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The term miscegenation has been used since the 19th century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations, In the present day, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests a concrete biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships.The term's historical use in contexts that typically implied disapproval is also a reason why more unambiguously neutral terms such as interracial, interethnic or cross-cultural are more common in contemporary usage.The issue of miscegenation, raised by the opponents of Abraham Lincoln, featured prominently in the election campaign of 1864.In the United States, miscegenation has referred primarily to the intermarriage between whites and non-whites, especially blacks.The pamphlet and variations on it were reprinted widely in both the north and south by Democrats and Confederates.Only in November 1864 was the pamphlet exposed as a hoax.
A contemporary usage of this metaphor was that of Ralph Waldo Emerson's private vision in 1845 of America as an ethnic and racial smelting-pot, a variation on the concept of the melting pot. S on the desirability of such intermixing, including that between white Protestants and Irish Catholic immigrants, were divided.
In Portuguese-speaking Latin America (i.e., Brazil), a milder form of caste system existed, although it also provided for legal and social discrimination among individuals belonging to different races, since slavery for blacks existed until the late 19th century.