, 29 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Thank you, as always, @KevinMKruse. An appended thread, if you don't mind.

First, @DineshDSouza, let's make clear the eugenics behind the 1924 Immigration Act.

2) The public focus on the 1924 Immigration Act revolved around its anti-Asian measures, the portion of the law known as the Asian Exclusion Act. It forbade all further immigration from Japan, China, and every other Asian nation.
3) It was the culmination of a long anti-Japanese campaign fomented in large part on the Pacific Coast. And in particular, it was fomented by a man named Miller Freeman. Freeman was a publisher and land developer, and was the father of modern-day Bellevue, WA.
4) Beginning in about 1910, Freeman -- a GOP legislator and indeed one of the state's most powerful Republicans -- began a campaign aimed at driving Japanese immigrants from the state, and Japanese fishermen from U.S. waters. It reached a fever pitch in 1919.
5) Albert Johnson, who hailed from the relative backwater of Hoquiam, was a protege of Freeman's, and the two had a voluminous correspondence, which can be found in the Freeman archives at the University of Washington. I've read through these letters and many others.
6) Johnson, like Freeman, believed in the eugenics propaganda that was one of the popular subjects of the time. In particular, both had read "The Rising Tide of Color Against White Supremacy" and believed they were acting to prevent its predictions.
7) This was a common thing among Washington Republicans, who made great hay agitating against Japanese immigration during this period. Various officeholders, especially rural legislators, found that piously talking about saving American civilization went over well with voters.
8) Gov. Louis F. Hart, a Republican, campaigned for his ultimately successful re-election on a promise to outlaw the leasing of any property by the Issei.
9) One of Hart's 1920 GOP primary opponents, John Stringer, took it a step further: “It is our duty to take every acre of land on Puget Sound away from the Japs and place it in the hands of our ex-soldiers.”
10) When the legislature convened early in 1921, a flood of anti-Japanese bills awaited. The first proposal would have made it mandatory to post American citizens as guards at any Japanese-owned hotel. Another called for an official investigation of the Japanese immigrants.
11) All these faltered in the legislative process. But the centerpiece bill—a land law that forbade ownership of land by all “aliens ineligible for citizenship,” and making it a criminal offense to sell or lease land to any such alien—flew through both houses unimpeded.
12) Flush with political victory, Miller Freeman had the final say on the matter. In an article addressed to the Japanese community, he minced no words: “The people of this country never invited you here. You came into this country of your own responsibility ...
13) " .... large numbers after our citizens supposed that Japanese immigration had been suppressed. You came notwithstanding you knew you were not welcome. You have created an abnormal situation in our midst for which you are to blame."
14) In 1924, Albert Johnson, then chair of the House Immigration and Naturalization Committee, introduced a bill that would limit immigration to a 2 percent quota for each nationality, but prohibiting the admission of any “aliens ineligible for citizenship” -- i.e., Asians.
15) This was predicated in large part on a 1922 Supreme Court ruling, Ozawa v. United States, which ruled that people from Asian nations could be excluded from citizenship and naturalization.

16) Johnson's racial attitudes were well known. He was the head of 'The Eugenics Research Association', a group which opposed interracial marriage and supported forced sterilization of the mentally disabled.

17) He believed in other components of eugenics, including its anti-Semitism. In support of his 1919 proposal to suspend immigration he included a quote from a State Department Official referring to Jewish people as "filthy, un-American, and often dangerous in their habits."
18) Johnson's measure handily passed the House, but was amended in the Senate to allow for a quota from Japan. However, at the last moment, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge weighed in, claiming that a warning from the Japanese ambassador constituted a "threat." The House version won.
19) In Japan, the public had been closely watching the passage of the alien land laws with mounting outrage. And when news of the passage of the Asian Exclusion Act was announced, mass protests broke out in Tokyo and other cities.
20) As Pearl Buck would later observe, the then-nascent movement for American-style democracy, which had been slowly gaining momentum in Japan, was effectively wiped out overnight. The military authoritarians who would control the nation for the next 20 years gained mastery.
21) Of course, one of the cornerstones of their rule was a bellicose anti-Americanism that would finally reach fruition in late 1941.
22) Moreover, the groundwork laid by the success of the nativist campaign led to one of the nation's great historical atrocities -- namely, the incarceration of 110,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II.
23) All along the Pacific Coast, many of the men leading this campaign -- beginning in 1910, and continuing all the way up through 1942, when congressional hearings on the coast featured public testimony demanding removal of the Japanese -- were Republicans like Miller Freeman.
24) One final note: The campaign described above in Washington state was replicated elsewhere on the Coast; both California and Oregon passed Alien Land Laws, and their congressional delegations joined in support of the Johnson-Reed Act. As always, both Rs and Ds participated.
@threadreaderapp unroll please
5a) A biographical note about Johnson: In his youth, he advocated vigilantism and was part of a gang of right-wing anti-union thugs.

5b) Greys Harbor County, where Hoquiam is located, happens to be the site identified by "Yellow Peril" theorist Homer Lea in his book "The Valor of Ignorance" as the most likely site for an invading force from Japan to land. The book came out in 1909.
5c) A final biographical note about Johnson: After 1924, he was a hero to nativists and especially to the Ku Klux Klan faction that had a popular hold in the politics of Washington state. The Klan were among Johnson's most ardent supporters in the '20s.

Correction: That's Grays Harbor County. Mea culpa.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to David Neiwert
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!