Darwinism, Racism and Eugenics

Sanger believed she was ‘working in accord with the universal law of evolution’.  She maintained that the brains of Australian Aborigines were only one step more evolved than chimpanzees and just under blacks, Jews and Italians.When arguing for eugenics, Sanger quoted Darwin as an authority when discussing ‘natural checks’ of the population, such as war, which helped to reduce the population. Her magazine even argued for ‘state-sponsored sterilization programs’, forcibly sterilizing the ‘less capable’. She won many academics and scientists to her cause, including Harvard University sociologists E. M. East, University of Michigan President Clarence C. Little and Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Alfred Meyer.

Sanger also made her eugenic views clear in her many publications, such as The Pivot of Civilization and Woman Rebel, stressing that birth control was not only ‘important with respect to controlling the numbers of unfit in the population’, but was the ‘only viable means to improve the human race’.  For example, she wrote: ‘Birth control itself … is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.’ She boldly proclaimed that birth control was the only viable way to improve the human race. And while in her later years Sanger redefined what she meant by the unfit, ‘she increasingly saw feeblemindedness, the bogey of all hereditarians, as antecedent to poverty and social organization in the genesis of social problems.’

Birth control leader Margaret Sanger: Darwinist, racist and eugenicist
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