, 1881- 1965: A Historical Review Essay, Research Paper
This paper discusses Jewish involvement in shaping United States immigration policy. In addition to a periodic interest in fostering the immigration of co- religionists as a result of anti- Semitic movements, Jews have an interest in opposing the establishment of ethnically and culturally homogeneous societies in which they reside as minorities. Jews have been at the forefront in supporting movements aimed at altering the ethnic status quo in the United States in favor of immigration of non- European peoples. These activities have involved leadership in Congress, organizing and funding anti- restrictionist groups composed of Jews and gentiles, and originating intellectual movements opposed to evolutionary and biological perspectives in the social sciences.
Ethnic conflict is of obvious importance for understanding critical aspects of American history, and not only for understanding Black/ White ethnic conflict or the fate of Native Americans. Immigration policy is a paradigmatic example of conflict of interest between ethnic groups because immigration policy influences the future demographic composition of the nation. Ethnic groups unable to influence immigration policy in their own interests will eventually be displaced or reduced in relative numbers by groups able to accomplish this goal.
This paper discusses ethnic conflict between Jews and gentiles in the area of immigration policy. Immigration policy is, however, only one aspect of conflicts of interest between Jews and gentiles in America. The skirmishes between Jews and the gentile power structure beginning in the late nineteenth century always had strong overtones of anti- Semitism. These battles involved issues of Jewish upward mobility, quotas on Jewish representation in elite schools beginning in the nineteenth century and peaking in the 1920s and 1930s, the anti- Communist crusades in the post- World War II era, as well as the very powerful concern with the cultural influences of the major media extending from Henry Ford?s writings in the 1920s to the Hollywood inquisitions of the McCarthy era and into the contemporary era. That anti- Semitism was involved in these issues can be seen from the fact that historians of Judaism (e. g., Sachar 1992, p. 620ff) feel compelled to include accounts of these events as important to the history of Jews in America, by the anti- Semitic pronouncements of many of the gentile participants, and by the self- conscious understanding of Jewish participants and observers.
The Jewish involvement in influencing immigration policy in the United States is especially noteworthy as an aspect of ethnic conflict. Jewish involvement has had certain unique qualities that have distinguished Jewish interests from the interests of other groups favoring liberal immigration policies. Throughout much of this period, one Jewish interest in liberal immigration policies stemmed from a desire to provide a sanctuary for Jews fleeing from anti- Semitic persecutions in Europe and elsewhere. Anti- Semitic persecutions have been a recurrent phenomenon in the modern world beginning with the Czarist persecutions in 1881, and continuing into the post- World War II era in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. As a result, liberal immigration has been a Jewish interest because ?survival often dictated that Jews seek refuge in other lands? (Cohen 1972, p. 341). For a similar reason, Jews have consistently advocated an internationalist foreign policy for the United States because ?an internationally- minded America was likely to be more sensitive to the problems of foreign Jewries? (Cohen 1972, p. 342).
However, in addition to a persistent concern that America be a safe haven for Jews fleeing outbreaks of anti- Semitism in foreign countries, there is evidence that Jews, much more than any other European- derived ethnic group in America, have viewed liberal immigration policies as a mechanism of ensuring that America would be a pluralistic rather than a unitary, homogeneous society (e. g., Cohen 1972). Pluralism serves both internal (within- group) and external (between- group) Jewish interests. Pluralism serves internal Jewish interests because it legitimates the internal Jewish interest in rationalizing and openly advocating an interest in Jewish group commitment and non- assimilation, what Howard Sachar (1992, p. 427) terms its function in ?legitimizing the preservation of a minority culture in the midst of a majority?s host society.? The development of an ethnic, political, or religious monoculture implies that Judaism can survive only by engaging in a sort of semi- crypsis. As Irving Louis Horowitz (1993, 86) notes regarding the long- term consequences of Jewish life under Communism, ?Jews suffer, their numbers decline, and emigration becomes a survival solution when the state demands integration into a national mainstream, a religious universal defined by a state religion or a near- state religion.? Both Neusner (1987) and Ellman (1987) suggest that the increased sense of ethnic consciousness seen in Jewish circles recently has been influenced by this general movement within American society toward the legitimization of minority group ethnocentrism.
