Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kara E. Rogers & F. John Meaney
Eugenics, defined as the study of improving the human race through selective breeding, coincided with the Bacteriological Era of epidemiology during the late 19th century into the early decades of the 20th century. As a science, eugenics developed gradually from basic ideas to lofty, and often unfounded, scientific conclusions. Its rapid growth in popularity with the general public and a handful of socially inclined scientists led to a series of events that has permanently influenced the design of modern population studies and the practice and study of medicine. Eugenics began when Sir Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, invented and defined the term eugenics in 1883. Many scientists, philosophers, and socialites, including Galton, Herbert Spencer, Charles Davenport, and John Harvey Kellogg, played pivotal roles in legitimizing eugenics and promoting the concept of protecting the human race from genetic and moral decline. England, the United States, and Germany were among Scientific ...