Eugenics Movement fuels nativism and racism


United States

Discrimination & Inequity Race & Ethnicity Violence

During the first decades of the twentieth century the eugenics movement rose in popularity, advocating for immigration restriction, racial segregation, and the sterilization of people with disabilities, prisoners, and other populations they deemed “unfit” to reproduce.

With its roots in the scientific racism of the nineteenth century, eugenics refers to a philosophy and set of principles that promote selective reproduction and reproductive control with a goal of genetic improvement. Immigration laws passed in this period (see also: Immigration Act 1917) convey the widespread, popular influence of this pseudo-scientific movement that was supported by influential individuals and organizations in the U.S. such as the Carnegie Institute and Margaret Sanger, a leader of the birth control movement, as well as by the Nazis during World War II