Founders, Intellectuals, and Race

This is a two-part essay series. The first essay below demonstrates the views on race held by the founders and founding generation. The second essay below demonstrates the views on race held by intellectuals from the late 1800s to the middle 1900s. Both essays combine to reveal the overwhelming majority view of race as held by leading, powerful, influential people in American history. In short, the historical common view among elites and intellectuals in America was one of racial hierarchy at most and racial inequality at least. The authors of the essays appear at bottom.

What the Founders *Really* Thought About Race

Today, the United States officially takes the position that all races are equal. Our country is also committed―legally and morally―to the view that race is not a fit criterion for decision-making of any kind, except for promoting “diversity” or for the purpose of redressing past wrongs done by Whites to non-Whites.

Many Americans cite the “all men are created equal” phrase from the Declaration of Independence to support the claim that this view of race was not only inevitable but was anticipated by the Founders. Interestingly, prominent conservatives and Tea Party favorites like Michele Bachman and Glenn Beck have taken this notion a step further and asserted that today’s racial egalitarianism was the nation’s goal from its very first days.[1]

They are badly mistaken.

Since early colonial times, and until just a few decades ago, virtually all Whites believed race was a fundamental aspect of individual and group identity. They believed people of different races had different temperaments and abilities, and built markedly different societies. They believed that only people of European stock could maintain a society in which they would wish to live, and they strongly opposed miscegenation. For more than 300 years, therefore, American policy reflected a consensus on race that was the very opposite of what prevails today.

Those who would impute egalitarianism to the Founders should recall that in 1776, the year of the Declaration, race slavery was already more than 150 years old in North America and was practiced throughout the New World, from Canada to Chile.[2] In 1770, 40 percent of White households in Manhattan owned Black slaves, and there were more slaves in the colony of New York than in Georgia.[3] It was true that many of the Founders considered slavery a terrible injustice and hoped to abolish it, but they meant to expel the freed slaves from the United States, not to live with them in equality.

Thomas Jefferson’s views were typical of his generation. Despite what he wrote in the Declaration, he did not think Blacks were equal to Whites, noting that “in general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.”[4] He hoped slavery would be abolished some day, but “when freed, he [the Negro] is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture.”[5] Jefferson also expected whites eventually to displace all of the Indians of the New World. The United States, he wrote, was to be “the nest from which all America, North and South, is to be peopled,”[6] and the hemisphere was to be entirely European: “… nor can we contemplate with satisfaction either blot or mixture on that surface.”[7]

Jefferson opposed miscegenation for a number of reasons, but one was his preference for the physical traits of Whites. He wrote of their “flowing hair” and their “more elegant symmetry of form,” but emphasized the importance of color itself[8]:

Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one [whites], preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immovable veil of black, which covers all the emotions of the other race?

Like George Washington, Jefferson was a slave owner. In fact, nine of the first 11 Presidents owned slaves, the only exceptions being the two Adamses. Despite Jefferson’s hope for eventual abolition, he made no provision to free his slaves after his death.

James Madison agreed with Jefferson that the only solution to the race problem was to free the slaves and expel them: “To be consistent with existing and probably unalterable prejudices in the U.S. freed blacks ought to be permanently removed beyond the region occupied by or allotted to a White population.”[9] He proposed that the federal government buy up the entire slave population and transport it overseas. After two terms in office, he served as chief executive of the American Colonization Society, which was established to repatriate Blacks.[10]

Benjamin Franklin wrote little about race, but had a sense of racial loyalty that was typical of his time:

[T]he Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably [sic] very small… . I could wish their Numbers were increased…. But perhaps I am partial to the Complexion of my Country, for such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind.

Franklin therefore opposed bringing more Blacks to the United States[11]:

[W]hy increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting them in America?”

John Dickinson was a Delaware delegate to the constitutional convention and wrote so effectively in favor of independence that he is known as the “Penman of the Revolution.” As was common in his time, he believed that homogeneity, not diversity, was the new republic’s greatest strength[12]:

Where was there ever a confederacy of republics united as these states are…or, in which the people were so drawn together by religion, blood, language, manners, and customs?

Dickinson’s views were echoed in the second of The Federalist Papers, in which John Jay gave thanks that “Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people,”[13]

a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs.”

After the Constitution was ratified in 1788, Americans had to decide who they would allow to become part of their new country. The very first citizenship law, passed in 1790, specified that only “free white persons” could be naturalized,[14] and immigration laws designed to keep the country overwhelmingly white were repealed only in 1965.

Alexander Hamilton was suspicious even of European immigrants, writing that “the influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities.”[15] John Quincy Adams explained to a German nobleman that if Europeans were to immigrate, “they must cast off the European skin, never to resume it.”[16] Neither man would have countenanced immigration of non-Whites.

Blacks, even if free, could not be citizens of the United States until ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868. The question of their citizenship arose during the Missouri crisis of 1820 to 1821. The Missouri constitution barred the immigration of Blacks, and some northern critics said that to prevent Blacks who were citizens of other states from moving to Missouri deprived them of protection under the privileges and immunities clause of the Constitution. The author of that clause, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina, was still alive, and denied that he, or any other Framer, intended the clause to apply to Blacks: “I perfectly knew that there did not then exist such a thing in the Union as a black or colored citizen, nor could I then have conceived it possible such a thing could have ever existed in it.”[17]

The Abolition Movement

Today, it is common to think of the antebellum North as united in the desire to free the slaves and to establish them as the social and political equals of Whites. Again, this is a distorted view. First of all, slavery persisted in the North well into the post-Revolutionary period. It was not abolished in New York State until 1827, and it continued in Connecticut until 1848.[18]

Nor was abolitionist sentiment anything close to universal. Many Northerners opposed abolition because they feared it would lead to race mixing. The easiest way to stir up opposition to Northern abolitionists was to claim that what they were really promoting was intermarriage. Many abolitionists expressed strong disapproval of miscegenation, but the fact that speakers at abolitionist meetings addressed racially mixed audiences was sufficiently shocking to make any charge believable. There were no fewer than 165 anti-abolition riots in the North during the 1820s alone, almost all of them prompted by the fear that abolition would lead to intermarriage.[19]

The 1830s saw further violence. On July 4, 1834, the American Anti-Slavery Society read its Declaration of Sentiments to a mixed-race audience in New York City. Rioters then broke up the meeting and went on a rampage that lasted 11 days. The National Guard managed to bring peace only after the society issued a “Disclaimer,” the first point of which was: “We entirely disclaim any desire to promote or encourage intermarriages between white and colored persons.”[20]

Philadelphia suffered a serious riot in 1838 after abolitionists, who had had trouble renting space to hold their meetings, built their own building. On May 17, the last day of a three-day dedication ceremony, several thousand people—many of high social standing—gathered at the hall and burned it down while the fire department stood by and did nothing.[21]

Sentiment against Blacks was so strong that many Northern Whites supported abolition only if it was linked, as Jefferson and Madison had proposed, to plans to deport or “colonize” Blacks. Most abolitionist activism therefore reflected a deep conviction that slavery was wrong, but not a desire to establish Blacks as social and political equals. William Lloyd Garrison and Angelina and Sarah Grimké favored equal treatment for Blacks in all respects, but theirs was very much a minority view. Henry Ward Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, expressed the majority view: “Do your duty first to the colored people here; educate them, Christianize them, and then colonize them.”[22]

The American Colonization Society was only the best known of many organizations founded for the purpose of removing Blacks from North America. At its inaugural meeting in 1816, Henry Clay described its purpose: to “rid our country of a useless and pernicious, if not dangerous portion of the population.”[23] The following prominent Americans were not just members but served as officers of the society: James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas, William Seward, Francis Scott Key, Winfield Scott, John Marshall, and Roger Taney.[24] James Monroe, another President who owned slaves, worked so tirelessly in the cause of “colonization” that the capital of Liberia is named Monrovia in recognition of his efforts.

Early Americans wrote their opposition to miscegenation into law. Between 1661 and 1725, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and all the southern colonies passed laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage and, in some cases, fornication.[25] Of the 50 states, no fewer than 44 had laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage at some point in their past.[26]Many Northern Whites were horrified to discover that some Southern slave owners had Black concubines. When Bostonian Josiah Quincy wrote an account of his 1773 tour of South Carolina, he professed himself shocked to learn that a “gentleman” could have relations with a “negro or mulatto woman.”[27]

Massachusetts prohibited miscegenation from 1705 to 1843, but repealed the ban only because most people thought it was unnecessary.[28] The new law noted that inter-racial relations were “evidence of vicious feeling, bad taste, and personal degradation,” so were unlikely to be so common as to become a problem.[29]

The northern “free-soil” movement of the 1840s is often described as friendly to Blacks because it opposed the expansion of slavery into newly acquired territories. This is yet another misunderstanding. Pennsylvania Democrat David Wilmot started the movement when he introduced an amendment banning slavery from any territories acquired after the Mexican-American War. The “Wilmot Proviso” was certainly anti-slavery, but Wilmot was not an abolitionist. He did not object to slavery in the South; only to its spread into the Western territories. During the congressional debate, Wilmot asked:

whether that vast country, between the Rio Grande and the Pacific, shall be given up to the servile labor of the black, or be preserved for the free labor of the white man? … The negro race already occupy enough of this fair continent; let us keep what remains for ourselves, and for our children.

Wilmot called his amendment the “white man’s proviso.”[30]

The history of the franchise reflects a clear conception of the United States as a nation ruled by and for Whites. Every state that entered the Union between 1819 and the Civil War denied Blacks the vote. In 1855, Blacks could vote only in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island, which together accounted for only four percent of the nation’s Black population. The federal government prohibited free Blacks from voting in the territories it controlled.[31]

Several states that were established before the Civil War hoped to avoid race problems by remaining all White. The people of the Oregon Territory, for example, voted not to permit slavery, but voted in even greater numbers not to permit Blacks in the state at all. In language that survived until 2002, Oregon’s 1857 constitution provided that “[n]o free negro, or mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall come, reside, or be within this State, or hold any real estate.”[32]

Despite Charles Pinckney’s confirmation in 1821 that no Black could be an American citizen, the question was taken up in the famous Dred Scott decision of 1857. The seven-to-two decision held that although they could be citizens of states, Blacks were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. Roger Taney, the chief justice who wrote the majority decision, noted that slavery arose out of an ancient American conviction about Negroes[33]:

They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.   Abraham Lincoln’s time was well beyond the era of the Founders, but many Americans believe it was “the Great Emancipator” who finally brought the egalitarian vision of Jefferson’s generation to fruition.

Again, they are mistaken.

Lincoln considered Blacks to be—in his words—“a troublesome presence”[34] in the United States. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates he stated[35]:

I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.

