Support Aeon Donate now Eugenics was a mixture of science and social movement that aimed to improve the human race over generations. Those of good stock were to produce more children, and those of bad stock were to produce fewer or no children. Both in popular culture and in academia, eugenics is thought of as long-past, going extinct shortly after due to the extreme forms it took in fascist Germany.
The goal of eugenics was the improvement of the human species through the careful selection of parents. Galton identified two primary processes to achieve this end.
Positive eugenics encouraged individuals who were above average both mentally and physically to produce more offspring. Negative eugenics proposed that individuals who were below average should have fewer or no children.
Lynn writes that: In his book Hereditary GeniusGalton proposed that the population of classical Athens had the highest intelligence of any human population and that this was responsible for the high level of civilization.
He also contended that when the intelligence and the moral character of a society deteriorate through dysgenic fertility, the quality of its civilization declines.
He cited the decline of Spain in the seventeenth century as an instance in which the deterioration of intelligence, which he attributed to the extensive celibate priesthood, had been responsible for national decline in the quality of civilization and of economic and military power…. This idea that the well-being of the population is more important than that of individuals fell increasingly into disfavor in the second half of the twentieth century and is one of the major reasons that eugenics became almost universally rejected Lynn Actually, Galton and his cohorts were well intentioned and progressive in their idea of suggesting eugenics because they were just concerned with bettering humanity.
After all, this was during the Progressive Era, where it was characterized as a time of hope and reform. Gerald Grob pointed out that eugenics advocates were persuaded that they were acting on behalf of a noble cause that would benefit humanity.
They believed that medical and scientific knowledge, combined with a new technology, had reached a point in time in which the eradication of inherited defects was possible. With good intentions in mind, eugenics was welcomed in the United States.
As Rosen wrote: Beginning in the early years of the twentieth century and spanning the decades of the s, s, and s, eugenicists in the United States called for programs to control human reproduction. Their science filtered into popular culture through eugenics advice books and child-rearing manuals, eugenics novels, plays, and films, and scores of magazine and newspaper articles Rosen 6.
As Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed in the s, white middle-class womanhood had willfully abandoned its fertility. The white birthrate was rapidly declining: But Roosevelt, significantly, placed the blame on white womanhood. This brought about the shocking turnout the eugenics movement inwhen an Indiana physician named Dr.
Before any such law was passed permitting it, he had involuntarily sterilized more than five hundred men. Byeight states had sterilization laws. Eventually nearly thirty states followed suit Paul Muller criticized the whole eugenics movement for stressing imbecility and a few exotic and rare defects for its major concern.
Muller argued that the eugenic issues are more complex. He criticized capitalist society for using economic criteria as the basis for genetic worth, such as success in business or acquiring personal wealth.
This, he claimed, would lead to a reduced birth rate among those with more genetic talent Carlson In the course of the rise and fall of eugenics, we can see that there are obvious problems with it.
The first is that there is more at stake in creating superior human species than in creating a superior species of vegetables. Vegetables do not have rights but humans do, and these human rights are possessed by all persons because they are human.
At its core, eugenics tends to cancel out the right of the less than perfect individual to existence and this type of presumptive arrogance is inherently immoral and racist. A second harmful outcome of eugenics could be that through screening programs privileged groups might act on their prejudices against, for example, Black people being linked with criminality.
Since being Black is neither a crime nor a defect, it would be a grave injustice for advocates of eugenics to try to eliminate such classes of people from the human gene pool. Another possible harm of eugenics is that those who promote it do so at the expense of the harmony of the human community.
This community, as we know it, is made up of people of all kinds, some more gifted than others, some more troubled than others.
The solidarity and prosperity of the human community depend on cooperation and respect among all members, not on a screening policy, like eugenics, through which some members lose their right to membership based on the values and biases of those in influential positions.
The biggest problem with eugenics is probably the fact that, even if the program were embraced and employed, it would not be possible to carry it out.Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin whom coined the term; defined eugenics as “the science of improvement of the human race germ plasm through better breeding”.
Mar 03, · Eugenics is the ideal that human behaviors are determined by single genes Mandi & Biology. Skip to content. About; Eugenics Paper. Eugenics Research Paper. Is perfection a reality?
Can we really get a “perfect” human? Is is determined by your genes? Eugenics can be considered an answer to these questions. Essay on The History of Eugenics in America - Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally.
Eugenics in Michigan persons were considered for sterilization.
The thought was that by sterilizing the ‘unfit’ and the minorities, the worst genes would be eliminated, . Chapter 4: The Rise and Fall of Eugenics (sample) The Jukes, the Kallikaks, the Zeros, the Nams, the Happy Hickories, the family of Sam Sixty (named for Sam's IQ), the Doolittles.
Chapter 4: The Rise and Fall of Eugenics (sample) The Jukes, the Kallikaks, the Zeros, the Nams, the Happy Hickories, the family of Sam Sixty (named for Sam's IQ), the Doolittles.