_THE PASSING OF THE GREAT RACE: OR, THE RACIAL BASIS OF EUROPEAN
HISTORY_ is a 1916 book of scientific racism by American eugenicist ,
lawyer, and amateur anthropologist
Grant's proposal to create a strong eugenics program for the Nordic population to survive was repudiated by Americans in the 1930s and Europeans after 1945. It is considered one of the main works in the 20th century tradition of scientific racism and has been described as "The Manifesto of Scientific Racism".
* 1 Contents
* 1.1 First section * 1.2 Second section
* 2 Nordic theory
* 2.1 Grant\'s view of Nordic theory
* 3 Reception and influence * 4 References * 5 Further reading * 6 External links
The book is organized into two sections:
The first section deals with the basis of race as well as Grant's own stances on political issues of the day (eugenics ). These center around the growing numbers of immigrants from non-Nordic Europe. Grant claims that the members of contemporary American Protestant society who could trace their ancestry back to Colonial times were being out-bred by immigrant and "inferior" racial stocks. Grant reasons that America has always been a Nordic country, consisting of Nordic immigrants from England, Scotland, and the Netherlands in Colonial times and of Nordic immigrants from Ireland and Germany in later times. Grant feels that certain parts of Europe were underdeveloped and a source of racial stocks unqualified for the Nordic political structure of the U.S. Grant is also interested in the impact of the expansion of America's Black population into the urban areas of the North.
Grant reasons that the new immigrants were of different races and were creating separate societies within America including ethnic lobby groups, criminal syndicates, and political machines which were undermining the socio-political structure of the country and in turn the traditional Anglo-Saxon colonial stocks, as well as all Nordic stocks. His analysis of population studies, economic utility factors, labor supply, etc. purports to show that the consequence of this subversion was evident in the decreasing quality of life, lower birth rates , and corruption of the contemporary American society. He reasons that the Nordic races would become extinct and America as it was known would cease to exist, being replaced by a fragmented country, or a corrupted caricature of itself.
The second part of the book deals with the history of the three European races: Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean, as well as their physical and mental characteristics. This part of the book ties together strands of thinking regarding Aryan migration theory, ethnology, anthropology, and history into a broad survey of the historical rise and fall, and expansion and retraction, of the European races from their homelands. It similarly connects the history of America with that of Europe, especially its Nordic nations.
Main article: Nordic theory _ "Maximum Expansion of Alpines" — Map from The Passing of the Great Race_ showing the "essentially peasant" (p. 228) Alpine migrations into Europe. "Expansion of the Pre-Teutonic Nordics" — Early Nordic influence spreading over the continent.
Grant's book is an elaborate work of racial hygiene detailing the racial history of the world. He draws on the scientific theories of genetics and Darwinian evolution , as well as the writings of previous eugenicists and racialist authors, to create a clearly written synthesis aimed at the general reader.
In summary the book elaborates Grant's interpretation of contemporary anthropology and history, which he sees as revolving chiefly around the idea of race rather than environment. He specifically promotes the idea of the Nordic race as a key social group responsible for human development; thus the subtitle of the book is _The Racial Basis of European History_. Grant also supports eugenics , advocating the sterilization of "undesirables", a treatment possibly to be extended to "types which may be called weaklings" and "perhaps ultimately to worthless race types":
A rigid system of selection through the elimination of those who are weak or unfit—in other words social failures—would solve the whole question in one hundred years, as well as enable us to get rid of the undesirables who crowd our jails, hospitals, and insane asylums. The individual himself can be nourished, educated and protected by the community during his lifetime, but the state through sterilization must see to it that his line stops with him, or else future generations will be cursed with an ever increasing load of misguided sentimentalism. This is a practical, merciful, and inevitable solution of the whole problem, and can be applied to an ever widening circle of social discards, beginning always with the criminal, the diseased, and the insane, and extending gradually to types which may be called weaklings rather than defectives, and perhaps ultimately to worthless race types. "Expansion of the Teutonic Nordics and Slavic Alpines"—Further Nordic expansion, as well as the Alpines.
Other messages in his work include recommendations to install civil organizations through the public health system to establish quasi-dictatorships in their particular fields with the administrative powers to segregate unfavorable races in ghettos. He also mentions that the expansion of non- Nordic race types in the Nordic system of freedom would actually mean a slavery to desires, passions, and base behaviors. In turn, this corruption of society would lead to the subjection of the Nordic community to "inferior" races who would in turn long to be dominated and instructed by "superior" ones utilizing authoritarian powers. The result would be the submergence of the indigenous Nordic races under a corrupt and enfeebled system dominated by inferior races.
