Academic anthropology achieved a recognizable form during the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century was also the great age of Western European imperialism, and of racism, and its final decades were the first great era of monopoly capitalism. All of these developments were interconnected. What I've tried to do in the readings in this section of the course is simply to give you access to some of the rhetorics of superiority which helped legitimate these movements, especially in the period 1850-1900. I certainly don't mean for you to memorize this stuff, just to read through it and absorb it. Many of you may have little experience of up-front politically incorrect comment. The supply is of course vast, so here (and in the associated readings) you'll get a very partial and arbitrary selection from it. Three comments, especially, are in order. First, there were also counter arguments being made throughout, from a variety of positions. I've ignored them. Second, a la TV, perhaps I should warn that much of this material is offensive (especially to those of delicate and cultivated sensibility, as the Victorians would have put it). Third, I hope you'll see in all this that whether the Victorians were talking about primitives, or women, or the Irish, or the poor, etc., they were effectively singing the same refrain: if you're not a cultured white Anglo-Saxon male, you're morally inferior, and biologically inferior. A rationalization is a rationalization is a....

Weldon Library has a copy of a titillating exploitation book from 1863 by one James Greenwood called Curiosities of Savage Life (London: S.O. Beeton).These excerpts from his brief "Introduction" should give a sense of the treasures it holds.

    The young English gentleman of modern times, whose mind, by culture and example, has become properly balanced, whose talents are wrought to their finest, whose sense of honour is extreme, and whose pride of ancestry is beyond speech -whose organs of sight and sound and taste are educated to exquisite fineness- whose claims, in short, to be considered a perfectly civilized being are indisputable- could scarcely, if he tried, succeed in realizing, for his contemplation and instruction, a perfect Savage: a wild uncultivated barbarian, whose mind would be a desert but for rank unwholesome weeds which are indigenous to the soil, and which are watered by his superstitious tears, and kept green by precious memories of those renowned men his father and grandfather, a being whose sympathies are bounded by the skin that covers him; whose carcase is often an evil to the eye and ever unpleasant to the nose; who has, for manly trust and hope, the sorry substitute of suspicion and quaking fear; and whose mistrust of life is only exceeded by his mistrust of death, which he dreads like fire.
    As already observed, he -the modern young English gentleman- could not realize such a picture if he tried; but, unless I am much mistaken, he does not try. Without risking an expression of his opinion on the subject, he has settled to his private satisfaction that the forest-haunting, clothes-eschewing, arrow-poisoning, man-devouring, bona fide Savage, is a thing of the past. He may not have returned to the Great Spirit for good and all more than a century ago -possibly not more than fifty years- certainly, however, before the invention of the telegraph and the penny daily newspapers, and the sixpenny post to New Zealand and the Guinea coast....
    Curious as it may seem, dear young English gentleman, it is true. Savage life is still vigorous. When you rose from your snowy bed this morning, tens, nay, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, more or less in the condition of the savage above described, rose from couches of grass, and rushes and reeds, and bamboo withes, and from nest-like hammocks slung among the upper branches of lofty trees, and from rat-like burrows in the earth; the last-mentioned dirty practice finding favour among the Bushmen of Southern Africa, and the last-mentioned but one among the Guaraons, a most singular people inhabiting the shores of the South American river Orinoco, and of whom many curious matters will be by and by related. While we this very morning were profiting by the wholesome bath and its appurtenances, the brush and towel, whole nations were oiling and daubing their swart skins, and painting their ugly faces green, or scarlet or light blue, or -as was the case with some of the American Indians and the Friendly Islanders- all these colours at once and a few others, according to the prevailing fashion. While we exercised the sanitary tooth-brush, savage molars and incisors were being dyed jet black, the file in a few instances being brought into operation that the said masticators might preserve their needle-like sharpness; a few ivory or fish-bone spikes stuck through the ears, and through the nose, and among the appalling shocks of wool, with a few iron or copper rings attached to the wrists and ancles, and a something for decency sake slouched about the loins, completing the toilet.
    While we sat down at our well-ordered breakfast tables, legions of our savage brethren were devouring the flesh of the elephant, and the shark, and the ponderous manatee, and the nimble monkey, together with insects that fly and insects that creep, and grubs that live at the roots of the weeds. Nay, the dark truth must be spoken, in certain of the earth's gloomy places man flesh was this morning bought and cooked and eaten; and, inasmuch as it is considered by these monsters proper and toothsome diet will probably be cooked and eaten many a morning yet to come. True, the repulsive custom is now eradicated, or nearly, from among many whilom thorough-going cannibals, as with the Figians and the New Zealanders, but in certain parts of Africa it is common enough. The Fan tribe of Equatorial Africans may be mentioned as an example. The last European traveller who traversed their country, on approaching a Fan town, met an old lady with well filed teeth returning from "market" and carrying a joint of "man" with as little concern as a butcher's boy would carry a shoulder of mutton. However, I will say no more about cannibalism at present. Goodness knows, there will be more than enough to say about the abominable business before this volume is many chapters old.
    But alas! there is little to be gained by putting off the evil day. Were savage life like civilized, did it have its sunny as well as its gloomy side, one might hover about the pleasant bits, and at a merry grindstone whet one's pen for terrible encounters to follow; but in the life of a savage, from his birth to his burial, there is nothing to regard with real gladness: plenty that is odd and grotesque and provocative of laughter, but nothing abidingly funny, or that does not crumble to ashes beneath the weight of reflection.
    The plan I propose to adopt in this volume is to take Savage life from its beginning to its ending; to peep into the savage baby's cradle in whatever part of the world it is to be found, to take an interest in his boyhood, and to mark his behaviour at that interesting period; to look over his shoulder while he is at his lessons; to watch him at his games, and make inventory of his toys. As he grows to be "a proper tall young man," it is my intention to accompany him on his sweethearting excursions, to listen to his love songs and to the soft things he whispers into La Belle Sauvage's be-ringed or be-skewered ear. In whatever way the question is popped, the reader may depend on being informed of it.... 

