October 7, 2008 7:47 AM

Jonathan Edwards & the Jukes' Study

A little something to rev you up today - and to remind you that parents DO make a difference. This is the most important work you'll ever do.

From Bill Federer's American Minute - which you can subscribe to, too:

October 5

He entered Yale College at age 13 and graduated with honors.

He became a pastor, and his sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God," started the Great Awakening, a revival that swept America, uniting the colonies prior to the Revolution.

He became President of Princeton College.

His name was Jonathan Edwards and he was born OCTOBER 5, 1703.

Jonathan Edwards married Sarah Pierrepont, and according to A Study in Education and Heredity by A.E. Winship (1900), their descendants included a U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public
office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries.

This same study examined a family known as "Jukes."

In 1877, while visiting New York's prisons, Richard Dugdale found inmates with 42 different last names all descending from one man, called "Max."

Born around 1720 of Dutch stock, Max was a hard drinker, idle, irreverent and uneducated.

His descendants included 310 paupers, who, combined spent 2,300 years in poorhouses, 50 women of debauchery, 400 physically wrecked by indulgent living, 7 murderers, 60 thieves, and 130 other convicts.

The "Jukes" descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.


Posted in Inspiration, Mothering | Permalink


Barbara, I came across the original study when I was reading about eugenics. The Jukes study was used as a springboard for the eugenics movement and mandatory sterilization of those deemed not so worthy. It was sloppy science where the data was manipulated to fit the agenda of a political movement. Most people today don't realize that there was not one family, but a compilation of families, and that as generations went by there was actually less and not more problems in the families studied.
I think the Disability Museum has the original text online.
I wish Bill Federer had used a different example.

Posted by: Aine | October 7, 2008 4:44 PM

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