More importantly, ethnic and religious pluralism serves external Jewish interests because Jews become just one of many ethnic groups. This results in the diffusion of political and cultural influence among the various ethnic and religious groups, and it becomes difficult or impossible to develop unified, cohesive groups of gentiles united in their opposition to Judaism. Historically, major anti- Semitic movements have tended to erupt in societies that have been, apart from the Jews, religiously and/ or ethnically homogeneous (MacDonald, 1994; 1998). Conversely, one reason for the relative lack of anti- Semitism in America compared to Europe was that ?Jews did not stand out as a solitary group of [religious] non- conformists (Higham 1984, p. 156). It follows also that ethnically and religiously pluralistic societies are more likely to satisfy Jewish interests than are societies characterized by ethnic and religious homogeneity among gentiles.
Beginning with Horace Kallen, Jewish intellectuals have been at the forefront in developing models of the United States as a culturally and ethnically pluralistic society. Reflecting the utility of cultural pluralism in serving internal Jewish group interests in maintaining cultural separatism, Kallen personally combined his ideology of cultural pluralism with a deep immersion in Jewish history and literature, a commitment to Zionism, and political activity on behalf of Jews in Eastern Europe (Sachar 1992, p. 425ff; Frommer 1978).
Kallen (1915; 1924) developed a ?polycentric? ideal for American ethnic relationships. Kallen defined ethnicity as deriving from one?s biological endowment, implying that Jews should be able to remain a genetically and culturally cohesive group while nevertheless participating in American democratic institutions. This conception that the United States should be organized as a set of separate ethnic/ cultural groups was accompanied by an ideology that relationships between groups would be cooperative and benign: ?Kallen lifted his eyes above the strife that swirled around him to an ideal realm where diversity and harmony coexist? (Higham 1984, p. 209). Similarly in Germany, the Jewish leader Moritz Lazarus argued in opposition to the views of the German intellectual Heinrich Treitschke that the continued separateness of diverse ethnic groups contributed to the richness of German culture (Schorsch 1972, p. 63). Lazarus also developed the doctrine of dual loyalty which became a cornerstone of the Zionist movement.
Kallen wrote his 1915 essay partly in reaction to the ideas of Edward A. Ross (1914). Ross was a Darwinian sociologist who believed that the existence of clearly demarcated groups would tend to result in between- group competition for resources. Higham?s comment is interesting because it shows that Kallen?s romantic views of group co- existence were contradicted by the reality of between- group competition in his own day. Indeed, it is noteworthy that Kallen was a prominent leader of the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress). During the 1920s and 1930s the AJCongress championed group economic and political rights for Jews in Eastern Europe at a time when there was widespread ethnic tensions and persecution of Jews, and despite the fears of many that such rights would merely exacerbate current tensions. The AJCongress demanded that Jews be allowed proportional political representation as well as the ability to organize their own communities and preserve an autonomous Jewish national culture. The treaties with Eastern European countries and Turkey included provisions that the state provide instruction in minority languages and that Jews have the right to refuse to attend courts or other public functions on the Sabbath (Frommer 1978, p. 162).
Kallen?s idea of cultural pluralism as a model for America was popularized among gentile intellectuals by John Dewey (Higham 1984, p. 209), who in turn was promoted by Jewish intellectuals: ?If lapsed Congregationalists like Dewey did not need immigrants to inspire them to press against the boundaries of even the most liberal of Protestant sensibilities, Dewey?s kind were resoundingly encouraged in that direction by the Jewish intellectuals they encountered in urban academic and literary communities? (Hollinger, 1996, p. 24).
