Full text: Problems in eugenics

226Section III.V. L. Kellogg. 
for this not in any actual reduction of numbers in the Roman Empire, but 
in the race-deteriorating results of continued war through the removal from 
the population by military selection of its best male reproducing element. 
Napoleon’s difficulties in the later years of the Wars of the Empire 
were the parallel of the earlier Roman conditions. In order to make his 
conscription net gather its necessary load of doomed men he first had to 
reduce, in 1799, the minimum height of conscripts fit for service which had 
been established by Louis XIV. in 1701 at 1624 m.m., and had remained 
unchanged for a century, to 1598 m.m. (an inch lower). In 1804 he lowered 
it two inches further, namely, to 1544 m.m., a total of three inches below 
the original standard. It remained at this figure until the restoration, 
when (18x8) it was raised by one inch and a quarter, that is, to 1570 m.m. 
Napoleon had also to reduce the figure of minimum military age. 
Guerrini has shown that the mortality of German children between three 
and five years of age born in 1870 and 1871 was higher than the corres­ 
ponding mortality of children born in 1869 and 1872. For Prussia, for 
example, the numbers per one hundred are: 1869, 31.51; 1870, 33.83; 
1871, 35-12; i872, 32-76. 
The mortality tables of France show that there has been a steady 
decrease since 1800 in the death-rate of children under five years with the 
exception of one period. In the decade 1815-1824, immediately following 
the terrible man-draining wars of the Revolution and Empire, the annual 
death-rate of children under five was higher by i| per cent, than the 
highest other period. 
But the most conspicuous and definite example, so far determined, of 
race-deterioration through rigorous military selection and race-reparation by 
reason of an amelioration of its rigor, is that of the fluctuation in the height 
of Frenchmen during the past century. A good many unconsidered state­ 
ments as well as a good many rather overdriven criticisms have been made 
concerning this matter, and I regret that the limits of my time prevent me 
from discussing it with the detail that its importance justifies. But if my 
statements seem cursory, they are, at least, based on a careful and, I hope, 
impartial consideration of the data available. In a fuller paper, now in course 
of preparation, I hope to present more satisfactorily elsewhere the details of 
this study. 
The French Government has kept, since the beginning of the last 
century, detailed figures of height and freedom from or presence of infirmi­ 
ties in the case of all the conscripts examined by its Army boards. From 
these figures (not all published, but all of which have been made available) 
the number of men examined out of each annual contingent of men reaching 
military age, and of men accepted for service and of men rejected because 
of undersize or bodily infirmity, and therefore the varying proportion of 
physically unfit to physically fit men arriving at the age of 20 in the suc­ 
cessive years of the century, can be determined.
	        

Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.