We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Americans Without Law

The Racial Boundaries of Citizenship

Mark Weiner

Publication Year: 2006

Americans Without Law shows how the racial boundaries of civic life are based on widespread perceptions about the relative capacity of minority groups for legal behavior, which Mark S. Weiner calls “juridical racialism.” The book follows the history of this civic discourse by examining the legal status of four minority groups in four successive historical periods: American Indians in the 1880s, Filipinos after the Spanish-American War, Japanese immigrants in the 1920s, and African Americans in the 1940s and 1950s.

Weiner reveals the significance of juridical racialism for each group and, in turn, Americans as a whole by examining the work of anthropological social scientists who developed distinctive ways of understanding racial and legal identity, and through decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that put these ethno-legal views into practice. Combining history, anthropology, and legal analysis, the book argues that the story of juridical racialism shows how race and citizenship served as a nexus for the professionalization of the social sciences, the growth of national state power, economic modernization, and modern practices of the self.

Published by: NYU Press


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-vii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. ix-x

This book contributes to the literature on American conceptions of race and citizenship from the perspective of the cultural history of law. My aim is to depict a specific language through which the racial character of civic belonging in the United States was understood from the late-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century, a way of speaking and thinking that I call “juridical racialism.” In sketching the contours of this...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-21

Wittgenstein, is “to imagine a form of life.”1 This book examines how one aspect of our national life, the racial limits of American civic belonging, was imagined and brought into being through a culturally potent and in stitutionally productive language of law. I call that language “juridical racialism,” and I believe it was a basic feature of the history of American...

read more

1. Laws of Development, Laws of Land

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 22-50

Although ethno-legal rhetoric has deep roots in the Western tradition, the discourse of juridical racialism formed in the United States only in the wake of the Civil War, when a confluence of historical developments created the ground for its emergence. Most important, the decades following the war saw the growing professionalization of a range of scientific and social scientific fields, and for anthropology, in particular...

read more

2. Teutonic Constitutionalism and the Spanish-American War

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 51-80

The closing years of the nineteenth century began a new era in American history, one of overseas empire, brought into being through the Spanish-American War. In a host of ways, this new era grew from the national experience with American Indians examined in chapter 1. As an economic matter, the war provided increased access to overseas markets and so furthered the process of economic growth begun with the redistribution of Indian lands in the West. As an ideological matter, U.S. contact...

read more

3. The Biological Politics of Japanese Exclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 81-106

More than any other modern state, America traditionally has welcomed immigration, which forms its economic life-blood and provides the basis for the expansive conception of civic identity for which the country is known and admired today. The primary period under discussion in this chapter, the 1920s, however, witnessed a substantial departure from this tradition in relation to a group about which white Americans already...

read more

4. Culture, Personality, and Racial Liberalism

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 107-130

Contractual juridical racialism rested not only on a political vision of Anglo-Saxon racial supremacy, but also on theories of economic liberty ascendant at a particular stage in American capitalism. The Supreme Court’s economic substantive due process jurisprudence and Madison Grant’s anti-environmentalist model of racial-legal character were mutually supporting positions shaping the racial boundaries of...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 131-133

The opinion of the Court in Brown v. Board of Education effectively signaled the end of the juridical-racial tradition in American cultural history. With its reinterpretation of the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court established new terms for the civic inclusion of racial minorities in American constitutional law and facilitated a thoroughgoing change in popular racial thought, ferrying the United States to...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 135-184


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 185-195

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 197-197

Mark S. Weiner teaches constitutional law, legal history, and legal ethics at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. He is the author of...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814784709
E-ISBN-10: 0814784704
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814793640
Print-ISBN-10: 0814793649

Page Count: 205
Publication Year: 2006

OCLC Number: 181157350
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Americans Without Law

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Minorities -- Government policy -- United States.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • United States -- Politics and government.
  • Minorities -- United States -- Politics and government.
  • Minorities -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access