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By Laura L. Lovett

Via nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, relations, and the house, influential leaders in early twentieth-century the United States built and legitimated quite a number reforms that promoted human copy. Their pronatalism emerged from a modernist conviction that copy and inhabitants may be regulated. eu nations sought to manage or inspire copy via laws; the United States, in contrast, fostered ideological and cultural principles of pronatalism via what Laura Lovett calls “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted medical racism and eugenics.

Lovett seems heavily on the ideologies of 5 influential American figures: Mary Lease's maternalist schedule, Florence Sherbon's eugenic “fitter households” crusade, George Maxwell's “homecroft” circulation of land reclamation and residential construction, Theodore Roosevelt's crusade for conservation and kingdom lifestyles, and Edward Ross's sociological conception of race suicide and social regulate. Demonstrating the ancient conditions that associated agrarianism, racism, and pronatalism, Lovett indicates how reproductive conformity used to be synthetic, the way it was once promoted, and why it used to be coercive. as well as contributing to scholarship in American heritage, gender reviews, rural stories, and environmental heritage, Lovett's learn sheds mild at the rhetoric of “family values” that has regained foreign money lately.

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Calling upon constitutional principles, Lease argued that women ‘‘are a governed class, and governed without consent,’’ contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment. ’’ These limitations created by ‘‘masculine politics’’ not only oppressed and enslaved women, according to Lease, they undermined the foundations of government. Lease’s attack on these injustices, however, did not proceed solely on grounds of fairness or in defense of the constitution. Lease’s response to the ‘‘legal disabilities’’ imposed upon women was to detail the consequences for the home and women’s roles as mothers before proceeding to detail how women would transform masculine politics.

Her topic concerned the potential for scientific advancement of ‘‘the race’’; such advancement, she claimed, depended upon assuring that all children would be ‘‘well-born’’ to parents trained in the laws of heredity. ’’ Decrying the tendency of the Gilded Age toward self-indulgence with its resultant drift into ‘‘physical degeneracy and mental imbecility,’’ Lease advocated that proper ventilation and purified water for the schools be established by the Kansas State Board of Health. ’’ Indeed, Lease gave the impression that with God’s imprimatur and science’s knowledge, women would be unrivaled in their ability to better humanity.

Lease’s use of this image of the shop girl argues that once the shop girl has left for the ravages of the city, she has lost the shelter of the family. This choice of depictive element is significant. It fixed the farm family in the listener’s mind as one in which young women were not forced to labor outside of the family. ∂∞ While appeals about starving children and abused shop girls certainly made a case for the relevance of economic issues to the home and farm family, women were drawn more directly into the political and economic arena by a di√erent type of argument forcefully presented by Lease in the 1890s.

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