Jonathan Edwards

In October 1925 Clarence Darrow took on the issue of eugenics in an article he wrote titled "The Edwardses and the Jukeses" published in the American Mercury (volume 6, pp 147-57). The Jukes was a pseudonym for a family from the lower class of society used by proponents of eugenics to illustrate a genetic disposition for anti-social behavior or low intelligence and in the case of the Jukes for inherited criminality. The example of the Jukeses originally began with Richard L. Dugdale's "The Jukes: A Study in Crime, Pauperism, Disease and Heredity in 1877." The Edwardses refers to descendants of Jonathan Edwards (1703 - 1758) a fire and brimstone preacher and important theologian in early America. Darrow wrote that he would rather live next to a member of the Jukes clan than next to a descendant of Jonathan Edwards who, in his most famous sermon, preached that "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; His wrath towards you burns . . . ." (This is an excerpt from Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God").