National Origins Quotas

One of the goals of the eugenics movement in the United States was restricting immigrants from nations and ethnicities not of Anglo-Saxon or Germanic stock.  The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 was a victory for the movement, in that it severely limited immigration from areas outside of western and northern Europe.  The statistics given, quotas suggested by Congress as an addendum to the bill, gave estimates on the permitted number of immigrants that would be allowed in the United States, and it heavily favored immigrants from nations like Britain, Sweden, and Norway, as opposed to Russia, Italy, and Poland.  Sweden and Russia both had annual quotas around 20,000 persons, despite Russia’s population being immensely larger than that of Sweden. Congress’ bias against these nations was quite consistent with the eugenicists’ goals for the restriction of immigration, and Laughlin himself advised Congress on the science and benefits a quota system would bring.


Image Source: U.S. Congress, House, Restriction of Immigration, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, Report No. 176, pp. 22-23, Harry H. Laughlin Papers, C-4-1:1, Pickler Library, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri.



Immigration Restriction Documents:


Biological Arguments


Hybridized Populations