His opponent Stephen Douglas was even more outspoken (in what follows, audience responses are recorded by the Chicago Daily Times, a Democratic paper):

For one, I am opposed to negro citizenship in any form. [Cheers—Times] I believe that this government was made on the white basis. [‘Good,’—Times] I believe it was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and I am in favor of confining the citizenship to white men—men of European birth and European descent, instead of conferring it upon negroes and Indians, and other inferior races. [‘Good for you. Douglas forever,’—Times]

Douglas, who was the more firmly anti-Black of the two candidates, won the election.[36]

Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery outside the South, but was not an abolitionist. He made war on the Confederacy only to preserve the Union, and would have accepted Southern slavery in perpetuity if that would have kept the South from seceding, as he stated explicitly.[37]

Indeed, Lincoln supported what is known as the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, passed by Congress shortly before he took office, which forbade any attempt by Congress to amend the Constitution to give itself the power to “abolish or interfere” with slavery. The amendment therefore recognized that the federal government had no power over slavery where it already existed, and the amendment would have barred any future amendment to give the government that power. Outgoing President James Buchanan took the unusual step of signing the amendment, even though the President’s signature is not necessary under the Constitution.

Lincoln referred to the Corwin Amendment in his first inaugural address[38], adding that he had “no objection” to its ratification, and he sent copies of the text to all state governors.[39] Ohio, Maryland, and Illinois eventually ratified the amendment. If the country had not been distracted by war, it could well have become law, making it more difficult or even impossible to pass the 13th Amendment.

Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862 was further proof of his priorities. It gave the Confederate states 100 days to lay down their arms, and threatened to emancipate only those slaves living in states still in “rebellion.” Lincoln always overestimated Unionist sentiment in the South, and genuinely believed that at least some of the Southern states would accept his offer of union in exchange for the preservation of slavery.[40]

As late as the Hampton Roads conference with Confederate representatives—this was in February 3, 1865, with the war almost won—Lincoln was still hinting that the South could keep its slaves if it made peace. He called emancipation strictly a war measure that would become “inoperative” if there were peace, and suggested that if the Confederate states rejoined the union, they could defeat the 13th Amendment, which had been sent to the states for ratification. Lincoln appears to have been prepared to sacrifice the most basic interests of Blacks if he thought that would stop the slaughter of white men.[41]

Throughout his presidency, Lincoln took the conventional view that if slaves were freed, they should be expatriated. Even in the midst of the war, he was making plans for colonization, and appointed Rev. James Mitchell to be Commissioner of Emigration, with instructions to find a place to which Blacks could be sent.[42]

On August 14th, 1862, Lincoln invited a group of free Black leaders to the White House to tell them, “there is an unwillingness on the part of our people, harsh as it may be, for you free colored people to remain with us.” He urged them to lead others of their race to a colonization site in Central America.[43] Lincoln was the first president to invite a delegation of Blacks to the White House—and he did so to ask them to leave the country. Later that year, in a message to Congress, he argued not just for voluntary colonization but for the forcible removal of free Blacks.[44]

A Clear Legacy

The record from colonial times through the end of the Civil War is therefore one of starkly inegalitarian views. The idea of colonizing Blacks was eventually abandoned as too costly, but until the second half of the 20th century, it would be very hard to find a prominent American who spoke about race in today’s terms.

Blacks were at the center of early American thinking about race because of the vexed question of slavery and because Blacks lived among Whites. Indians, of course, had always been present, but were of less concern. They fought rearguard actions, but generally withdrew as Whites settled the continent. When they did not withdraw, they were forced onto reservations. After the slaves were freed, Indians were legally more disadvantaged than Blacks, since they were not considered part of the United States at all. In 1884, the Supreme Court officially determined that the 14th Amendment did notconfer citizenship on Indians associated with tribes. They did not receive citizenship until an act of Congress in 1924.[45] The traditional American view—Mark Twain called the Indian “a good, fair, desirable subject for extermination if ever there was one”[46]—cannot be retroactively transformed into incipient egalitarianism and celebration of diversity.[47]

There was similar disdain for Asians. State and federal laws excluded them from citizenship, and as late as 1914 the Supreme Court ruled that the states could deny naturalization to Asians. Nor was the urge to exclude Asians limited to conservatives. At the 1910 Socialist Party Congress, the Committee on Immigration called for the “unconditional exclusion” of Chinese and Japanese on the grounds that America already had problems enough with Negroes.[48]

Samuel Gompers, the most famous labor leader in American history, fought to improve the lives of working people, but Whites were his first priority[49]:

It must be clear to every thinking man and woman that while there is hardly a single reason for the admission of Asiatics, there are hundreds of good and strong reasons for their absolute exclusion.”

The ban on Chinese immigration and naturalization continued until 1943, when Congress established a Chinese immigration quota—of 105 people a year.[50]

Even if we restrict the field to American Presidents—a group notoriously disinclined to say anything controversial—we find that Jefferson’s and Lincoln’s thinking of race continued well into the modern era.

James Garfield wrote[51],

[I have] a strong feeling of repugnance when I think of the negro being made our political equal and I would be glad if they could be colonized, sent to heaven, or got rid of in any decent way.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1901 that he had “not been able to think out any solution to the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent.”[52] As for Indians, he once said, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t inquire too closely into the health of the tenth.”[53]

William Howard Taft once told a group of Black college students, “Your race is adapted to be a race of farmers, first, last, and for all times.”[54]

Woodrow Wilson was a confirmed segregationist, and as President of Princeton he refused to admit Blacks. He enforced segregation in government offices[55] and favored exclusion of Asians: “We cannot make a homogeneous population of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race… . Oriental coolieism will give us another race problem to solve and surely we have had our lesson.”[56]

Warren Harding wanted the races separate: “Men of both races [Black and White] may well stand uncompromisingly against every suggestion of social equality. This is not a question of social equality, but a question of recognizing a fundamental, eternal, inescapable difference. Racial amalgamation there cannot be.”[57]

In 1921, Vice President-elect Calvin Coolidge wrote in Good Housekeeping about the basis for sound immigration policy[58]:

There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons. Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend…. Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.

Harry Truman wrote: “I am strongly of the opinion Negroes ought to be in Africa, yellow men in Asia and white men in Europe and America.” He also referred to the Blacks on the White House staff as “an army of coons.”[59]

As recent a President as Dwight Eisenhower argued that although it might be necessary to grant Blacks certain political rights, this did not mean social equality “or that a Negro should court my daughter.”[60] It is only with John Kennedy that we finally find a president whose conception of race begins to be acceptable by today’s standards.

Today’s egalitarians are therefore radical dissenters from traditional American thinking. A conception of America as a nation of people with common values, culture, and heritage is far more faithful to vision of the founders.


  1. Speaking at an “Iowans for Tax Relief” event in January, 2011, Rep. Bachmann claimed, “It didn’t matter the color of their skin, it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status. Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn’t that remarkable?” Taking up the slavery issue, Bachmann continued, “We also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” She would later defend her position when questioned by journalists. Bachmann’s speech can be viewed here. Glenn Beck has been equally enamored with historical revisionism. Throughout his “Founding Fathers’ Fridays” series on his (now discontinued) television program, Beck featured speakers who theorized that “American history can be described as one long Civil Rights struggle” and who told tales of the indispensable contributions of Blacks to the Revolutionary War as well as racially mixed churches in 18th-century. Episodes can viewed here. Bachmann and Beck are representative of a broader tendency among conservatives. For instance, in 2011, Tennessee Tea Party activists demanded that public schools teach children that the Founders “brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody—not all equally instantly.” See “The Commercial Appeal,” 13 January 2011.  ↩
  2. Davis, Inhuman Bondage, p. 142.  ↩
  3. Ibid, p. 128.  ↩
  4. “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Jefferson.  ↩
  5. Ibid.; quoted in Nash and Weiss, The Great Fear, p. 24.  ↩
  6. Papers of Jefferson, Vol. IX, p. 218; quoted in Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny, p.86.  ↩
  7. Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. X, p. 296; quoted in Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny, p. 92.  ↩
  8. “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Thomas Jefferson: Writings (New York: Library of America, 1984), pp. 264–65.  ↩
  9. Letter from James Madison to Robert J. Evans, June 15, 1819, Writings 8:439–47.  ↩
  10. Weyl and Marina, American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro, pp. 105–107.  ↩
  11. Franklin, “Observations Concerning the Increase in Mankind,” (1751).  ↩
  12. “Observations on the Constitution Proposed by the Federal Convention,” No. 8, by “Fabius” (John Dickinson).  ↩
  13. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, p. 38.  ↩
  14. Quoted in Brimelow, Alien Nation, p. xii.  ↩
  15. Quoted Grant and Davison, The Founders of the Republic on Immigration, Naturalization, and Aliens, p. 52.  ↩
  16. Quoted in Wattenberg and Buchanan, “Immigration.”  ↩
  17. Annals of Congress. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States. “History of Congress.” 42 vols. Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton, 1834–56.  ↩
  18. Davis, Inhuman Bondage, p. 128.  ↩
  19. Lemire, “Miscegenation,” p. 90. This count was reported by the three leading anti-slavery newspapers of the period.  ↩
  20. Ibid., pp. 59, 83.  ↩
  21. Ibid., pp. 87–91.  ↩
  22. Quoted in Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind, p. 115.  ↩
  23. Weyl and Marina, American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro, p. 133. ↩
  24. Ibid., p. 132.  ↩
  25. Elise Lemire, “Miscegenation,” p. 57.  ↩
  26. Ibid., p. 2.  ↩
  27. Ibid., p. 11.  ↩
  28. Legal opposition to miscegenation lasted many years. In 1967, when the Supreme Court finally ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia, 16 states still had them on the books. The laws were only sporadically enforced, but state legislatures were unwilling to rescind them.  ↩
  29. Ibid., p. 139.  ↩
  30. Earle, Jacksonian Antislavery and the Politics of Free Soil, 1824–1854, pp. 138–39.  ↩
  31. Keyssar, The Right to Vote, p. 55.  ↩
  32. Peter Prengaman, “Oregon’s Racist Language Faces Vote,” Associated Press, Sept. 27, 2002.  ↩
  33. Full text of the decision is available here ↩
  34. Ginsberg and Eichner, Troublesome Presence, p. ix.  ↩
  35. See Basler, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. II, pp. 235–236.  ↩
  36. Holzer, The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, pp. 54f.  ↩
  37. See, for instance, Lincoln’s 1862 letter to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune: “[\M]\y paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery, If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” Available online here
  38. For the full text of the address is available here
  39. Holzer, Lincoln President-Elect, p. 429.
  40. Escott, What Shall We Do With the Negro?, p. 55.
  41. Ibid., pp. 206–211.
  42. Weyl and Marina, American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro, p. 217.
  43. Abraham Lincoln, “Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Colored Men,” quoted in Wilson Moses, Classical Black Nationalism, p. 211.
  44. Weyl and Marina,* American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro*, p. 227.
  45. Keyssar, The Right to Vote, p. 165.
  46. Mark Twain, “The Noble Red Man,” The Galaxy, Sept. 1870.
  47. Ichioka, The Issei, pp. 211ff.
  48. Ibid., pp. 293–6.
  49. Samuel Gompers & Heran Gutstadt, “Meat vs. Rice: American Manhood Against Asiatic Coolieism,” quoted in Joshi, Documents of American Prejudice, pp. 436–438.
  50. Lutton, The Myth of Open Borders, p. 26.
  51. Quoted in Frederickson, The Black Image in the White Mind, p. 185.
  52. Quoted in Weyl and Marina, American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro, p. 317.
  53. Theodore Roosevelt, The Winning of the West; quoted in Fikes, “Racist Quotes from Persons of Note, Part I,” p. 142.
  54. Quoted in Fikes, “Racist Quotes from Persons of Note, Part I,” p. 142.
  55. Letter to Oswald Garrison Villard, Nov. 11, 1913; quoted in Weyl and Marina, American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro, p. 336.
  56. Quoted in Robert Fikes, “Racist Quotes From Persons of Note, Part II,” p. 1
  57. New York Times, October 27, 1921; quoted in Lewis H. Carlson & George Colburn, In Their Place, p. 94.
  58. Calvin Coolidge, “Whose Country is This?” Good Housekeeping, February 1921, p. 13.
  59. Rick Hampson, “Private Letters Reveal Truman’s Racist Attitudes,” Washington Times, Oct. 25, 1991.
  60. Quoted in Weyl and Marina, American Statesmen on Slavery and the Negro, p. 365.