Those unfamiliar with the history may be surprised to discover that the English for a long time (til today?) described and depicted the Irish in much the same ways in which they described and depicted Black Africans and West Indians: as strong, stupid, ruled by passions, and resembling chimpanzees. Some of you may know of Charles Kingsley as a children's book author (The Water Babies, eg), but he also professed history at Cambridge and, in 1860, wrote to his wife from Ireland:  "I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black, one would not see it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours." Check out the many illustrations in Nothing but the Same Old Story: The Roots of Anti-Irish Racism (1984; London: Information on Ireland) if you think this is unique.  The text is by Liz Curtis, but her name doesn't appear on the cover. These excerpts are from pages 53-6 & 58.

   The notion that the Irish were inferior to [the British] provided [them] with a convenient excuse for applying different standards of justice in Ireland than they would at home. Since the Act of Union in 1800, the two countries had become one political unit, the United Kingdom. But while Ireland was subject to coercive laws and a repressive administration, Britain was not. The British justified the discrepancy by arguing that the Irish were uncivilised and un-English. The Times pronounced in 1846:
        The great obstacle to tranquillity in Ireland is the national character - the character of the masses,
    of the middle classes, of the senators of Ireland... When Ireland acts according to the principles of
    civilised man, then she can be ruled by the laws of civilised man.
That Britain's subjugation and exploitation of Ireland was far more 'uncivilised' than anything the Irish had done was of course not considered.
    Some months later the Times expanded on the theme:
        To Englishmen a vigour beyond the Consititution is an odious thing. The powers granted by the
    Constitution they have always found adequate to meet emergency and danger. And it seems unkind and
    unjust to recommend for Irishmen a policy that would be [rejected] for ourselves. But we must be ruled
    by circumstances. If crimes are un-English - if English means for detecting and punishing them fail, why
    should not an un-English power be exercised in districts where violence and murder stalk unavenged
    and unchecked?'
Such attitudes remain all too evident in Britain's handling of the situation in the North of Ireland today.
    By the mid-nineteenth century, Britain controlled large parts of the world directly - Ireland. the British West Indies, Canada, Australia, South Africa, India - and exercised indirect control over even vaster areas. Then one country after another was annexed, till by the end of the century the British empire was estimated to comprise a quarter of the world's land area and a fifth of its population.
    The empire was acquired through violence, bribery and the 'divide-and-rule' strategy, but the Victorians attributed their success to 'Anglo-Saxon superiority'. This old idea was now increasingly seen in terms of new pseudo-scientific theories of race.
    Discredited by later generations of scientists, nineteenth century theorists divided humanity into 'races' on the basis of external physical features. These 'races' were said to have inherited differences not only of physique, but also of character. These 'differences' allowed the 'races' to be placed in a hierarchy: needless to say the Teutons, who included the Anglo-Saxons, were placed at the top, black people -especially 'Hottentots' - at the bottom, and Celts and Jews somewhere in between.
    Anthropologists went around measuring people's skulls, and assigning them to different 'races' on the basis of factors such as how far their jaws protruded. Celts and others were said to have more 'primitive' features than Anglo-Saxons. The physician John Beddoe invented the 'index of nigrescence', a formula to identify the racial components of a given people. He concluded that the Irish were darker than the people of eastern and central England, and were closer to the aborigines of the British Isles, who in turn had traces of 'negro' ancestry in their appearances. The British upper classes also regarded their own working class as almost a race apart, and claimed that they had darker skin and hair than themselves.
    The Anglo-Saxon character that came in a package with the refined features was said to be industrious, thoughtful, clean, law-abiding and emotionally restrained, while the characters of the various colonised peoples were said to be the very opposite. The anatomist Robert Knox, in a book published in 1850, described the Celtic character as: 'Furious fanaticism; a love of war and disorder; a hatred for order and patient industry; no accumulative habits; restless, treacherous and uncertain: look at Ireland...' He drew the inevitable political conclusion: 'As a Saxon, I abhor all dynasties, monarchies and bayonet governments, but this latter seems to be the only one suitable for the Celtic man.' ...
    Like Carlyle, Froude was interested in the West Indies, and looked back longingly to the days of slavery. He considered the 'negroes', like the Irish, to be an inferior race, and wrote:
        Nature has made us unequal, and Acts of Parliament cannot make us equal. Some must lead and some
    must follow, and the question is only of degree and kind... Slavery is gone... but it will be an ill day for
    mankind if no one is to be compelled any more to obey those who are wiser than himself...
    Some writers pursued the notion of a biologically defined hierarchy of human races to its limit: the 'final solution'. Charles Dilke, who divided humanity into the 'dearer races', such as the Anglo-Saxons, and the 'cheaper races', such as the Irish and the Chinese, viewed the disappearance of the American Indians with equanimity: 'The gradual extinction of the interior races is not only a law of nature but a blessing to mankind.' An editorial in the Times in 1865 noted contentedly that 'Celts' were leaving Ireland and being replaced by 'Saxons': the rich and fertile country was 'being cleared quietly for the interests and luxury of humanity... A Catholic Celt will soon be as rare on the banks of the Shannon as a Red Indian on the shores of the Manhattan.'
    The historian Edward Freeman, who, as his obituary in the Manchester Guardian put it, 'gloried in the Germanic origin of the English nation', wrote during a visit to America in 1881:
    This would be a grand land if only every Irishman would kill a negro, and be hanged for it. I find this
    sentiment generally approved -sometimes with the qualification that they want Irish and negroes for
    servants, not being able to get any other.

