Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
During the first decades of this century, the theory of eugenics, which applied social Darwinism to human beings, was an influential movement. Its major contention was that Northern Europeans were genetically superior to other groups-Southern and Eastern Europeans, Asians, blacks and Jews. Therefore, the presence of these "inferior" groups in the U.S. should be limited, both by constraining the growth of their populations and by restricting their entry into the nation. Rooted in "science," eugenics was embraced by prominent intellectuals of the era, including Harvard psychologist William McDougall and University of Wisconsin sociologist E. A. Ross. The power of this movement is reflected by the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, which virtually eliminated the entry of non-Northern Europeans to the U.S.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1991