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The philosophy of Eugenics and it’s history in the United States of America


Frank_Hoenedge
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Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population,[2][3] played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States from the late 19th century into the mid-20th century.[4] The cause became increasingly promoted by intellectuals of the Progressive Era.[5][6]

While ostensibly about improving genetic quality, it has been argued that eugenics was more about preserving the position of the dominant groups in the population. Scholarly research has determined that people who found themselves targets of the eugenics movement were those who were seen as unfit for society—the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill, and specific communities of color—and a disproportionate number of those who fell victim to eugenicists' sterilization initiatives were women who were identified as African American, Hispanic, or Native American.[7][8]As a result, the United States' eugenics movement is now generally associated with racist and nativist elements, as the movement was to some extent a reaction to demographic and population changes, as well as concerns over the economy and social well-being, rather than scientific genetics.[9][8]
 

 

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. In 1883, Sir Francis Galton first used the word eugenics to describe scientifically, the biological improvement of genes in human races and the concept of being "well-born".[10] He believed that differences in a person's ability were acquired primarily through genetics and that eugenics could be implemented through selective breeding in order for the human race to improve in its overall quality, therefore allowing for humans to direct their own evolution.[11] In the US, eugenics was largely supported after the discovery of Mendel's lawlead to a widespread interest in the idea of breeding for specific traits.[12] Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions could be attributed to a superior genetic makeup.[13]American eugenicists tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples, supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws, and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harrimanrailroad fortune.[15] In 1906, J.H. Kelloggprovided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.[13] The Eugenics Record Office(ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution.[16] As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement.[13][17] In years to come, the ERO and the American Eugenics Society collected a mass of family pedigrees and provided training for eugenics field workers who were sent to analyze individuals at various institutions, such as mental hospitals and orphanage institutions, across the United States.[18] Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all of whom were well-respected during their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the "unfit."[16] Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.[19]

By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers, and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder's Association, the first eugenic body in the U.S., expanded in 1906 to include a specific eugenics committee under the direction of Charles B. Davenport.[20][21] The ABA was formed specifically to "investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood."[22] Membership included Alexander Graham Bell,[23] Stanfordpresident David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.[24][25] The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortalitywas one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics.[26] They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[27][verification needed]

Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women's Clubs, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organizations that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.[28] One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement and founder of Planned Parenthood. Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement.[29][30] Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defects.[31]In these cases, she approved of the use of sterilization.[29] In Sanger's opinion, it was individual women (if able-bodied) and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.[32][33]

In the Deep South, women's associationsplayed an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region.[34] Between 1915 and 1920, federated women's clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex.[35] For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women's Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex.[36] Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women in order to prevent them from breeding more "feebleminded" individuals.

Public acceptance in the U.S. led to various state legislatures working to establish eugenic initiatives. Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was "epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded"[37] from marrying.[38] The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan in 1897 – although the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted, it did set the stage for other sterilization bills.[39] Eight years later, Pennsylvania's state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor.[40] Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[41]followed closely by Washington, California, and Connecticut in 1909.[42][43][44] Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for those who were seen as mentally retarded.[45]

In the late 19th century, many scientists, who were concerned about the population leaning too far away from the favored "Anglo-Saxon superiority" due to a rise in immigration from Europe, partnered with other interest groups to implement immigration laws that could be justified on the basis of genetics.[46] After the 1890 U.S. census, people began to believe that immigrants who were of Nordic or Anglo-Saxon ancestry were greatly favored over Southern and Eastern Europeans, specifically Jews (a diasporic, Middle Eastern people), who were seen by some eugenicists, like Harry Laughlin, to be genetically inferior.[46] During the early 20th century as the United States and Canada began to receive higher numbers of immigrants, influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments that these immigrants would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted.[47][48]

