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History of Eugenics and Why it Was Wrong

Updated on September 22, 2020
Francis  Galton (one of the founder of Eugenics)
Francis Galton (one of the founder of Eugenics) | Source

Francis Galton and Eugenics

Development of Eugenics

Eugenics is a term that is derived from the Greek words "well" and "born." Sir Francis Galton developed the ideology in 1883, a cousin to Charles Darwin, who is credited for the studies on man's evolution. Sir Francis Galton tried to develop a scientific breakthrough that would allow the human race to take charge of the evolution process. The eugenics movement aimed to eliminate the shortcomings of the human race by developing a superhuman race. In the 1920s, the movement used the phrase "healthy babies" to make it popular and increase its practice. In my view, the eugenics movement was wrong because the human race imperfections make the human race perfect, and sterilization goes against Christian beliefs. The movement used the Supreme Court ruling and religion to support its ideology.

The science of eugenics
The science of eugenics | Source

When Did Eugenics Started?

In the case of Buck V and Bell of 1927, the Supreme Court, in its ruling, found no grounds in the United States Constitution that would prevent the State of Virginia from sterilizing Buck. According to the video ' The eugenics crusade, American experience,'the crusaders of eugenics hoped for the case to reach the Supreme Court. This is because its verdict would supersede all the rulings in other States that found sterilization illegal. The state of Indiana had been the first to pass the sterilization legislation in 1907. Other states had tried but failed to pass the sterilization bill. Nebraska's government had rejected the bill in 1913, citing that man was more than an animal to experiment on. The Supreme Court's ruling opened up the doors for sterilization in the United States. Thirty-one states soon followed, approving sterilization. The practice continued until the 1960s. The state of California registered 20,000 cases of sterilization. This was a third of the total case registered in the United States.

Eugenics and Religion

The eugenics crusaders portrayed the movement as a new religion in this world. This appealed to those who were critical to Christianity. This view became the basis for the infamous Holocaust. Hitler referred to the American eugenics' doctrines of a new religion of this world and not any other. According to "Eugenics as a new creed (2018)," the eugenics crusaders believed the world was for the chosen who were the best of all humans.

The crusaders supported their claim with the covenant between God and Abraham in the Bible. "God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky." The crusaders also referred to the New Testament, centered on love and service to God and man. The crusaders insisted on service to the man who needed it than to God, who did not need it. They viewed man as the determinant of the type generation of the human race. By serving man, the crusaders would ensure that the new generation would be a better version.

Which Tool Was Used to Ensure Eugenics Was a Success?

Immigration was a tool that was used in the eugenic reproduction in the country. The passing of the immigration law of 1924 restricted the immigrations of persons viewed as contributors to Americans' dilution.

According to an article by "Dr. Kelly Miller about 'eugenics and African Americans, immigrants to the United States were involuntarily sterilized.'" This was seen as an effective way to control their numbers. After the precedent-setting ruling of the Supreme Court, the cases of forceful sterilization tripled.

Role of Propaganda in Familiarizing Eugenics

There was a lot of propaganda used to popularize eugenics. Propaganda is the act of distorting information to suite a certain narrative. The crusaders sub-dived the society in terms of race, social status, education, disability, or a combination of the traits.

Those who were deemed to possess good traits were favored over those deemed to lack the good traits. Those with good traits were encouraged to reproduce and have as many children as they could. Those with inferior traits were forcefully sterilized. The eugenics crusaders also used insulting words to refer to people with bad traits.

The crusaders used words like feeble-minded, moron idiot, insane, lunatic, and mentally incompetent to psychologically group the people. The crusaders also used metaphors to refer to those with bad traits. The crusaders believed those with inferior traits were immoral and evil, and they required guidance. The crusaders used metaphors like natural catastrophes and disease people.

The Notion of Creating a 'Pure' and Strong Race

According to an an 'excerpt from a pamphlet supporting the sterilization of individuals in asylums, (1903),' sterilization would solve the social evils in our societies. They believed removing criminals, the immoral, and people with low intelligence was of the greater good. States passed laws requiring couples to undergo a mental examination before getting married.

This determined if the couples were to be allowed to reproduce or not. Sterilization was also viewed as the solution to happy families. Families would not suffer the burden of raising children if they did not have the financial capability. Children would not have to suffer from been born by mentally incompetent parents. The women would not have to lose their lives when procuring illegal abortions.

The children from parents of inferior traits would not have to struggle to understand education. The crusaders believed this would make the world a better place.

Eugenics Legal Backup

The eugenics crusaders did put up a spirited fight to support their ideology. They were wise to get legal backing, which allowed them to sterilize people deemed inferior. They believed their efforts would lead to a superhuman race. Their propaganda strategy helped them to gain the support of many people. They categorized people according to physical financial and psychological capabilities.

Gilbert Chesterton (one of Eugenics opposer)
Gilbert Chesterton (one of Eugenics opposer) | Source


Unfortunately, this was not the case because some of the children born by parents' views to have good traits ended up having bad traits. Humans are not animals or plants, which you can determine the characteristics of their children by cross-breeding.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Ian Muiruri


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