Prohibition and Eugenics

Implicit Religions That Failed


  • Robert H Nelson University of Maryland



Implicit religion, alcohol prohibition, eugenics, temperance,


The study of implicit religion has typically examined more recent bellief systems with contemporary followers. It is also illuminating to study historic implicit religion that failed.  Two of the leading such implicit religions are the alcohol prohibition movement and the eugenics movement.  For the former, its faithful saw the elimination of alcohol from society as a way of saving the world.  For the latter, the elimination of "defective" genes from society would have equally profound consequences.  This paper studies the histories of prohibition and eugenics from the perspective of implicit religion.

Author Biography

Robert H Nelson, University of Maryland

Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland


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How to Cite

Nelson, R. H. (2016). Prohibition and Eugenics: Implicit Religions That Failed. Implicit Religion, 19(2), 307–335.



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