Eugenics in the United States

Wendy Kline

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Eugenics in the United States


This article provides an understanding of the history of the nature/nurture debate that was initially of great interest to both intellectual and social historians. It presents in-depth studies of influential organization and individuals and discusses two approaches introduced by the history of science to the study of eugenics. It links eugenic concerns about race betterment with concerns about Mexican immigration, arguing that in the early twentieth century, the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and the Border Patrol shaped the complicated process of racialization on the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. This article argues that disability is a category of analysis as important as race, class, or gender in understanding the past. Eugenics is no longer a forgotten relic of the past, but a vibrant field that addresses controversial issues from a variety of fields and standpoints.

Keywords: eugenics; racialization; U.S. Public Health Service; gender; disability

Article.  5479 words. 

Subjects: History ; United States History

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