How the eugenists viewed the people they discriminated against, James Watson
Interviewee: James Watson. James Watson discusses how eugenicists reacted to the problem of mental illness and sought to lessen the threat of the "unfit" to the United States. Here he talks about eugenicists were concerned about the increasing cost of caring for the feebleminded, because they were thought to reproduce more quickly than normal individuals. (DNAi Location: Chronicle > Threat of the Unfit > Threats > Burden of the feebleminded)
I think it was a mixture of compassion and despair, compassion that they couldn't take care of themselves, and somewhat despair that public funds were in some way going to have to support them. So it was a burden on society and I think the financial burden was in their minds, who paid for these institutions, and what particularly worried them was they thought they, the feebleminded bred even faster than other people, they were promiscuous and so one of their pamphlets, The Burden of the Feebleminded and Emma W. just had a series of illegitimate children and their idea was to put them in institutions where they couldn't have children.
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James Watson how science was misused to support eugenics.
James Watson talks about eugenics and mental institutions in the early 1900's.
James Watson talks about eugenics, race discrimination, and anti-immigration laws in the United States.
"Feeblemindedness," a catch-all mental illness characterized mainly by low scores on intelligence tests and supposed promiscuity, was a major concern of eugenicists.
Eugenicists were concerned about the hundreds of thousands of southern and eastern Europeans who were entering the country each year through the U.S. immigration facility at Ellis Island,
Types of aliens awaiting admission at Ellis Island station. Source: National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument.
Great hall at Ellis Island. Source: National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument.
James Watson talks about The American eugenics movement and bad science
James Watson talks about methods used by Davenport and the Eugenics Record Office.
Eastern European immigrant at Ellis Island (Photograph by Augustus Sherman)