In 1921, a temporary measure was passed to slowdown the open door on immigration. The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity to be closely associated with eugenics and was founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard graduates. The overall goal of the League was to prevent what they perceived as inferior races from diluting "the superior American racial stock" (those who were of the upper-class Anglo-Saxon heritage), and they began working to have stricter anti-immigration laws in the United States.[49] The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants as they attempted to enter the United States, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among "inferior races".[46]Eugenicists believed that immigrants were often degenerate, had low IQs, and were afflicted with shiftlessness, alcoholism and insubordination. According to Eugenicists, all of these problems were transmitted through genes. Literacy test bills were vetoed by presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson's second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917.[50]

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of "inferior stock" from eastern and southern Europe.[51][52] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of "old stock" white Americans as members of the "Nordic race" (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing.[53] Whereas Anglo-Saxon and Nordic people were seen as the most desirable immigrants, the Chinese and Japanese were seen as the least desirable and were largely banned from entering the U.S as a result of the immigration act.[53][54] In addition to the immigration act, eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.[55]

Both class and race factored into the eugenic definitions of "fit" and "unfit." By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one's genetic fitness.[56] This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominantly white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of "superior strains."[36] In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that those deemed "unfit" were predominantly of the lower classes.[36]

Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower-class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle-class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more "family minded," and to help better the race.[57] To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper-class women sterilization and birth control.[58]However, since poverty was associated with prostitution and "mental idiocy," women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed "unfit" and "promiscuous."[36

In the 19th century, based on a view of Lamarckism, it was believed that the damage done to people by diseases could be inherited and therefore, through eugenics, these diseases could be eradicated. This belief was carried into the 20th century as public health measures were taken to improve health with the hope that such measures would result in better health of future generations.[citation needed]

A 1911 Carnegie Institute report explored eighteen methods for removing defective genetic attributes; the eighth method was euthanasia.[15] Though the most commonly suggested method of euthanasia was to set up local gas chambers,[15] many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors came up with alternative ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions.[15] For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis(reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 30–40% annual death rates.[15] Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.[15]

In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic "mercy killings" in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize "imbeciles" and other defectives.[59] A few years later, in 1938, the Euthanasia Society of America was founded.[60] However, despite this, euthanasia saw marginal support in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the "unfit" from reproducing.[15]

 

Standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money was put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[71]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting "Better Baby" contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.[72]

First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, "Fitter Families for Future Firesides" competitions continued all the way up to World War II. Mary T. Watts and Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon,[73][74] both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.[75]

There were several different categories that families were judged in: size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities.[76][77] At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from one's parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high-temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysiswere few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.[78]

Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross.[78] The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called "Capper Medals." The cups were named after then-Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to "Grade A individuals".[79]

The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check-up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.[78]

By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.[80]

As we are in the post modern era, is it safe to say that we have moved past this form of stratification whilst still noting advantages like ability to jump, ability to take rules and apply them to abstract information (intelligence), etc or are we just pretending the eugenics movement never happened?

 

Various persons and peoples were alive  during the eugenics movement and many have died, yet a number of our elders chose to accept eugenics as a new state offering in order to find agreement with others. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crickets stilling chirping, i see.

https://youtu.be/_Vd9RAWukO0

PS Cut and pasted massive walls of text rarely get read or are engaged with.

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6 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Crickets stilling chirping, i see.

https://youtu.be/_Vd9RAWukO0

PS Cut and pasted massive walls of text rarely get read or are engaged with.

I know, I know. 
 

I have a bias on this one as the UK offered drug addicts in London £500 to undergo hysterectomy procedures since the turn of the millennium. 
 

Edit: Feeling a bit bitter about some of the news upvoted into my normal streams of information. 
 

I’ve seen most of the topics before, which resulted in death. 
 

Easy to suppose mRNA vaccine testing as Tuberculosis in the milk in Illinois. 

Planned Parenthood.

Anti-semitism.
 

Most of the instruments of the eugenics machine have been repeated in recent years.

 

Almost like faux superiority demands it. Especially with the “Singularity” (“Everybrain device”) right around the corner.

