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"Analysis of America's Modern Melting Pot," Harry H. Laughlin testimony before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization (9)

"Analysis of America's Modern Melting Pot," Harry H. Laughlin testimony before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization (9)
Description:
"Analysis of America's Modern Melting Pot," Harry H. Laughlin testimony before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization (9)
Transcript:
1132. 738 Analysis of America's Modern Melting Pot. Mr. Box. At about what age can we usually detect the feeble-minded? Doctor Laughlin. According to the degree of feeble-mindedness, this defect can be detected from birth until about 12 years of age. The most abject idiocy is detectable soon after birth. In the border line, or the backward classes, there is sometimes only a slowing down of mental development, so that detection is more difficult, but at the age of 12, even the child who is only a little backward can generally be determined. Mr. Box. These figures are from institutions for the feeble-minded. At what age are children usually committed to custodial care? Doctor Laughlin. The average age of custodial commitment for the feeble-minded is approximately 17 years. This matter of early and easy diagnosis of the feeble-minded, together with the early age of institutional commitment - all on the one hand -- and the average age of immigrants, on the other, is a very important factor in keeping down the quota fulfillment of the foreign born in our institutions for the feeble-minded. For 1921 the average age of immigrants admitted to the United States was 28.18 years. Thus with the relative ease of diagnosis and the early manifestation of mental defect, it has been very difficult for the feeble-minded to slip through the sieve maintained by the immigration service. It is unusually possible, even for the non-expert, to spot a foll or a mentally deficient person before the age of 10, because, even among the best of them, at that age, as a result of a slowed-down development, the mentality is usually patently inferior. The expert mental tester is rarely deceived. Mr. Vaile. You say that the foreign born fulfilled their expected quota in the institutions for the feeble-minded by only 31.56 per cent? Doctor Laughlin. Yes, sir. If we had had three times as many feeble-minded foreign-born persons in our institutions as we actually found, the alien quota fulfillment in custodial feeble-mindedness would have been approximately equal to that of the whole population. In ability to keep out this particular type of institution the foreign born of the first generation make a much better record that the whole population. Mr. Vaile. But you are making the point that there should not be any at all if the exclusion laws worked perfectly? Doctor Laughlin. Yes, sir. That is the idea. The Chairman. In other words, the law has shut out only two-thirds as many feeble-minded persons as it should have done? Mr. Raker. That is what I am getting at. We are letting the immigrants fulfill a normal quota of feeble-mindedness up to 31.56 per cent, when we should have kept it down to zero per cent. Doctor Laughlin. Exactly. Hereditary Feeble-Mindedness in Immigrants. The Chairman. What is the biological or racial value of or, rather, the damage wrought by this type of immigrant? Doctor Laughlin. Your question, Mr. Chairman, calls attention to a very important point or principle which the immigration laws and their administration have not applied up to the present time, but which, in the interests of race conservation, should constitute a main element in future immigration policy. We in this country have been so imbued with the idea of democracy, or the quality of all men, that we have left out of consideration the matter of blood or natural inborn hereditary mental and moral differences. No man who breeds pedigreed plants and animals can afford to neglect this thing, as you know. But in adding to our human breeding stock by immigration that is what we do: We keep out fairly well the individually feeble-minded immigrant, but, because we have ignored inborn quality, when the next generation arrives, children of immigrants make a very poor showing by being relatively very numerous in this particular type of degeneracy. According to our findings (Table 1, p.774, chart 1, p. 734), while the foreign born themselves only fulfilled their institutional quota for feeble-mindedness by 31.56 per cent, the native white, one parent foreign born and one native born, fulfilled their quota by 190.27 per cent - nearly twice the normal quota, or six times the quota of the present immigration generation. The native white, both parents foreign born, fulfilled their quota, 165.39 per cent, one and two-thirds the normal expectation, or five times that of the immigrant. This means that the immigration laws and their administration do not take into consideration the A B C of pedigree or family stock. The students of heredity know that most of the qualities which cause feeble-mindedness behave as hereditary recessives - that is, individuals who, in person, may appear perfectly normal, may carry in their blood the hereditary potentialities for producing degenerates. Such persons are individually good mongrels in reference to mentality. In this analysis we are compar-
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