The Eugenics Movement
During the 1920’s, science and social legislation came to be intertwined, and the study of human genetic variation was born; this was known as the term eugenics. Eugenics is the improvement of a species by emphasizing the characteristics that are beneficial. Positive eugenics it is the act of improving a species by emphasizing the propagation of those traits that are seen as beneficial. Negative Eugenics is the act of improving the species by preventing the spread of those traits that are seen as dysgenic or harmful. Scientists elucidated on subjects they knew little about, as they used the “objectivity of science” to validate their drawn up conclusions, which resulted in continuous fallacies and common errors based on this way of thinking. Eugenics represented an embarrassing time in American history as after it’s abandonment at the end of WWII, the negative light associated with the study of human genetics stunted legitimate research for decades. The first step taken to implement this practice was to identify those who possessed dysgenic traits. Feeblemindedness was a term to describe those who possessed any mental defect whether behavioral or social. Traits or afflictions that were viewed as feebleminded were retardation, insanity, alcoholism, promiscuity, and many others. The second step was to implement and execute strategies to prevent those dysgenic traits. For those who lived outside of society, immigration restriction laws were passed to keep them from entering America. For those within societal norms, anti-miscegenation laws were passed and involuntary sterilization was administered. The Immigration Act of 1924 reduced the number of immigrants from abroad by 15 percent from previous years, to control the number of "unfit” persons from entering the country. Such laws prevented entry to any person who could not care for him or herself. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to prevent the Chinese from competing with Americans for...
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