An Image of God: The Catholic Struggle with Eugenics - download pdf or read online

By Sharon M. Leon

Within the first 1/2 the 20th century, supporters of the eugenics move provided a picture of a racially remodeled the United States by way of curbing the replica of "unfit" individuals of society. via institutionalization, obligatory sterilization, the restrict of immigration and marriages, and different equipment, eugenicists promised to enhance the inhabitants - a coverage time table that was once embraced by means of many major intellectuals and public figures. yet Catholic activists and thinkers around the usa adverse lots of those measures, announcing that "every guy, even a lunatic, is a picture of God, now not an insignificant animal." In "An photo of God", Sharon M. Leon examines the efforts of yankee Catholics to thwart eugenic regulations, illuminating the ways that Catholic inspiration reworked the general public dialog approximately person rights, the position of the country, and the intersections of race, neighborhood, and kin. via an exam of the wider questions raised during this debate, Leon casts new gentle on significant concerns that stay crucial in American political existence at the present time: the establishment of marriage, the function of presidency, and the separation of church and country. this is often crucial studying within the background of faith, technology, politics, and human rights.

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However, here and in the future, these voices refused to make the hierarchical racial distinctions that were at the core of eugenics thinking. Instead, they pointed to the need for economic justice—an environmental solution—in the face of the needs of the working classes, rather than reproductive restriction. From the base of these initial interactions, we can see elements of agreement and conflict that would remain in play in Catholic perspectives on eugenics policies over the course of the next thirty years.

Goddard, the director of research at the Training School for Feebleminded Boys and Girls, a prominent site of eugenics investigations in Vineland, New Jersey. In addition to coining the term “moron,” Goddard used Binet’s intelligence scale to popularize the notion that intelligence was passed from generation to generation as a single trait that followed Mendelian laws of inheritance. In his 1912 account of the Kallikak family, Goddard and his assistants traced two family lines, one “good” and one “bad,” to a single father.

However, here and in the future, these voices refused to make the hierarchical racial distinctions that were at the core of eugenics thinking. Instead, they pointed to the need for economic justice—an environmental solution—in the face of the needs of the working classes, rather than reproductive restriction. From the base of these initial interactions, we can see elements of agreement and conflict that would remain in play in Catholic perspectives on eugenics policies over the course of the next thirty years.

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An Image of God: The Catholic Struggle with Eugenics by Sharon M. Leon


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