Imbeciles

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101980834
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Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land In 1927, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling so disturbing, ignorant, and cruel that it stands as one of the great injustices in American history. In Imbeciles, bestselling author Adam Cohen exposes the court’s decision to allow the sterilization of a young woman it wrongly thought to be “feebleminded” and to champion the mass eugenic sterilization of undesirable citizens for the greater good of the country. The 8–1 ruling was signed by some of the most revered figures in American law—including Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former U.S. president; and Louis Brandeis, a progressive icon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, considered by many the greatest Supreme Court justice in history, wrote the majority opinion, including the court’s famous declaration “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Imbeciles is the shocking story of Buck v. Bell, a legal case that challenges our faith in American justice. A gripping courtroom drama, it pits a helpless young woman against powerful scientists, lawyers, and judges who believed that eugenic measures were necessary to save the nation from being “swamped with incompetence.” At the center was Carrie Buck, who was born into a poor family in Charlottesville, Virginia, and taken in by a foster family, until she became pregnant out of wedlock. She was then declared “feebleminded” and shipped off to the Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded. Buck v. Bell unfolded against the backdrop of a nation in the thrall of eugenics, which many Americans thought would uplift the human race. Congress embraced this fervor, enacting the first laws designed to prevent immigration by Italians, Jews, and other groups charged with being genetically inferior. Cohen shows how Buck arrived at the colony at just the wrong time, when influential scientists and politicians were looking for a “test case” to determine whether Virginia’s new eugenic sterilization law could withstand a legal challenge. A cabal of powerful men lined up against her, and no one stood up for her—not even her lawyer, who, it is now clear, was in collusion with the men who wanted her sterilized. In the end, Buck’s case was heard by the Supreme Court, the institution established by the founders to ensure that justice would prevail. The court could have seen through the false claim that Buck was a threat to the gene pool, or it could have found that forced sterilization was a violation of her rights. Instead, Holmes, a scion of several prominent Boston Brahmin families, who was raised to believe in the superiority of his own bloodlines, wrote a vicious, haunting decision upholding Buck’s sterilization and imploring the nation to sterilize many more. Holmes got his wish, and before the madness ended some sixty to seventy thousand Americans were sterilized. Cohen overturns cherished myths and demolishes lauded figures in relentless pursuit of the truth. With the intellectual force of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Imbeciles is an ardent indictment of our champions of justice and our optimistic faith in progress, as well as a triumph of American legal and social history. From the Hardcover edition.

Three Generations No Imbeciles

Author: Paul A. Lombardo
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801890101
Size: 18.18 MB
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Looks at the case Buck v. Bell, covering the events of the trial and the 1927 Supreme Court case which upheld Virginia's compulsory sterilization of "feebleminded" individuals.

Eugenics

Author: Philippa Levine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199385904
Size: 43.10 MB
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In 1883, Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, coined the word "eugenics" to express his dream of perfecting the human race by applying the laws of genetic heredity. Adapting Darwin's theory of evolution to human society, eugenics soon became a powerful, international movement, committed to using the principles of heredity and statistics to encourage healthy and discourage unhealthy reproduction. Early in the twentieth century and across the world, doctors, social reformers, and politicians turned to the new science of eugenics as a means to improve and strengthen their populations. Eugenics advocates claimed their methods would result in healthier, fitter babies and would dramatically limit human suffering. The reality was a different story. In the name of scientific progress and of human improvement, eugenicists targeted the weak and the sick, triggering coercive legislation on issues as disparate as race, gender, immigration, euthanasia, abortion, sterilization, intelligence, mental illness, and disease control. Nationalists eagerly embraced eugenics as a means to legitimize their countries' superiority and racialized assumptions, and the Nazis notoriously used eugenics to shape their "final solution." In this lucid volume, Philippa Levine tackles the intricate and controversial history of eugenics, masterfully synthesizing the enormous range of policies and experiments carried out in the name of eugenics around the world throughout the twentieth century. She questions the widespread belief that eugenics disappeared after World War II and evaluates the impact of eugenics on current reproductive and genetic sciences. Charting the development of such controversial practices as artificial insemination, sperm donation, and population control, this book offers a powerful, extraordinarily timely reflection on the frequent interplay between genetics and ethics. Eugenics may no longer be a household word, but we feel its effects even today.

