Full text: Problems in eugenics

V. L. Kellogg.Sociology and Eugenics.227 
From these figures it may be stated with confidence that the average 
height of the men of France began notably to decrease with the coming of 
age, in 1813 and on, of the young men born in the years of the Revolu­ 
tionary Wars (1792-1802), and that it continued to decrease in the following 
years with the coming of age of the youths born during the Wars of the 
Empire. Soon after the cessation of these terrible man-draining wars, for the 
maintenance of which a great part of the able-bodied male population of 
France had been withdrawn from their families and the duties of reproduc­ 
tion, and much of this part actually sacrificed, a new type of boys began to 
be born, boys indeed that had in them an inheritance of stature that 
carried them, by the time of their coming of age in the later i83o’s and 
1840’s to a height one inch greater than that of the earlier generations born 
in war time. The average height of the annual conscription contingents 
born during the Napoleonic Wars was about 1625 m.m. ; of those born 
after the Wars it was about 1655 m.m. 
This fluctuation in height of the young men of France had as obvious 
result a steady increase and later decrease in the numbers of conscripts 
exempted in successive years from military service because of undersize. 
Immediately after the Restoration, when the minimum height standard was 
raised from 1544 m.m. to 1570 m.m., certain French departments were 
quite unable to complete the number of men which they ought to furnish as 
young soldiers of sufficient height and vigor according to the proportion 
of their population. 
Running nearly parallel with the fluctuation in number of exemptions for 
undersize is the fluctuation in number of exemptions for infirmities. These 
exemptions increased by one-third in 20 years. Exemptions for undersize 
and infirmities together nearly doubled in number. But the lessening 
again of the figure of exemptions for infirmities was not so easily accom­ 
plished as was that of the figure for undersize. The influence of the Na­ 
poleonic Wars was felt by the nation, and revealed by its recruiting 
statistics, for a far longer time in its aspect of producing a racial deteriora­ 
tion as to vigor than in its aspect of producing a lessening of stature. And 
the importance in war, or in anything else, of vigor and capacity over size 
has been well shown us in late years by the Japanese. 
I must beg your indulgence again for attempting to content you, or 
myself, with these fleeting generalizations on a subject at once so important 
and so needful of careful analysis and judgment as this matter of the 
explicit and quantitative determination of the immediate race-modifying 
influence of the Napoleonic Wars. And I shall not even touch the sugges­ 
tive, although even more difficult, subject of the race-modifying influence of 
other great wars, to be sought for in Germany, Austria, Italy, and else­ 
where. On the basis of the Italian data, indeed, Livi has attempted to 
show the absence of any disadvantageous working of military selection, 
but from his own statistics I gain a different belief. While he seems able to 
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