author
University of Iowa

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