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Social Darwinism: History Of The Study Of Eugenics

791 words - 4 pages

The study of eugenics has been around for many years. China has one of the leading birth control systems containing the one child policy and Eugenics. Eugenics is a system of improving human population by promoting the most socially desirable individuals to reproduce while preventing the socially undesirables from reproduction. Eugenics comes from the Greek word meaning “good” or “well born.” It is the belief that some people are genetically superior to others; and that one inherits their relatives’ mental and psychological traits. Eugenics has many negative effects on society. Through the theory of Social Darwinism, the use of sterilization and genetic engineering, eugenics has become one ...view middle of the document...

This raised the measures of social deterioration, asserting that "feebleminded" people were responsible for a wide range of social problems and were flourishing at a rate that endangered social resources and stability (Kevles). Consequently, this went against the theories of Social Darwinism by predicting a society would fall due to illegitimate reproduction. This resulted in the sterilization of many people both male and female.
Sterilization is a permanent method of birth control. Connecticut was the second state to pass sterilization laws in the United States after Indiana. However, it was the biggest. Sterilizations in Connecticut began after the passing of the state’s sterilization law in 1909 and continued up to around 1963. There were 557 people sterilized throughout this time; 92% were female, 74% were considered mentally ill, and 26% were deemed “mentally deficient” (“Connecticut”). The two major periods of increased sterilization were between 1920 and 1929 and 1930 and 1940 (“Connecticut”). This law allowed individuals who were admitted into mental institutions to be legally sterilized regardless of consent. In the Buck vs. Bell decision of May 2, 1927, the United States Supreme Court supported a Virginia decree that allowed for the eugenic sterilization of people considered genetically unfit. Because the state of Virginia upheld this law, it made way for 30 other states to have similar laws. This resulted in 65,000 Americans being sterilized without their own consent or that of a family member (“Connecticut”). ...

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