Breeding contempt : the history of coerced sterilization in the United States /

Widespread sterilization programs are most closely associated with the Nazis and World War II atrocities. Less frequently are they recognized as efforts that were undertaken by American lawmakers, scientists, and health care providers. Mark A. Largent explores the history of compulsory sterilization...

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator: Largent, Mark A. (Author)
Format: eBook Electronic
Language:English
Language notes:English.
Imprint: New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, ©2008.
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Online Access:Click here for full text
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Summary:Widespread sterilization programs are most closely associated with the Nazis and World War II atrocities. Less frequently are they recognized as efforts that were undertaken by American lawmakers, scientists, and health care providers. Mark A. Largent explores the history of compulsory sterilization in the United States by examining the assumptions and motivations that led to the coerced sterilization of tens of thousands of Americans during the twentieth century. The book begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when American medical doctors began advocating the sterilization of citizens they de.

Most closely associated with the Nazis and World War II atrocities, eugenics is sometimes described as a government-orchestrated breeding program, other times as a pseudo-science, and often as the first step leading to genocide. Less frequently it is recognized as a movement having links to theUnited States. But eugenics does have a history in this country, and Mark A. Largent tells that story by exploring one of its most disturbing aspects, the compulsory sterilization of more than 64,000 Americans.

The book begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when American medical doctors began advocating the sterilization of citizens they deemed degenerate. By the turn of the twentieth century, physicians, biologists, and social scientists championed the cause, and lawmakers in two-thirds of the United States enacted laws that required the sterilization of various criminals, mental health patients, epileptics, and syphilitics. The movement lasted well into the latter half of the century, and Largent shows how even today the sentiments that motivated coerced sterilization persist as certain public figures advocate compulsory birth control--such as progesterone shots for male criminals or female welfare recipients--based on the same assumptions and motivations that had brought about thousands of coerced sterilizations decades ago.

Item Description:Print version record.
Physical Description:1 online resource (x, 213 pages) : illustrations
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references (pages 181-199) and index.
ISBN:9780813543802
0813543800
1281151424
9781281151421
9786611151423
6611151427
Author Notes:MARK A. LARGENT is an associate professor of science policy and the director of the Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy Specialization at Michigan State University in East Lansing. He is the editor of the Studies in Modern Science, Technology, and the Environment series published by Rutgers University Press.