Intellectuals And Race

For centuries, there have been beliefs that some races are superior to others. Various developments in the second half of the nineteenth century, and in the early twentieth century, turned such general beliefs into organized ideologies with the aura of “science,” often creating the very dogmatism among intellectuals that science is meant to counter. By the end of the twentieth century, opposite ideologies about race would prevail among intellectuals, sometimes also invoking the name of science, with no more justification and with the same dismissive attitude toward those who dared to disagree with the currently prevailing vision.

The term “race,” as it was used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was not confined to broad divisions of the human species, such as black, white and yellow races. Differences among Slavs, Jews and AngloSaxons were often referred to as “racial” differences as well. Madison Grant’s influential 1916 best-seller, The Passing of the Great Race, was one of those writings which divided Europeans into Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean “races,” among others.1

Rather than become bogged down in semantic issues, we can refer to racial and ethnic groups loosely under the rubric of race, in part because more precise definitions could easily lose touch with social realities, in a world of growing racial intermixtures over the generations. These biological intermixtures have accelerated in our own times, even as the stridency of separate racial identity rhetoric has increased. These include people bitterly complaining about how half their ancestors mistreated the other half, as a current grievance of their own, whether among the Maoris of New Zealand or among various American racial or ethnic groups.

With race, as with war, twentieth century intellectuals were concentrated on one end of the spectrum in the early years and then on the opposite end of the spectrum in later years. The prevailing over-arching vision among intellectuals— that is, a preference for a society guided from the top down by ideas inspired by intellectual elites— was the same at the beginning and end of that century. But this general preference need not require a commitment to a particular view of a particular issue such as race, even though whatever view happened to prevail among the intelligentsia at a given time was often deemed to be almost axiomatically superior to conflicting views held by others— these other views often being treated as unworthy of serious intellectual engagement. In the early twentieth century, Madison Grant referred to those who disagreed with his genetic determinism as sentimentalists2 and, in the late twentieth century, those who disagreed with the prevailing racial orthodoxy of that era were often dismissed as racists.

Intellectuals on opposite ends of the spectrum in different eras have been similar in another way: Both have tended to ignore the long-standing warning from statisticians that correlation is not causation. One race may be more successful than another at a particular endeavor, or a whole range of endeavors, for reasons that are neither genetic nor a result of the way the society in which they live treats them. As noted in Chapter 2, there are many historic, geographic and demographic reasons for groups to differ from one another in their skills, experiences, cultures and values— whether these are different social, national or racial groups.


The mid-nineteenth century sensation created by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution had ramifications far beyond the field of biology. The idea of “survival of the fittest” among competing species was extended by others into competition among human beings, whether among different classes or different races. The research of Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton (1822–1911) culminated in a book titled Hereditary Genius, which established that high achievers were concentrated in particular families. Correlation was treated as causation, with genetics being proclaimed to be the reason for the achievement differential.

Similar reasoning was applied to races. As a later scholar said of Galton: “He believed that in his own day the Anglo-Saxons far outranked the Negroes of Africa, who in turn outranked the Australian aborigines, who outranked nobody.” Again, correlation was treated as causation, leading to eugenics— a term Galton coined— to promote the differential survival of races. He said, “there exists a sentiment, for the most part quite unreasonable, against the gradual extinction of an inferior race.”3

Whatever the validity of Galton’s assessments of the relative achievements of different races in his own time, profound changes in the relative achievements of different races over the centuries undermine the theory of genetic determinism. China was, for centuries, technologically, economically, and in other ways more advanced than any country in Europe. The later reversals of the relative positions of the Chinese and Europeans in the modern era, without any demonstrable changes in their genes, undermine Galton’s genetic arguments, as other major reversals of the positions of other racial groups or subgroups would undermine the later genetic determinism of other intellectuals.

This is not to say that there were no great differences in achievements among different races, either within societies or between societies, as of a given time, nor that all such differences reversed over time, though many did. But once the automatic link between genetics and achievement is broken, it ceases to be a weighty presumption, even in the case of groups that have never been leaders in achievement. Whatever non-genetic factors have been able to produce profound differences in other situations cannot be ruled out a priori for any group, and therefore it remains a question to be examined empirically in each particular case— that is, if science is to be something more than an incantation invoked to buttress an ideology and silence its critics.

Much empirical evidence of large and consequential differences among racial or ethnic groups, as well as social classes, accumulated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Studies of the histories of families, as well as the spread of mental testing, and sociological studies of differences in crime rates and educational achievements among children from different backgrounds, even when attending the same schools, added weight to the case made by those promoting genetic determinism. Contrary to later verbal fashions, these were not simply “perceptions” or “stereotypes.” These were painstakingly established facts, despite the serious problems with the inferences drawn from those facts— such as Madison Grant’s sweeping pronouncement, “race is everything.”4


The Progressive era in early twentieth century America was perhaps the high-water mark of “scientific” theories of racial differences. The increasing immigration from Europe, and especially the shift in its origins from Northern and Western Europe to Eastern and Southern Europe, raised questions about the racial quality of the new people flooding into the country. The beginning of the mass migrations of American blacks from the South to the Northern cities, and their concentration in ghettos there, raised similar questions during the same era. Empirical data on group differences in crime rates, disease rates, mental test scores, and school performances fed all these concerns.

Two huge compilations of empirical data in early twentieth century America stand out particularly. One was the huge, multi-volume report of the federal immigration commission headed by Senator William P. Dillingham and published in 1911. This report showed, among other things, that with children who attended elementary school three-quarters of the school days or more, 30 percent of native-born white children had been denied promotion to the next grade, compared to 61 percent of native-born black children and 67 percent of the children of immigrant Polish Jews.5 The other huge source of data about differences among racial or ethnic groups during this period was the mental testing of more than 100,000 soldiers by the U.S. Army during the First World War.6 The proportions of soldiers with different ancestries who exceeded the American national norms on mental tests were as follows:7

English 67 percent

German 49 percent

Irish 26 percent

Russian 19 percent

Italian 14 percent

Polish 12 percent

Men from Italy, Poland and Russia scored consistently at or near the bottom among immigrants from Europe on various mental tests, with American blacks scoring at the bottom among soldiers as a whole, though scoring only marginally lower than these Southern and Eastern European immigrants on these tests.8 Among the civilian population, the same groups scored at or near the bottom in mental test scores, though in a slightly different order. Black children attending schools in Youngstown, Ohio, scored marginally higher on IQ tests than the children of Polish, Greek and other immigrants there.9 In Massachusetts, a larger proportion of black school children scored over 120 on the IQ tests than did their schoolmates who were children of Polish, Italian or Portuguese immigrants.10 During this era, Northern blacks had somewhat higher IQs than Southern blacks.11

Another curious fact, which received much less attention at the time, was that the Army tests in the First World War showed white soldiers from Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi scoring lower on mental tests than black soldiers from Ohio, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania.12 However, the black population as a whole was overwhelmingly concentrated in the South at that time, which may explain why the Army tests showed blacks scoring below the immigrants that they scored above in civilian tests conducted where they both went to the same schools in the North.

Again, none of this was simply a matter of “perceptions,” “stereotypes,” or “prejudices.” Differences among racial, ethnic and regional groups were very real, sometimes very large and very consequential. What was at issue were the reasons for those differences. Moreover, the reasons for such differences that were acceptable to intellectuals changed radically over the generations, much as their support for the First World War and their later pacifism marked drastic changes on that subject.

During the early twentieth century, demonstrable differences among groups were largely attributed to heredity and, during the late twentieth century, these differences were largely— if not solely— attributed to environment, including an environment of discrimination. Nevertheless, the same general vision of society prevailed among those who called themselves Progressives at the beginning of the twentieth century and those who called themselves liberals later in that century, however disparate their views on race were between these two eras. Theirs was the vision of the anointed as surrogate decision-makers in both periods, along with such corollaries as an expanded role for government and an expanded role for judges to re-interpret the Constitution, so as to loosen its restrictions on the powers of government.

Progressive-era intellectuals took a largely negative view of the new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as of American blacks in general. Because such a high proportion of the immigrants from Poland and Russia were Jews during this era, Carl Brigham— a leading authority on mental tests, and creator of the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test— asserted that the Army test results tended to “disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent.”13 H.H. Goddard, who had administered mental tests to immigrant children on Ellis Island, declared: “These people cannot deal with abstractions.”14 Another giant of the mental-testing profession, L.M. Terman, author of the Stanford-Binet IQ test and creator of a decadeslong study of people with IQs of 140 and above, likewise concluded from his study of racial minorities in the Southwest that children from such groups “cannot master abstractions.”15 It was widely accepted as more or less a matter of course during this era that blacks were incapable of mental performances comparable to whites, and the Army mental test results were taken as confirmation.

