James Robert Mann

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Mann, James Robert

Mann, James Robert, 1856–1922, American legislator, b. McLean co., Ill. A Chicago lawyer, he held many local offices before serving (1897–1922) as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was (1910) one of the sponsors of the Mann-Elkins Act, which strengthened railroad-rate regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission, and he was author (1910), of the Mann Act, which forbade, under heavy penalties, the transportation of women from one state to another for immoral purposes. In the House, Mann introduced the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 and led the fight for an amendment to the Constitution granting suffrage to women.
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On the other hand, the history of the "immoral purpose" language in the 1907 Immigration Act and the 1910 White-Slave Traffic Act also reveals the perceived dangers of the powerful "marriage cure," dangers inherent in the ability of individuals engaged in illicit sexual practices to marry for the purely instrumental reason of evading legal penalties.
The "immoral purpose" provisions of the 1907 Immigration Act and the 1910 White-Slave Traffic Act conjured into being the genus of illicit sex through laws that directly linked intimate behavior and citizenship insofar as they regulated people's movement across borders.
The question of Congress's power to pass the White-Slave Traffic Act once again pushed lawmakers to define the exact nature of the amorphous problem of illicit sex--that is, the genus of sexual immorality.