Eugenics and Politics in Britain, 1900-1914

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Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 30, 1976 - History - 147 pages
Eugenics, to quote the definition of the man who coined the word, Francis Galton, is 'the study of agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either 1 physically or mentally'. Eugenists believe that the knowledge so acquired can be applied to the practical task of raising the level of fitness in the human race. Man, Prometheus-like, is at last acquiring the power to control his own genetic future. To carry on the eugenical work pioneered by Galton, a Eugenics Society is in existence at the present day. Its members, predominantly academics and scientists, hope collectively to influence government policies through normal pressure-group activities. But, however seriously they take eugenics, probably few of them see themselves as having a mission to save civilization from imminent collapse, or seriously expect that eugenics will shortly replace the programmes and ideologies of the existing political parties; nor would they present eugenics as a science of man that was making redundant all previous speculations in philosophy, history, and sociology. These, however, were precisely the aims and ambitions of those who formed the original 'Eugenics Education Society' in the winter of 1907-8.

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