Genes and Hereditary Factors

The idea that the gene is a discrete particle of hereditary information had gained wide acceptance in the scientific community by the early 1900’s. It soon occurred to people that if genes were indeed separate and distinct units, it might be possible to manipulate human heredity by adding or subtracting these units, whatever their chemical nature might be (DNA was still several decades in the future).  How to add or subtract?  By regulating who could mate with whom, either by preventing the inheritance of “bad” traits (negative eugenics) or by enhancing the appearance of “good” traits in the next generation (positive eugenics).

Prior to the rise of Hitler in 1933, eugenics efforts were well under way in Germany, as well as in the USA.  In fact, Germany borrowed some its ideas and methods from the eugenics movement in the USA, as discussed in The Gene.

In this assignment, you are asked to write a 400 word article about the early eugenics movement in the USA, covering the years 1900 to 1930.  Your task is to choose three of the most important events that provided momentum and validation to the movement during these years; fully explain the significance of each event.  This information can be found in Ch 6 and Ch 7 of The Gene.  Each event could be conveniently described in a paragraph. 

Your article should begin with a Title and a short Introduction and end with a pithy Conclusion (e.g., discuss the future of the movement, or eugenics).  GIVE THE WORD COUNT.

SELF-EVALUATION (10 points)  Before you begin the essay, summarize the major comments Max made about your first essay; you should take these into account in writing this essay.  After you have finished the essay, describe how you improved your writing, based on Max’s comments.  For example, if Max had “Explain better” marked in several places in Essay #1, how did you consciously try to explain something better in Essay #2?

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