Marriage, Family, and Eugenics in the Twentieth Century

Lecture Description

In this talk, Kline argues that eugenics, a widespread popular movement during the first half of the twentieth century, appealed to Americans who believed that the best way to strengthen family and civilization was to regulate fertility. Robert Dickinson, Louis Terman, and Paul Popenoe were all involved in researching and promoting sterilization of the “unfit” in the 1910s and ‘20s. In the 1930s, they turn to marriage counseling as a way of encouraging the “fit” (the white middle class) to develop lasting marriages and have more children. Their campaign paved the way for the “baby boom” of the 1950s.



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