White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America - Chapter 8: Thoroughbreds and Scalawags: Bloodlines and Bastard Stock in the Age of Eugenics Summary & Analysis

Nancy Isenberg
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Summary

Isenberg begins this chapter by introducing two of the leading schools of thought in the beginning of the 1900s: social Darwinism and the eugenics movement. Scholar W.E.B. DuBois understood both themes were responsible for creating class structure in America. These ideas gained mainstream hold in the early twentieth century, but their origins lie in the Reconstruction period. The North wanted to rebuild the South in its own image, and the South wanted to restore elite white rule. Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” model was used widely by politicians of the time attempting to redefine class lines. Paired with the pseudoscience of eugenics, intellectuals used identical language to animal husbandry when debating how to breed good human stock. Isenberg notes that the arguments used by politicians to employ these themes...

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This section contains 1,931 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America Study Guide
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