Paper Sample on Eugenics in America: Unraveling the Historical Impact on Race, Sex, and Disability

Published: 2024-01-29
Paper Sample on Eugenics in America: Unraveling the Historical Impact on Race, Sex, and Disability
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race History United States
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1788 words
15 min read


Historically, human characteristics have been studied to develop the desired selection for the future generation, known as eugenics. However, this could be achieved given practices that focus on the genes of the entire population. In the United States, eugenics existed for several years before the invention of Germany's programs that supported the whole practice through policies. In the 20th century, the United States population chose eugenics to improve race and sex elements rather than rely on medical science on genes. Later on, eugenics gained more support from corporate institutes such as Carnegie and ended up being included in the United States' academic curriculum. After that, eugenics was formalized, and this is where the divide came in the states. However, this adoption led to a permanent division in the United States through the posters that aimed at removing mentally disabled individuals from the community who were affected genetically. Therefore this paper proposes at discoursing the permanent divisions in the United States from the impact of eugenics. This essay will attempt to argue that many of the arguments put forth by eugenicists of the early twentieth century still find their way into the American discourse causing an irreparable divide within the United States still felt to this day.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Effects of Eugenics

In the United States, eugenics led to race, sex, and discrimination of mentally disabled individuals. Whereby, Marriage rights were denied to these individuals, and sterilization was introduced to reduce the number of newborns. Besides, individuals living with epilepsy were denied the right to receive a marriage certificate like any other citizen in the United States.

According to 'The Passing of the Great Race,' procedures to reduce the settlement of undesired characters in the United States were announced to control the country's race and sex based on eugenics. Additionally, an aristocracy was laid to prevent the mentally disabled individuals and the lower races as they were considered humble dignity in society. Consequently, the freedom of birth and wealth was demolished because the high-class people invented the immigrant labor plan in the factories that could not favor the discriminated gender. Even though marriage is the right of everyone, eugenics caused changes to this right in that the United States government came up with a ruling over marriage because it is the determinant of property ownership.

Furthermore, this legislation limited the people in the states from marrying the disabled. It was only at a specified age that one could marry a celebrity not related by blood. On the other hand, the rate of involuntary sterilization on the 'feeblemindedness' as the term was used to refer to the mentally challenged was high. In 1927, eugenics was trending in the United States. Thus, the need for sterilization became tall, and this was when a ruling in favor of eugenics and sterilization was presented to the court by Oliver Wendell.

Similarly, cross-breeding and intermixture were introduced to develop offspring in line with the future generation's expectations in the United States. Regionally, individuals' physical characteristics were considered when interbreeding because of the offspring's lifetime results yield. Eugenics as a whole not only affected race, sex, and the mentally disabled but also made the medical administrators intentionally disconnect the life-supporting machines for infants born with disabilities.

How the Application of Eugenics Changed Throughout the Years

The application of eugenics on sex, race, and mentally disabled individuals continued for several years as a social drive meant to bring change to the future generation and deploy the science behind genes. However, the effect of eugenics in the United States changed over time in terms of migration, whereby an immigration league was formed to regulate the races and population. Throughout, it was believed that these restrictions on migration and race could change the American people's social and sexual lives. In 1909, a committee based on eugenics records was started by David Starr to ensure that all the eugenics records were kept for future reference. This meant a continued impact on the race, sex, and lives of the mentally challenged. Later on, in 1924, the eugenicists strived to achieve one of the eugenic goals by formalizing racial superiority and emphasizing restricted immigration in the States. In the 20th century, many immigrants and eugenics realized that the only way they could determine immigrants' races was social mobility. Additionally, poverty was considered a genetic indicator for the low-class individuals discriminated against from the rest of the citizens.

Annually, the eugenics presentation introduced a Virginia sterilization act to be used as a birth control method among the mentally disabled from 1924. Regarding sexuality, the percentage of women being sterilized was so high compared to men after the first group was forcefully sterilized under the eugenic legislation. Eugenics focused more on sexuality, whereby men were being sterilized to reduce the crime rates in the United States. In contrast, the women were sterilized to control the behaviors related to their gender. Furthermore, women were held accountable for the increased population growth, so the main focus was on women as the defectives to protect the whites' racial health.