Kallen?s ideas have been very influential in producing Jewish self- conceptualizations of their status in America. This influence was apparent as early as 1915 among American Zionists, such as Louis D. Brandeis. Brandeis viewed America as composed of different nationalities whose free development would ?spiritually enrich the United States and would make it a democracy par excellence? (Gal 1989, p. 70). These views became ?a hallmark of mainstream American Zionism, secular and religious alike? (Gal 1989, p. 70). But Kallen?s influence extended really to all educated Jews:
Legitimizing the preservation of a minority culture in the midst of a majority?s host society, pluralism functioned as intellectual anchorage for an educated Jewish second generation, sustained its cohesiveness and its most tenacious communal endeavors through the rigors of the Depression and revived anti- semitism, through the shock of Nazism and the Holocaust, until the emergence of Zionism in the post- World War II years swept through American Jewry with a climactic redemptionist fervor of its own. (Sachar 1992, p. 427)
Explicit statements linking immigration policy to a Jewish interest in cultural pluralism can be found among prominent Jewish social scientists and political activists. In his review of Kallen?s (1956)
Cultural Pluralism and the American Idea appearing in Congress Weekly (published by the AJCongress), Joseph L. Blau (1958, p. 15) noted that ?Kallen?s view is needed to serve the cause of minority groups and minority cultures in this nation without a permanent majority?? the implication being that Kallen?s ideology of multi- culturalism opposes the interests of any ethnic group in dominating America. The well- known author and prominent Zionist Maurice Samuel (1924, p. 215) writing partly as a negative reaction to the immigration law of 1924, wrote that ?If, then, the struggle between us [i. e., Jews and gentiles] is ever to be lifted beyond the physical, your democracies will have to alter their demands for racial, spiritual and cultural homogeneity with the State. But it would be foolish to regard this as a possibility, for the tendency of this civilization is in the opposite direction. There is a steady approach toward the identification of government with race, instead of with the political State.?
Samuel deplored the 1924 legislation and in the following quote he develops the view that the American state as having no ethnic implications.
We have just witnessed, in America, the repetition, in the peculiar form adapted to this country, of the evil farce to which the experience of many centuries has not yet accustomed us. If America had any meaning at all, it lay in the peculiar attempt to rise above the trend of our present civilization? the identification of race with State. . . . America was therefore the New World in this vital respect? that the State was purely an ideal, and nationality was identical only with acceptance of the ideal. But it seems now that the entire point of view was a mistaken one, that America was incapable of rising above her origins, and the semblance of an ideal- nationalism was only a stage in the proper development of the universal gentile spirit. . . . To- day, with race triumphant over ideal, anti- Semitism uncovers its fangs, and to the heartless refusal of the most elementary human right, the right of asylum, is added cowardly insult. We are not only excluded, but we are told, in the unmistakable language of the immigration laws, that we are an ?inferior? people. Without the moral courage to stand up squarely to its evil instincts, the country prepared itself, through its journalists, by a long draught of vilification of the Jew, and, when sufficiently inspired by the popular and ?scientific? potions, committed the act. (pp. 218- 220)
A congruent opinion is expressed by prominent Jewish social scientist and political activist Earl Raab 1 who remarks very positively on the success of American immigration policy in altering the ethnic composition of the United States since 1965. Raab notes that the Jewish community has taken a leadership role in changing the Northwestern European bias of American immigration policy (1993a, p. 17), and he has also maintained that one factor inhibiting anti- Semitism in the contemporary United States is that ?( a) n increasing ethnic heterogeneity, as a result of immigration, has made it even more difficult for a political party or mass movement of bigotry to develop? (1995, p. 91). Or more colorfully:
The Census Bureau has just reported that about half of the American population will soon be non- white or non- European. And they will all be American citizens. We have tipped beyond the point where a Nazi- Aryan party will be able to prevail in this country. We [i. e., Jews] have been nourishing the American climate of opposition to bigotry for about half a century. That climate has not yet been perfected, but the heterogeneous nature of our population tends to make it irreversible? and makes our constitutional constraints against bigotry more practical than ever. (Raab 1993b, p. 23). 2
Indeed, the ?primary objective? of Jewish political activity after 1945 ?was . . . to prevent the emergence of an anti- Semitic reactionary mass movement in the United States? (Svonkin 1997, 8). Charles Silberman (1985, 350) notes that ?American Jews are committed to cultural tolerance because of their belief? one firmly rooted in history? that Jews are safe only in a society acceptant of a wide range of attitudes and behaviors, as well as a diversity of religious and ethnic groups. It is this belief, for example, not approval of homosexuality, that leads an overwhelming majority of American Jews to endorse ?gay rights? and to take a liberal stance on most other so- called ?social? issues.? 3 Silberman?s comment that Jewish attitudes are ?firmly rooted in history? is quite reasonable: There has indeed been a tendency for Jews to be persecuted by a culturally and/ or ethnically homogeneous majority that come to view Jews as a negatively evaluated outgroup.
