Conceiving the Future: Pronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890-1938
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.
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Mary Elizabeth Leases Maternalist Agenda
George H Maxwell and the Homecroft Movement
Edward A Ross and Race Suicide
Theodore Roosevelt and the Conservation of the Race
Florence Sherbon and Popular Eugenics
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advocated agenda agrarian agricultural American Eugenics Society American pronatalism argued birthrates campaign Charles Davenport child Children’s Bureau College country church country life movement cultural Danbom Davenport Papers decline di√erent e√ects e√orts economic Ellsworth Huntington environment eugenicists Fair family ideal farm family farmers fitter family contests Florence Sherbon frontier gardens Gilman historian homecroft homemaking housing Ibid ideology immigration Irving Fisher issues Julia Lathrop Kansas labor land reclamation Lease’s living marriage Mary Elizabeth Lease Mary Lease Mary Watts maternal maternalist Maxwell Maxwell’s Talisman ment moral mother motherhood National Irrigation natural nostalgia nostalgic o√ered O≈ce o≈cials organization Pinchot Plunkett political popular population Populist positive eugenics producer family pronatalism pronatalist race suicide racial reclamation reform role Ross Ross’s rural family Shutesbury social control Sociology su√rage Theodore Roosevelt tion United University University of Kansas urban vision West women York