The Progressive era was also the heyday of eugenics, the attempt to prevent excessive breeding of the “wrong” kind of people— including, though not limited to, particular races. Eugenicists feared that people of lower mental capacity would reproduce on a larger scale than others, and thus over time bring about a decline in the average IQ in the nation.16 The New Republic lamented “the multiplication of the unfit, the production of a horde of unwanted souls.”17

In Britain, as in the United States, leaders and supporters of the eugenics movement included people on the left, such as John Maynard Keynes, who helped create the Cambridge Eugenics Society, as well as H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Harold Laski, Sidney Webb and Julian Huxley. Sidney Webb said, “as a nation we are breeding largely from our inferior stocks.”18But eugenics was by no means exclusively a movement on the left, nor one without opponents on the left. Supporters of eugenics also included conservatives, among them both Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill.19

In America, among those to whom pioneer birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger took her message was the Ku Klux Klan. Madison Grant’s book The Passing of the Great Race, expressing fears of a loss of hegemony by whites in general and Nordics in particular, was a landmark book of its era. It was not only a best seller in the United States, it was translated into French, Norwegian and— most fatefully— German. Hitler called it his “Bible.”20

Despite its international influence, The Passing of the Great Race offered extremely little evidence for its sweeping conclusions. The great bulk of the book was a historical account of Alpine, Mediterranean and Nordic peoples in Europe and of the Aryan languages. Yet most of Madison Grant’s sweeping conclusions and the policies he recommended were about America— about the “inferior races among our immigrants,”21 about the need for eugenics22 and for “laws against miscegenation.”23 He asserted that “Negroes have demonstrated throughout recorded time that they are a stationary species and that they do not possess the potentiality of progress or initiative from within.”24 Yet, as Grant himself said, “the three main European races are the subject of this book,”25 which contained virtually no factual information about blacks, but only opaque pronouncements. Even Grant’s rankings of European groups are essentially pronouncements, with little or no empirical evidence or analysis, despite an abundance of miscellaneous and often arcane information.

What The Passing of the Great Race did have was a great display of erudition, or apparent erudition, using numerous technical terms unfamiliar to most people— “brachycephalic skulls,”26 “Armenoids,”27 “Paleolithic man,”28 the “Massagetæ,”29 “Zendavesta,”30 the “Aryan Tokharian language,”31 and the “Miocene” and “Pliocene” eras,32 as well as such statements as “The Upper Paleolithic embraces all the postglacial stages down to the Neolithic and includes the subdivisions of the Aurignacian, Solutrean, Magdalenian and Azilian.”33 But this all served as an impressive backdrop for unrelated conclusions.

Among Madison Grant’s conclusions were that “race lies at the base of all the manifestation of modern society.”34 He also deplored “a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life,” when that is used “to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilization of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community.”35 He feared “the resurgence of the lower races at the expense of the Nordics”36 and the “prevailing lack of true race consciousness” among the latter.37 He saw the immigrants arriving in America as the “sweepings” of the “jails and asylums” of Europe.38 More generally, he said:

There exists to-day a widespread and fatuous belief in the power of environment, as well as of education and opportunity to alter heredity, which arises from the dogma of the brotherhood of man, derived in its turn from the loose thinkers of the French Revolution and their American mimics.39

The man of the old stock is being crowded out of many country districts by these foreigners just as he is to-day being literally driven off the streets of New York City by the swarms of Polish Jews.40

We Americans must realize that the altruistic ideals which have controlled our social development during the past century and the maudlin sentimentalism that has made America “an asylum for the oppressed,” are sweeping the nation toward a racial abyss.41

That The Passing of the Great Race was taken seriously says much about the times. But Madison Grant was by no means a fringe crank or an ignorant redneck. He was born into a wealthy family in New York City and was educated at Yale and the Columbia University law school. He was a member of numerous exclusive social clubs. Politically, he was a Progressive and an activist on issues important to Progressives, such as conservation, endangered species, municipal reform and the creation of national parks, as well as being a driving force behind the creation of the world’s largest zoo in the Bronx.42 The Passing of the Great Race was recommended not only in a popular publication like The Saturday Evening Post but was also reviewed in Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.43 The maps for a later book of his were prepared with the help of the American Geographical Society.44

Madison Grant’s thesis elaborated themes introduced by others before him, such as Progressive sociologist Edward A. Ross, who coined the term “race suicide” to describe the demographic replacement of the existing American stock over time by immigrants with higher birthrates from Southern and Eastern Europe, those whom prominent economist Francis A. Walker had even earlier described as “beaten men from beaten races.”45

Professor Ross declared that “no one can doubt that races differ in intellectual ability”46 and lamented an “unanticipated result” of widespread access to medical advances— namely “the brightening of the survival prospect of the ignorant, the stupid, the careless and the very poor in comparison with those of the intelligent, the bright, the responsible and the thrifty.”47 Ross’ concerns were raised not only about people from different classes but also about the new and massive numbers of immigrants:

Observe immigrants not as they come travel-wan up the gang-plank, nor as they issue toilbegrimed from pit’s mouth or mill gate, but in their gatherings, washed, combed, and in their Sunday best. You are struck by the fact that from ten to twenty per cent. are hirsute, low-browed, big-faced persons of obviously low mentality. Not that they suggest evil. They simply look out of place in black clothes and stiff collar, since clearly they belong in skins, in wattled huts at the close of the Great Ice Age. These oxlike men are descendants of those who always stayed behind… To the practised eye, the physiognomy of certain groups unmistakably proclaims inferiority of type.48

According to Professor Ross, “the new immigrants are inferior in looks to the old immigrants,”49 apparently because the new immigrants were from Eastern and Southern Europe, unlike earlier immigrants from Northern and Western Europe. As Ross put it:

The fusing of American with German and Scandinavian immigrants was only a reblending of kindred stocks, for Angles, Jutes, Danes, and Normans were wrought of yore into the fiber of the English breed. But the human varieties being collected in this country by the naked action of economic forces are too dissimilar to blend without producing a good many faces of a “chaotic constitution.”50

Nor were the differences between the old immigrants and the new limited to intellect or physical appearance, according to Ross: “That the Mediterranean peoples are morally below the races of northern Europe is as certain as any social fact.”51 Moreover, these differences were said to be due to people from Northern Europe surpassing people from Southern Europe “in innate ethical endowment.”52 Ross declared, “I see no reason why races may not differ as much in moral and intellectual traits as obviously they do in bodily traits.”53 Black Americans were mentioned in passing as “several millions of an inferior race.”54 To Ross, the survival of a superior race and culture depended on awareness of, and pride in, that superiority:

The superiority of a race cannot be preserved without pride of blood and an uncompromising attitude toward the lower races… Since the higher culture should be kept pure as well as the higher blood, that race is stronger which, down to the cultivator or the artisan, has a strong sense of its superiority.55

Francis A. Walker was a leading economist of the second half of the nineteenth century. He was not a Progressive, by any means, but his views on immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe were views that later became dominant in the Progressive era of the early twentieth century. He proposed strict restrictions on immigration, not only quantitatively, but qualitatively. He proposed to measure quality by requiring each immigrant to post a $100 bond upon entering the country— a sum vastly more than most Jewish, Italian or other immigrants from Eastern Europe or Southern Europe had with them at that time. He said that the restrictions he proposed “would not prevent tens of thousands of thrifty Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, and men of other nationalities coming hither at their own charges, since great numbers of these people now bring more than that amount of money with them.”56 Such a requirement, he said, would “raise the average quality, socially and industrially, of the immigrants actually entering the country.”57

Walker saw a need to protect “the American standard of living, and the quality of American citizenship from degradation through the tumultuous access of vast throngs of ignorant and brutalized peasantry from the countries of eastern and southern Europe.”58 He pointed out that, in earlier times, immigrants “came almost exclusively from western or northern Europe” and “immigrants from southern Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Russia together made up hardly more than one per cent of our immigration.” Now those proportions had changed completely, bringing “vast masses of peasantry, degraded below our utmost conceptions.” He said: “They are beaten men from beaten races; representing the worst failures in the struggle for existence.”59

Without restrictions on immigration, Professor Walker declared that “every foul and stagnant pool of population in Europe,” from places where “no breath of intellectual life has stirred for ages,” would be “decanted upon our shores.”60 Nor were the people of Eastern and Southern Europe the only ones dismissed as hopeless by Walker. The indigenous American Indians Walker dismissed as “savages,” who were “without forethought and without self-control, singularly susceptible to evil influences, with strong animal appetites and no intellectual tastes or aspirations to hold those appetites in check.”61

Another prominent contemporary economist, Richard T. Ely, one of the founders of the American Economic Association, was similarly dismissive of blacks, saying that they “are for the most part grown-up children, and should be treated as such.”62 Professor Ely was also concerned about classes that he considered inferior: “We must give to the most hopeless classes left behind in our social progress custodial care with the highest possible development and with segregation of sexes and confinement to prevent reproduction.”63

Richard T. Ely was not only a Progressive during the Progressive era, he espoused the kinds of ideas that defined the Progressive era, years before that era began. He rejected free market economics64 and saw government power as something to be applied “to the amelioration of the conditions under which people live or work.” Far from seeing government intervention as a reduction of freedom, he redefined freedom, so that the “regulation by the power of the state of these industrial and other social relations existing among men is a condition of freedom.” While state action might “lessen the amount of theoretical liberty” it would “increase control over nature in the individual, and promote the growth of practical liberty.”65

Like other Progressives, Richard T. Ely advocated the cause of conservation, of labor unions, and favored the “coercive philanthropy” of the state.66 He said, “I believe that such natural resources as forests and mineral wealth should belong to the people” and also believed that “highways or railroads as well as telegraph and parcels post” should also be owned by “the community.” He also favored “public ownership” of municipal utilities67 and declared that “labor unions should be legally encouraged in their efforts for shorter hours and higher wages” and that “inheritance and income taxes should be generally extended.”68 In short, in the course of his long lifetime Professor Ely was a Progressive before, during and after the Progressive era.