Similarly, in listing the positive benefits of immigration, Diana Aviv, director of the Washington Action Office of the Council of Jewish Federations states that immigration ?is about diversity, cultural enrichment and economic opportunity for the immigrants? (quoted in Forward, March 8, 1996, p. 5). And in summarizing Jewish involvement in the 1996 legislative battles a newspaper account stated that ?Jewish groups failed to kill a number of provisions that reflect the kind of political expediency that they regard as a direct attack on American pluralism? (Detroit Jewish News; May 10, 1996).
It is noteworthy also that there has been a conflict between predominantly Jewish neo- Conservatives and predominantly gentile paleo- conservatives over the issue of Third World immigration into the United States. Many of these neo- conservative intellectuals had previously been radical leftists, 4 and the split between the neo- conservatives and their previous allies resulted in an intense internecine feud (Gottfried 1993; Rothman & Lichter 1982, p. 105). Neo- conservatives Norman Podhoretz and Richard John Neuhaus reacted very negatively to an article by a paleo- conservative concerned that such immigration would eventually lead to the United States being dominated by such immigrants (see Judis 1990, p. 33). Other examples are neo- Conservatives Julian Simon (1990) and Ben Wattenberg (1991), both of whom advocate very high levels of immigration from all parts of the world, so that the United States will become what Wattenberg describes as the world?s first ?Universal Nation.? Based on recent data, Fetzer (1996) reports that Jews remain far more favorable to immigration to the United States than any other ethnic group or religion.
It should be noted as a general point that the effectiveness of Jewish organizations in influencing American immigration policy has been facilitated by certain characteristics of American Jewry. As Neuringer (1971, p. 87) notes, Jewish influence on immigration policy was facilitated by Jewish wealth, education, and social status. Reflecting its general disproportionate representation in markers of economic success and political influence, Jewish organizations have been able to have a vastly disproportionate effect on United States immigration policy because Jews as a group are highly organized, highly intelligent, and politically astute, and they were able to command a high level of financial, political, and intellectual resources in pursuing their political aims. Similarly, Hollinger (1996, p. 19) notes that Jews were more influential in the decline of a homogeneous Protestant Christian culture in the United States than Catholics because of their greater wealth, social standing, and technical skill in the intellectual arena. In the area of immigration policy, the main Jewish activist organization influencing immigration policy, the American Jewish Committee (AJCommittee), was characterized by ?strong leadership [particularly Louis Marshall], internal cohesion, well- funded programs, sophisticated lobbying techniques, well- chosen non- Jewish allies, and good timing? (Goldstein 1990, p. 333).
In this regard, the Jewish success in influencing immigration policy is entirely analogous to their success in influencing the secularization of American culture. As in the case of immigration policy, the secularization of American culture is a Jewish interest because Jews have a perceived interest that America not be a homogeneous Christian culture. ?Jewish civil rights organizations have had an historic role in the postwar development of American church- state law and policy? (Ivers 1995, p. 2). Unlike the effort to influence immigration, the opposition to a homogeneous Christian culture was mainly carried out in the courts. The Jewish effort in this case was well funded and was the focus of well- organized, highly dedicated Jewish civil service organizations, including the AJCommittee, the AJCongress, and the Anti- Defamation League (ADL). It involved keen legal expertise both in the actual litigation but also in influencing legal opinion via articles in law journals and other forums of intellectual debate, including the popular media. It also involved a highly charismatic and effective leadership, particularly Leo Pfeffer of the AJCongress:
No other lawyer exercised such complete intellectual dominance over a chosen area of law for so extensive a period?as an author, scholar, public citizen, and above all, legal advocate who harnessed his multiple and formidable talents into a single force capable of satisfying all that an institution needs for a successful constitutional reform movement. . . . That Pfeffer, through an enviable combination of skill, determination, and persistence, was able in such a short period of time to make church- state reform the foremost cause with which rival organizations associated the AJCongress illustrates well the impact that individual lawyers endowed with exceptional skills can have on the character and life of the organizations for which they work. . . . As if to confirm the extent to which Pfeffer is associated with post- Everson [i. e., post- 1946] constitutional development, even the major critics of the Court?s church- state jurisprudence during this period and the modern doctrine of separationism rarely fail to make reference to Pfeffer as the central force responsible for what they lament as the lost meaning of the establishment clause. (Ivers 1995, pp. 222- 224)
Similarly, Hollinger (1996, p. 4) notes ?the transformation of the ethnoreligious demography of American academic life by Jews? in the period from the 1930s to the 1960s, as well as the Jewish influence on trends toward the secularization of American society and in advancing an ideal of cosmopolitanism (p. 11). The pace of this influence was very likely influenced by immigration battles of the 1920s. Hollinger notes that the ?the old Protestant establishment?s influence persisted until the 1960s in large measure because of the Immigration Act of 1924: had the massive immigration of Catholics and Jews continued at pre- 1924 levels, the course of American history would have been different in many ways, including, one may reasonably speculate, a more rapid diminution of Protestant cultural hegemony. Immigration restriction gave that hegemony a new lease of life? (p. 22). It is reasonable to suppose, therefore, that the immigration battles from 1881 to 1965 have been of momentous historical importance in shaping the contours of American culture in the late twentieth century.