On the other hand, several attempts were put in place to reduce the number of the mentally challenged group whereby the inferior in a mental institute had to be poisoned with milk. Gradually, the impact of eugenics on race, sex, and mentally challenged individuals was an evolving process, and the eugenics office forms that could determine desired individuals in the United States. Even though the spread of the eugenic movement had gone, historians tried to protect the policy on genes in the United States by defining eugenics as good genes. After that, historiographical concentration was based on improving race in the United States and Germany. Historians came up with an unfair representation of eugenics' impact on race, sex, and discrimination of the mentally challenged to eliminate eugenics until recently.

Effects Eugenics Had on Political Policy in the United States at the Time

Historically, the eugenic movement began in the 20th century, which led to the eugenic policies by the people living in the United States to control the population. Majorly, these policies came from the restrictions placed on immigration and forceful sterilization of men and women, which affected the political policies. In other words, the citizens viewed the political policies in a eugenic setup because of the adoption and change brought by the eugenics legislation. Based on immigration restrictions and forced sterilization, positive and negative programs were put in place, which affected human rights. Despite the abuse of human rights, the United States still performed forced sterilization through advanced technology. However, whether the impact of these actions was positive or damaging to the citizens, the eugenics policies were being approved by a given political group. Therefore, the eugenic policies' negative energy caused criticism because genetic diversity and human rights were violated. Ethically, the eugenic movement affected the social and political setup because of the population control, which should be solved before the eugenic policies are implemented. Political policies can best be formulated in a country where the citizens are given all human rights for them to be able to appoint good political leaders for the current and future generations.

Main Proponents of Eugenics

Generally, a team comes to an agreement when proposing legislation to be made before the policy is formalized, and these individuals are known as proponents. In this case, Margaret Sanger, Madison Grant, Lothrop Stoddard, and Henry Goddard are among the eugenics proponents:

Margaret Sanger

In the United States, Margaret was the first nurse to develop a clinic that mainly focused on reproductive health, specifically birth control, because she was a sex educator. Primarily she relied on written materials and speeches to improve her reasoning capacity. Later on, Margaret shifted to Britain after being prosecuted for publishing the book 'Family Limitation' for her safety but later went back to the States. Through Margaret's efforts, contraceptives were legalized despite the criticism she encountered from her opponents, who advocated for abortion. According to Margaret, birth controls are meant to remove the unfit individuals who may have defectives from society. Concerning eugenics, Sanger was appealing to society on the need for contraceptives. When she encountered the eugenics, she thought they had the same goals. Based on the eugenics movement, Sanger aimed at improving genetic traits through birth control; thus, she was considered a negative eugenicist because her goal was related to the eugenics who fought for sterilization.

Lothrop Stoddard

In 1883, Stoddard was born, and he was a supremacist who supported racism in eugenics. However, he believed that the racial hierarchy was to be maintained for future reference. That is why he wrote the book 'The Rising Tide of Color against White World-Supremacy.' In the United States, Stoddard's books were among the most commonly read books. Stoddard was part of the eugenic society, and through analysis of a health court that focused on forceful sterilization, he understood the reason behind the sterilization in Germany. Career-wise, he participated in political science and association and the historical association in America. Besides, he was the author of several books based on being civilized and racial equity. In the book 'The Rising Tide of a Color against the white world- supremacy,' he illustrated how individuals perceive race, bearing in mind the population growth rate. According to Stoddard, race and heritage were the historical factors that distinguished the whites by their color. However, he came up with three whites divisions and decided on the group that was to receive immigration restrictions. Further, Stoddard argued that racism mainly affected blacks. Later on, Stoddard passed away in 1950, but his work's theories did not gain fame because the content was related to Nazis.

Henry Goddard

Based on intellectual testing commonly used by eugenics to determine the genes of individuals, Henry was the first psychologist to test this knowledge on the immigrants at Ellis Island. Eventually, new assessment tools came to existence through him, which brought darkness to America's history. Goddard secured a chance to conduct more investigations on how the intellectual functioning of infants works. During this research period, he was able to study intelligence testing, which was invented by Sir Alfred Binet. After that, intelligence testing gained popularity in America since most psychologists relied on it.

Skills which gave Goddard to be given the authority over intelligence testing. Later on, the duties and responsibilities assigned to Goddard led to an understanding of the origin of ‘feeblemindedness.’ That is when he published a book called "The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness." In support of eugenics, Goddard encouraged society to prevent mentally challenged people from giving birth by taking them to isolation centers or through sterilization. Therefore, Henry can be considered a member of the eugenic movement by supporting intellectual testing and sterilization.

Cite this page

Paper Sample on Eugenics in America: Unraveling the Historical Impact on Race, Sex, and Disability. (2024, Jan 29). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism