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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 121122 Find in a Library
Title: Tribe of Ishmael: A Study in Social Degradation (From White Trash: The Eugenic Family Studies 1877-1919, P 48-54, 1988, Nicole Hahn Rafter, ed. -- See NCJ-121120)
Author(s): O C McCulloch
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Northeastern University Press
Boston, MA 02115
Sale Source: Northeastern University Press
Managing Manager
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study traces family pauperism through multiple generations and shows that successive social degeneration manifests itself in criminality, disease, interfamily marriage, laziness, licentiousness, mental weakness, premature death, vagabondage, and an excessive dependence on public and private relief.
Abstract: The central family appeared in Indiana about 1840, and the father had five sons and three daughters. One son married a half-breed woman and was diseased, while three sons married sisters from a pauper family. The Indiana family's history was characterized by murders, a large number of illegitimate children, prostitution, disease, early death, and various crimes such as stealing. Another family from Kentucky had four children, only two of whom were traced. One son had three children who raised pauper families, and another had a son who raised a family of 14 illegitimate children. Characteristics of both families indicate that social degeneration is at least partially hereditary and that public relief is disproportionately used by such families. It is suggested that the provision of public and private relief for such families be evaluated carefully and that efforts be made to focus on the children to save them from degenerative family traits.
Main Term(s): Biological influences
Index Term(s): Caucasian/White Americans; Criminality prediction; Family histories; Social conditions
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