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Eugenics. “Improving h uman g enetic qualities”. AS SBl4U Mr. Watts 24/05/2012. What is Eugenics?. Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human traits through various forms of intervention

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“Improving human genetic qualities”



Mr. Watts


what is eugenics
What is Eugenics?
  • Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human traits through various forms of intervention
  • It is the concept of selective breeding in humans to achieve improved genetic qualities, that will strengthen and improve the gene pool
  • Essentially, eugenics is the belief that people with favourable genes are more beneficial to a society
categories of eugenics
Categories of Eugenics

It is mainly divided into two categories.

  • Positive eugenics

- Encouraging reproduction of those genetically ‘fit’

  • Negative eugenics

- Aims to prevent those deemed physically, mentally or morally unfit to procreate. Generally by sterilization or segregation

where did eugenics originate from
Where did Eugenics originate from?
  • Term eugenics literally means “well-born”
  • The platform originated from an essay about population dynamics in 1798 written by Thomas Malthus (political economist)
  • It was introduced in the 1880s by Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin and the father of modern statistics.
  • Sir Francis Galton coined the term eugenics in 1883 from the Greek eugenes, and devoted a part of his life to propagating the idea of improving the physical and mental makeup of the human species by selective parenthood.
early eugenicists
Early Eugenicists
  • Believed genetics were the cause of problems for the human gene pool
  • It was only possible to treat bad symptoms for a short period of time. They encountered that eugenic sought to eliminate the disease permanently
  • They were determined to eliminate the genes of feeble-mindedness-including manic depression, immortality, alcoholism, rebelliousness, criminality, laziness, prostitution.
  • Charles B. Davenport (founder of eugenic record office in NY) suggested that people with “bad genes” should be sterilized in order to prevent their reproduction and for the society to save money
eugenics in the 1910 s
Eugenics in the 1910’s
  • The Eugenic Record office reported and made decisions that were highly influential in the United states
  • The organization researched by gathering pedigree information from thousands of families
  • Rules lead onto forbidding marriage, segregation in institutions, reduce the number of immigrants and sexual sterilization of allegedly “unfit parents”.
  • This lead to huge ethical debate on the misconception of “unfit” and the racially abuse to the immigrants

Squares represent males, circles, females; F, feeble-minded; N, normal, E, epileptic; I, insane, C, criminal; T, tuberculosis; d, inf, died in infancy; and small black circle indicates miscarriage.

