Eugenics involves efforts to improve either the human race or a specific national, racial, or ethnic group through genetic or biological manipulation. Eugenic ideas have been associated with a wide range of social and political agendas, the most infamous being the racist and patriarchal discourses of Nazism in the first half of the twentieth century. In the United States, where the popularity and influence of eugenics peaked between the early 1910s and the late 1930s, it led to immigration restrictions and the sterilization and institutionalization of a range of persons who, for various reasons, were classed as “unfit.” Although such policies were partly inspired by a Progressive Era faith in the power of science to improve society, many eugenicists in the United States used arguments ...

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