MONOCULTURE – Eugenics in Great Britain


Sir Francis Galton introduced the very term eugenics and laid the foundations for a movement that would develop in the following decades. Inspired by the theory of evolution by natural selection introduced by his half-cousin, Charles Darwin, he dedicated his studies to the improvement of the human race. Galton was convinced that eugenics studies could replace Darwinian ‘natural selection’ with more effective processes. G.K. Chesterton’s book is a significant, but rare example of anti-eugenic essays circulating at that time in Britain. He predicted the abuse of eugenics and believed that it would be used as means of suppression of the poor. Even though Chesterton was accused of irrationality because of his ideas, the book had a considerable influence on British parliament. Despite the fact that the movement of eugenics was founded in Britain, the eugenics legislation as it was introduced in the United States and later in Germany was never passed in Britain.

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