The powerful people behind the eugenics movement: Independent Weekly

Eugenics traces its roots back to the late 19th century when Britain’s Sir Francis Galton coined the term from the Greek root meaning “good in birth,” wrote Daniel Kevles in his book In the Name of Eugenics. It was based on the notion that human beings could actively employ evolutionary concepts to create better people and societies. The rediscovery of Gregor Mendel’s papers on selective pea plant breeding lent an air of scientific credibility to eugenic theory. Eugenicists assumed that just about all human characteristics and afflictions—disease, mental illness, criminality, intelligence, alcoholism, pauperism—were inherited as single-gene traits that could be bred in or out of people just like Mendel’s pea plants.

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