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Article
February 15, 1902

LEGISLATION AGAINST DEGENERACY.

JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(7):462-463. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480070028004

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Abstract

The idea of restricting the production of defectives is one that appears just at the present time to occupy a large place in the medical mind; hence the propositions sent out in medical papers or in resolutions of medical societies calling for legislation to prevent the marriage of the markedly unfit and to require a medical certificate as an essential preliminary for any license to marry. The multiplication of the defective and criminal classes has become so prominent a feature of modern civilization, and the public danger and expense they entail are so great that it is in no way astonishing that attention should be drawn to it and that radical measures for its prophylaxis be suggested. A hundred years ago society would have sought to make short work of the criminals and the other defectives would have been largely left to the tender mercies of the natural selective operations

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