In part because the nineteenth century racism of Britain was perfected in the debates over colonial slavery which raged from the 1780s on, it's not entirely surprising to find that Africans and African Americans were especially widely demeaned. Below, I give three excerpts. The first comment is from Paul B. Rich's 1986 Race and Empire in British Politics (Cambridge UP), pp. 18-9, and makes the obvious connection between Imperialist expansion and racism.

  ...Anthropometry in Britain was fostered at a time when it was seen internationally as legitimating claims of national identity, such as in Germany after the victory against France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and in Italy after its unification under Cavour. The measurement of human types reinforced visible phenotypical differences that could be made patent through photographic illustrations, and by the late 1890s a spate of popular works began to appear, with lavish detail, to illustrate the nature and diversity of human races and the implicit superiority of the white Anglo-Saxon races and civilisation. The Living Races of Mankind, jointly edited by H. N. Hutchinson, J. W. Gregory and R. Hydeken, for example, appeared in 1900 in 18 fortnightly parts with some 600 illustrations described as being 'from life'. The necessity for understanding such racial diversity arose, the authors argued, from the growing commercial challenges to British imperial influence:
        We have begun to realise that the most promising fields of enterprise for our ever-increasing
        community, the most profitable markets for our wares, may some day be found in places which are
        now the darkest corners of the earth, and that the half-clothed savage, just emerging from the brute
        condition, is a human being capable of being educated, in the near future, into a customer for British
        trade and a contributor to the world's wealth.
    As anthropometric investigation became linked to empire, it tended to buttress an existing commonsense racism which reinforced 'the English gentleman's sense of his racial superiority' and of his being part of  'an enlightened intelligentsia in a largely barbarian England'. The imperial theme stressed especially the cultural backwardness of the black race compared to their strong physical ability. The 'muscular development' of black races, the authors of The Living Races of Mankind pointed out, was 'good' and when it came to the question of work which 'depends only on muscle they excell the average European; but in anything requiring judgment they are easily beaten. The nervous system is not very sensitive, and the appreciation of pain is dull. Operations can be conducted without anaesthetic.' This racial image reinforced the well-entrenched Carlylean stereotype of the markedly dull, but physically fit black man who needed to be coerced into work.... 

Thomas Carlyle keeps getting mentioned, and for good reason. He was one of the leading historians and essayists of his day, a combative and controversial man who published his famous "Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question" in Fraser's Magazine (a leading monthly) in December 1849. Four years later, it was republished separately as a pamphlet. (Today, it can be found, eg, in Philip D. Curtin's Imperialism.) This bombastic and offensive piece of work contained his comments on the current colonial policy of Britain in the West Indies. Just a decade before, in 1838, slavery had been abolished in the Empire (including Canada) and, especially on the larger islands, the sugar industry went into decline. Shockingly, the ex-slaves preferred to do something other than work in the cane, even for wages, if they could avoid it. The Imperial response to the "labour shortage" (really, a demand for decent wages) was to propose the importation of indentured servants from Africa, India, and China, in order to swell the labour pool and keep wages down.

