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The Eugenics Crusade

American Experience 2018⎪112 min


Mention the word "eugenics" and it tends to conjure gruesome images of the Nazi concentration camps and the all-too-human casualties of Adolf Hitler's ruthless campaign for racial purity. That a similar effort to breed a better human race flourished in the United States in the decades prior to World War Two generally comes as a surprise. Perhaps more surprising still, American eugenics was neither the work of fanatics nor the product of fringe science. In fact, at its peak in the 1920s, the American eugenics movement was in every way mainstream, its doctrines not only popular and practiced, but codified by law.


Ranging widely around the country and over the span of more than three decades, The Eugenics Crusade traces the American eugenics movement's rise from the cutting-edge of turn-of-the-century science to the hallowed chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court, and illuminates the constellation of forces that turned a scientific theory of heredity into a powerful instrument of social control.


"The Eugenics Crusade tells a story that is enlightening, disturbing, and still timely for the twenty-first important contribution to our understanding of eugenics."

The Journal of American History


2019 Writers Guild of America award winner

Written and Directed by

Michelle Ferrari


Produced by

Connie Honeycutt

Rafael de la Uz

Michelle Ferrari


Edited by

George O'Donnell


Narrated by

Corey Stoll


Original Score by

Nathan Halpern

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