The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, a British statistician and cousin of Charles Darwin's, to name a new “science” through which human beings might take charge of their own evolution. The Eugenics Crusade, from WGBH's American Experience, tells the story of the unlikely and largely unknown project to breed a "better" American race, tracing the rise of a movement that turned a scientific theory of heredity into a powerful instrument of social control. Charting the movement's rise and fall, as well as its legacy, this film explores the dangers inherent in the pursuit of human perfectibility.

Watch it tonight at 9pm on WGBH 2.