The ultimate success of Jewish attitudes on immigration was also influenced by intellectual movements that collectively resulted in a decline of evolutionary and biological thinking in the academic world. Although playing virtually no role in the restrictionist position in the Congressional debates on the immigration (which focused mainly on the fairness of maintaining the ethnic status quo; see below), a component of the intellectual zeitgeist of the 1920s was the prevalence of evolutionary theories of race and ethnicity (Singerman 1986), particularly the theories of Madison Grant. In The Passing of the Great Race, Grant (1921) argued that the American colonial stock was derived from superior Nordic racial elements and that immigration of other races would lower the competence level of the society as a whole as well as threaten democratic and republican institutions. Grant?s ideas were popularized in the media at the time of the immigration debates (see Divine 1957, pp. 12ff) and often provoked negative comments in Jewish publications such as The American Hebrew (e. g., March 21, 1924, pp. 554, 625). 5
The debate over group differences in IQ was also tied to the immigration issue. C. C. Brigham?s study of intelligence among United States army personnel concluded that Nordics were superior to Alpine and Mediterranean Europeans, and Brigham (1923, p. 210) concluded that ?( i) mmigration should not only be restrictive but highly selective.? In the Foreword to Brigham?s book, Harvard psychologist Robert M. Yerkes stated that ?The author presents not theories but facts. It behooves us to consider their reliability and meaning, for no one of us as a citizen can afford to ignore the menace of race deterioration or the evident relation of immigration to national progress and welfare? (in Brigham 1923, pp. vii- viii).
Nevertheless, as Samelson (1975) points out, the drive to restrict immigration originated long before IQ testing came into existence and restriction was favored by a variety of groups, including organized labor, for reasons other than those related to race and IQ, including especially the fairness of maintaining the ethnic status quo in the United States. Moreover, although Brigham?s IQ testing results did indeed appear in the statement submitted by the Allied Patriotic Societies to the House hearings, 6 the role of IQ testing in the immigration debates has been greatly exaggerated (Snyderman & Herrnstein, 1983). Indeed, IQ testing was never even mentioned in either the House Majority Report or the Minority
Report, and ?there is no mention of intelligence testing in the Act; test results on immigrants appear only briefly in the committee hearings and are then largely ignored or criticized, and they are brought up only once in over 600 pages of congressional floor debate, where they are subjected to further criticism without rejoinder. None of the major contemporary figures in testing . . . were called to testify, nor were their writings inserted into the legislative record? (Snyderman & Herrnstein 1983, 994).
It is also very easy to over- emphasize the importance of theories of Nordic superiority as an ingredient of popular and Congressional restrictionist sentiment. As Singerman (1986, 118- 119) points out, ?racial anti- Semitism? was employed by only ?a handful of writers;? and ?the Jewish ?problem? . . . was a minor preoccupation even among such widely- published authors as Madison Grant or T. Lothrop Stoddard and none of the individuals examined [in Singerman?s review] could be regarded as professional Jew- baiters or full- time propagandists against Jews, domestic or foreign.? As indicated below, arguments related to Nordic superiority, including supposed Nordic intellectual superiority, played remarkably little role in Congressional debates over immigration in the 1920s, the common argument of the restrictionists being that immigration policy should reflect equally the interests of all ethnic groups currently in the country.
Nevertheless, it is probable that the decline in evolutionary/ biological theories of race and ethnicity facilitated the sea change in immigration policy brought about by the 1965 law. As Higham (1984) notes, by the time of the final victory in 1965 which removed national origins and racial ancestry from immigration policy and opened up immigration to all human groups, the Boasian perspective of cultural determinism and anti- biologism had become standard academic wisdom. The result was that ?it became intellectually fashionable to discount the very existence of persistent ethnic differences. The whole reaction deprived popular race feelings of a powerful ideological weapon? (Higham 1984, pp. 58- 59).
