Why Aren't Textbooks Educating High Schoolers About America's Shameful Era of Eugenics and 'Scientific Racism': News Releases: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking


Stay Connected
Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

News Release
July 14, 2020

Why Aren’t Textbooks Educating High Schoolers About America’s Shameful Era of Eugenics and “Scientific Racism”
New Study Explores the Hidden History of the Progressive Movement

(Oakland, CA)—At a time when America shows greater willingness to confront racism, a survey of high-school textbooks reveals little if any mention of the period in U.S. history when “scientific racism” and eugenics were squarely in the nation’s intellectual mainstream. Is this absence because textbook authors (and the all-important textbook selection committees) don’t wish to call out the Progressive heroes who championed these discredited and repugnant ideas?

The failure of history textbooks to address this dismal aspect in our nation’s past—roughly from the late nineteenth century through early 1930s—comes to light in “Eugenics in High School History: Failure to Confront the Past”, by Thomas F. Cargill, the cover article of the Summer 2020 issue of The Independent Review.

The issue’s cover features a photo of and quote by Margaret Sanger, founder of the modern-day Planned Parenthood, who in 1932 wrote, “Apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is already such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”

Like many other Progressives who advocated coercive sterilization and segregation of marginalized groups and individuals for “the betterment of society”—and whose writings influenced the policies of Nazi Germany—Sanger has gotten a free pass by many of today’s liberals and Progressives.

Cargill examines nine U.S. history high-school textbooks and offers six conjectures for their gross shortcomings on this topic. His reason for writing the article, he states, is to help “influence public-school teachers who are motivated to present a realistic view of U.S. history” and enhance “the environment for a balanced presentation of U.S. history.”

Other contents in the summer issue of The Independent Review include the public-pension crisis, Adam Smith’s rebuke of the slave trade, offshore natural resources, and more, plus numerous book reviews, and a review essay by D. Eric Schansberg, “Elizabeth Warren, the Flips, and the Fight.”

Published quarterly by the Independent Institute, The Independent Review is a peer-reviewed, journal based on scholarship of the highest caliber, devoted to the study of political economy and the critical analysis of government policy. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., the Independent Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information, visit Independent.org.

For media inquiries, please contact Robert Ade, [email protected]. For subscription information, call (510) 632-1366 or visit the website here.


  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless
  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org