GRANT\'S VIEW OF NORDIC THEORY
Nordic theory , in Grant's formulation, was largely copied from the
Arthur de Gobineau
In Grant's view, Nordics probably evolved in a climate which "must have been such as to impose a rigid elimination of defectives through the agency of hard winters and the necessity of industry and foresight in providing the year's food, clothing, and shelter during the short summer. Such demands on energy, if long continued, would produce a strong, virile, and self-contained race which would inevitably overwhelm in battle nations whose weaker elements had not been purged by the conditions of an equally severe environment" (p. 170). The "Proto-Nordic" human, Grant reasoned, probably evolved in "forests and plains of eastern Germany, Poland and Russia" (p. 170).
The Nordic, in his hypothesis, was "_Homo europaeus_, the white man _par excellence._ It is everywhere characterized by certain unique specializations, namely, wavy brown or blond hair and blue, gray or light brown eyes, fair skin, high, narrow and straight nose, which are associated with great stature, and a long skull, as well as with abundant head and body hair." Grant categorized the Alpines as being the lowest of the three European races, with the Nordics as the pinnacle of civilization.
The Nordics are, all over the world, a race of soldiers, sailors, adventurers, and explorers, but above all, of rulers, organizers, and aristocrats in sharp contrast to the essentially peasant character of the Alpines. Chivalry and knighthood, and their still surviving but greatly impaired counterparts, are peculiarly Nordic traits, and feudalism, class distinctions, and race pride among Europeans are traceable for the most part to the north.
Grant, while aware of the "Nordic Migration Theory" into the Mediterranean, appears to reject this theory as an explanation for the high civilization features of the Greco-Roman world .
The mental characteristics of the
Yet, while Grant allowed Mediterraneans to have abilities in art, as quoted above, later in the text in a sop to Nordic Migration Theorists, he remarked that true Mediterranean achievements were only through admixture with Nordics:
This is the race that gave the world the great civilizations of
Egypt, of Crete, of Phoenicia including Carthage, of Etruria and of
Mycenean Greece. It gave us, when mixed and invigorated with Nordic
elements, the most splendid of all civilizations, that of ancient
Hellas, and the most enduring of political organizations, the Roman
State. To what extent the
In this manner, Grant appeared to be studiously following scientific theory. Critics warned that Grant used uncritical circular reasoning. His desirable characteristics of a people — "family life, loyalty, and truth" — were claimed to be exclusive products of the "Nordic race". Thus, whenever such traits were found in a non-Nordic culture, Grant said that they were evidence of a Nordic influence or admixture, rather than casting doubt on their supposed exclusive Nordic origin.
RECEPTION AND INFLUENCE
By 1937, the book is said to have sold 17,000 copies in the U.S. The
book received positive reviews in the 1920s, but Grant's popularity
declined in the 1930s. Among those who embraced the book and its
Spiro (2009) explains its modest sales by five factors:
* The book appeared when the anti-German propaganda machine was shifting into high gear, with images of raping nuns and bombing cathedrals. * The message was anti-democratic and anti-Christian, which did not sit well with the patriotic public. * Hereditarianism ran counter to the belief in education, hard work, and "pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps." * Immigration during the First World War declined because ships were allocated to the war effort. * The work was categorised by the publisher as "science" and so never had a chance at mass popularity.
Grant researched the published scientific literature, especially in anthropology, to support his notions of Nordic racialism.
According to Grant, Nordics were in a dire state in the modern world, where their abandonment of cultural values rooted in religious or superstitious proto-racialism, they were close to committing "race suicide" by miscegenation and being outbred by inferior stock, which was taking advantage of the transition. Nordic theory was strongly embraced by the racial hygiene movement in Germany in the early 1920s and 1930s; however, they typically used the term " Aryan " instead of "Nordic", though the principal Nazi ideologist, Alfred Rosenberg , preferred "Aryo-Nordic" or "Nordic-Atlantean". Stephen Jay Gould described _The Passing of the Great Race_ as " …the most influential tract of American scientific racism … "
Grant was involved in many debates on the discipline of anthropology against the anthropologist Franz Boas , who advocated cultural anthropology in contrast to Grant's "hereditarian" branch of physical anthropology . Boas and his students were strongly opposed to racialist notions, holding that any perceived racial inequality was from social rather than biological factors.
Grant advocated restricted immigration to the United States through limiting immigration from East Asia and Southern Europe; he also advocated efforts to purify the American population though selective breeding. He served as the vice president of the Immigration Restriction League from 1922 to his death. Acting as an expert on world racial data, Grant also provided statistics for the Immigration Act of 1924 to set the quotas on immigrants from certain European countries. Even after the statute was passed, Grant continued to be irked that even a smattering of non-Nordics were allowed to immigrate to the country each year. He also assisted in the passing and prosecution of several anti-miscegenation laws , notably the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 in the state of Virginia