Eugenics facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Eugenics congress logo
Eugenics is the self direction of human evolution, logo of the second International Eugenics Congress, 1921
Francis Galton 1850s
Sir Francis Galton initially developed the ideas of eugenics using social statistics.

Eugenics is a social and political philosophy. It tries to influence the way people choose to mate and raise children, with the aim of improving the human species.

Eugenics rests on some basic ideas. The first is that, in genetics, what is true of animals is also true of man. The characteristics of animals are passed on from one generation to the next in heredity, including mental characteristics. For example, the behaviour and mental characteristics of different breeds of dog differ, and all modern breeds are greatly changed from wolves. The breeding and genetics of farm animals show that if the parents of the next generation are chosen, then that affects what offspring are born.

Negative eugenics aims to cut out traits that lead to suffering, by limiting people with the traits from reproducing. Positive eugenics aims to produce more healthy and intelligent humans, by persuading people with those traits to have more children.

In the past, many ways were proposed for doing this, and even today eugenics means different things to different people. The idea of eugenics is controversial, because in the past it was sometimes used to justify discrimination and injustice against people who were thought to be genetically unhealthy or inferior.

Related pages

Images for kids


Eugenics Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.