Rejecting the economic analysis of free market wage rates by such leading economists of that era as Alfred Marshall in England and John Bates Clark in the United States, economists of a Progressive orientation advocated minimum wage laws, as a way of preventing “low-wage races” such as Chinese immigrants from lowering the standard of living of American workers. Professor John R. Commons, for example, said “The competition has no respect for the superior races,” so that “the race with lowest necessities displaces others.” Professor Arthur Holcombe of Harvard, and a president of the American Political Science Association, referred approvingly of Australia’s minimum wage law as a means to “protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese.”69

Eugenics, however, was not confined to trying to reduce the reproduction of particular races. Many of its advocates targeted also people of the sort whom Harvard economist Frank Taussig called “those saturated with alcohol or tainted with hereditary disease,” as well as “the irretrievable criminals and tramps.” If it was not feasible to “chloroform them once and for all,”

Professor Taussig said, then “at least they can be segregated, shut up in refuges and asylums, and prevented from propagating their kind.”70 In Sweden in later years, Nobel Prizewinning economist Gunnar Myrdal supported programs which sterilized 60,000 people from 1941 through 1975.71

Many academics, including some of great distinction, were supporters of eugenics during the Progressive era. Professor Irving Fisher of Yale, the leading American monetary economist of his day, was one of the founders of the American Eugenics Society. Professor Fisher advocated the prevention of the “breeding of the worst” by “isolation in public institutions and in some cases by surgical operation.”72 Professor Henry Rogers Seager of Columbia University, who would become sufficiently recognized to be selected as president of the American Economic Association, likewise said that “we must courageously cut off lines of heredity that have been proved to be undesirable,” even if that requires “isolation or sterilization.”73 Stanford University’s president David Starr Jordan declared that a nation’s “blood” was what “determines its history.”74 Eugenics outlasted the Progressive era. As late as 1928, there were 376 college courses devoted to eugenics.75

Those who promoted genetic determinism and eugenics were neither uneducated nor fringe cranks. Quite the contrary. Edward A. Ross, Francis A. Walker and Richard T. Ely all had Ph.D.s from leading universities and were professors at leading universities. Edward A. Ross was the author of 28 books, whose sales were estimated at approximately half a million copies, and he was regarded as one of the founders of the profession of sociology in the United States.76 He held a Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University and, at various times, served as Secretary of the American Economic Association as well as President of the American Sociological Association, and head of the American Civil Liberties Union. Among the places where his articles appeared were the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Ross was in the mainstream of Progressive intellectuals at the highest levels. He was a man of the left who had supported Eugene V. Debs in the 1894 Pullman strike and had advocated public ownership and regulation of public utilities. Active as a public intellectual in print and on the lecture circuit, Professor Ross referred to “us liberals” as people who speak up “for public interests against powerful selfish private interests,” and denounced those who disagreed with his views as unworthy “kept” spokesmen for special interests, a “mercenary corps” as contrasted with “us champions of the social welfare.”77

Roscoe Pound credited Ross with setting him “in the path the world is moving in.”78 Ross praised the muckrakers of his day and was also said to have been influential with Progressive Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.79 The introduction to one of Ross’ books included a letter of fulsome praise from TR.80 The voters’ repudiation of the Progressives in the years after the Woodrow Wilson presidency Ross referred to as the “Great Ice Age (1919–31).”81 In self-righteousness, as well as in ideology, he was a Progressive, a man of the left. Francis A. Walker was similarly prominent in the economics profession of his day. He was the first president of the American Economic Association— and the Francis A. Walker medal, created in 1947, was the highest award given by the American Economic Association until 1977, when it was discontinued as a result of the creation of a Nobel Prize in economics. Professor Walker was also General Walker in the Union army during the Civil War. He was, at various times, also president of the American Statistical Association and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also in charge of the ninth and tenth censuses of the United States, a Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

After Walker’s death in 1897, commemorative articles appeared in the scholarly journal of the American Statistical Association, in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the first scholarly journal of the economics profession in the United States, published at Harvard, as well as in the Journal of Political Economy, published at the University of Chicago, and an obituary also appeared in the Economic Journal, England’s premier scholarly journal of the economics profession.

Richard T. Ely received his Ph.D. summa cum laude from the University of Heidelberg and was the author of many books, one of which sold more than a million copies.82 Among the prominent people who were his students were the already mentioned Edward A. Ross and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom studied under him at Johns Hopkins University.83 He was also considered “a major contributing force in making the University of Wisconsin a vital institution wielding a profound influence upon the political economy of the State and the nation.”84 Ely has been called “the father of institutional economics,”85 the field in which one of his students, John R. Commons, made his name at the University of Wisconsin. Richard T. Ely’s death in 1943 was marked by tributes on both sides of the Atlantic, including an obituary in Britain’s Economic Journal. 86 On into the twenty-first century, one of the honors awarded annually by the American Economic Association to a distinguished economist has been an invitation to give the association’s Richard T. Ely Lecture.

In short, Edward A. Ross, Francis A. Walker and Richard T. Ely were not only “in the mainstream”— to use a term that has become common in our times— they were among the elite of the mainstream. But that was no more indication of the validity of what they said then than it is among today’s elite of the mainstream.

While Madison Grant was not an academic scholar, he moved among prominent members of the intelligentsia. His closest friends included George Bird Grinnell, editor of the elite sportsman’s magazine Forest and Stream, and Henry Fairfield Osborn, a world-renowned paleontologist who coined the term “tyrannosaurus rex.” Osborn said, in the wake of mass mental testing: “We have learned once and for all that the negro is not like us.”87 In short, Madison Grant, Edward A. Ross, Francis A. Walker and Richard T. Ely were part of the intellectual currents of the times, in an era when leading intellectuals saw mental test results as confirming innate racial differences, when immigration was severely restricted for racial reasons, and when the Ku Klux Klan was revived and spread beyond the South, becoming an especially strong political force in the Midwest. As even a critical biographer of Madison Grant said:

Grant was not an evil man. He did not wake up in the morning and think to himself: “Hmm, I wonder what vile deeds I can commit today.” To the contrary, he was by all accounts a sweet, considerate, erudite, and infinitely charming figure.88

Madison Grant also moved in socially elite and politically Progressive circles. Theodore Roosevelt welcomed Grant’s entry into an exclusive social club that TR had founded.89 Later, Grant became friends for a time with Franklin D. Roosevelt, addressing him in letters as “My dear Frank,” while FDR reciprocated by addressing him as “My dear Madison.”90 The two menmet while serving on a commission as civic-minded citizens, and the fact that both suffered crippling illnesses during the 1920s created a personal bond. But Madison Grant’s ideas moved far beyond such genteel circles in America. They were avidly seized upon in Nazi Germany, though Grant’s death in 1937 spared him from learning of the ultimate consequences of such ideas, which culminated in the Holocaust.

George Horace Lorimer, long-time editor of the Saturday Evening Post, was another major supporter of the Progressive movement in the early twentieth century and his magazine, with a readership of four to five million readers per week,91 carried weight politically and socially. He supported both Theodore Roosevelt and Progressive Senator Albert Beveridge.92 In proposing immigration restrictions, Lorimer— like many others of that era— invoked “science” as opposed to “the Pollyanna school.”93 In an editorial in the Saturday Evening Post, Lorimer warned against “our racial degeneration” as a result of immigration, which he said could end with Americans having to “forfeit our high estate and join the lowly ranks of the mongrel races.”94

In the early 1920s, Lorimer assigned novelist and future Pulitzer Prize winner Kenneth L. Roberts to write a series of articles on immigration for the Saturday Evening Post. In one of these articles Roberts referred to “the better-class Northern and Western Europeans” who “are particularly fine types of immigrants,” as contrasted with “the queer, alien, mongrelized people of Southeastern Europe.”95 These articles were later republished as a book titled Why Europe Leaves Home. In this book, Roberts said, among other things, “the Jews of Poland are human parasites,”96 that people from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were “inconceivably backward.”97 He added:

The American nation was founded and developed by the Nordic race, but if a few more million members of the Alpine, Mediterranean and Semitic races are poured among us, the result must inevitably be a hybrid race of people as worthless and futile as the good-for-nothing mongrels of Central America and Southeastern Europe.98

Like many others of that era, Roberts invoked the notion of a “scientific” approach to immigration law,99 while contrasting “the desirable immigrants from Northwestern Europe” with the “undesirables” who “came from Southern and Eastern European countries.”100

Progressive muckraking journalist George Creel, a former member of Woodrow Wilson’s administration, wrote articles on immigration in 1921 and 1922 in Collier’s magazine, another leading mass circulation publication of that era. In these articles he made the familiar contrast between the peoples of Northern and Western Europe with the people of Eastern and Southern Europe, using the familiar nomenclature of that time, which called the former Nordics and the latter Alpine and Mediterranean peoples:

The men and women who first came to America were Nordic— clean-blooded, strong-limbed people from England, Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and France. The millions that followed them, for a full two centuries, were also Nordic, holding the same customs, ideas, and ideals, fitting into the life they found as skin fits the hand.

Not until 1880 was there any vital change in the character of immigration, and then commenced the tidal waves of two new stocks— the Alpine from central Europe, Slavs for the most part, and the Mediterranean, the small swarthy peoples from southern Italy, Greece, Spain, and northern Africa.101

These latter immigrants, Creel described as the “failures, unfits, and misfits of the Old World.”102 Creel said, “those coming from eastern Europe were morally, physically, and mentally the worst in the history of immigration.”103

While H.L. Mencken was another prominent intellectual during the Progressive era, he was by no means a Progressive. Yet his view of blacks was very much like that of other intellectuals of the times. Writing in 1908, he wrote of “the hopelessly futile and fatuous effort to improve the negroes of the Southern United States by education.” He added:

It is apparent, on brief reflection, that the negro, no matter how much he is educated, must remain, as a race, in a condition of subservience; that he must remain the inferior of the stronger and more intelligent white man so long as he retains racial differentiation. Therefore, the effort to educate him has awakened in his mind ambitions and aspirations which, in the very nature of things, must go unrealized, and so, while gaining nothing whatever materially, he has lost all his old contentment, peace of mind and happiness. Indeed, it is a commonplace of observation in the United States that the educated and refined negro is invariably a hopeless, melancholy, embittered and despairing man.104

Similar views of blacks were expressed in other early writings by H.L. Mencken, though blacks were not the only group viewed negatively in those writings:

The negro loafer is not a victim of restricted opportunity and oppression. There are schools for him, and there is work for him, and he disdains both. That his forty-odd years of freedom have given him too little opportunity to show his mettle is a mere theory of the chair. As a matter of fact, the negro, in the mass, seems to be going backward. The most complimentary thing that can be said of an individual of the race today is that he is as industrious and honest a man as his grandfather, who was a slave. There are exceptional negroes of intelligence and ability, I am well aware, just as there are miraculous Russian Jews who do not live in filth; but the great bulk of the race is made up of inefficients.105

However, by 1926, H.L. Mencken had changed his position somewhat. In a review of a book of essays by leading black intellectuals, edited by Alain Locke, himself a leading black intellectual of the times, Mencken wrote:

This book, it seems to me, is a phenomenon of immense significance. What it represents is the American Negro’s final emancipation from his inferiority complex, his bold decision to go it alone. That inferiority complex, until very recently, conditioned all of his thinking, even (and perhaps especially) when he was bellowing most vociferously for his God-given rights. …

As I have said, go read the book. And, having read it, ask yourself the simple question: could you imagine a posse of white Southerners doing anything so dignified, so dispassionate, so striking? … As one who knows the South better than most, and has had contact with most of its intellectuals, real and Confederate, I must say frankly that I can imagine no such thing. Here, indeed, the Negro challenges the white Southerner on a common ground, and beats him hands down.106

Yet Mencken was by no means sanguine about the prospects of the black population as a whole:

The vast majority of the people of their race are but two or three inches removed from gorillas: it will be a sheer impossibility, for a long, long while, to interest them in anything above pork-chops and bootleg gin.107

Like many other intellectuals of the early twentieth century, H.L. Mencken in 1937 favored eugenics measures— in this case, voluntary sterilization of males, encouraged by rewards to be supplied by private philanthropy. As in the past, he included white Southerners among those considered undesirable. He suggested that the answers to many social problems would be “to sterilize large numbers of American freemen, both white and black, to the end that they could no longer beget their kind.” For this “the readiest way to induce them to submit would be to indemnify them in cash.” The alternative, he said, would be “supporting an ever-increasing herd of morons for all eternity.”108

Not all eugenicists were racial determinists, as Mencken’s inclusion of white Southerners in his eugenics agenda in 1937 indicated. In England, H.G. Wells rejected the singling out of particular races for extinction, though he recommended that undesirable people of whatever race be targeted.109 Writing in 1916, Wells said:

Now I am a writer rather prejudiced against the idea of nationality; my habit of thought is cosmopolitan; I hate and despise a shrewish suspicion of foreigners and foreign ways ; a man who can look me in the face, laugh with me, speak truth and deal fairly, is my brother, though his skin is as black as ink or as yellow as an evening primrose.110

American novelist and radical Jack London, however, declared, “the Anglo-Saxon is a race of mastery” and is “best fitted for survival.” He said, “the inferior races must undergo destruction, or some humane form of economic slavery, is inevitable.”111 While Jack London was a man of the left during the Progressive era, he was not a Progressive. He boldly declared himself a socialist.

