|The colorful pseudoscience|
Race & Racialism
|Hating thy neighbour|
|Divide and conquer|
The Johnson-Reed Act, a.k.a. the Asian Exclusion Act (not to be confused with the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Immigration Act of 1924, or the National Origins Act) was a racially-motivated law passed by Congress restricting immigration in an era of extremist nativism. Its primary targets were Asians and Eastern Europeans.
The architects of the Johnson-Reed Act were far-right Republicans David A. Reed and Albert Johnson, who were motivated by Progressive Era eugenics and hatred of immigrants. Johnson's long-held ties to the Ku Klux Klan were exemplified in legislating their anti-immigration agenda obsessed with white racial demographics, and his subsequent 1926 re-election as a congressman emerged as a priority for the national KKK so, in the Klan's words, "so he can continue to be Chairman of the House Committee on Immigration and fight for restricted immigration laws." Whether he ever claimed Klan membership is unknown, however. Ideological allies and influencers of Johnson included anti-Semitic diplomat Wilbur J. Carr, author of a 1920 report branding Jewish refugees as "inferior." Reed's inherent cynical attitudes were subsequently repeated in manifestation years later in overtly advocating a revolutionary alteration of the United States government under a model of Italian Fascism.
Antipathy towards big business was a traditional factor motivating immigration restriction. Business interests were viewed as a cycling perpetuation of wage reduction by opening doors to immigrants over "native-born" Americans, a viewpoint held by Johnson.
Passage of the Johnson-Reed Act in the United States House of Representatives was overwhelming, and President Calvin Coolidge signed the bill after Senate approval. Following legal enacting, a published editorial by Reed on The New York Times boasted of "America of the Melting Pot Comes to End." Contemporary defenders of Coolidge point to his disdain of racial exclusion and the veto-proof congressional passage, although his eugenicist viewpoints motivating regressive immigration policy are hardly praiseworthy.
- Daniel J. Tichenor, Dividing Lines, p. 157.
- Louis Fisher, Congressional Abdication on War and Spending, p. 29.
- Kristofer Allerfeldt, Albert Johnson, National Origins and Self-Interest in the Immigration Debate of the 1920s, p. 15.