The gist of his argument is that some upstanding Revolutionary War soldier supposedly had a fling with a tavern girl, then later went and married an upstanding Quaker woman. The Quaker produced generations of good citizens, while the tavern wench spawned a horde of dumb-dumbs. Basically, Goddard felt that a single ill-advised one-night stand could trigger Idiocracy -- a hypothesis that's since been proven false by generations of college students.
Henry Edward Garrett
Good ol' Martin "My DNA Doesn't Do A Damn Thing One Way Or The Other" Kallikak.
Goddard's photos of these supposed idiot children were doctored to make them look like stills of jump scares. And while they wouldn't fool, well, an idiot today, photo manipulation was largely unheard of in the 1910s.
1910s Snopes was just some guy screaming "Don't you SEE?" and drinking himself to death when nobody saw.
People lapped up Goddard's work. Or at least, certain white people did -- a German translation proved especially popular, for some reason. And wouldn't you know it, Goddard found a shockingly high rate of feeble-mindedness in foreigners. When he was asked by the government to help with immigration at Ellis Island using his rock-solid methods, he diagnosed 83 percent of Jewish immigrants, 79 percent of Italians, 80 percent of Hungarians, and 87 percent of Russians as "feeble-minded."
Goddard argued that the feeble-minded should be segregated from society, prevented from reproducing, and made to do menial labor before they overwhelmed the country with their bad genes. And because this was when discrimination was operating at a championship level in the United States, his work became a widely-regarded bestseller. His research even helped justify the Immigration Act of 1924, which limited immigration based on national background.
Henry Goddard / Wiki Commons
The real "Old Horror."
Thankfully, Goddard's research was later discredited, and Goddard himself eventually denounced it as flawed. Humanity learned its lesson, and racism vanished from the face of the Earth forever.
Tara Marie writes a lot, sometimes on Twitter. One time, she only ate Subway for a week.
For more massive pieces of bullshit everyone swallowed, check out The 5 Most Ridiculous Lies Ever Published As Non-Fiction and The 6 Most Ridiculous Lies Ever Published As Nonfiction.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 8 True Story Movies That Are Full Of Lies, and other videos you won't see on the site!
Also, follow us on Facebook, because we won't lead you astray.