imbeciles the supreme court american eugenics and the sterilization of carrie buck

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Imbeciles

Author : Adam Cohen
ISBN : 9781101980835
Genre : History
File Size : 53. 52 MB
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Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land In 1927, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling so disturbing, ignorant, and cruel that it stands as one of the great injustices in American history. In Imbeciles, bestselling author Adam Cohen exposes the court’s decision to allow the sterilization of a young woman it wrongly thought to be “feebleminded” and to champion the mass eugenic sterilization of undesirable citizens for the greater good of the country. The 8–1 ruling was signed by some of the most revered figures in American law—including Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former U.S. president; and Louis Brandeis, a progressive icon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, considered by many the greatest Supreme Court justice in history, wrote the majority opinion, including the court’s famous declaration “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Imbeciles is the shocking story of Buck v. Bell, a legal case that challenges our faith in American justice. A gripping courtroom drama, it pits a helpless young woman against powerful scientists, lawyers, and judges who believed that eugenic measures were necessary to save the nation from being “swamped with incompetence.” At the center was Carrie Buck, who was born into a poor family in Charlottesville, Virginia, and taken in by a foster family, until she became pregnant out of wedlock. She was then declared “feebleminded” and shipped off to the Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded. Buck v. Bell unfolded against the backdrop of a nation in the thrall of eugenics, which many Americans thought would uplift the human race. Congress embraced this fervor, enacting the first laws designed to prevent immigration by Italians, Jews, and other groups charged with being genetically inferior. Cohen shows how Buck arrived at the colony at just the wrong time, when influential scientists and politicians were looking for a “test case” to determine whether Virginia’s new eugenic sterilization law could withstand a legal challenge. A cabal of powerful men lined up against her, and no one stood up for her—not even her lawyer, who, it is now clear, was in collusion with the men who wanted her sterilized. In the end, Buck’s case was heard by the Supreme Court, the institution established by the founders to ensure that justice would prevail. The court could have seen through the false claim that Buck was a threat to the gene pool, or it could have found that forced sterilization was a violation of her rights. Instead, Holmes, a scion of several prominent Boston Brahmin families, who was raised to believe in the superiority of his own bloodlines, wrote a vicious, haunting decision upholding Buck’s sterilization and imploring the nation to sterilize many more. Holmes got his wish, and before the madness ended some sixty to seventy thousand Americans were sterilized. Cohen overturns cherished myths and demolishes lauded figures in relentless pursuit of the truth. With the intellectual force of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Imbeciles is an ardent indictment of our champions of justice and our optimistic faith in progress, as well as a triumph of American legal and social history. From the Hardcover edition.

Three Generations No Imbeciles

Author : Paul A. Lombardo
ISBN : 9780801890109
Genre : History
File Size : 37. 36 MB
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Looks at the case Buck v. Bell, covering the events of the trial and the 1927 Supreme Court case which upheld Virginia's compulsory sterilization of "feebleminded" individuals.

Illiberal Reformers

Author : Thomas C. Leonard
ISBN : 0691175861
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 52. 60 MB
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In Illiberal Reformers, Thomas Leonard reexamines the economic progressives whose ideas and reform agenda underwrote the Progressive Era dismantling of laissez-faire and the creation of the regulatory welfare state, which, they believed, would humanize and rationalize industrial capitalism. But not for all. Academic social scientists such as Richard T. Ely, John R. Commons, and Edward A. Ross, together with their reform allies in social work, charity, journalism, and law, played a pivotal role in establishing minimum-wage and maximum-hours laws, workmen's compensation, antitrust regulation, and other hallmarks of the regulatory welfare state. But even as they offered uplift to some, economic progressives advocated exclusion for others, and did both in the name of progress. Leonard meticulously reconstructs the influence of Darwinism, racial science, and eugenics on scholars and activists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, revealing a reform community deeply ambivalent about America's poor. Illiberal Reformers shows that the intellectual champions of the regulatory welfare state proposed using it not to help those they portrayed as hereditary inferiors but to exclude them.

Breeding Contempt

Author : Mark A. Largent
ISBN : 9780813549989
Genre : History
File Size : 31. 5 MB
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From the Publisher: Most closely associated today 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 is it depicted as a movement having links to America-a nation that has historically prided itself for its scientific rationality. But eugenics does have a history in the United States-a history that is largely the story of biologist Charles Davenport. Davenport, who led the Eugenics Records Office in the late nineteenth century, provided physicians, social scientists, and lawmakers with the scientific data and authority that enabled them to coercively sterilize men and women who were thought to be socially deviant, unfit to pass on their genes, and unable to raise healthy children. Moreover, Mark A. Largent shows how even in modern times, remnants of eugenics philosophies persist in this country as certain public figures advocate a brand of birth control-such as progesterone shots for male criminals-that are only steps away from the castrations that were once performed.

Lead Wars

Author : Gerald Markowitz
ISBN : 9780520954953
Genre : Medical
File Size : 57. 47 MB
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In this incisive examination of lead poisoning during the past half century, Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner focus on one of the most contentious and bitter battles in the history of public health. Lead Wars details how the nature of the epidemic has changed and highlights the dilemmas public health agencies face today in terms of prevention strategies and chronic illness linked to low levels of toxic exposure. The authors use the opinion by Maryland’s Court of Appeals—which considered whether researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s prestigious Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) engaged in unethical research on 108 African-American children—as a springboard to ask fundamental questions about the practice and future of public health. Lead Wars chronicles the obstacles faced by public health workers in the conservative, pro-business, anti-regulatory climate that took off in the Reagan years and that stymied efforts to eliminate lead from the environments and the bodies of American children.

War Against The Weak

Author : Edwin Black
ISBN : 0914153293
Genre : History
File Size : 56. 53 MB
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War Against the Weak is the gripping chronicle documenting how American corporate philanthropies launched a national campaign of ethnic cleansing in the United States, helped found and fund the Nazi eugenics of Hitler and Mengele — and then created the modern movement of "human genetics." Some 60,000 Americans were sterilized under laws in 27 states. This expanded edition includes two new essays on state genocide.

American Eugenics

Author : Nancy Ordover
ISBN : 0816635595
Genre : Medical
File Size : 58. 61 MB
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Traces the history of eugenics ideology in the United States and its ongoing presence in contemporary life. The Nazis may have given eugenics its negative connotations, but the practice--and the "science" that supports it--is still disturbingly alive in America in anti-immigration initiatives, the quest for a "gay gene, " and theories of collective intelligence. Tracing the historical roots and persistence of eugenics in the United States, Nancy Ordover explores the political and cultural climate that has endowed these campaigns with mass appeal and scientific legitimacy. American Eugenics demonstrates how biological theories of race, gender, and sexuality are crucially linked through a concern with regulating the "unfit." These links emerge in Ordover's examination of three separate but ultimately related American eugenics campaigns: early twentieth-century anti-immigration crusades; medical models and interventions imposed on (and sometimes embraced by) lesbians, gays, transgendered people, and bisexuals; and the compulsory sterilization of poor women and women of color. Throughout, her work reveals how constructed notions of race, gender, sexuality, and nation are put to ideological uses and how "faith in science" can undermine progressive social movements, drawing liberals and conservatives alike into eugenics-based discourse and policies.

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