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Defectives in the LandDisability and Immigration in the Age of Eugenics$
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Douglas C. Baynton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226364162

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226364339.001.0001

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(p.79) 3 Dependent
Defectives in the Land

Douglas C. Baynton

University of Chicago Press

Chapter three examines the economic anxieties consequent upon the spread of a market economy and rapid industrialization, and their effects on how Americans understood the relative values of independence and dependence in relation to disability. In a context of economic insecurity and competition, the ideal of independence became ever more powerful, and disabled persons were increasingly described as dependent and burdensome. What had been primarily a family and community issue earlier in the century, in the new economy became a social problem to be addressed at the level of the state and the nation. The presumption of dependency informed the crafting of policy by lawmakers and its enforcement by immigration officials.

Keywords:   economic, market, industrialization, dependence, independence, burden, competition

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