American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism

By Nancy Ordover | Go to book overview

I

National Hygiene: Twentieth-Century
Immigration and the Eugenics Lobby

The character of the nation is determined primarily by its racial
qualities; that is, by the hereditary physical, mental, and moral or
temperamental traits of its people…. It is now hightime that the
eugenical element, that is, the factor of natural hereditary qualities
which will determine our future characteristics and safety, receive
due consideration.

—Harry Laughlin, testimony before the U.S. House
Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
“Biological Aspects of Immigration”

The fact of the matter is that nationalism thinks in terms of
historical destinies, while racism dreams of eternal contaminations,
transmitted from the origins of time through an endless sequence
of loathsome copulations: outside history.

—Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities

-1-

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