Website Search
ID 15433

Eugenics, race discrimination, and anti-immigration laws in the United States, James Watson

Description:
Interviewee: James Watson. Eugenic data, collected by Harry Laughlin, fed into racial prejudice, and provided the scientific rationale for restricting immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Here James Watson discusses how eugenicists reacted to the problem of mental illness and sought to lessen the threat of the "unfit" to the United States. (DNAi Location: Chronicle > Threat of the unfit > Threats > Immigration restriction)
Transcript:
Well, how did you avoid the unfit, and it fed into racial prejudice and one way to avoid the unfit was not to let them in the United States. So he decided the people from northern Europe were much more fit for, than those people from southern or eastern Europe. And his sidekick here, Harry Lawland was an advisor to the U.S. Congress, who in 1924 passed the infamous Immigration Act that greatly cut back immigration from southern and eastern Europe. So effectively no more Italians immigrated into the United States, likewise Jewish immigration was shut off.
Keywords:
germ plasm,immigration restriction,quaker woman,eastern europeans,james watson,race discrimination,racial prejudice,mental illnesses,intelligence tests,promiscuous behavior,immigration laws,goddards,kakos,recessive gene,united states studies,dnai,kallos,dalliance,immi,asylums
Downloads:
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

15444. How science was misused to support eugenics, James Watson
James Watson how science was misused to support eugenics.
15437. How the eugenists viewed the people they discriminated against, James Watson
James Watson talks about Eugenicists were concerned about the increasing cost of caring for the feebleminded, because they were thought to reproduce more quickly than normal individuals.
15440. Eugenics and mental institutions in the early 1900's - James Watson
James Watson talks about eugenics and mental institutions in the early 1900's.
15767. German educational slide explaining the Kallikak family, 1924
"Feeblemindedness," a catch-all mental illness characterized mainly by low scores on intelligence tests and supposed promiscuity, was a major concern of eugenicists.
15793. Immigrants on an Atlantic liner, early 1900s.
Eugenicists were concerned about the hundreds of thousands of southern and eastern Europeans who were entering the country each year through the U.S. immigration facility at Ellis Island,
15791. Aliens at Ellis Island
Types of aliens awaiting admission at Ellis Island station. Source: National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument.
10383. "Brains and the immigrant," by Melville Herskovits, The Nation (2)
"Brains and the immigrant," by Melville Herskovits, The Nation (2)
11090. "Relaxing quotas for exiles fought" and "Science and immgration," New York Times, May 4 and August 12, 1934 (Laughlin against exemptions for Jews)
"Relaxing quotas for exiles fought" and "Science and immgration," New York Times, May 4 and August 12, 1934 (Laughlin against exemptions for Jews)
15465. The American eugenics movement and bad science, James Watson
James Watson talks about The American eugenics movement and bad science
16324. Concept 14: Mendelian genetics cannot fully explain human health and behavior.
The eugenics movement applied Mendel's laws to complex human behaviors.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationPublic EventsNewsstandPartner With UsGiving