How Does Eugenics Relate to Natural Selection?

What is Eugenics?

Based off of Gregor Mendel's pea experiment, eugenics was founded in the mid to late 19th century by Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of famous geologist and naturalist, Charles Darwin, in England. The term "eugenics" was coined by Galton in 1883. It was popular among upperclassmen in England

The goal of eugenics was to 'improve' the human race but stopping people who were 'unfit' from reproducing. At the time, this meant anyone who was not white was deemed 'unfit'. Anyone with a trace of pauperism, alcoholism and any disabilities such as epilepsy were lawfully restricted from reproducing.

Eugenics in the United States.

Eugenics was started in the US by chicken breeder, Charles Davenport in the early 20th century. The American Eugenics society was founded in 1923. Competitions such as 'Better Baby' and 'Fittest Family' were held. Some eugenics societies had names such as 'Race Betterment Facility'. In the early 1900's, improving the gene pool was quite common in the US, according to Human Testing, The Eugenics Movement and IRBs. Things such as poverty and alcoholism were seen as mental illnesses. To get rid of these problems, people turned to eugenics. Physicians and lawmakers often funded and advocated the eugenics movement in the US.

Eugenics in the US was a lot more popular than where it got its roots, in the UK. In competitions such as 'Better Baby' were held at county fairs. They were held in buildings that looked like livestock barns. Children were judged alongside produce and livestock.

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Sterilization in the US

Sterilization in terms of eugenics is the act of stopping someone from reproducing.

Sterilization laws were adopted in 30 states. Between the years 1934-1945 350,000 sterilizations were performed. Some states continued sterilizations until the 1970s. The top 5 states with the most sterilizations were:

1. California- 20,108

2. Virginia- 8,300

3. North Carolina- 8,000

4. Kansas- 3,032

5. Indiana - 2,424

In most states, women were the main targets for sterilization.


Eugenics relates to natural selection because the people who were deemed 'fit' were more elite and most likely to survive, whereas people who are 'unfit' were not fit to survive.


NA. "Eugenics in the US." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Dec. 2010. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

Wikimedia. "Francis Galton." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Jan. 2016. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.