The idea of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed race is often credited to Adolf Hitler. The not as well-known part is that this idea was around before Hitler and actually was spread to Germany by eugenics scientists in the United States. In this paper we will look into the full history of eugenics and how the idea was spread across the world. Along the journey we will encounter many major donors that may be of surprise to some of us. Eugenics has been a dark presence in the history of America and will continue to be until real strides are made to end racism.
Francis Galton and the Beginning of Eugenics
To start our discussion, we must define what eugenics is exactly so we can have a better understanding of all facts discussed. Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics, defined it as “the science of improving inherited stock, not only by judicious matings, but by all the influences which give more suitable strains a better chance” . In other words, Galton believed that only families with what were deemed “suitable” should be able to reproduce. This idea was to “better” the human race as a whole.
Francis Galton was born in Birmingham, England in 1822 to a wealthy family. From an early age, his interest in science was apparent. Galton went on to study medicine at Birmingham’s General Hospital and King’s College in London, but never received a degree. The death of Galton’s father gave Francis the monetary funds needed to continue his research that would eventually inspire eugenics.
Galton’s ideas were heavily influenced by the research of his cousin, Charles Darwin. Most important was the “inheritance of acquired characteristics” which is the basis for the entire idea of eugenics. Galton believed that if intelligence and overall well-being ...
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