 

Collective sets of data have created the GPT responses on products such as Openai’s ChatGPT. The original authors don’t receive royalties or status.

Checked a UK Limited Company constitution output and its valid. 
 

Saw a lawyer demand ChatGPT be killed as it can write Tenancy Agreements with 8 year terms and 1 year options. 
 

Copyright circumvention is the effective reality of on-time and off-time professional services. 
 

Translation services went, legal services are now in jeopardy and enormous sums of money are leaving the European Central Bank without trace, same happened in Ukraine, America, UK Gov PPE contracts, Intellectual property rights issues in China, the FBI…

 

Gave me the feeling that they “didn’t want to be poor anymore” I have to wonder if it’s a ghost of time from the past. Information is wealth and time is money.

 

It would be a resurgence, but not in the appropriate manner as GDP isn’t bolstering as much as wealth disparity. 
 

Maybe the legacy of the Eugenics movement is the ghost of time?

 

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1 hour ago, Frank_Hoenedge said:

I know, I know. 
 

I have a bias on this one as the UK offered drug addicts in London £500 to undergo hysterectomy procedures since the turn of the millennium. 
 

Edit: Feeling a bit bitter about some of the news upvoted into my normal streams of information. 
 

I’ve seen most of the topics before, which resulted in death. 
 

Easy to suppose mRNA vaccine testing as Tuberculosis in the milk in Illinois. 

Planned Parenthood.

Anti-semitism.
 

Most of the instruments of the eugenics machine have been repeated in recent years.

 

Almost like faux superiority demands it. Especially with the “Singularity” (“Everybrain device”) right around the corner.

 

Collective sets of data have created the GPT responses on products such as Openai’s ChatGPT. The original authors don’t receive royalties or status.

Checked a UK Limited Company constitution output and its valid. 
 

Saw a lawyer demand ChatGPT be killed as it can write Tenancy Agreements with 8 year terms and 1 year options. 
 

Copyright circumvention is the effective reality of on-time and off-time professional services. 
 

Translation services went, legal services are now in jeopardy and enormous sums of money are leaving the European Central Bank without trace, same happened in Ukraine, America, UK Gov PPE contracts, Intellectual property rights issues in China, the FBI…

 

Gave me the feeling that they “didn’t want to be poor anymore” I have to wonder if it’s a ghost of time from the past. Information is wealth and time is money.

 

It would be a resurgence, but not in the appropriate manner as GDP isn’t bolstering as much as wealth disparity. 
 

Maybe the legacy of the Eugenics movement is the ghost of time?

 

Eugenics looks great on paper, but in practice it was often horribly abusive. Ironically, it was American eugenics that so inspired the Nazis they emulated it on an industrial scale.

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On 12/8/2022 at 2:38 AM, Frank_Hoenedge said:

 

I have a bias on this one as the UK offered drug addicts in London £500 to undergo hysterectomy procedures since the turn of the millennium. 
 

Hi Frank

If it is voluntary I would not find it all that objectionable as over the years have seen children born with serious heath issues not to mention being raised in poor conditions. If a woman understands her addiction and does not want to have children that is her choice.

Where I grew up they practiced it on First Nations women for decades especially if they lived high risk life styles in urban centres many times they were told it was cervical cancer or other condition.

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There are many people today still supporting the eugenics enthusiasts works, even if they don't know they ate doing it.

As mentioned in the OP, planned parenthood founder Margret Sanger openly spoke about preventing black people breeding. To this day, planned parenthood abortion clinics are mostly located in black majority areas. Black woman have 475 abortions for every 1000 live babies born.