    West-Indian affairs, as we all know, and as some of us know to our cost, are in a rather troublous condition this good while. In regard to West-Indian affairs, however, Lord John Russell is able to comfort us with one fact, indisputable where so many are dubious, That the Negroes are all very happy and doing well. A fact very comfortable indeed. West-Indian Whites, it is admitted, are far enough from happy; West-Indian Colonies not unlike sinking wholly into ruin: at home too, the British Whites are rather badly off; several millions of them hanging on the verge of continual famine; and in single towns, many thousands of them very sore put to it, at this time, not to live "well" or as a man should, in any sense temporal or spiritual, but to live at all: -these, again, are uncomfortable facts; and they are extremely extensive and important ones. But, thank Heaven, our interesting Black population, -equalling almost in number of heads one of the Ridings of Yorkshire, and in worth (in quantity of intellect, faculty, docility, energy, and available human valour and value) perhaps one of the streets of Seven Dials, -are all doing remarkably well. "Sweet blighted lilies,"-as the American epitaph on the Nigger child has it, -sweet blighted lilies, they are holding-up their heads again! How pleasant, in the universal bankruptcy abroad, and dim dreary stagnancy at home, as if for England too there remained nothing but to suppress Chartist riots, banish united Irishmen, vote the supplies, and wait with arms crossed till black Anarchy and Social Death devoured us also, as it has done the others; how pleasant to have always this fact to fall-back upon: Our beautiful Black darlings are at last happy; with little labour except to the teeth, which surely, in those excellent horse-jaws of theirs, will not fail!
    ... far over the sea, we have a few black persons rendered extremely "free" indeed. Sitting yonder with their beautiful muzzles up to the ears in pumpkins, imbibing sweet pulps and juices; the grinder and incisor teeth ready for ever new work, and the pumpkins cheap as grass in those rich climates: while the sugar-crops rot round them uncut, because labour cannot be hired, so cheap are the pumpkins; -and at home we are but required to rasp from the breakfast-loaves of our own English labourers some slight "differential sugar-duties," and lend a poor half-million or a few poor millions now and then, to keep that beautiful state of matters going on. A state of matters lovely to contemplate, in these emancipated epochs of the human mind....
    The West Indies, it appears, are short of labour; as indeed is very conceivable in those circumstances. Where a Black man, by working about half-an-hour a-day (such is the calculation), can supply himself, by aid of sun and soil, with as much pumpkin as will suffice, he is likely to be a little stiff to raise into hard work! Supply and demand, which, science says, should be brought to bear on him, have an uphill task of it with such a man. Strong sun supplies itself gratis, rich soil in those unpeopled or half-peopled regions almost gratis; these are his "supply"; and half-an-hour a-day, directed upon these, will produce pumpkin, which is his "demand." The fortunate Black man, very swiftly does he settle his account with supply and demand: -not so swiftly the less fortunate White man of those tropical localities. A bad case, his, just now. He himself cannot work; and his black neighbour, rich in pumpkin, is in no haste to help him. Sunk to the ears in pumpkin, imbibing saccharine juices, and much at his ease in the Creation, he can listen to the less fortunate white man's "demand," and take his own time in supplying it. Higher wages, massa; higher, for your cane-crop cannot wait; still higher, -till no conceivable opulence of cane-crop will cover such wages. In Demerara, as I read in the Blue book of last year, the cane-crop, far and wide, stands rotting....
    ...[he foresees that the importation of new populations from elsewhere in the Empire will eventually lead to over-population in the islands, so that "pumpkins" will become as scarce in the West Indies as potatoes in Ireland] To have "emancipated" the West Indies into a Black Ireland; "free" indeed, but an Ireland, and Black! The world may yet see prodigies; and reality be stranger than a nightmare dream....
    ...And first, with regard to the West Indies, it may be laid-down as a principle... That no Black man who will not work according to what ability the gods have given him for working, has the smallest right to eat pumpkin, or to any fraction of land that will grow pumpkin, however plentiful such land may be; but has an indisputable and perpetual right to be compelled, by the real proprietors of said land, to do competent work for his living. This is the everlasting duty of all men, black or white, who are born in this world.... If it be his own indolence that prevents and prohibits him [from work], then his own indolence is the enemy he must be delivered from: and the first "right" he has, -poor indolent blockhead, black or white,- is, That... whatsoever wiser, more industrious person may be passing that way, shall endeavour to "emancipate" him from his indolence, and by some wise means, as I said, compel him, since inducing will not serve, to do the work he is fit for. Induce him, if you can: yes, sure enough, by all means try what inducement will do; and indeed every coachman and carman knows that secret, without our preaching, and applies it to his very horses as the true method: -but if your Nigger will not be induced? In that case he must be compelled; should and must; and the tacit prayer he makes (unconsciously he, poor blockhead), to you, and to me, and to all the world who are wiser than himself, is, "Compel me!" [this goes on for page after page after page] 

The prolific and famous novelist Anthony Trollope, many of whose novels are still read today, also published non-fiction, including a popular travel book called The West Indies and the Spanish Main (1860), from which these passages are taken (pp. 58-9, 64-5, & 77 of the New York edition). He was an acute and acerbic observer, and a thorough-going racist who parroted the biologized cliches of the "cultivated". In the same era, the prominent Oxford historian James Anthony Froude published his account of West Indian travels. It's the same old story. This is from Trollope.

