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In the late 19th century, Englishman Sir Francis Galton introduced the term eugenics, which is derived from the Greek and means “good at birth.” Galton, a mathematician, geographer, and researcher, along with other members of the scientific community developed and propagated theories that classified categories of people as fit or unfit. These theories proved to be dangerous and led to the birth control movement, forced sterilization, and intellectual racism for groups that were classified lower than other subgroups. This entry reviews the history of the eugenics movement and the ways in which it was used to justify claims of genetic inferiority, and programs that attacked the reproductive rights of ethnic minorities and those of low socioeconomic status. In particular, the impact on persons of ...

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