Eugenics Brief discussion of eugenics in America

Essay by mufdivaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2002

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Eugenics is a term used to describe a process which is implemented in hopes of creating a better race of humans through the genes the parent generation passes down to the offspring. The term was used originally by Englishman Francis Galton in 1883 who, incidentally, was a cousin of the famous evolutionist Charles Darwin. Galton was primarily concerned with mathematics. He was completing a statistical study of "latent ability" among a group of British people mainly through the reading of their biographical sketches, Galton noticed that most of these people were related some how and he concluded that intelligence and other desirable traits could be passed on through heredity. He also concluded that the number of people with these abilities could be increased through marriages of those people who exhibited those traits.

Historically this idea has been used negatively and in some instances violently. The idea of eugenics, or as the Nazis used the euphamism "creating a superior race" (when in fact they were murdering millions of people), has been both misused and misunderstood.

Many people blur the distinction between genocide and eugenics. And the Holocaust created by the Nazis wasn't a method for eugenics but was a horrific example of genocide. Even the United States has used eugenics in some of their policies in the past. When immigrants started to come into this country in greater numbers the limits from certain countries was not based on the total number of people coming in at that time alone, but what the ethnic backgrounds of those people were as those in power, mainly of W.A.S.P. heritage, feared that these people wouldn't be able to support themselves or would "taint" the gene pool of America.

While eugenics may have been used as a tool of oppression in creating an unwarranted...