    ...The West Indian negro... has made no approach to the civilization of his white fellow creatures, whom he imitates as a monkey does a man.
    Physically he is capable of the hardest bodily work, and that probably with less bodily pain than men of any other race but he is idle, unambitious as to worldly position, sensual, and content with little. Intellectually, he is apparently capable of but little sustained effort; but, singularly enough, here he is ambitious. He burns to be regarded as a scholar, puzzles himself with fine words, addicts himself to religion for the sake of appearance, and delights in aping the little graces of civilization. He despises himself thoroughly, and would probably be content to starve for a month if he could appear as a white man for a day; but yet he delights in signs of respect paid to him, black man as he is, and is always thinking of his own dignity. If you want to win his heart for an hour, call him a gentleman; but if you want to reduce him to a despairing obedience, tell him that he is a filthy nigger, assure him that his father and mother had tails like monkeys, and forbid him to think that he can have a soul like a white man. Among the West Indies one may frequently see either course adopted towards them by their unreasoning ascendant masters.
    I do not think that education has as yet done much for the black man in the Western world. He can always observe, and often read; but he can seldom reason. I do not mean to assert that he is absolutely without mental power, as the calf is. He does draw conclusions, but carries them only a short way. I think that he seldom understands the purpose of industry, the object of truth, or the results of honesty. He is not always idle, perhaps not always false, and certainly not always a thief; but his motives are the fear of immediate punishment, or hopes of immediate reward. He fears that and hopes that only. Certain virtues he copies, because they are the virtues of a white man. The white man is the god present to his eye, and he believes in him -believes in him with a qualified faith, and imitates him with a qualified constancy.
    And thus I am led to say, and I say it with sorrow enough, that I distrust the negro's religion. What I can say is this: that in my opinion they rarely take in and digest the great and simple doctrines of Christianity, that they should love and fear the Lord their God, and love their neighbors as themselves.
    Those who differ from me -and the number will comprise the whole clergy of these western realms, and very many beside the clergy- will ask, among other questions, whether simple doctrines are obeyed in England much better than they are in Jamiaca. I would reply that I am not speaking of obedience. The opinion which I venture to give is, that the very first meaning of the terms does not often reach the negro's mind, not even the minds of those among them who are enthusiastically religious....
    ...It is hard for man to work without hope of seeing that for which he labors.
    But to return to our sable friends. The first desire of a man in a state of civilization is for property. Greed and covetousness are no doubt vices; but they are the vices which have grown from cognate virtues. Without a desire for property, man could make no progress. But the negro has no such desire; no desire strong enough to induce him to labor for that which he wants. In order that he may eat to-day and be clothed to-morrow, he will work a little; as for anything beyond that, he is content to lie in the sun.
    Emancipation and the last change in the sugar duties have made land only too plentiful in Jamaica, and enormous tracts have been thrown out of cultivation as unprofitable. And it is also only too fertile. The negro, consequently, has had unbounded facility of squatting, and has availed himself of it freely. To recede from civilization and become again savage -as savage as the laws of the comrnunity can permit- has been to his taste. I believe that he would altogether retrograde if left to himself.
    I shall now be asked, having said so much, whether I think that emancipation was wrong. By no means. I think that emancipation was clearly right; but I think we expected far too great and far too quick a result from emancipation.
    These people are a servile race, fitted by nature for hardest physical work, and apparently at present fitted for little else. Some thirty years since they were in a state when such work was their lot; but their tasks were exacted from them in a condition of bondage abhorrent to the feelings of the age, and opposed to the religion which we practised. For us, thinking as we did, slavery was a sin. From that sin we have cleansed ourselves....
    No Englishman, no Anglo-Saxon, could be what he now is but for that portion of wild and savage energy which has come to him from his Vandal forefathers. May it not then be fair to suppose that a time shall come when a race will inhabit those lovely islands, fitted by nature for their burning sun, in whose blood shall be mixed some portion of northern energy, and which shall owe its physical powers to African progenitors, -a race that shall be no more ashamed of the name of negro than we are of the name Saxon?
    But, in the meantime, what are we to do with our friend, lying as he now is at his ease under the cotton-tree, and declining to work after ten o'clock in the morning?...
   ...It is almost unnecessary to explain that by colored men I mean those who are of a mixed race -of a breed mixed, be it in what proportion it may, between the white European and the black African....
    My theory -for I acknowledge to a theory- is this: that Providence has sent white men and black men to these regions in order that from them may spring a race fitted by intellect for civilization; and fitted also by physical organization for tropical labor. The negro in his primitive state is not, I think, fitted for the former; and the European white Creole is certainly not fitted for the latter....
    It is probable also that the future race who shall inhabit these islands may have other elements than the two already named. There will soon be here -in the teeth of our friends of the Anti-Slavery Society- thousands from China and Hindostan. The Chinese and the Coolies -immigrants from India are always called Coolies- greatly excel the negro in intelligence, and partake, though in a limited degree, of the negro's physical abilities in a hot climate. And thus the blood of Asia will be mixed with that of Africa; and the necessary compound will, by God's infinite wisdom and power, be formed for these latitudes, as it has been formed for the colder regions in which the Anglo-Saxon preserves his energy, and works. 

