Sexuality, Politics, and Social Control in Virginia, by Pippa Holloway

By Pippa Holloway

Within the first half the 20th century, white elites who ruled Virginia politics sought to extend nation keep an eye on over African american citizens and lower-class whites, whom they observed as oversexed and missing sexual self-restraint. to be able to reaffirm the prevailing political and social order, white politicians legalized eugenic sterilization, elevated country efforts to manage venereal disorder and prostitution, cracked down on interracial marriage, and enacted statewide motion picture censorship. delivering a close photograph of the interplay of sexuality, politics, and public coverage, Pippa Holloway explores how those measures have been handed and enforced.The white elites who sought to extend government's position in regulating sexual habit had, like so much southerners, a convention of favoring small govt, so that you could justify those new regulations, they couched their argument in monetary phrases: a latest, innovative govt may supply optimal stipulations for enterprise development by means of holding a good social order and a fit, docile group. Holloway's research demonstrates that the cultural context that characterised yes populations as sexually harmful labored in tandem with the political context that denied them the ideal to vote. this attitude on sexual legislation and the kingdom in Virginia bargains additional perception into why white elite rule mattered within the improvement of southern governments.

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Within the first 1/2 the 20 th century, white elites who ruled Virginia politics sought to extend kingdom keep watch over over African americans and lower-class whites, whom they observed as oversexed and missing sexual self-restraint. with the intention to reaffirm the present political and social order, white politicians legalized eugenic sterilization, elevated nation efforts to regulate venereal sickness and prostitution, cracked down on interracial marriage, and enacted statewide motion picture censorship.

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44 a d e c a d e o f n e w l e g is l at io n The timing of the Racial Integrity Act, contemporaneous with the passage of the eugenic sterilization law, was far from coincidental. Together these laws underscored the support for eugenics in the state and legislature. The shared intellectual roots of these laws and the connections between their backers are explored in other works, most comprehensively by Gregory Dorr. 45 The most obvious similarity between these laws is the manner in which support for their passage was organized and planned.

Many believed Virginia would reap economic benefits from increased sterilizations and considered sterilization to be an element of progressive social policy. Sterilization, it was believed, benefited the patient because it decreased the rate of institutionalization, a claim explored further in the next chapter. 37 All in all, many welcomed this procedure as part of a trend toward modernization and progress. Behind this progressive and paternalistic exterior lay another motive that can be discerned by looking more closely at who led the fight for sterilization in Virginia.

Then they framed the case for sterilization in ways sure to persuade legislators, appealing to several core convictions held by these white elite men. Members of the General Assembly were familiar with eugenic theories and found them convincing and suggestive of progress. But advocates of eugenics also succeeded in connecting eugenic theories to existing ideas about race, class, gender, and politics to construct public policies. Arguments about the economic well-being of the state had widespread appeal to legislators sympathetic to business progressivism and convinced of the role of the state in promoting economic growth.

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