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What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0199772353
ISBN-10: 0199772355
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Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

This compelling history of the United States miscegenation law demonstrates its centrality to maintaining white supremacy in the century following the Civil War. Pascoe, broadening her focus beyond black-white relations, considers Western states� prohibition of marriage between whites and American Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos, as well as blacks. She weaves a fascinating story out of significant court cases, including McLaughlin v. Florida, an often overlooked 1964 case in which a co-habiting white woman and black man were successfully defended. This case�s use of the Fourteenth Amendment�s equal-protection clause led the way for the Supreme Court�s decision in Loving v. Virginia, three years later, that miscegenation law was unconstitutional. Showing how marriage law can reinforce discrimination based on what is considered �natural,� this timely argument also has relevance for the current debate over gay marriage.
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Review


"Enormous breadth and depth...What Comes Naturally is a wonderfully written and copiously documented book that will appeal to both scholars and laypeople." --The North Carolina Historical Review


"Highly original and important.... The writing is admirably accessible, while the analyses and arguments are deeply nuanced.... What Comes Naturally is an outstanding work of politically engaged research conducted by a creative and gifted scholar."--Mark Kessler, Law and Politics Book Review


"This compelling history of the United States miscegenation law demonstrates its centrality to maintaining white supremacy in the century following the Civil War. Pascoe...weaves a fascinating story out of significant court cases, including McLaughlin v. Florida, an often overlooked 1964 case in which a co-habiting white woman and black man were successfully defended.... Showing how marriage law can reinforce discrimination based on what is considered 'natural,' this timely argument also has relevance for the current debate over gay marriage."--The New Yorker


"Pascoe's study of the race-making work of marriage prohibitions will be regarded as the definitive book on the history of miscegenation law in the United States for the foreseeable future. Her unprecedented attention to Western states' bans on intermarriage of whites with multiple categories of racial 'others' make this a newly comprehensive and remarkably revelatory treatment of a subject that scholars thought they knew."--Nancy F. Cott, author of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation


"A masterwork of erudition and consequence, What Comes Naturally reveals the hegemonic power of miscegenation through its naturalizing of race, gender, sexuality, and citizenship and their claims to purity, property, morality, and legitimacy."--Gary Y. Okihiro, author of Island World: A History of Hawai'i and the United States


"What Comes Naturally is a sweeping, provocative and compelling reexamination of the three-centuries of law concerning interracial marriage in the United States. Peggy Pascoe argues that property and power rather than the desire for racial purity propelled the creation of the body of legislation that stood at the center of racial discrimination against people of color. This book challenges much of what we know, or rather, much of what we think we know about race and marriage in America."--Quintard Taylor, University of Washington


"It would be hard to overestimate Pascoe's impact on the fields of U.S. History and American Studies. In this accessible, engagingly written and deeply nuanced picture of the economic, social, and ultimately political stakes in race thinking and miscegenation law, she brings together the individual stories, the different regions of the country, and the larger questions of nation-building and nation-formation. She exposes the eager, obsessive, and completely inconsistent categorizing of people into 'races.'"--Sarah Deutsch, Duke University


"Peggy Pascoe's book offers the distinctive pleasures of a large and fully imagined and beautifully researched work of history. What Comes Naturally explores the complexities and contradictions of a largely lost world--an almost inaccessible world for most people living in the America of the early 21st century--in which the power to use marriage laws to promote and to reinforce racial subordination was legitimate throughout much of the United States, even as couples across the country continued to insist on their right to marital freedom."--Hendrik Hartog, author of Man and Wife in America, A History


"An uncannily timely history of laws against miscegenation...in the United States...a good book that recounts a fascinating history." --The New Republic


"A comprehensive, accessible, and finely-crafted history of miscegenation law." --Alexandra Street Press


"[Pascoe's] readable, meticulous, engaging, and comprehensive history of contingent and contested intercultural social constructions and interconnections of gender, race relations, personal identity, and the law should become a long-standing reference." --Law and History Review


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199772355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199772353
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.2 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Linda Tabb on July 20, 2013
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It was interesting to read about, but I believe we are all human beings and should be treated as equal.
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