Jewish intellectuals were prominently involved in the movement to eradicate the racialist ideas of Grant and others (Degler 1991, p. 200). Indeed, even during the earlier debates leading up to the immigration bills of 1921 and 1924, restrictionists perceived themselves to be under attack from Jewish intellectuals. In 1918, Prescott F. Hall, secretary of the Immigration Restriction League, wrote to Grant that ?What I wanted . . . was the names of a few anthropologists of note who have declared in favor of the inequality of the races. . . . I am up against the Jews all the time in the equality argument and thought perhaps you might be able offhand to name a few (besides Osborn) whom I could quote in support? (in Samelson 1975, p. 467).
Grant also believed that Jews were engaged in a campaign to discredit racial research. In the Introduction to the 1921 edition of Passing of the Great Race, Grant complained that ?( i) t is well- nigh impossible to publish in the American newspapers any reflection upon certain religions or races which are hysterically sensitive even when not mentioned by name. The underlying idea seems to be that if publication can be suppressed the facts themselves will ultimately disappear. Abroad, conditions are fully as bad, and we have the authority of one of the most eminent anthropologists in France that the collection of anthropological measurements and data among French recruits at the outbreak of the Great War was prevented by Jewish influence, which aimed to suppress any suggestion of racial differentiation in France.?
Particularly important was the work of Columbia University anthropologist Franz Boas and his followers. ?Boas? influence upon American social scientists in matters of race can hardly be exaggerated? (Degler 1991, p. 61). He engaged in a ?life- long assault on the idea that race was a primary source of the differences to be found in the mental or social capabilities of human groups. He accomplished his mission largely through his ceaseless, almost relentless articulation of the concept of culture? (p. 61). ?Boas, almost single- handedly, developed in America the concept of culture, which, like a powerful solvent, would in time expunge race from the literature of social science? (p. 71).
Throughout this explication of Boas?s conception of culture and his opposition to a racial interpretation of human behavior, the central point has been that Boas did not arrive at the position from a disinterested, scientific inquiry into a vexed if controversial question. Instead, his idea derived from an ideological commitment that began in his early life and academic experiences in Europe and continued in America to shape his professional outlook. . . . there is no doubt that he had a deep interest in collecting evidence and designing arguments that would rebut or refute an ideological outlook? racism? which he considered restrictive upon individuals and undesirable for society. . . . there is a persistent interest in pressing his social values upon the profession and the public. (Degler 1991, pp. 82- 83)
There is evidence that Boas strongly identified as a Jew and viewed his research as having important implications in the political arena and particularly in the area of immigration policy. Boas was born in Prussia to a ?Jewish- liberal? family in which the revolutionary ideals of 1848 remained influential (Stocking 1968, p. 149). Boas developed a ?left- liberal posture which . . . is at once scientific and political? (Stocking 1968, p. 149) and was intensely concerned with anti- Semitism from an early period in his life (White 1966, p. 16). Moreover, Boas was deeply alienated from and hostile toward gentile culture, particularly the cultural ideal of the Prussian aristocracy (Degler 1991, p. 200; Stocking 1968, p. 150). For example, when Margaret Mead was looking for a way to persuade Boas to let her pursue her research in the South Sea islands, ?she hit upon a sure way of getting him to change his mind. ?I knew there was one thing that mattered more to Boas than the direction taken by anthropological research. This was that he should behave like a liberal, democratic, modern man, not like a Prussian autocrat. ? The ploy worked because she had indeed uncovered the heart of his personal values? (Degler 1991, p. 73).