American Pharaoh

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 0759524270
Size: 14.59 MB
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This is a biography of mayor Richard J. Daley. It is the story of his rise from the working-class Irish neighbourhood of his childhood to his role as one of the most important figures in 20th century American politics.

Supreme Inequality

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0735221510
Size: 75.59 MB
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From New York Times bestselling author Adam Cohen, a revelatory examination of the conservative direction of the Supreme Court over the last fifty years since the Nixon administration In 1969, newly elected president Richard Nixon launched an assault on the Supreme Court. He appointed four conservative justices in just three years, dismantling its previous liberal majority and setting it on a rightward course that continues to today. Before this drastic upheaval, the Court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, had been a powerful force for equality and inclusion, expanding the rights of the poor and racial minorities. Its rulings integrated schools across the South, established the Miranda warning for suspects in police custody, and recognized the principle of one person, one vote. But when Warren retired, Nixon used his four nominations to put a stop to that liberal agenda, and turn the Court into a force for his own views about what kind of nation America should be. In Supreme Inequality, bestselling author Adam Cohen surveys the most significant Supreme Court rulings since the Nixon era and exposes how rarely the Court has veered away from its agenda of promoting inequality. Contrary to what Americans like to believe, the Court does little to protect the rights of the poor and disadvantaged; in fact, it has not been on their side for fifty years. Many of the greatest successes of the Warren Court, in areas such as school desegregation, voting rights, and protecting workers, have been abandoned in favor of rulings that protect corporations and privileged Americans, who tend to be white, wealthy, and powerful. As the nation comes to grips with two new Trump-appointed justices, Cohen proves beyond doubt that the modern Court has been one of the leading forces behind the nation's soaring level of economic inequality, and that an institution revered as a source of fairness has been systematically making America less fair. A triumph of American legal, political, and social history, Supreme Inequality holds to account the highest court in the land, and shows how much damage it has done to America's ideals of equality, democracy, and justice for all.

The Case Against The Supreme Court

Author: Erwin Chemerinsky
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0143128000
Size: 22.15 MB
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Both historically and in the present, the Supreme Court has largely been a failure In this devastating book, Erwin Chemerinsky—“one of the shining lights of legal academia” (The New York Times)—shows how, case by case, for over two centuries, the hallowed Court has been far more likely to uphold government abuses of power than to stop them. Drawing on a wealth of rulings, some famous, others little known, he reviews the Supreme Court's historic failures in key areas, including the refusal to protect minorities, the upholding of gender discrimination, and the neglect of the Constitution in times of crisis, from World War I through 9/11. No one is better suited to make this case than Chemerinsky. He has studied, taught, and practiced constitutional law for thirty years and has argued before the Supreme Court. With passion and eloquence, Chemerinsky advocates reforms that could make the system work better, and he challenges us to think more critically about the nature of the Court and the fallible men and women who sit on it.

The Perfect Store

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 031605464X
Size: 31.46 MB
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When Pierre Omidyar launched a clunky website from a spare bedroom over Labor Day weekend of 1995, he wanted to see if he could use the Internet to create a perfect market. He never guessed his old-computer-parts and Beanie Baby exchange would revolutionize the world of commerce. Now, Adam Cohen, the only journalist ever to get full access to the company, tells the remarkable story of eBay's rise. He describes how eBay built the most passionate community ever to form in cyberspace and forged a business that triumphed over larger, better-funded rivals. And he explores the ever-widening array of enlistees in the eBay revolution, from a stay-at-home mom who had to rent a warehouse for her thriving business selling bubble-wrap on eBay to the young MBA who started eBay Motors (which within months of its launch was on track to sell $1 billion in cars a year), to collectors nervously bidding thousands of dollars on antique clothing-irons. Adam Cohen's fascinating look inside eBay is essential reading for anyone trying to figure out what's next. If you want to truly understand the Internet economy, "The Perfect Store" is indispensable.