eugenics 1910 1920
Eugenics 1910-1920
  • The concepts of eugenics rapidly became popular under the influence of Davenport’s organization during this era
  • Several Eugenics Societies including the Human Betterment Foundation, supported the organizations dedication to the improvement of the human race by sterilizing thousands of Americans so they could not pass on “inferior” traits.
  • A Binet (IQ test) immigration test was hold in USA to determine if an immigrant could enter the country
  • Robert H. Goddard results showed that of the immigrants he tested, 80% of the Hungarians, 79% of the Italians, 87% of the Russians, and 83% of the Jews were feebleminded.
eugenics in the 1920 s
Eugenics in the 1920’s
  • As eugenics were rapidly becoming popular in the states, another new concept (that we use in our modern society)was finally approved
  • Abortion was finally legalized in 1921 by Margaret Sanger after many years to tries and failures
  • Margaret Sanger coined the term “birth control, and also founded Planned Parenthood which still exists today
eugenics 1921 1930
Eugenics 1921-1930
  • Eugenicists claimed that by being sterilized and not reproducing, it was helping strengthen American Society.
  • They worked to get sterilization laws passed: some 60,000 Americans were sterilized
  • The eugenicist inspired Virginia Integrity Act of 1924 prohibited marriage between a white person and anyone with a trace of blood other than Caucasian
eugenics movement
Eugenics Movement
  • US Supreme Court ruled in favor of involuntary sterilization laws for inmates in mental instit. in 1927
  • At this point, eugenics was becoming a little extremist
  • Foreign born, African Americans and Mexicans all operated on at disproportionate rates
  • Impoverished women receiving public assistance were told they would have to undergo sterilization to continue to receive benefits
nazis and eugenics
Nazis and Eugenics
  • During the 1930s to 1945 Adolf Hitler was hated by the world because of his fearless actions
  • His beliefs and concepts were actually influenced from the United States
  • The concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master race was created in the US two decades before Hitler came into power
  • In 1924, when Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf”, he frequently quoted American eugenics and displayed a thorough knowledge.
  • “There is today one state, in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”
nazi eugenics 1931 1945
Nazi Eugenics 1931-1945
  • Hitler praised a book called “The passing of the Great Race” written by Madison Grant (An American Eugenicist)
  • Hitler believe that “bad "characteristics and values were in the genes of the Jewish people, and therefore are able to be destroyed from society.
  • He then went on by annihilating hundreds of thousands of the Jewish population in concentration camps
  • American foundations such as Eugenics Record Office and Human Betterment Foundation of California highly supported the propagandas and treatment used in Nazi Germany
eugenics in the 21 st century
Eugenics in the 21st century
  • Great scientists such as Archibald Garrod and George Beadle helped revolutionize negative eugenics to positive eugenics
  • Extreme eugenics propaganda slowly started to calm down and they refocused on the positive aspects of eugenics
  • It was highly focused on encouraging people with good genes to reproduce together
  • Negative eugenics do still exists today but not as apparent. (i.e the one baby per household law in China)
eugenics after nazi era
Eugenics after Nazi Era
  • Eye opening for Americans as to dangers of Eugenics
  • Ethically, the eugenics movement failed when it praised the effectiveness of Hitler's "Master Race" plan
  • After killing millions of Jewish people (and, subsequently, losing a war) Hitler's master race idea was denounced.
  • Sterilization laws stayed on books in few states until 1979
relevancy of eugenics today
Relevancy of Eugenics Today
  • Human Genome Mapping Project
  • Identify marker for congenital defects such as Down Syndrome and cystic fibrosis and future vulnerabilities (cancer, diabetes)
  • Identify markers for personality traits
  • Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis – only wealthy can afford
  • Before eugenics focal point was selective breeding
  • Now the focus is on prenatal testing and screening, genetic counseling, birth control, in vitro fertilization and genetic engineering.
is eugenics a good idea
Is eugenics a good idea?
  • Even though we know Eugenics is an evil act, us human has to consider and analyze the way we are involving in
  • By analyzing the pattern, in the next generation I believe humans will evolve into becoming less intelligent
  • As statistics shows; from 1875 to now, the average human I.Q has dropped by 4.4 points.
  • This doesn’t necessarily mean that sterilize or segregate people that has less I.Q but organize helping institutions that will make the people more smarter
  • Everyone deserves to be treated equally
case against eugenics
Case against Eugenics
  • Most of the mistaken actions of eugenics relate to the violation of human rights.
  • There’s no intellectual and evidence to back up the method of eugenics
  • Humans were categorized and ranked based on race, socioeconomic levels, and assumed intelligence.
  • Immortal to abort babies
  • Racist propaganda – “master race” , “the negro project – Margaret Sanger”
my views on eugenics
My views on Eugenics
  • We, as humans, naturally strive to improve ourselves and our offspring, possibly as an attempt to ensure that our personal genetic code improve as we grow. It is not unusual for us to think of ways to improve our phenotype (plastic surgery, diet, exercise, using supplements, artificial enhancement, etc.) or our genotype (selection of an 'appropriate' partner to procreate with, etc.).
  • People with lower-intelligenceshould not be sterilized because everyone is equal. It is how you carry your intelligence that makes the transformation.
  • Eugenics turned into a tool to legally exercise evil act, racism, and hatred against those in lower economical levels, non-white and non-Christians. Personally, I cannot see a value in the practice of eugenics. Morally, we as humans have a duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves, whether they are infants, children or an ‘unfit’ individual

1) California State University Sacramento. Eugenics in California Retrieved from

2) American Bioethics Advisory Commission (1999). Eugenics Retrieved from

3) Black, Edwin (2003). The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics. Retrieved from

4) Claude Moore Health Sciences Library (2004). Origins of Eugenics. Retrieved from

5) What is Eugenics? Past and Present Perspectives. Retrieved from

6) Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement. Retrieved from

picture links
Picture Links
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