Boas was greatly motivated by the immigration issue as it occurred early in the century. Carl Degler (1991, p. 74) notes that Boas? professional correspondence ?reveals that an important motive behind his famous head- measuring project in 1910 was his strong personal interest in keeping America diverse in population.? The study, whose conclusions were placed into the Congressional Record by Representative Emanuel Celler during the debate on immigration restriction (Cong. Rec., April 8, 1924, pp. 5915- 5916), concluded that the environmental differences consequent to immigration caused differences in head shape. (At the time, head shape as determined by the ?cephalic index? was the main measurement used by scientists involved in racial differences research.) Boas argued that his research showed that all foreign groups living in favorable social circumstances had become assimilated to America in the sense that their physical measurements converged on the American type. Although he was considerably more circumspect regarding his conclusions in the body of his report (see also Stocking 1968, p. 178), Boas (1911, p. 5) stated in his Introduction that ?all fear of an unfavorable influence of South European immigration upon the body of our people should be dismissed.? As a further indication of Boas? ideological commitment to the immigration issue, Degler makes the following comment regarding one of Boas? environmentalist explanations for mental differences between immigrant and native children: ?Why Boas chose to advance such an adhoc interpretation is hard to understand until one recognizes his desire to explain in a favorable way the apparent mental backwardness of the immigrant children? (p. 75).
Boas and his students were intensely concerned with pushing an ideological agenda within the American anthropological profession (Degler 1991; Freeman 1991; Torrey 1992). In this regard it is interesting that Boas and his associates had a much more highly developed sense of group identity, a commitment to a common viewpoint, and an agenda to dominate the institutional structure of anthropology than did their opponents (Stocking 1968, pp. 279- 280). The defeat of the Darwinians ?had not happened without considerable exhortation of ?every mother?s son? standing for the ?Right. ? Nor had it been accomplished without some rather strong pressure applied both to staunch friends and to the ?weaker brethren?? often by the sheer force of Boas? personality? (Stocking 1968, 286). By 1915 the Boasians controlled the American Anthropological Association and held a two- thirds majority on the Executive Board (Stocking 1968, 285). By 1926 every major department of anthropology in the United States was headed by a student of Boas, the majority of whom were Jewish. According to White (1966, p. 26), Boas? most influential students were Ruth Benedict, Alexander Goldenweiser, Melville Herskovits, Alfred Kroeber, Robert Lowie, Margaret Mead, Paul Radin, Edward Sapir, and Leslie Spier. All of this ?small, compact group of scholars . . . gathered about their leader? (White 1966, p. 26) were Jews with the exception of Kroeber, Benedict and Mead. Indeed, Herskovits (1953, p. 91), whose hagiography of Boas qualifies as one of the most worshipful in intellectual history, noted that
(t)he four decades of the tenure of [Boas?] professorship at Columbia gave a continuity to his teaching that permitted him to develop students who eventually made up the greater part of the significant professional core of American anthropologists, and who came to man and direct most of the major departments of anthropology in the United States. In their turn, they trained the students who . . . have continued the tradition in which their teachers were trained. By the mid- 1930s the Boasian view of the cultural determination of human behavior had a strong influence on social scientists generally (Stocking 1968, p. 300).
The ideology of racial equality was an important weapon on behalf of opening immigration up to all human groups. For example, in a 1951 statement to Congress, the AJCongress stated that ?The findings of science must force even the most prejudiced among us to accept, as unqualifiedly as we do the law of gravity, that intelligence, morality and character, bear no relationship whatever to geography or place of birth.? 7 The statement went on to cite some of Boas? popular writings on the subject as well as the writings of Boas? prot?g? Ashley Montagu, perhaps the most visible opponent of the concept of race during this period. Montagu, whose original name was Israel Ehrenberg, theorized that humans are innately cooperative (but not innately aggressive) and there is a universal brotherhood among humans (see Shipman 1994, p. 159ff). And in 1952 another Boas? prot?g?, Margaret Mead, testified before the President?s Commission on Immigration and Naturalization (PCIN) (1953, p. 92) that ?all human beings from all groups of people have the same potentialities. . . . Our best anthropological evidence today suggests that the people of every group have about the same distribution of potentialities.? Another witness stated that the executive board of the American Anthropological Association had unanimously endorsed the proposition that ?( a) ll scientific evidence indicates that all peoples are inherently capable of acquiring or adapting to our civilization? (PCIN 1953, p. 93). By 1965 Senator Jacob Javits (Cong. Rec., 111, 1965, p. 24469) confidently announced to the Senate during the debate on the immigration bill that ?( b) oth the dictates of our consciences as well as the precepts of sociologists tell us that immigration, as it exists in the national origins quota system, is wrong, and without any basis in reason or fact for we know better than to say that one man is better than another because of the color of his skin.? The intellectual revolution and its translation into public policy had been completed.