Woodrow Wilson, one of two American presidents who was also an intellectual in our sense of one who for years earned his living from the production of ideas (the other being Theodore Roosevelt), praised the movie The Birth of A Nation, which glorified the Ku Klux Klan, and had a private showing of it in the White House, to which prominent political figures were invited.112 It was during the Progressive administration of Woodrow Wilson that the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving began to segregate black and white employees. The Post Office Department not only began to segregate its black and white employees in Washington during the Wilson administration, but also began to fire and downgrade black postal employees in the South, as did the Department of the Treasury. President Wilson expressed his approval of these actions.113

The academic world was by no means exempt from the racial and social beliefs of the times. In early twentieth century America, during an era when most applicants to even highly prestigious colleges were admitted, there were both formal and informal restrictions on the admissions of Jews, Harvard being one of the few institutions to openly admit imposing quota limits, though a 1909 article characterized anti-Semitism as “more dominant at Princeton” (under Woodrow Wilson) than at any of the other institutions surveyed. In 1910, students at Williams College demonstrated against the admission of Jews. In 1922, Yale’s dean of admission said: “The opinion is general in the Faculty that the proportion of those in college whose racial elements are such as not to permit of assimilation has been exceeded and that the most noticeable representatives among those regarded as undesirable are the Jewish boys.”114

Such views on race or ethnicity were not inevitably entailed by the principles of Progressivism, though they were not precluded by those principles either. During the Progressive era itself, Theodore Roosevelt had a very different view of the potential of blacks than did many other Progressives. In response to a British historian who expressed a fear that the black and yellow races would rise in the world to the point of challenging the white race, Theodore Roosevelt said: “By that time the descendant of the negro may be as intellectual as the Athenian.”115 Moreover, he also believed in equal opportunity for other minorities.116 Nevertheless, Roosevelt’s low estimate of the contemporary level of knowledge and understanding among black Americans117 might place him under at least a suspicion of racism by those today who project contemporary standards back into the past, or who perhaps think of the black population of the past as if they were simply today’s black population living in an earlier time, rather than a population which in that era included millions of people who had not yet acquired even the ability to read and write. One of the ironies of Madison Grant’s theories was that he was a descendant of Scots who emigrated after the failed uprisings against the English in 1745. In earlier centuries, Scotland had been one of the most backward nations on the fringes of European civilization, even though Grant classified the Scots as Nordics, who were supposedly superior intellectually. Later, Scots had a spectacular rise to the forefront of European and world civilization, in too brief a time— as history is measured— for there to have been any major change in the genetic make-up of Scotland’s population. In short, the history of his own ancestral homeland provided some of the strongest evidence against Grant’s theories of genetic determinism. So do other major reversals in technological and other leadership among nations, races and civilizations, such as the reversal of the positions of China and Europe already noted. There are many peoples and nations that have experienced their “golden age,” only to later fall behind, or even be conquered by, their erstwhile inferiors.

The wider the sweep of history that is surveyed, the more dramatic reversals of the relative positions of nations and races there are. A tenth-century Muslim scholar noted that Europeans grow more pale the farther north you go and also that the “farther they are to the north the more stupid, gross, and brutish they are.”118 However offensive this correlation between skin color and intellectual development may seem today, there is no reason in history to challenge it as an empirical generalization, as of that particular time. Mediterranean Europe was more advanced than northern Europe for centuries, beginning in ancient times, when the Greeks and Romans laid many of the foundations of Western civilization, at a time when the peoples of Britain and Scandinavia lived in illiterate and far less advanced societies.

Like the tenth-century Muslim scholar, Madison Grant saw a correlation between skin color and intelligence, but he explicitly attributed that correlation to genetics. Among other things, he explained the overrepresentation of mulattoes among the black elite of his day by their Caucasian genes, and Edward Byron Reuter made an empirical sociological study of the same phenomenon, reaching the same conclusion.119 In a later period, intellectuals would explain the same phenomenon by the bias of whites in favor of people who looked more like themselves.

Regardless of what either theory says, the facts show that the actual skills and behavior of blacks and mulattoes had historically been demonstrably different, especially in nineteenth and early twentieth century America. These were not mere “perceptions” or “stereotypes,” as so many inconvenient observations have been labeled. A study of nineteenth century Philadelphia, for example, found crime rates higher among the black population than among the mulatto population.120 It is not necessary to believe that crime rates are genetically determined, but it is also not necessary to believe that it was all just a matter of perceptions by whites.121

During the era of slavery, mulattoes were often treated differently from blacks, especially when the mulattoes were the offspring of the slave owner. This difference in treatment existed not only in the United States but throughout the Western Hemisphere. Mulattoes were a much higher proportion of the population of “free persons of color” than they were of the populations of slaves throughout the Western Hemisphere, and women were far more often freed than were men.122 These initial differences, based on personal favoritism, led to longterm differences based on earlier opportunities to begin acquiring human capital as free people, generations before the Emancipation Proclamation.

In short, “free persons of color” had a generations-long head start in acculturation, urbanization and general experience as free people. The rate of literacy reached by the “free persons of color” in 1850 would not be reached by the black population as a whole until 70 years later.123 It was 1920 before the black population of the United States as a whole became as urbanized as the “free persons of color” were in 1860.124 Neither within groups nor between groups can differences be discussed in the abstract, in a world where the concrete is what determines people’s fates. Among Americans of African descent, as within and between other groups, people are not random events to which statistical probability theories can be blithely applied— and correlation is not causation.

Against the background of head starts by those freed from slavery generations ahead of others, it is not so surprising that, in the middle of the twentieth century, most of the Negro professionals in Washington, D.C. were by all indications descendants of the antebellum “free persons of color”125— a group that was never more than 14 percent of the American Negro population.126 Because many of these professionals— such as doctors, lawyers and teachers— worked primarily or exclusively within the black community in mid-twentieth-century Washington, favoritism by contemporary whites had little or nothing to do with their success, even though the human capital which produced that success developed ultimately from the favoritism shown their ancestors a century or more earlier.

Neither genetics nor contemporary environment is necessary to explain differences in human capital between blacks and mulattoes— differences that were much more pronounced in earlier years than today, after the black population as a whole has had more time and opportunities as free people to acquire more human capital. Similarly, neither genetics nor contemporary environment is necessary to explain differences in skills, behavior, attitudes and values among other racial groups or sub-groups in many other countries around the world, since many of these groups differed greatly in their history, in their geographic settings and in other ways.

Madison Grant asserted that “the intelligence and ability of a colored person are in pretty direct proportion to the amount of white blood he has, and that most of the positions of leadership, influence, and prominence in the Negro race are held not by real Negroes but by Mulattoes, many of whom have very little Negro blood. This is so true that to find a black Negro in a conspicuous position is a matter of comment.”127 But, like so much else that was said by him and by others of like mind, it verbally eternalized a contemporary pattern by attributing that pattern to genetics, just as many Progressive-era intellectuals disdained the peoples of Southern Europe, who had by all indices once been far more advanced in ancient times than the Nordics who were said to be genetically superior. The Greeks and Romans had the Parthenon and the Coliseum, not to mention literature and giants of philosophy, at a time when there was not a single building in Britain, a country inhabited at that time by illiterate tribes.

1. See, for example, various chapter titles in Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race or the Racial Basis of European History, revised edition (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918).

2. Ibid., p. 16.

3. Mark H. Haller, Eugenics: Hereditarian Attitudes in American Thought (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1963), p. 11.

4. Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race, revised edition, p. 100. The book was a bestseller according to Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, revised edition (New York: Perennial Classics, 2001), p. 203.

5. Reports of the Immigration Commission, The Children of Immigrants in Schools (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1911), Vol. I, p. 110.

6. Carl C. Brigham, A Study of American Intelligence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1923), p. xx.

7. Ibid., p. 119.

8. Robert M. Yerkes, Psychological Examining in the United States Army, Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1921), Vol. 15, pp. 123–292; Carl C. Brigham, A Study of American Intelligence, pp. 80, 121.

9. Rudolph Pintner and Ruth Keller, “Intelligence Tests of Foreign Children,” Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 13, Issue 4 (April 1922), p. 215.

10. Nathaniel D. Mttron Hirsch, “A Study of Natio-Racial Mental Differences,” Genetic Psychology Monographs, Vol. 1, Nos. 3 and 4 (May and July, 1926), p. 302.

11. Otto Klineberg, Race Differences (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935), pp. 183–184.

12. Ibid., p. 182. For critiques of the World War I data, from differing points of view, see Audrey M. Shuey, The Testing of Negro Intelligence, second edition (New York: Social Science Press, 1966), pp. 310–311; Carl C. Brigham, “Intelligence Tests of Immigrant Groups,” Psychological Review, Vol. 37, Issue 2 (March 1930); Thomas Sowell, “Race and IQ Reconsidered,” Essays and Data on American Ethnic Groups, edited by Thomas Sowell and Lynn D. Collins (Washington: The Urban Institute, 1978), pp. 226–227.

13. Carl C. Brigham, A Study of American Intelligence, p. 190. 14. H.H. Goddard, “The Binet Tests in Relation to Immigration,” Journal of Psycho-Asthenics, Vol. 18, No. 2 (December 1913), p. 110.

15. Quoted in Leon J. Kamin, The Science and Politics of I.Q. (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1974), p. 6.

16. Carl Brigham, for example, said, “The decline of American intelligence will be more rapid than the decline of the intelligence of European national groups, owing to the presence here of the negro.” Carl C. Brigham, A Study of American Intelligence, p. 210.

17. “The Control of Births,” New Republic, March 6, 1915, p. 114.

18. Sidney Webb, “Eugenics and the Poor Law: The Minority Report,” Eugenics Review, Vol. II (April 1910-January 1911), p. 240; Thomas C. Leonard, “Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Fall 2005), p. 216.

19. Richard Overy, The Twilight Years: The Paradox of Britain Between the Wars (New York: Viking, 2009), pp. 93, 105, 106, 107, 124–127.