In the closing years of the nineteenth century, the US went imperialist with such flourishes as the Spanish-American War of 1898 (for which they got Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Phillipines, and, sort of, Cuba); the Panama Canal (for which they had to grab "Panama" from Columbia); and the domination of "banana republics" in Central America. All this after "Manifest Destiny's" destruction of the Native peoples of the West. The ideology often presented to justify such adventures (as well as the activities of the robber barons in oil, railroads, etc) used the vocabulary of Darwinian "struggle for survival" to justify the domination of one class, nation, gender, or individual over others. Though the most prominent writer associated with "social Darwinism" was the Englishman Herbert Spencer, the US was the place where its rhetoric lasted longest and was most public. Unless otherwise specified, the selections below are from a standard source on the subject, Richard Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in America (1944). As you'll see, the US also clasped "Anglo-Saxonism" to its breast.  Don't blame Darwin for all this, but remember that his depiction of Nature as a realm of free competition was in the first place a re-articulation of Liberal views on "the economy." Once Darwinian biology had become accepted, its rhetoric of competitive Nature could be re-appropriated in social debates, along with its aura of "science," the natural, and the inevitable. Many of these views are very much alive and well today, though the language has changed.

 Entrepreneurs after the Civil War  (Hofstadter)

      With its rapid expansion, its exploitative methods, its desperate competition, and its peremptory rejection of failure, post-[Civil War] America was like a vast human caricature of the Darwinian struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. Successful business entrepreneurs apparently accepted almost by instinct the Darwinian terminology which seemed to portray the conditions of their existence....
      ...James J. Hill, another railroad magnate, in an essay defending business consolidation, argued that “the fortunes of railroad companies are determined by the law of the survival of the fittest,” and implied that the absorption of smaller by larger roads represents the industrial analogy to the victory of the strong. And John D. Rockefeller, speaking from an intimate acquaintance with the methods of competition, declared in a Sunday-school address:
         The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest. The American Beauty rose can be
         produced in the splendor and fragrance which bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early
         buds which grow up around it. This is not an evil tendency in business. It is merely the working-out of
         a law of nature and a law of God.
    The most prominent of the disciples of Spencer was Andrew Carnegie, who sought out the philosopher, became his intimate friend, and showered him with favors. In his autobiography, Carnegie told how troubled and perplexed he had been over the collapse of Christian theology, until he took the trouble to read Darwin and Spencer.
        I remember that light came as in a flood and all was clear. Not only had I got rid of  theology and the
        supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution. “All is well since all grows better,” became my
        motto, my true source of comfort. Man was not created with an instinct for his own degradation, but
        from the lower he had risen to the higher forms. Nor is there any conceivable end to his march to
        perfection. His face is turned to the light; he stands in the sun and looks upward.
Perhaps it was comforting, too, to discover that social laws were founded in the immutable principles of the natural order. In an article in the North American Review, which he ranked among the best of his writings, Carnegie emphasized the biological foundations of the law of competition. However much we may object to the seeming harshness of this law, he wrote, “It is here; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for it have been found; and while the law may sometimes be hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department.”....
    The reception accorded to Spencer’s social ideas cannot be dissociated from that accorded to the main body of his thought; however some part of his success probably came because he was telling the guardians of American society what they wanted to hear. 

 Competition versus Socialism Yale professor William Graham Sumner, 1879, comments by Hofstadter.

    ...Sumner was perhaps inspired to minimize the human conflicts in the struggle for existence by a desire to dull the resentment of the poor toward the rich. He did not at all times, however, shrink from a direct analogy between animal struggle and human competition. In the Spencerian intellectual atmosphere of the 1870's and 1880's it was natural for conservatives to see the economic contest in competitive society as a reflection of the struggle in the animal world. It was easy to argue by analogy from natural selection of fitter organisms to social selection of fitter men, from organic forms with superior adaptability to citizens with a greater store of economic virtue. The competitive order was now supplied with academic rationale. Competition was glorious. Just as survival was the result of strength, success was the reward of virtue.  Sumner had no patience with those who would lavish compensations upon the virtueless. Many economists, he declared (in a lecture given in 1879 on the effect of hard times on economic thinking),
      ...seem to be terrified that distress and misery still remain on earth and promise to remain as long as the
    vices of human nature remain. Many of then are frightened at liberty, especially under the form of
    competition, which they elevate into a bugbear. They think it bears harshly on the weak. They do not
    perceive that here “the strong” and “the weak” are terms which admit of no definition unless they
    are made equivalent to the industrious and the idle, the frugal and the extravagant. They do not perceive,
    furthermore, that if we do not like the survival of the fittest, we have only one possible alternative, and
    that is the survival of the unfittest. The former is the law of civilization; the latter is the law of
    anti-civilization. We have our choice between the two, or we can go on, as in the past, vacillating
    between the two, but a third plan -the socialist desideratum- a plan for nourishing the unfittest and yet
    advancing in civilization, no man will ever find.
    The progress of civilization, according to Sumner, depends upon the selection process and that in turn depends upon the workings of unrestricted competition. Competition is a law of nature which “can no more be done away with than gravitation,” and which men can ignore only to their sorrow. 

