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 Grant’s Disciples The Passing of the Great Race appeared just before the United States entered the Great War, and hence the book was somewhat overlooked when first published. But the resumption of large-scale immigration after the armistice, the nation’s postwar disillusionment with democratic crusades, and the Red Scare’s legacy of intolerance created fertile ground for the racist and elitist message of Madison Grant’s book. While The Passing of the Great Race was never a best seller, its ideas began percolating throughout U.S. society soon after the war, and became part of the common intellectual currency of the 1920s. During the half decade between the end of the war in 1918 and the enactment of the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, which all but ended immigration to the United States, numerous references to Madison Grant and his book appeared in scholarly works by prominent scientists.Grant’sideasalsomaterializedinthespeeches of politicians and the sermons of ministers. His words showed up in the pages of ladies’ magazines and the pamphlets of the Ku Klux Klan. His theories were incorporated into paintings and into poems. His findings were cited by birth-control advocates on the left and white supremacists on the right. As with the Boone and Crockett Club, Grant was able to change history by convincing a small but wellconnected group of influential figures of the rectitude of his ideas. His book may have been read only by thousands , but the works of his disciples were read and seen by millions. And as a result, race consciousness among America’s Nordics was revived to the level of antebellum days. (Few people realized that the very term “Nordic,” which was universally accepted and employed by laymen and scientists alike, was a neologism introduced We used to think our fate was in the stars. Now we know, in large measure, our fate is in our genes. James Watson by Grant in 1916.) By 1922, paleontologist William K. Gregory was marveling that The Passing of the Great Race “simply by its own inherent force [had] stimulated anthropological investigation, aroused widespread interest in the subject of race, and given a powerful impetus to the eugenics movement in this country and abroad; [and] it has unquestionably influenced the Congress of the United States.” Charles Stewart Davison concurred that when it came to the public’s acceptance of scientific racism, Grant’s book had “marked the turning point.” Referring to him as if he were a religious prophet, the Eugenical News in 1927 noted with reverence: “The new way was opened up by the great conservationist , Madison Grant, in his Passing of the Great Race.”1 The Evangelists After The Passing of the Great Race was published, a host of the nation’s leading academics endorsed its findings. I have demonstrated elsewhere2 the direct influence that Madison Grant had on the work of important biologists (such as Samuel J. Holmes and E. G. Conklin), geneticists (e.g., William E. Castle and Edward M. East), zoologists (e.g., Vernon Kellogg and Horatio H. Newman), sociologists (e.g.,HenryPrattFairchildandEdwardA.Ross),psychologists(e.g.,Kimball Young and William McDougall), anthropologists (e.g., Clark Wissler and Albert E. Jenks), historians (e.g., Wallace Thompson and Hamilton J. Eckenrode), university presidents (e.g., George Barton Cutten and Jacob Gould Schurman), and geographers (e.g., Ellsworth Huntington). These were well-established scholars at institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale who incorporated Grant’s racist theories into their books, recommended The Passing of the Great Race to their students, and often explicitly endorsed Grant’s positions on immigration restriction, sterilization, and miscegenation. AsAmericanscholarsconvertedtoeugenics,theysoonbeganteachingcourses on the subject. Before The Passing of the Great Race was published, fewer than 9 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities offered courses on eugenics; by the late 1920s, eugenics was being taught at 75 percent of these institutions, including Harvard, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and the University of California.3 To service these courses, a number of eugenics textbooks were produced, of which the most popular was AppliedEugenics, written by two friends of Madison Grant: Paul Popenoe (editor of the Journal of Heredity) and Roswell H. Johnson (who had been a student of Charles Benedict Davenport’s at Harvard and was a professor of eugenics at the University of Pittsburgh). Their textbook, which was translated into German and Japanese, referred students to The Passing of the Great Race for an analysis of the racial makeup of the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781584658108
Related ISBN
9781584657156
MARC Record
OCLC
667076920
Pages
508
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-31
Language
English
Open Access
No
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