1 in 3 black kids doesn't make it out of their mother alive through deliberate actions from the mother. Thanks to eugenics and the legacy it has left us

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On 12/4/2022 at 2:14 PM, Frank_Hoenedge said:

Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population,[2][3] played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States from the late 19th century into the mid-20th century.[4] The cause became increasingly promoted by intellectuals of the Progressive Era.[5][6]

While ostensibly about improving genetic quality, it has been argued that eugenics was more about preserving the position of the dominant groups in the population. Scholarly research has determined that people who found themselves targets of the eugenics movement were those who were seen as unfit for society—the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill, and specific communities of color—and a disproportionate number of those who fell victim to eugenicists' sterilization initiatives were women who were identified as African American, Hispanic, or Native American.[7][8]As a result, the United States' eugenics movement is now generally associated with racist and nativist elements, as the movement was to some extent a reaction to demographic and population changes, as well as concerns over the economy and social well-being, rather than scientific genetics.[9][8]
 

 

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. In 1883, Sir Francis Galton first used the word eugenics to describe scientifically, the biological improvement of genes in human races and the concept of being "well-born".[10] He believed that differences in a person's ability were acquired primarily through genetics and that eugenics could be implemented through selective breeding in order for the human race to improve in its overall quality, therefore allowing for humans to direct their own evolution.[11] In the US, eugenics was largely supported after the discovery of Mendel's lawlead to a widespread interest in the idea of breeding for specific traits.[12] Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions could be attributed to a superior genetic makeup.[13]American eugenicists tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples, supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws, and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harrimanrailroad fortune.[15] In 1906, J.H. Kelloggprovided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.[13] The Eugenics Record Office(ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution.[16] As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement.[13][17] In years to come, the ERO and the American Eugenics Society collected a mass of family pedigrees and provided training for eugenics field workers who were sent to analyze individuals at various institutions, such as mental hospitals and orphanage institutions, across the United States.[18] Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all of whom were well-respected during their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the "unfit."[16] Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.[19]

By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers, and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder's Association, the first eugenic body in the U.S., expanded in 1906 to include a specific eugenics committee under the direction of Charles B. Davenport.[20][21] The ABA was formed specifically to "investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood."[22] Membership included Alexander Graham Bell,[23] Stanfordpresident David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.[24][25] The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortalitywas one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics.[26] They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[27][verification needed]

Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women's Clubs, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organizations that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.[28] One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement and founder of Planned Parenthood. Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement.[29][30] Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defects.[31]In these cases, she approved of the use of sterilization.[29] In Sanger's opinion, it was individual women (if able-bodied) and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.[32][33]

In the Deep South, women's associationsplayed an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region.[34] Between 1915 and 1920, federated women's clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex.[35] For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women's Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex.[36] Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women in order to prevent them from breeding more "feebleminded" individuals.

Public acceptance in the U.S. led to various state legislatures working to establish eugenic initiatives. Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was "epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded"[37] from marrying.[38] The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan in 1897 – although the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted, it did set the stage for other sterilization bills.[39] Eight years later, Pennsylvania's state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor.[40] Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[41]followed closely by Washington, California, and Connecticut in 1909.[42][43][44] Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for those who were seen as mentally retarded.[45]

In the late 19th century, many scientists, who were concerned about the population leaning too far away from the favored "Anglo-Saxon superiority" due to a rise in immigration from Europe, partnered with other interest groups to implement immigration laws that could be justified on the basis of genetics.[46] After the 1890 U.S. census, people began to believe that immigrants who were of Nordic or Anglo-Saxon ancestry were greatly favored over Southern and Eastern Europeans, specifically Jews (a diasporic, Middle Eastern people), who were seen by some eugenicists, like Harry Laughlin, to be genetically inferior.[46] During the early 20th century as the United States and Canada began to receive higher numbers of immigrants, influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments that these immigrants would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted.[47][48]

In 1921, a temporary measure was passed to slowdown the open door on immigration. The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity to be closely associated with eugenics and was founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard graduates. The overall goal of the League was to prevent what they perceived as inferior races from diluting "the superior American racial stock" (those who were of the upper-class Anglo-Saxon heritage), and they began working to have stricter anti-immigration laws in the United States.[49] The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants as they attempted to enter the United States, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among "inferior races".[46]Eugenicists believed that immigrants were often degenerate, had low IQs, and were afflicted with shiftlessness, alcoholism and insubordination. According to Eugenicists, all of these problems were transmitted through genes. Literacy test bills were vetoed by presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson's second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917.[50]