20. Matthew Pratt Guterl, The Color of Race in America: 1900–1940 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 67.

21. Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race, revised edition, p. 17.

22. Ibid., p. 48.

23. Ibid., p. 60.

24. Ibid., p. 77.

25. Ibid., p. 32.

26. Ibid., p. 19.

27. Ibid., p. 20.

28. Ibid., p. 104.

29. Ibid., p. 257.

30. Ibid., p. 258.

31. Ibid., p. 260.

32. Ibid., p. 101.

33. Ibid., p. 105.

34. Ibid., p. xxi.

35. Ibid., p. 49.

36. Ibid., p. 58.

37. Ibid., p. 59.

38. Ibid., p. 89.

39. Ibid., p. 16.

40. Ibid., p. 91.

41. Ibid., p. 263.

42. Jonathan Peter Spiro, Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant (Burlington: University of Vermont Press, 2009), pp. 6, 10, 17, 22–34.

43. “Scientific Books,” Science, Vol. 48, No. 1243 (October 25, 1918), p. 419.

44. Madison Grant, The Conquest of a Continent or the Expansion of Races in America (York, SC: Liberty Bell Publications, 2004), p. xii.

45. Jonathan Peter Spiro, Defending the Master Race, pp. 98, 99.

46. Edward Alsworth Ross, The Principles of Sociology (New York: The Century Co., 1920), p. 63. 4

7. Edward Alsworth Ross, “Who Outbreeds Whom?” Proceedings of the Third Race Betterment Conference (Battle Creek, Michigan: Race Betterment Foundation, 1928), p. 77.

48. Edward Alsworth Ross, The Old World in the New: The Significance of Past and Present Immigration to the American People (New York: The Century Company, 1914), pp. 285–286.

49. Ibid., p. 288.

50. Ibid., pp. 288–289.

51. Ibid., p. 293.

52. Ibid., p. 295.

53. “Social Darwinism,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 12, No. 5 (March 1907), p. 715.

54. Edward A. Ross, “The Causes of Race Superiority,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 18 (July 1901), p. 89.

55. Ibid., p. 85.

56. Francis A. Walker, “Methods of Restricting Immigration,” Discussions in Economics and Statistics, Volume II: Statistics, National Growth, Social Economics, edited by Davis R. Dewey (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1899), p. 430.

57. Ibid., p. 432.

58. Francis A. Walker, “Restriction of Immigration,” Ibid., p. 438.

59. Ibid., p. 447.

60. Thomas C. Leonard, “Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Fall 2005), p. 211.

61. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the Year 1872 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872), p. 11.

62. Richard T. Ely, “Fraternalism vs. Paternalism in Government,” The Century Magazine, Vol. 55, No. 5 (March 1898), p. 781.

63. Richard T. Ely, “The Price of Progress,” Administration, Vol. III, No. 6 (June 1922), p. 662.

64. Sidney Fine, “Richard T. Ely, Forerunner of Progressivism, 1880–1901,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 37, No. 4 (March 1951), pp. 604, 609. 65. Ibid., p. 610. 66. Ibid., p. 603.

67. “Dr. R.T. Ely Dies; Noted Economist,” New York Times, October 5, 1943, p. 25; Richard T. Ely, “Fraternalism vs. Paternalism in Government,” The Century Magazine, Vol. 55, No. 5 (March 1898), p. 784.

68. “Dr. R.T. Ely Dies; Noted Economist,” New York Times, October 5, 1943, p. 25.

69. Thomas C. Leonard, “Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Fall 2005), p. 215.

70. Ibid., p. 214.

71. Ibid., p. 221.

72. Ibid., p. 212.

73. Ibid., p. 213.

74. Ibid., p. 216.

75. Ibid.

76. William E. Spellman, “The Economics of Edward Alsworth Ross,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 38, No. 2 (April 1979), pp. 129–140; Howard W. Odum, “Edward Alsworth Ross: 1866–1951,” Social Forces, Vol. 30, No. 1 (October 1951), pp. 126–127; John L. Gillin, “In Memoriam: Edward Alsworth Ross,” The Midwest Sociologist, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Fall 1951), p. 18.

77. Edward Alsworth Ross, Seventy Years of It: An Autobiography (New York: D. AppletonCentury Company, 1936), pp. 97–98.

78. Julius Weinberg, Edward Alsworth Ross and the Sociology of Progressivism (Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1972), p. 136.

79. William E. Spellman, “The Economics of Edward Alsworth Ross,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 38, No. 2 (April 1979), p. 130.

80. Edward Alsworth Ross, Sin and Society: An Analysis of Latter-Day Iniquity (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 1907), pp. ix–xi.

81. Edward Alsworth Ross, Seventy Years of It, p. 98.

82. Henry C. Taylor, “Richard Theodore Ely: April 13, 1854-October 4, 1943,” The Economic Journal, Vol. 54, No. 213 (April 1944), p. 133; “Dr. R.T. Ely Dies; Noted Economist,” New York Times, October 5, 1943, p. 25.

83. Henry C. Taylor, “Richard Theodore Ely: April 13, 1854-October 4, 1943,” The Economic Journal, Vol. 54, No. 213 (April 1944), p. 133.

84. Ibid., p. 134.

85. Ibid., p. 137.

86. Henry C. Taylor, “Richard Theodore Ely: April 13, 1854-October 4, 1943,” The Economic Journal, Vol. 54, No. 213 (April 1944), pp. 132–138.

87. George McDaniel, “Madison Grant and the Racialist Movement,” in Madison Grant, The Conquest of a Continent, p. iv.

88. Jonathan Peter Spiro, Defending the Master Race, pp. xv–xvi.

89. Ibid., p. 17.

90. Ibid., p. 250.

91. Jan Cohn, Creating America: George Horace Lorimer and the Saturday Evening Post (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989), p. 5.

92. Ibid., pp. 49, 92, 95–96.

93. Ibid., p. 155.

94. “The Great American Myth,” Saturday Evening Post, May 7, 1921, p. 20.

95. Kenneth L. Roberts, “Lest We Forget,” Saturday Evening Post, April 28, 1923, pp. 158, 162.

96. Kenneth L. Roberts, Why Europe Leaves Home (Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1922), p. 15.

97. Ibid., p. 21.

98. Ibid., p. 22.

99. Ibid., p. 119.

100. Kenneth L. Roberts, “Slow Poison,” Saturday Evening Post, February 2, 1924, p. 9.

101. George Creel, “Melting Pot or Dumping Ground?” Collier’s, September 3, 1921, p. 10.

102. Ibid., p. 26.

103. George Creel, “Close the Gates!” Collier’s, May 6, 1922, p. 10.

104. Henry L. Mencken, The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (Boston: Luce and Company, 1908), pp. 167–168.

105. “Mencken’s Reply to La Monte’s Fourth Letter,” Men versus The Man: A Correspondence Between Robert Rives La Monte, Socialist and H.L. Mencken, Individualist (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1910), p. 162. 106. H.L. Mencken, “The Aframerican: New Style,” The American Mercury, February 1926, pp. 254, 255.

107. Ibid., p. 255. 108. H.L. Mencken, “Utopia by Sterilization,” The American Mercury, August 1937, pp. 399, 408.

109. H.G. Wells, The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1931), pp. 733, 734, 746.

110. H.G. Wells, What Is Coming?: A European Forecast (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916), p. 254.

111. Jack London, The Unpublished and Uncollected Articles and Essays, edited by Daniel J. Wichlan (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007), pp. 60, 66.

112. George McDaniel, “Madison Grant and the Racialist Movement,” in Madison Grant, The Conquest of a Continent, p. ii.

113. Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era: 1910–1917 (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1954), pp. 64–66. The number of black postmasters declined from 153 in 1910 to 78 in 1930. Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1944), p. 327. See also Henry Blumenthal, “Woodrow Wilson and the Race Question,” Journal of Negro History, Vol. 48, No. 1 (January 1963), pp. 1–21.

114. S. Georgia Nugent, “Changing Faces: The Princeton Student of the Twentieth Century,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, Vol. LXII, Number 2 (Winter 2001), pp. 215–216.

115. Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (New York: The Modern Library, 2001), p. 483.

116. In his memoirs, looking back on his days as a police commissioner in New York, Theodore Roosevelt said: “The appointments to the police force were made as I have described in the last chapter. We paid not the slightest attention to a man’s politics or creed, or where he was born, so long as he was an American citizen; and on an average we obtained far and away the best men that had ever come into the Police Department.” Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders: An Autobiography (New York: The Library of America, 2004), p. 428.

117. Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex (New York: Modern Library, 2002), pp. 52–53.

118. Quoted in Bernard Lewis, The Muslim Discovery of Europe (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982), p. 139.

119. Edward Byron Reuter, The Mulatto in the United States (Boston: Richard G. Badger, The Gorham Press, 1918).

120. Theodore Hershberg and Henry Williams, “Mulattoes and Blacks: Intragroup Color Differences and Social Stratification in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia,” Philadelphia, edited by Theodore Hershberg (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 402.

121. For examples of the latter assumption, see, for example, Michael Tonry, Punishing Race: A Continuing American Dilemma (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 65–66.

122. See, for example, E. Franklin Frazier, The Negro in the United States, revised edition (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1957), p. 67; David W. Cohen and Jack P. Greene, “Introduction,” Neither Slave Nor Free: The Freedmen of African Descent in the Slave Societies of the New World, edited by David W. Cohen and Jack P. Greene (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972), p. 7; A.J.R. Russell-Wood, “Colonial Brazil,” Ibid., p. 91.

123. Calculated from data in The Seventh Census of the United States: 1850 (Washington: Robert Armstrong, 1853), pp. xliii, lxi; U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1975), Part I, p. 382.

124. Urbanization data for blacks in 1860 and 1920 calculated from data in the following sources: Wilbur Zelinsky, “The Population Geography of the Free Negro in Ante-Bellum America,” Population Studies, Vol. 3, No. 4 (March 1950), pp. 387, 389; Reynolds Farley, “The Urbanization of Negroes in the United States,” Journal of Social History, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Spring 1968), p. 255; U. S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, Part 1, pp. 8, 9, 12, 22.

125. Thomas Sowell, “Three Black Histories,” Essays and Data on American Ethnic Groups, edited by Thomas Sowell and Lynn D. Collins, p. 12.

126. Ibid.

127. Madison Grant, The Conquest of a Continent, pp. 283–284.


Authors are Jared Taylor and Thomas Sowell, respectively.



What About Moses?

The following is from a FB interaction, that I’m reposting here for posterity.

