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The Progressives' CenturyPolitical Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State$
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Stephen Skowronek, Stephen M Engel, and Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300204841

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300204841.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

The Democratic Fit

The Democratic Fit

Party Reform and the Eugenics Tool

(p.197) 9 The Democratic Fit
The Progressives' Century

Nicole Mellow

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses how Progressives began supporting eugenic initiatives in order to cultivate a citizenry with the necessary attributes—at minimum, independence, rationality, moral behavior, and devotion to American institutions—out of the patchwork polity entrenched in the existing party system. Against the backdrop of growing immigration and urban industrial poverty, the eugenics campaign, targeting the “socially inadequate,” flourished as an effort to increase the proportion of citizens deemed fit to those identified as unfit. Teddy Roosevelt, whose concerns about “race suicide” led him to speak and write often on the topic, was among the most high-profile advocates of eugenics, campaigning actively to encourage greater reproduction rates among those citizens possessing ideal citizen characteristics.

Keywords:   Progressives, Progressivism, political parties, eugenics, party system, Teddy Roosevelt

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