Galton argued that early marriage between healthy, mentally strong families should be encouraged by financial incentives, and reproduction by the "feeble-minded" should be curtailed. She has published extensively on questions of sex, gender, and reproduction in the United Kingdom during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain since 1880 (2000) and Outspoken Women: Women Writing about Sex, 1870–1969 (2005). Access supplemental materials and multimedia. Eugenics still received backing in eminent circles in Britain until well into the 1940s. It discusses eugenics as a biological way of thinking about social, economic, political, and cultural change. With a personal account, you can read up to 100 articles each month for free. Many early left-wing thinkers wanted government to direct social policy towards "improving" the human race by discouraging reproduction among those sections of society deemed to have undesirable genes. It is a history that is deeply uncomfortable, disturbing and shameful and which seems to contradict the values America and Britain claim to uphold. In 1957, a special meeting of Britain's Eugenics Society discussed ways to stem losses in membership, including the suggestion "that the Society should pursue eugenic ends by less obvious means, that is by a policy of crypto-eugenics, which was apparently proving successful with the US Eugenics Society". Hall is Senior Archivist at the Wellcome Library and Honorary Lecturer in History of Medicine at University College London. She has published Banishing the Beast (1995) and (with Laura Doan) Sexology in Culture and Sexology Uncensored (1998). Press, Paul Chapman Publishing, Pine Forge Press, SAGE Reference, SAGE Science and Scolari (US and Europe websites) imprints. In July 1931, the New Statesman asserted: "The legitimate claims of eugenics are not inherently incompatible with the outlook of the collectivist movement. Eugenics quickly gained many backers on both sides of the Atlantic, including leading politicians and opinion formers. Lucy Bland teaches women's studies and history at London Metropolitan University. Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has drawn attention to the harmful lasting impact of Britain’s colonialist figures, shocking those who assumed that white supremacy had been left firmly in the past. A year later, Sir James Crichton-Brown, giving evidence before the 1908 Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded, recommended the compulsory sterilisation of those with learning disabilities and mental illness, describing them as "our social rubbish" which should be "swept up and garnered and utilised as far as possible". option. Could not the undesirables be got rid of and the desirables multiplied?". © 1976 Sage Publications, Ltd. He went on to complain, "We pay much attention to the breeding of our horses, our cattle, our dogs and poultry, even our flowers and vegetables; surely it's not too much to ask that a little care be bestowed upon the breeding and rearing of our race". Britain and America are two countries that, in recent years, have led the world in attempting to give disabled people rights and equality. All Rights Reserved. The 1934 report of the Departmental Committee on Sterilisation chaired by Lord Brock recommended legislation to ensure the 'voluntary' sterilisation of 'mentally defective women'. To access this article, please, Vol. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Galton's writings played a key role in launching the eugenics movement in the UK and America. Even in 1946, Keynes was calling eugenics “the most important and significant branch of sociology”. With the spread of ideas about "the survival of the fittest", social Darwinists started to question the wisdom of providing care to the "weak" on the grounds this would enable people to live and reproduce who were not meant to survive. Its report was based upon advice from Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who had warned in his 1883 work Memoir upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race that the "passions of the deaf and dumb are undoubtedly strong".

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