I received the following inquiry on Tribal Theocrat today from Jimmy S.:

I would like to get your input on some arguments alienists/integrationists/globalists give against nationalism. These arguments in no way give me issues in my faith but it does annoy me how these idiots can escape acting like they win even though they are ignoring the entirety of scripture and cherry picking some things that allow them to remain ignorant and stupid. Here are the arguments that I don’t know how to answer: 1. Why did Moses marry an Ethiopian woman, have a baby, and it wasn’t considered a sin? 2.Who adopted Ruth and why wasn’t it sin? They say those two things and think it’s good to throw nationalism out the window and integrate everyone together for a NWO. It’s really really frustrating and stupid. They are clearly not real bible believers. Thank you.

My response:

Hello Jimmy,

Thank you for writing. As regards these two questions, here are a few links that address them:


There are more links at Faith & Heritage regarding miscegenation and these two specific episodes.

1. As regards Moses, the original Hebrew for Numbers 12 reads “Cushite” – not “Ethiopian”. “Ethiopian” was introduced with the Septuagint, and in the ancient times when that translation was written, referred to a much more general area than it does today (just as “India”, “Syria”, and “Libya” once referred to vast regions with “fuzzy” borders). Note, for example, that in Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia, yet all are shown in ancient frescos as either white or swarthy but not black, and many list ancient Joppa in Palestine as the seat of their kingdom (also of interest: there’s some evidence to suggest that the sea monster Cetus from the tale of Andromeda was actually the giant fish of Jonah). In the Bible, there are at least two, and possibly as many as four areas referred to as “the Land of Cush” (Ham’s children liked to move). One of those areas included Midian (within the old Roman province of Arabia Petraea at the northeast end of the Red Sea), where Zipporah was from. See, for example, how Habakkuk 3:7 connects the two, or Ezekiel 29:10 where the whole of Egypt is described as extending from Syene (at the South) to the border of Cush (which would only make sense if it was at the north end), or 2 Chronicles 21:16 where it is told that the Arabians are near them (and there are more verses that could make this point).

Further, the chronology makes it highly improbable that this “Ethiopian” was anyone but Zipporah. Remember that Moses’ father-in-law Jethro brought Zipporah and their two boys back to Moses once the Exodus was well under way (Exodus 18), and the famous episode with Aaron and Miriam occurred at Hazeroth (Numbers 12) before the spies had been sent to the land of Canaan (Numbers 13), which itself occurred less than two years after the beginning of the Exodus. We are left with at most a few month window between the return of Zipporah and the incident with Aaron and Miriam. In fact, it seems probable that her return precipitated it, given the likely parallel between Jethro’s recommendation to share the leadership duties (Exodus 18:17-27) and the fulfillment of it (Numbers 11:16-30).

So we are left either with:

A. “Cushite” being used as a toponym (a geographical rather than racial identifier) for Zipporah, a possibility that aligns exactly with the wife of Moses that we are actually told about, and comports precisely with both the geography and chronology of the Bible, or…

B. This “Cushite” was some desert Negress among the mixed multitude who Moses both romanced and married during (at most) a handful of very busy months in the Exodus between the return of his wife Zipporah and the surveilling of the land of Canaan. Either Zipporah died during this time period and her husband (the author of the Pentateuch) failed to mention it, or Moses thought it’d be great idea to marry a polygamous second wife from a foreign tribe while trying to lead a people that already resentfully viewed him as an outsider.

Obviously, “A” makes a lot of sense, and “B” makes no sense at all. Moses’ “Cushite” wife was just Zipporah, a foreigner indeed, but racially not that distant. Aaron and Miriam were envious of Moses’ superior leadership position, and lashed out at him where he was most vulnerable. Zipporah’s foreign ways had already caused Moses a great deal of trouble (Exodus 4:24-26). Now she was causing friction with the in-laws. Moses is known as the law-giver of Israel, but not as one of its patriarchs. Of the few mentions of his descendents, one of his grandsons apostatized (Judges 18:30; famously scandalizing the Masoretes) and another was an otherwise unremarkable treasurer (1 Chronicles 26:24). This is not an example we should seek to emulate.

2. Regarding Ruth’s marriage to Boaz, I am far less familiar with the particulars of that episode. Certainly, a plain reading of the text in isolation of the remainder of Scripture would clearly indicate that Ruth was a Moabite in the racial sense. This interpretation, though, causes several difficulties when attempting to harmonize this fact with the whole corpus of Scripture. Specifically, the ten generation prohibition on the descendents of Moab from Deuteronomy 23:3 (Nehemiah 13:1), combined with the fact that David was Ruth’s great-grandson, casts doubt on Ruth being a racial Moabite. One can avoid this difficulty and maintain Ruth as a racial-Moabite only if one adopts a purely patrilineal method for the purposes of establishing legal kinship.

However, there are other issues. National Moab was severely decimated at least twice prior to the time of Ruth. In Numbers 21:21-35 we are told that Sihon, king of the Amorites, had “ruined”/”undone” Moab, and Israel in turn defeated Sihon. Some time later (less than 100 years), the Israelite judge Ehud killed Eglon king of Moab, and the Israelites slaughtered about 10,000 of the best men of Moab. Keep in mind that Moab was about 30 miles long by 30 miles wide, so it’s questionable how many racial Moabites remained. The episode with Ruth was about 200 years later. Keep in mind that Moab was east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, in the region where the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had settled.

It seems quite likely that “Moab” by the time of Ruth was a mixed people of racial Israelites, Moabites, and even Amorites, practicing idolatry of the detestable Chemosh, or some syncretic bastard religion. (Witness as well, the Mesha Stele, which shows how nearly identical their language was to Hebrew.) There seems to have been a large degree of permeability between Moab and national Israel, but given their both racially and religiously mixed nature, it is no surprise they were treated as foreigners (witness the Samaritans, as another example). It is not hard to imagine that Ruth could have been racially Israelite, but considered a Moabite foreigner. Whatever the truth, it’s not any easy issue.

3. It is very difficult to argue Biblically against miscegenation from an absolutist position. A much easier case to make is that endogamy is Biblically normative. You can make that case from these verses: Genesis 24:3-4; 27:46 – 28:9, Exodus 34:15-16, Leviticus 21:14, Numbers 25:1-9, Deuteronomy 7:3-4, Joshua 23:12-13, Judges 3:5-6; 14:3, I Kings 11:1-6, Ezra 9:1 – 10:44, Nehemiah 10:30; 13:23-27, and Ezekiel 44:22.

4. One should not interpret narrative as moral imperative. “Person A took Action B” is not the same as “God commands you to take Action B”. The Bible records many sins. It is true that if the story is given as “Person A took Action B with Result C”, we can judge a “moral of the story” on basis of “Result C”. A positive result may imply wisdom, cleverness, or moral permissibility, but does not always elevate the action to the level of a universal moral imperative for all people in all times and all circumstances.

5. We should be able to accommodate the typological inclusion of certain Gentile women into the lineage of Christ, as a foreshadow of the incorporation of the Gentiles into the covenant people, without it destroying our worldview. These are the exceptions that prove the rule, not the exceptions that should become the universal standard. Perhaps even Christian alienists can agree that, regardless of the actual racial ancestry of Rahab, we shouldn’t all go out and marry harlots. Biblical narrative is full of exception people in exception circumstances doing exceptional things to serve specific purposes in redemptive history; those purposes most often being beyond their own imagining.

6. The Bible does not explicitly condone or forbid a great many things that nevertheless fall under its moral instruction. God’s Law is presented to us in summaries, with case laws given as illustrations for how to apply that Law to the specific circumstances of our time and place. Just because the Bible doesn’t explicitly tell us not to bath in sewage doesn’t mean it’s perfectly fine to do it.

7. Experience teaches that mixed marriages often end in divorce, and the progeny of such unions often struggle their whole lives with identity problems. Is it sinful to proceed headlong with an action knowing full well that is it fraught with perils? At the very least, it is unwise.

Feminists Love Islam

Here’s where it gets veeeerrry interesting. What happens when you have the emergence of a sexual market predominated by jerk-adoring chicks and boring beta niceguys, with very few jerks around to satisfy the cravings of the chicks surrounded by betas, because jerk genes have been mostly culled from the population?

What does an alpha cad-craving girl do when all her mate options are super swell beta dad types? She might do this:refugeeswelcome.jpeg

America is being “Africanized”

As monogamy continues to decay in the West, our mating system increasingly comes to resemble the more competitive African model, and with similar results. We see young women become completely consumed by the effort to maximizing their sexual allure in order to snag high status men, and men competing for status in order to obtain access to these women. All this comes at the expense of childrearing and family life.

Secondly, the feminist program of cajoling or forcing women into the workplace means that women once again become self-supporting, as are the female farmers of West Africa. The Dilbert world of air-conditioned work cubicles may not outwardly resemble the miserable farming plots of Africa. But both stand in marked contrast to the male-breadwinner model traditional in the West, in which devoted childrearing was a woman’s first and most important duty. Indeed, the modern workplace, optimized for risk-free, repetitious, sedentary work is probably the best conceivable environment for eliminating women’s economic dependence upon men. By the same token, it discourages the moderately large families of well-brought-up children which are the indispensable and timeless precondition of Western Civilization. If sufficiently many women fail or refuse to marry and become mothers of such families, our way of life cannot be sustained.

Men Work To Provide

The economy is not Wall Street; it is Dad dragging himself out of bed at six o’clock in the morning to go to an unglamorous job because he loves his children. It is a remarkable psychological fact that most men find satisfaction in providing for their families. They certainly do not take much satisfaction in paying income tax or meeting car payments. Children are frequently more expensive than taxes or cars, but most fathers take well to the provider role. Family life transforms what might otherwise be mere drudgery into a vocation; the father’s work acquires a significance it cannot have for a bachelor. Is there not something missing from a science of economics that has no use for this fact? — Devlin

This is far different from Karl Marx’s labor utopia where the primary identity of a man is his labor, his employment. This translates to the saying today that we should pursue careers that will give us enjoyment; to find jobs that make us happy.

But men do not think of the job as an end. It is not the job that makes us happy but providing for a family that does so.

She will be saved through childbearing

“Marriage is often said to exist for the protection of women, and certainly the male protective instinct is much in evidence in most male criticism of the sexual revolution. Principally, however, what they need protecting from is not men intent upon one-night stands — it is their own irrationality, irresponsibility, immaturity, and short-sightedness. One might even legitimately speak of a need to protect women from the delusions of feminism and liberation.” — Devlin


Devlin’s predication is totally false:

We have arrived at a rare historical moment when we men have the upper hand in the battle of the sexes. Much depends upon the use we make of it. The only thing still propping up the present feminist-bureaucratic regime is the continued willingness of many of the hated “heterosexual white males” to live according to the old rules: not only to work, save, pay taxes, and obey the law, but also to sire and raise children. Once we stop doing these things, the whole system of patronage and parasitism collapses. My greatest fear is that at the first female concessions, the male protective instinct will kick in once again and men will cheerfully shout “All is forgiven” in a stampede to the altar.

Instead of women rushing back to white western males, they have rushed to foreign men in their insatiable lust for open-borders and Islam. White men did what Devlin here described and white women begged other men to come bed them instead.