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of "inferior stock" from eastern and southern Europe.[51][52] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of "old stock" white Americans as members of the "Nordic race" (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing.[53] Whereas Anglo-Saxon and Nordic people were seen as the most desirable immigrants, the Chinese and Japanese were seen as the least desirable and were largely banned from entering the U.S as a result of the immigration act.[53][54] In addition to the immigration act, eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.[55]

Both class and race factored into the eugenic definitions of "fit" and "unfit." By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one's genetic fitness.[56] This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominantly white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of "superior strains."[36] In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that those deemed "unfit" were predominantly of the lower classes.[36]

Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower-class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle-class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more "family minded," and to help better the race.[57] To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper-class women sterilization and birth control.[58]However, since poverty was associated with prostitution and "mental idiocy," women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed "unfit" and "promiscuous."[36

In the 19th century, based on a view of Lamarckism, it was believed that the damage done to people by diseases could be inherited and therefore, through eugenics, these diseases could be eradicated. This belief was carried into the 20th century as public health measures were taken to improve health with the hope that such measures would result in better health of future generations.[citation needed]

A 1911 Carnegie Institute report explored eighteen methods for removing defective genetic attributes; the eighth method was euthanasia.[15] Though the most commonly suggested method of euthanasia was to set up local gas chambers,[15] many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors came up with alternative ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions.[15] For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis(reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 30–40% annual death rates.[15] Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.[15]

In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic "mercy killings" in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize "imbeciles" and other defectives.[59] A few years later, in 1938, the Euthanasia Society of America was founded.[60] However, despite this, euthanasia saw marginal support in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the "unfit" from reproducing.[15]

 

Standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money was put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[71]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting "Better Baby" contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.[72]

First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, "Fitter Families for Future Firesides" competitions continued all the way up to World War II. Mary T. Watts and Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon,[73][74] both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.[75]

There were several different categories that families were judged in: size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities.[76][77] At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from one's parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high-temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysiswere few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.[78]

Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross.[78] The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called "Capper Medals." The cups were named after then-Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to "Grade A individuals".[79]

The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check-up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.[78]

By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.[80]

As we are in the post modern era, is it safe to say that we have moved past this form of stratification whilst still noting advantages like ability to jump, ability to take rules and apply them to abstract information (intelligence), etc or are we just pretending the eugenics movement never happened?

 

Various persons and peoples were alive  during the eugenics movement and many have died, yet a number of our elders chose to accept eugenics as a new state offering in order to find agreement with others. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this horrendously long pointless copy and paste is taken down by mods. Did OP have a point?

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On 12/8/2022 at 10:38 PM, Hammerclaw said:

Eugenics looks great on paper, but in practice it was often horribly abusive. Ironically, it was American eugenics that so inspired the Nazis they emulated it on an industrial scale.

The world was full of half-baked ideas at the time.  The generations of the 20s and 30s uncritical acceptance of dubious ideologies led to the regimented genocides of the 40s. 

The simple fact of the matter is that no ideology survives contact with reality.  The moral of the story is:

NEVER BE AN IDEOLOGUE

ALL IDEOLOGIES ARE WRONG

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  • 3 weeks later...

Eugenics has always been a hot topic. Firstly associated with the Nazis of course, but also has been the goal of most genocides. 

Eugenics used to occur in nature by default through Natural Selection. 

The technological and medical advancements that we have achieved over the last 500 years have offered a comfortable buffer zone that has circumvented Natural Selection. We have in fact altered evolutionary process by, in essence, cheating 'the system'.

I personally work with some individuals that would not exist today if it wasn't for the blanket of protection that advancement provides. There is no doubt that if this were prehistoric times they would have been long carried off by a pterodactyl ending their bloodlines for eternity.

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