Intelligence Tests and Immigration to the United States, 1900–1940


Measuring innate (genetically determined) mental traits was a major part of the psychometric movement in the early decades of the twentieth century. Low test scores (given as an intelligence quotient, or IQ) were used by eugenicists to lobby in the US Congress for restricting immigration of those claimed to be genetically inferior in IQ.

Keywords: intelligence tests; immigration restriction act (Johnson–Reed act); Mendelian genetics; eugenics; feeblemindedness


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Further Reading

Haller M (1985) Eugenics: Hereditarian Attitudes in American Thought. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Kevles DJ (1985) In the Name of Eugenics. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Paul D (1995) Controlling Human Heredity, 1865 to the Present, Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

Selden S (1999) Inheriting Shame: The Story of Eugenics and Racism in America. New York: Teachers' College Press.

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Allen, Garland E(Sep 2006) Intelligence Tests and Immigration to the United States, 1900–1940. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005612]