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Through nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, family, and the home, influential leaders in early twentieth-century America constructed and legitimated a range of reforms that promoted human reproduction. Their pronatalism emerged from a modernist conviction that reproduction and population could be regulated. European countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation; America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Laura Lovett calls “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. Lovett looks closely at the ideologies of five influential American figures: Mary Lease's maternalist agenda, Florence Sherbon's eugenic “fitter families” campaign, George Maxwell's “homecroft” movement of land reclamation and home building, Theodore Roosevelt's campaign for conservation and country life, and Edward Ross's sociological theory of race suicide and social control. Demonstrating the historical circumstances that linked agrarianism, racism, and pronatalism, Lovett shows how reproductive conformity was manufactured, how it was promoted, and why it was coercive. In addition to contributing to scholarship in American history, gender studies, rural studies, and environmental history, Lovett's study sheds light on the rhetoric of “family values” that has regained currency in recent years. Lovett examines how nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, the family, and the home were used to construct and legitimate policies that promoted reproduction in the early 20th-century U.S. In Europe, countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation. America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Lovett terms “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. She looks closely at five historical figures and policies: Elizabeth Lease’s maternalist agenda; Florence Sherbon’s eugenic “Fitter Families” campaign; George Maxwell’s “Homecroft” campaign of land reclamation and home building; Theodore Roosevelt’s campaign for conservation and country life; and Edward Ross’s sociological theory of race suicide and social control. Understanding the historical circumstances that associated agrarianism, racism, and pronatalism, she demonstrates how reproductive conformity was manufactured, how it was promoted, and why it was coercive. In addition to contributing to scholarship in American history, gender studies, rural studies, and environmental history, Lovett’s study also sheds light on current “family values” rhetoric. Through nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, family, and the home, argues Laura Lovett, influential leaders in early twentieth-century America constructed and legitimated a range of reforms that promoted human reproduction. Their pronatalism emerged from a modernist conviction that reproduction and population could be regulated. European countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation; America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Lovett terms “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. Through nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, family, and the home, influential leaders in early twentieth-century America constructed and legitimated a range of reforms that promoted human reproduction. Their pronatalism emerged from a modernist conviction that reproduction and population could be regulated. European countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation; America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Laura Lovett calls “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. Lovett looks closely at the ideologies of five influential American figures: Mary Lease's maternalist agenda, Florence Sherbon's eugenic “fitter families” campaign, George Maxwell's “homecroft” movement of land reclamation and home building, Theodore Roosevelt's campaign for conservation and country life, and Edward Ross's sociological theory of race suicide and social control. Demonstrating the historical circumstances that linked agrarianism, racism, and pronatalism, Lovett shows how reproductive conformity was manufactured, how it was promoted, and why it was coercive. In addition to contributing to scholarship in American history, gender studies, rural studies, and environmental history, Lovett's study sheds light on the rhetoric of “family values” that has regained currency in recent years.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-7
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-13
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  1. 1. Nostalgia, Modernism, and the Family Ideal
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. 2. New Occasions Teach New Duties: Mary Elizabeth Lease’s Maternalist Agenda
  2. pp. 17-44
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  1. 3. Reclaiming the Home: George H. Maxwell and the Homecroft Movement
  2. pp. 45-76
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  1. 4. The Political Economy of Sex: Edward A. Ross and Race Suicide
  2. pp. 77-108
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  1. 5. Men As Trees Walking: Theodore Roosevelt and the Conservation of the Race
  2. pp. 109-130
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  1. 6. Fitter Families for Future Firesides: Florence Sherbon and Popular Eugenics
  2. pp. 131-162
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  1. 7. American Pronatalism
  2. pp. 163-172
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 173-206
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 207-228
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 229-236
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469604725
Print ISBN
9780807831076
MARC Record
OCLC
793525333
Pages
248
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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