Eugenics

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The roots of eugenics can be traced back to Britain in the early 1880’s when Sir Francis Galton generated the term from the Greek word for “well-born”. He defined eugenics as the science of improving stock, whether human or animal. According to the American Eugenics Movement, today’s study of eugenics has many similarities to studies done in the early 20th century. Back then, “Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings – by encouraging the reproduction of people with "good" genes and discouraging those with "bad" genes.” (www.eugenicsarchive.org) According to Merriam-Webster, the modern day definition of eugenics is, a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed. The topic of eugenics is a controversial one, but through research it is evident that there are both positive and negative aspects. In 1926, the American Eugenics Society was founded by Harry Crampton, Harry H. Laughlin, Madison Grant, and Henry Fairfield Osborn. The main goal of the organization was to distribute accurate scientific information on genetic health, draw attention to eugenics, and promote eugenic research. “Between 1907 and 1937 thirty-two states required sterilization of various citizens viewed as undesirable: the mentally ill or handicapped, those convicted of sexual, drug, or alcohol crimes and others viewed as degenerate" (Larson). In late 1994, The Bell Curve was published. The research quoted in the book is taken mostly from members of the American Eugenics Society and other eugenics groups. “The book concludes that all men are not equal, and that the Declaration of Independence is badly worded.” (Clements) The book was generally praised by conservatives and attacked by liberals. The summary of eugenics, was on the best seller list for weeks. In modern society, eugenics most recently became a hot topic when scientists announced the first successful cloning of Dolly the sheep. Dolly had the exact genetic make up as her mother. This revelation immediately got people talking about the possibility of cloning humans. “If cloning research were pursued, it has been estimated that human cloning could become a practical reality within the next one to two decades.” (Pearson) Some negative aspects of eugenics include reducing the fertility of persons suffering from l... ... middle of paper ... ...inois Press, 1997. Pearson, Roger. “The Case FOR Cloning.” The Mankind Quarterly. Spring 1998. Proquest. Pages 69-73. The Case FOR Cloning By Roger Pearson Institute for the Study of Man This paper originally appeared in The Mankind Quarterly , vol. 38, number 3, pp. 69-73 Scott-Townsend Publishers, Washington DC., Spring 1998 Prothero, Stephen. “Bad Science, Misplaced Faith.” Wall Street Journal. 22 April 2004, Proquest. Page D.10. Bad Science, Misplaced Faith Stephen Prothero. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Apr 22, 2004. pg. D.10 Larson, Edward J. “Belated Progress: The Enactment of Eugenic Legislation in Georgia.” Journal of History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. January 1991. Proquest. Pages 44-64. Clements, Colleen. “The new eugenics: bioethics has its own ideology hostile to genetics and accepts, on faith alone, the feasibility of creating social environments which can cure all problems.” Medical Post. 5 March 2002. Proquest. Vol. 38, Iss. 9; p. 13. Image Archive on The American Eugenics Movement. http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/ “The politics of eugenics.” Canada & the World. Oct 1993. Proquest. Vol. 59, Page 13.

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