The Eugenics Crusade


The Eugenics Crusade tells the story of the unlikely –– and largely unknown –– campaign to breed a “better” American race, tracing the rise of the movement that turned the fledgling science of heredity into a powerful instrument of social control.

Edwin Black, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race

The Eugenics movement drew their greatest enthusiastic support and funding — extensive funding from America’s upper-most philanthropic sources such as from the Carnegie Institute and the Harriman railroad fortune. The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs, including the one that Dr. Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz. Cereal magnate J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton.

Top tier social scientists, especially economists, gave their full sanction to the Eugenics project. Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organizations that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms. One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenics agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement. Margaret Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement. Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defects.

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12:24 am on August 14, 2019

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