The following essay is a review of the literature about the American eugenics movement produced by scholars over the last fifty years. The essay provides an explanation for today's renewed interest in the subject and for why the science of eugenics remains relevant to contemporary society. The essay examines the catalyst to re-examine the eugenics movement, the influence of Darwinian thought upon its development, the political and institutional support for its growth, the relationship between eugenics, sterilization, and sex, and how the twentieth-century promises of the science of better breeding was a precursor to the twenty-first-century promise of genetic engineering.

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