The American Eugenics Movement

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  • Topic: Eugenics, Compulsory sterilization, Scientific racism
  • Pages : 4 (1441 words )
  • Download(s) : 257
  • Published : July 1, 2005
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The idea of eugenics was first introduced by Sir Francis Galton, who believed that the breeding of two wealthy and successful members of society would produce a child superior to that of two members of the lower class. This assumption was based on the idea that genes for success or particular excellence were present in our DNA, which is passed from parent to child. Despite the blatant lack of research, two men, Georges Vacher de Lapouge and Jon Alfred Mjoen, played to the white supremacists' desires and claimed that white genes were inherently superior to other races, and with this base formed the first eugenics society. The American Eugenics Movement attempted to unethically obliterate the rising tide of lower classes by immorally mandating organized sterilization and race based experimentation.

The first step in its movement to uphold the social status of white supremacists was to create a scientific base on which to build the belief that eugenics was ultimately a good cause. Eugenicists, as the scientists responsible for the genetic "research" at the time liked to be called, had absolutely no proof that traits such as intelligence or strength were hereditary, or how to identify them. That being the case, they deferred from the science and focused more on a propaganda front for their theories. Calling immediately for sterilization would be too abrupt a change, people would refuse and resistance might rise up, so eugenicists merely stated their theory for the public. The reaction was to be expected; people heard a "scientific theory" and believed it as fact without question. People started to conform to this new idea, and it became almost a requirement for the upper class to have larger families, because it was better for society. Then came the "Fitter Families" contests, which supposedly determined whether or not you had good genes based on a series of tests or challenges (Selden 7). Slowly society began to polarize into separate groups: the ones that knew,...
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