 Anglo-Saxon expansion  Rev.Josiah Strong's 1885 best-seller  Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis.

     (The Anglo-saxon Race)  is multiplying more rapidly than any other European race. It already owns one-third of the earth, and will get more as it grows. By 1980 the world Anglo-Saxon race should number at least 713,000,000. Since North America is much bigger than the little English isle, it will be the seat of Anglo-Saxondom.
    If human progress follows a law of development, if “Time's noblest offspring is the last,” our civilization should be the noblest; for we are “The heirs of all the ages in the foremost files of time,” and not only do we occupy the latitude of power, but our land is the last to be occupied in that latitude. There is no other virgin soil in the North Temperate Zone. If the consummation of human progress is not to be looked for here, if there is yet to flower a higher civilization, where is the soil that is to produce it?
    Then will the world enter upon a new stage of its history -- the final competition of races for which the Anglo-Saxon is being schooled.  If I do not read amiss, this powerful race will move down upon Mexico, down upon Central and South America, out upon the islands of  the sea, over upon Africa and beyond. And can anyone doubt that the result of this competition of races will be the “survival of the fittest?” 

Teutons Senator Beveridge speaking in the US Senate, 1899.

    God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-admiration. No! He has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns ... He has made us adepts in government that we may administer government among savages and senile peoples. 

Imperial Vigor Theodore Roosevelt (soon to be US President)  Speech. Intro from Hofstadter.

...In the most memorable of his imperialist exhortations, “The Strenuous Life” (1899), Theodore Roosevelt warned of the possibility of national elimination in the international struggle for existence:
        We cannot avoid the responsibilities that confront us in Hawaii, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines.
    All we can decide is whether we shall meet them in a way that will redound to the national credit, or whether
    we shall make of our dealings with these new problems a dark and shameful page in our history ...  The timid
    man, the lazy man, the man who distrusts his country, the over-civilized man, who has lost the great fighting,
    masterful virtues, the ignorant man, and the man of dull mind, whose soul is incapable of feeling the mighty
    lift that thrills “stern men with empires in their brains” -- all these, of course, shrink from seeing the nation
    undertake its new duties...
           I preach to you, then, my countrymen. that our country calls not for for the life of ease but for the life
    of strenuous endeavor. The twentieth century looms before us big with the fate of many nations. If we stand
    idly by,  if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where
    men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples
     will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world.

Commercial self-preservation

    Charles A. Conant, a prominent journalist and economist troubled about the necessity of finding an outlet for surplus capital, “if the entire fabric of the present economic order is not to be shaken by a social revolution,” argued that
      ... the law of self-preservation, as well as that of the survival of the fittest, is urging our
     people on in a path which is undoubtedly a departure from the policy of the past, but which
     is inevitably marked out by the new conditions and requirements of the present.
Conant warned against the possibility of decadence if the country did not seize upon its opportunities at once. Another writer denied that a policy of colonial expansion was anything novel in American history. We had colonized the West. The question was not whether we should now enter upon a colonial career but whether we should shift our colonizing heritage into new channels. “We must not forget that the Anglo-Saxon race is expansive.” 

Simple Racism From Stanley Coben 1991 Rebellion against Victorianism: The Impetus for Cultural Change in 1920's America (Oxford UP), pp. 39-40.

