Eugenics


Throughout the course of time, science has been somehow responsible nearly every time a major concept in society was changed. The early twentieth century is no exception. This was a period of novelty; new inventions, new luxuries, and new ideas. One of these new ideas was the concept of “,” or genetically improving the overall quality of the human race. It started out seeming like a practical way to eradicate certain genetic deficiencies, but became a full blown revolution in the attitude of many towards those with even slight deficiencies. The impact of the movement started small, but within a few years it had spread worldwide and defined many of the political ideas of the time.
The ...

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by Charles Davenport in 1901 that the ideas of modern was given any credibility.4 Davenport conducted experiments that proved what Mendel had said years before in his laws of genetics. Davenport, however, took it another step. He extended Mendel’s laws to include characteristics such as pauperism, alcoholism, and the popular term of the day, “feeblemindedness.”5 Davenport also connected behavior to race, class, and pedigree. While all of Davenport’s ideas were up to date with all current research, such as his conclusion that characteristics such as what he called “thalassophilia,”6 or the love of the sea, were sex-linked recessive traits given that they were almost always in males. This conclusion and many others made by Davenport are grossly oversimplified, and often even ludicrous. However in the early twentieth century, people believed it, and they used it to their advantage.
To people in the early 1900s, seemed perfectly logical because they wanted the ideas to be ...

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handicaps.”13 Like marriage, there were sterilization laws passed in states, the first one being in 1907, again in Indiana. Within 10 years, 15 more states had passed sterilization laws. These laws gave states the power to “compel the sterilization” of criminals, rapists, drug addicts, epileptics, the insane, and “idiots in state institutions.”14 Other methods of this artificial selection included induced abortion, but only after an amniocentesis, and “physical elimination of the handicapped individual,”15 or euthanasia. This practice of administering euthanasia was mostly used on those who were institutionalized. These laws were only the beginning of the effects of the movement on ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/4/2004 11:37:26 AM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1506
Pages: 6

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