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April 17, 1897


JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(16):754-756. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440160036008

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One of the results of the vulgarization of the Lombrosian theories of human degeneracy by such works as those of Nordau and others, has been to give rise to a number of rather noteworthy propositions, some of which it has been proposed to realize by legislation. A bill is said to be now before the Texas legislature, prohibiting the marriage of those affected with any serious hereditary disease or taint; an act has, it is said, been passed in Connecticut forbidding the marriage of epileptics, and other similar legislation will probably be attempted in other quarters. The difficulty with all these propositions is not that they are not good in themselves, at least in purpose, but that they are all more or less impracticable. Besides the difficulty of quelling or restricting the strongest animal impulses, that is met with everywhere in the endeavor to keep up and improve the moral

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