The Government’s Position

The following documents describe the government’s view on Eugenics and Sterilization.

Keep these questions in mind while reading:

  • What does the government believe of eugenics and sterilization?

  • To what extent are they willing to go to support eugenics?

    1. Supreme Court Case Buck v. Bell (1926)

Buck vs. Bell Supreme Court Decision. (n.d.). Retrieved November 05, 2017, from
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge






Click to enlarge

Reading Questions

  1. What is Supreme Court Justice Holmes’ argument?
  2. Why does he believe this?
  3. According to Holmes, why might Eugenics be good for society?
  4. How are the rights of the “patients” protected according to Holmes? Do you believe that these rights are actually considered? Why or why not?
  5. Are the feelings and humanity of these patients acknowledged by Justice Holmes? Why or why not?
  6. Do you agree with Justice Holmes conclusion? Why or why not?
  7. What does this Supreme Court Decision tell you about the popular opinion on forced sterilization and eugenics?

For a simplified version of the Court Case including guiding questions click here.

2. Documentation of Those Sterilized up to 1940

Gender Disparity in Sterilization. (n.d.). Retrieved November 05, 2017, from

Reading Questions

  1. Briefly describe what this chart shows.
  2. When was it written? Who wrote it?
  3. According to the chart, what were the main reasons for sterilization?
  4. Describe who were the most affected by these sterilizations.
  5. Why was this declared unconstitutional in 1940? What does that mean?
  6. What do you believe is most important about this chart?
  7. Why do you think that people were willing to sterilize these many individuals?
  8. Who was more likely to be sterilized: men or women? Why do you believe that is the case?

Document 3: The Immigration Act of 1924 & The Chinese Exclusion Act

  1. What countries did this Act restrict from coming into America?
  2. What countries this Act help come to America?
  3. Which countries is America most like in government and race?
  4. Why do you think the US would restrict some and help others?
  5. In what ways does this Act encourage eugenics or the betterment of the white race in America?