This article examines the intersections of race, nationalism, and water conservation policy. Such relationships, it argues, are particularly pronounced in the history of the Colorado River Delta, a border region and an arid region, especially in the discourse surrounding the international allocation of the river. It focuses on the intellectual underpinnings of federal reclamation leaders and their subscription to the tenets of the idea of "yellow peril," with special reference to Chinese and Japanese immigrant farmers along the U.S.-Mexican border. While the reclamation movement has received considerable scrutiny, the geopolitical views informing it have been largely overlooked. The unexamined writings of George Maxwell, in particular, present a new perspective on the major architect of the National Reclamation Act, one of the region's most far-reaching and consequential pieces of legislation.

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