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American Eugenics

As unfamiliar as most people are with Nazi eugenics, they are even less familiar with American eugenics. American eugenicists provided legal, moral, and philanthropic support for Nazi eugenics.


For example, Hitler wrote a fan letter that referred to Madison Grant about his book The Passage of the Great Race, saying “This book is my bible.” The 1933 Nazi involuntary sterilization law was modeled after the Virginia involuntary sterilization law that was declared constitutional in the 8-1 US Supreme Court decision, Buck v. Bell; in 1907 Indiana became the first place in the world to pass an involuntary sterilization law. In Mein Kampf, Hitler praised America’s restrictive immigration policies and defended his treatment of Jews by comparing it to the treatment of black Americans in general and black physicians in particular.


You can learn more about American eugenics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s (CSHL) Image archive on the American Eugenics Movement, which was conceived by Nobel Laureate James Watson, in part to reveal the central role of CSHL in the American eugenics movement.



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