Better For All The World

Author: Harry Bruinius
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0375713050
Size: 62.57 MB
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Traces the history of eugenics in the United States, drawing on personal letters, diaries, and documents to chronicle the little-known quest for racial purity.

Breeding Contempt

Author: Mark A. Largent
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 0813549981
Size: 74.35 MB
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From the Publisher: Most closely associated today with the Nazis and World War II atrocities, eugenics is sometimes described as a government-orchestrated breeding program, other times as a pseudo-science, and often as the first step leading to genocide. Less frequently is it depicted as a movement having links to America-a nation that has historically prided itself for its scientific rationality. But eugenics does have a history in the United States-a history that is largely the story of biologist Charles Davenport. Davenport, who led the Eugenics Records Office in the late nineteenth century, provided physicians, social scientists, and lawmakers with the scientific data and authority that enabled them to coercively sterilize men and women who were thought to be socially deviant, unfit to pass on their genes, and unable to raise healthy children. Moreover, Mark A. Largent shows how even in modern times, remnants of eugenics philosophies persist in this country as certain public figures advocate a brand of birth control-such as progesterone shots for male criminals-that are only steps away from the castrations that were once performed.

The Supreme Court Reborn

Author: William E. Leuchtenburg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199839387
Size: 43.74 MB
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For almost sixty years, the results of the New Deal have been an accepted part of political life. Social Security, to take one example, is now seen as every American's birthright. But to validate this revolutionary legislation, Franklin Roosevelt had to fight a ferocious battle against the opposition of the Supreme Court--which was entrenched in laissez faire orthodoxy. After many lost battles, Roosevelt won his war with the Court, launching a Constitutional revolution that went far beyond anything he envisioned. In The Supreme Court Reborn, esteemed scholar William E. Leuchtenburg explores the critical episodes of the legal revolution that created the Court we know today. Leuchtenburg deftly portrays the events leading up to Roosevelt's showdown with the Supreme Court. Committed to laissez faire doctrine, the conservative "Four Horsemen"--Justices Butler, Van Devanter, Sutherland, and McReynolds, aided by the swing vote of Justice Owen Roberts--struck down one regulatory law after another, outraging Roosevelt and much of the Depression-stricken nation. Leuchtenburg demonstrates that Roosevelt thought he had the backing of the country as he prepared a scheme to undermine the Four Hoursemen. Famous (or infamous) as the "Court-packing plan," this proposal would have allowed the president to add one new justice for every sitting justice over the age of seventy. The plan picked up considerable momentum in Congress; it was only after a change in the voting of Justice Roberts (called "the switch in time that saved nine") and the death of Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson that it shuddered to a halt. Rosevelt's persistence led to one of his biggest legislative defeats. Despite the failure of the Court-packing plan, however, the president won his battle with the Supreme Court; one by one, the Four Horsemen left the bench, to be replaced by Roosevelt appointees. Leuchtenburg explores the far-reaching nature of FDR's victory. As a consequence of the Constitutional Revolution that began in 1937, not only was the New Deal upheld (as precedent after precedent was overturned), but also the Court began a dramatic expansion of Civil liberties that would culminate in the Warren Court. Among the surprises was Senator Hugo Black, who faced widespread opposition for his lack of qualifications when he was appointed as associate justice; shortly afterward, a reporter revealed that he had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Despite that background, Black became an articulate spokesman for individual liberty. William E. Leuchtenburg is one of America's premier historians, a scholar who combines depth of learning with a graceful style. This superbly crafted book sheds new light on the great Constitutional crisis of our century, illuminating the legal and political battles that created today's Supreme Court.