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An Image of God
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An Image of God: The Catholic Struggle with Eugenics

Sharon M. Leon


During the first half of the twentieth century, supporters of the eugenics movement offered an image of a racially transformed America by curtailing the reproduction of “unfit” members of society. Through institutionalization, compulsory sterilization, the restriction of immigration and marriages, and other methods, eugenicists promised to improve the population—a policy agenda that was embraced by many leading intellectuals and public figures. But Catholic activists and thinkers across the United States opposed many of these measures, asserting that “every man, even a lunatic, is an image of ... More

Keywords: eugenics movement, institutionalization, compulsory sterilization, immigration, eugenicists, marriage, American Catholics, eugenic policies, Catholic thought, individual rights

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780226038988
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226039039.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sharon M. Leon, author