Eugenics Argumentative Essay

1818 Words8 Pages
Eugenics is the science of genetic breeding. Simply put, it is a philosophy that advocates the improvement of the human gene pool by aiming to increase reproduction between individuals that bear beneficial or desired traits, while reducing the reproduction of individuals with less desirable traits. These two methods of improving the gene pool are known as positive eugenics and negative eugenics, respectively. Currently, eugenics has a very negative connotation, and much of this bad reputation can be attributed to its use as justification for the atrocities of the Holocaust. However, in the early 19th century prior to World War II, eugenics was in an upward trend in terms of popularity in many parts of the world, notably in America and in Britain.…show more content…
was facing a large influx of immigrants from Europe, as well as migration of many thousands of blacks from the Jim Crow South to the North. Race now became a matter of concern, and the American eugenics movement played on the fear that many Americans had, which was that those people who were currently a minority would become a majority. Congressman Albert Johnson was a supporter of eugenics, and used his position to advocate for eugenics legislation (Ludmerer 89). Since the target of American eugenics made up a minority of the population, the benefits outweighed the risks for Johnson; however, this was not the case in Britain, and thus the British eugenics movement did not have a strong political leader to advocate for legislation. Albert Johnson helped pass the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924 (also known as the Johnson Act). This act limited the annual immigration from each European country to 2% of the U.S. residents in 1890 who had been born in that country, ensuring that a very small portion of annual immigrants would be from southern or eastern Europe (Ludmerer 89). President Coolidge, who signed off on the act, made a public statement in which he described his desire to keep America's purity, and that interracial mixing resulted in deterioration of the Nordic race (Kevles 97). Clearly, in contrast to the British eugenics movement, the American eugenics movement had strong political

More about Eugenics Argumentative Essay

Open Document