    ...Aided and encouraged by scientific evidence such as that supplied by Agassiz, the Social Darwinists, and the eugenicists, American social scientists produced a vast literature justifying the racial and ethnic--and therefore much of the social and economic--status quo. Historians’ research led those who studied the topic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to conclude that slavery had been a rather benevolent institution which contributed to the civilizing of the unfortunate black race. Attempts to give blacks a semblence of equality after the Civil War had been ill-advised and therefore pathetic or tragic failures in practice, according to these historians.
    ...John W. Burgess, founder of Columbia University’s School of Political Science, which included all areas of learning that later would be classified as social science, published a history of Reconstruction in 1902. He called Negro suffrage a “monstrous thing” based on the illusion that skin color bore no relation to intelligence or ethics. “A black skin,” Burgess asserted, “means membership in a race of men which has never of itself succeeded to reason, has never, therefore, created any civilization of any kind.”
    Edward A. Freeman, professor of history at Oxford University, whose ideas about Teutonic origins of Anglo-Saxon democratic institutions gave him considerable influence among historians in the United States, compared Russian regulations that restricted the activities of Jews with California laws aimed at Asians. “There is no religious persecution in either case,” he wrote in 1882, “only the natural instinct of any decent nation to get rid of filthy strangers.”...
    The nation’s most influential anthropologists in the late nineteenth century, including the illustrious John Wesley Powell, director of the federal government’s Bureau of American Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution, subscribed in their published work to the concept of Aryan, if not specifically to Anglo-Saxon, superiority. The physical anthropologist Robert Bennett Bean diligently measured the brains of 152 blacks and whites, paying particular attention to the size of frontal lobes, believed to be the site of higher intellectual activity. Bean found the brain size, and more significantly the frontal lobe size, of white subjects consistently larger than that of blacks.
    As a result of such evidence, even most of the humanitarian reformers among late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century social scientists in the United States agreed that white, Protestant Americans, an obviously superior race, deserved to rank highest in status. Sociologist Lester Frank Ward, an advocate of state intervention to promote democratic purposes, was genuinely sympathetic with the plight of blacks in the South. Nevertheless, Ward asserted that black women who submitted to rape by white men in the South were motivated subconsciously by a desire to improve their race. Black male rapists and members of the white lynch mobs that murdered them were “ the biological law of self-preservation.”
    Sociologist Edward A. Ross, who believed that the chief purpose of sociology should be the improvement of human relations, while addressing the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 1901, warned that a further influx of Asian immigrants might lead to the extinction of "true Americans." Sociologist Charles Horton Cooley, another opponent of laissez-faire economic individualism and of eugenics, wrote that with great effort and patience Americans might assimilate Slavs, Italians, and Jews -eventually- but never Negroes or Asians. Even economist John Commons held conventional racist views. 

 Missionaries for Mammon  Rev. Frederick T. Gates, advisor on philanthropy to oil baron John D. Rockefeller, Sr. 1905. With comments by P. Collier & D. Horowitz from their The Rockefellers, 1976.
 ...The divine inspiration of the missionary movement went hand in hand with its commercial shrewedness:
        The fact is that heathen nations are being everywhere honeycombed with light and with
     civilization (Gates concluded), with modern industrial life and applications of modern
     science, through the direct or indirect agencies of the missionaries. Quite apart from the
     question of persons converted, the mere commercial results of missionary effort to our own
     land is worth,  I had almost said, a thousand-fold every year of what is spent on missions.
     For illustration: Our commerce today with the Hawaiian Islands ... is, I am told,
     $17,000,000 per year. Five per cent of that in one year would represent all the money that
     ever was spent in christianizing and civilizing the natives ... Missionaries and missionary
     schools are introducing the application of modern science, steam and electric power,
     modern agricultural machinery and modern manufacture into foreign lands. The result will
     be eventually to multiply the productive power of foreign countries many times. This will
     enrich them as buyers of American products and enrich us as importers of their products.
     We are only in the very dawn of commerce, and we owe that dawn, with all its promise, to
     the channels opened up by Christian missionaries.
This vision had been laid out for Junior and the other trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation at its very first meeting.  The sense of world mission and the metaphors of conquest and salvation that accompanied them were more than a literary flourish.  Gates was an avatar of an age of imperial optimism for the “English-speaking races”; the duty to spread light to the dark continents was a common theme of those like him who sought to promote America’s Christian and industrial stewardship of the world. 

 V.  Exoticized class
One further quick exemplary quote. It's from Carol Ann Parssinen's "Social Explorers and Social Scientists: The Dark Continent of Victorian Ethnography", in Crack in the Rear-View Mirror (Jay Ruby, ed., 1982). As always, I've omitted her citations, but she acknowledges a major debt to Peter Keating's 1976 Into Unknown England, 1866-1913. The point is that social reformers who set out to interview and observe the lower-class of England generally presented their venture as an excursion into the foreign.

        "I commence with the first of these chapters, a book of travel.... I propose to record the
        result of a journey into the region which lies at our own doors -into a dark continent that
        is within easy walking distance of the General Post Office."
    So George Sims introduced his account of London slum life, How the Poor Live, in 1889. Sims cast himself as an explorer who had journeyed into the unknown and returned to tell his story. But the unknown was not a remote land or an exotic race: rather it was the condition of life among London's urban poor, "a large body of persons of whom the public had less knowledge than of the most distant tribes of the earth" (Mayhew 1861 London Labour and the London Poor).
    From 1850-1910 England produced a body of ethnographic literature written by men best characterized as "social explorers." By profession these men were journalists, like Sims or Henry Mayhew; reformers, like William Booth; or conscious social investigators, like Charles Booth.; but they shared Sims's determination to make public an alien culture set, paradoxically, right in their midst; and they charted an essential methodology in seeking first-hand knowledge of the poor and, in some cases, living among their subjects for short periods of time.
    ...In the journey pattern both explorer and reader can find a fit representation for their respective roles and their relationship to each other: the explorer's actual movement in time and space; his corresponding development from ignorance to knowledge, and the reader's vicarious experience of the explorer's physical and educational journeys. The logic of chronology becomes the logic of causality in a voyage of discovery: The ways in which one sees become the products of what one has seen already.
    This same double journey -in time and understanding- is the basic metaphor for professional ethnographic research....
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