100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.
The Eugenics Movement in America
“Three Generations of Imbeciles are Enough”
Buck v. Bell
274 U.S. 200 (1927)
Carrie Buck Eagle Detamore seems fated to live on in history as a symbol for other peoples’ anxieties and preoccupations. At the time of her trial, she embodied a fear of social decline that haunted the native-born, Protestant, white elite, epitomized by the patrician and childless justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Several years before Carrie Buck's death in 1983, scholars who rediscovered her case presented her to the world as an example of female victimhood—an innocent rape survivor whose injury was further compounded by heartless professionals bent on using her for their own ends. The facts of her life more closely support the modern view rather than the image ...