History Of Eugenics

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Over two thousand years ago, Plato wrote in his work Republic ideas about selective breeding, a concept that seemed, at the time, like something akin to science fiction. Millennia later, science fiction became science fact as a new form of science emerged, combining the principles of heredity with social values of human perfection: eugenics. Eugenics can be defined as the process of enhancing future generations through the perpetuation of positive heritable characteristics and the termination of those heritable characteristics deemed negative (“Eugenics”). The status of eugenics has, over time, oscillated, but despite this, aspects of its ideology endure to this day.
Over the course of history, the mysteries of heredity and genetics remained …show more content…

Eugenics displays were especially prevalent at county, state, and world fairs. Such booths were a crowd-pleasing feature at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933-34, boasting displays of pedigrees that contrasted positive traits with negative ones (“Eugenics”). Visitors of state and county fairs could peruse booths dedicated to eugenics, ask eugenicists for advice on potential marriages, and participate in “fitter families” contests, which awarded medals to families with the purest traits and pedigrees (“Eugenics, Forced Sterilization, the Holocaust, and the Gene Age”). Indeed, the early decades of the 20th century proved to be a promising time for the eugenics movement. However, beneath the surface of its success were ominous effects that would prove devastating for thousands of …show more content…

Along with the Holocaust, new scientific discoveries pointed to the underlying faults in eugenics (“Eugenics, Forced Sterilization, the Holocaust, and the Gene Age”). As its ideas were discredited and labeled as pseudoscience, public support for eugenics dropped dramatically; the term was removed from organization titles, and in 1939 the ERO was officially shut down. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare advocated the repeal of forced sterilization laws

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