Eugenics in America

Many of the European ideas and approaches to the problems of society, class, and race broached by Francis Galton, Cesare Lombroso, and numerous others were exported to the United States around the turn of the twentieth century.

The early manifestations of American eugenics were in the form of genealogical studies of "degenerate" groupings of people, falsely characterized as consanguineous families. These studies presumed to show not only the genetic basis of human corruption and social decadence but the overwhelming scale of the problem of degeneracy.

The organization of the American eugenics movement around the Eugenics Record Office and the American Eugenics Society accelerated the proliferation of such flawed scientific studies and introduced them into the popular consciousness. The Jukes, Kallikak, Nam, Hill Folk, and Win became well-known degenerate clans to educated Americans.