The Controversy on Eugenics in the American Culture

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The Controversy on Eugenics in the American Culture

By | October 2006
Page 1 of 5
Heredity improvement by genetic control. Why would people want to control heredity? What exactly is genetic control? These are some things that people have been questioning for decades. Eugenics can not be ignored because it is suddenly coming up everywhere. People are experimenting and taking huge risks not to their knowledge. At one point in time it was said that eugenics could change the world for the better. That is how some people could look at it, and others frightened that it would change the entire universe. Early in the twentieth century science had to deal with the conditions that improve the inborn qualities of a race. Eugenesists not only wanted to improve the well-being of others, but enclose to fewer races and religions. This was all a part of the American eugenics movement.

The eugenics movement advocated both positive and negative eugenics, which referred to attempts to increase reproduction by fit stocks and to decrease reproduction by those who were constitutionally unfit. Positive eugenics included eugenic education and tax preferences and other financial support for eugenically fit large families. Eugenical segregation and usually, sterilization restrictive marriage laws, including anti-miscegenation statutes, and restrictive immigration laws formed the three parts of the negative eugenics program. From the beginning, the eugenics movement was a racialist and elitist movement concerned with the control of classes seen to be socially inferior. In proposing the term eugenics, Galton had written, "We greatly want a brief word to express the science of improving the stock...to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had.

Modern eugenics was rooted in the social Darwinism of the late 19th century, with all its metaphors of fitness, competition, and rationalizations of inequality. Indeed, Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin and an...

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