A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries: Eugenics movement reaches its height
Eugenics movement reaches its height1923 Photo: This family was awarded Honorable Mention, Large Family Class, as part of a eugenics exhibit at a Kansas fair in 1923. The term eugenics comes from the Greek roots for "good" and "generation" or "origin" and was first used to refer to the "science" of heredity and good breeding in about 1883. Within 20 years, the word was widely used by scientists who had rediscovered the work of Gregor Mendel. Mendel had meticulously recorded the results of cross-breeding pea plants, and found a very regular statistical pattern for features like height and color. This introduced the concept of genes, opening the field of genetics to a tumultuous century of research. The trappings of science, anyway. Local eugenics societies and groups sprang up around the United States after World War I, with names like the Race Betterment Foundation. Behaviorism was introduced in 1913, and the genetic work of Thomas Hunt Morgan and others became known through the 'teens.
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