Saturday, February 15, 2014

Kevin Yuill on FDR, immigration and race

Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933.
Source: Wikipedia
Franklin Roosevelt often receives accolades for pushing the USA towards a more liberal stance on race and immigration, even if his administration remained aloof from civil rights or immigration reforms. An article by Dr Kevin Yuill published in the journal Immigrants & Minorities: Historical Studies in Ethnicity, Migration and Diaspora questions that contention. Roosevelt, who presided over the period of the lowest immigration in the twentieth century, relied upon the break in immigration imposed by the 1924 Act (and the Depression) to consolidate a national culture based on ‘Nordic’ symbols, effectively carrying through the ‘Americanization’ initiated during World War I without coercion. While there is evidence of Roosevelt's liberal disposition towards those originating from Europe whose numbers were savagely restricted by the 1924 Immigration Act, and while Roosevelt was anxious to maintain cordial relations with Asian nations, he fully supported the Act's debarment of Asians from American citizenship. Moreover, he did so for strictly racial reasons.

Yuill, K. 2014. 'In the Shadow of the 1924 Immigration Act: FDR, Immigration and Race'. Immigrants & Minorities: Historical Studies in Ethnicity, Migration and Diaspora.


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