Jordan's Eugenic Research
A large aspect of David Starr Jordan's academic research was about the science of eugenics.
His major contribution to eugenic theory was his belief that war had negative dysgenic impacts on racial health. After studying a few famous wars, Jordan concluded that war results in the death of brave men and the survival of cowardly men. Thus, Jordan believed that war resulted in a worsening of the race, as the cowardly men lived on to survive.
Jordan's writings also popularized eugenic theory for a general audience. His popular 1911 Heredity of Richard Roe taught the basics of eugenics to the common reader: "if the fittest do not serve as parents, the next generations will not inherit fitness."
In this text, Jordan also endorsed the sterilization and reproductive restriction of disabled people, citing the work of Charles Davenport, a fellow eugenicist and acquaintance. He emphasized the necessity of "limitation by public authority of the marriage of the defective, the insane, and the criminal."
David Starr Jordan both researched eugenic theories and popularized eugenics to a wider audience.