American Eugenics Movement, 1907-Today

The term eugenics was coined by Sir Francis Galton in 1883.  The modern American eugenics movement began in 1907 with the passage of the first eugenic sterilization law in Indiana.  

Find all of Charles Burris’ work here.

1916Planned Parenthood founded in Brooklyn by Margaret Sanger.  Sold it to the public as birth control.  Birth control is code for abortion.  Check out the overview in this video:

Funding for her eugenics program came from the usual suspects–Carnegie Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Harriman money:

Rockefeller money was behind much of this research. So was Carnegie money. So was Harriman money. The great foundations, funded by the great fortunes, funded it.

She could not sell her eugenics program to the black community, so what she sought was the hiring of affable black ministers with a background in social work or community service and use religion to bring the blacks to the promised land of eugenics.  Monstrous.   

Here’s the opening paragraph at Wikipedia

The origins of Planned Parenthood date to October 16, 1916, when Margaret Sanger, her sister Ethel Byrne, and Fania Mindell opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in the Brownsville section of the New York borough of Brooklyn.[16] They distributed birth control, birth control advice, and birth control information. All three women were arrested[17][18][19] and jailed for violating provisions of the Comstock Act, accused of distributing obscene materials at the clinic. The so-called Brownsville trials brought national attention and support to their cause. Sanger and her co-defendants were convicted on misdemeanor charges, which they appealed through two subsequent appeals courts. While the convictions were not overturned,[20] the judge who issued the final ruling also modified the law to permit physician-prescribed birth control. The women’s campaign led to major changes in the laws governing birth control and sex education in the United States.[21]

1933, By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s example. 

1934, The movie, Tomorrow’s Children, was a damning indictment of the movement.

Thanks to Charles Burris for this video, who writes in his “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 scientistsespecially 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.

Selling Murder: The Killing Films of the Third Reich.
Thanks to Charles Burris at Lew  

Charles Burris explains that 

Noted British historian Michael Burleigh won the British Film Institute Award for Archival Achievement for scripting this Channel 4/Domino Films documentary Selling Murder: The Killing Films of the Third Reich, the single most important film about the Nazi’s Aktion T-4 euthanasia program. It shows exactly how the Nazis marginalized people with disabilities and mental illnesses by making them less and less until it became acceptable to exterminate them.

Burleigh’s books are here

1.  Death and Deliverance: ‘Euthanasia’ in Germany, c.1900 to 1945Michael Burleigh, 1995.
2.  The Racial State Michael Burleigh, 1991.
3.  Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law James Q. Whitman, 2018.
4.  The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, Stefan Kühl, 2002.

It should be remembered that the eugenics movement started in the United States, specifically, in California.  

The eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it was spread to Germany. Eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals. By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s example. 

The one mistake that we should all avoid making is thinking that the eugenics movement was something of a darker period of history or that it was something gone awry back in the 1930s or Nazi Germany.  Uh-uh.  It’s alive and well.  The Amazing Polly brings us up-to-date with her “Epstein and the Eugenicists.”