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Conceiving the FuturePronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890-1938$
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Laura L. Lovett

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831076

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807868102_lovett

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Nostalgia, Modernism, And The Family Ideal

Nostalgia, Modernism, And The Family Ideal

(p.1) 1 Nostalgia, Modernism, And The Family Ideal
Conceiving the Future

Laura L. Lovett

University of North Carolina Press

This book explores the ideological and cultural ideals that shaped pronatalist policies and reform efforts in the United States from 1890 to the 1930s. Using nostalgic modernism as an interpretative framework, it discusses how political agendas and social policies concerning reproduction were constructed and legitimized using nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, the family, and home. The book also shows how pronatalism linked motherhood and childbearing to issues of nationalism, individualism, and feminism, as well as pronatalism's own relationship with American ideas of agrarianism and scientific racism. It examines the ideologies and practices of American pronatalism by focusing on five major historical figures and their respective social agendas or policies: Mary Elizabeth Lease and her maternalist agenda; Florence Sherbon and her eugenics campaign for fitter families; George H. Maxwell and his promotion of land reclamation and irrigation as a means to reconstruct society through home building; Theodore Roosevelt and his campaign for conservation and country life; and Edward Alsworth Ross and his sociological theory of race suicide and social control.

Keywords:   pronatalism, United States, reproduction, motherhood, family, childbearing, nationalism, feminism, agrarianism, racism

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