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By Paul A. Lombardo

In 1907, Indiana handed the world's first involuntary sterilization legislation in response to the idea of eugenics. In time, greater than 30 states and a dozen overseas international locations swimsuit. even though the Indiana statute was once later declared unconstitutional, different legislation limiting immigration and regulating marriage on "eugenic" grounds have been nonetheless in influence within the U.S. as past due because the Nineteen Seventies. A Century of Eugenics in the USA assesses the historical past of eugenics within the usa and its prestige within the age of the Human Genome undertaking. The essays discover the early aid of obligatory sterilization by way of medical professionals and legislators; the implementation of eugenic schemes in Indiana, Georgia, California, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Alabama; the felony and social demanding situations to sterilization; and the clients for a eugenics circulation basing its claims on smooth genetic technology.

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Extra info for A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era (Bioethics and the Humanities)

Sample text

11 Just as some people are born to be physical giants or dwarfs, Jordan argued, some are born to rank as the best or the least mentally. 12 Moreover, many of his books promoted a eugenic outlook on society. He felt it was an evolutionary obligation for humanity to cull the least productive of its members and to encourage the best and the brightest to reproduce more of their kind. At the same time, however, he was a pacifist; eugenics taught him that countries recruited their ablest young men to go out and kill each other off in war, artificially and disproportionately allowing the dull and physically weak, out of harm’s way safe at home, to procreate.

18 But despite Sharp’s growing national connections to eugenics, back in Indiana the law passed through his efforts had come under attack. T h e H o o s i e r C o n n e c t i o nâ•… · â•… 21 Governor Thomas Marshall, the Democrat who replaced Hanly, felt the law was unconstitutional. He ordered Sharp to stop performing sterilizations. Eventually, the Indiana courts upheld Marshall’s position, overturning the law in 1919. S. Army. After the World War I armistice, he became a practicing physician for the Veterans Administration and abandoned his lobbying efforts for sterilization.

Although there has been relatively little historical attention to Indiana’s eugenic past, the state was on the cutting edge of Progressive reforms, including eugenics. Hoosier reformers—both inside and outside the legislature—possessed the necessary mixture of zeal, belief in scientific progress, activist government, and fear of the future for eugenic sterilization to become a reality. At first, the newly enacted law was controversial, and it lacked widespread support among the public, which doubted the well-born science’s ability to remake society.

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