Conserving The Race: Natural Aristocracies, Eugenics, and the U.S. Conservation Movement

Antipode, July 1996

To be a good animal is the first requisite to success in life, and to be a Nation of good animals is the first condition of national prosperity. — Herbert Spencer [Quoted as epigraph for the Proceedings of the First National Conference on Race Betterment 1914.]

More than a pneumatic statue challenges the wilderness of Central Park's Rambles from the east flank of the American Museum of Natural History. Backed by props worthy of Augustus, Teddy Roosevelt advances with the ineluctability of a Sherman tank. Thirty tons of corroded bronze constitute a racial archetype — domination by the worthy of the genetically unfit. Completed during the heady rise of German National Socialism in 1936, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial raises the question whether similarities between a Western democracy and a totalitarian state ran deeper than the classical formalism which their official arts shared.1 Was the Nazi program of racial hygiene in fact the fruit of a tree whose taproot was sunk deep in the ideology of natural law common to both the German and American oligarchies?

Recent historical revision, emblemized at the popular level by the broadcast of America and the Holocaust2 on PBS' The American Experience, has raised the issue of U.S. complicity in the Nazi extermination project. German historian Stefan Kühl's The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, challenges the comforting belief, voiced by U.S. historian Mark Haller, that "between the mid-1920s and 1940 racism ceased to have a scientific respectability, and as a result American eugenics and racism faced a parting of the ways."3 Kühl instead documents a programmatic collusion decades in the making and — among some prominent scientists — active and ongoing well into the war.4 Kühl's book, when read in conjunction with Ronald Rainger's An Agenda for Antiquity, reveals that complicity took place at the very highest social, political, and academic levels; Rainger's suggests that intense racism extending well beyond anti-Semitism was intimately linked to the early conservation movement in America.

Kühl states that, with the exception of Robert Proctor's Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis (1988), the historiography of the American eugenics movement has failed to fully employ German sources. In this, he is mistaken, for Kühl adds important details but little of substance to what Proctor, Allan Chase, Daniel J. Kevles, and others have already written.5 Yet Kühl's work, appearing after the putative end of the Cold War, may get an audience denied to his predecessors. The Nazi Connection has the advantage of brevity and clarity, while the broadcast of America and the Holocaust and Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary's exposure of Mengele-like experiments conducted on American citizens suggests a greater popular tolerance for squalid historical detail. Kühl not only uses German sources to elucidate transnational coöperation before and during the war, but extrapolates to the current resurgence of racist attitudes temporarily forced underground by the death camp revelations in 1945.6

American eugenicists, for example, boasted of their influence on Nazi legislation, while their European colleagues studied and admired the many political initiatives taken to preserve and improve the U.S. racial stock, including anti-miscegenation laws, immigration restriction, and compulsory sterilization programs. Nazi racial anthropologist Hans F.K. Günther found it remarkable, he told a large Munich audience in 1934, that "American immigration laws were accepted by the overwhelming majority, although the United States appeared the most liberal country of the world."7 When the American media denounced Nazi measures, German journalists in turn attacked the U.S. for its hypocrisy, pointing out that, excepting South Africa, it was the only other nation with extensive race legislation, and that "lynching of ethnic minorities was a phenomenon not found in Germany."8 Eugene Gosney and Paul Popenoe's Sterilization for Human Betterment, published in 1929, was immediately translated into German and made California's ambitious sterilization program a model for those supporting compulsory sterilization elsewhere.9 By 1935, leaders of the German sterilization movement told a visiting American that "It would have been undertake such a venture involving some one million people without drawing heavily upon previous experience [in California],"10 while influential Americans in turn voiced admiration for the way the Nazis had, with characteristic German efficiency, systematized the heterogenous and arbitrary state laws of their own country. Some eugenecists hoped to go well beyond mere sterilization and immigrant restriction. Psychiatrist and Cornell professor Foster Kennedy, for example, after receiving an honorary degree from Heidelberg University, resigned from the Euthanasia Society of the United States, to protest its advocacy of merely "voluntary" euthansia for the mentally ill.11 Adolf Hitler personally expressed his appreciation to racial anthropologist Madison Grant for the latter's enormously influential The Passing of the Great Race (1916) which Hitler called "his Bible."12 Grant was delighted, and although his book had excellent sales in the U.S., his Superman ideology reached an even larger audience when recycled in Mein Kampf.

Kühl displays a good knowledge of American sources, but not of the social milieu from which American racism and eugenics spring. For that, Rainger provides an invaluable compendium in his close analysis of Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn's Olympian circle of scientists, politicians, and clubmen. For decades, Osborn used his family fortune to build and dominate the American Museum of Natural History, exerting enormous influence on the fledgling science of vertebrate paleontology. That Osborn's "science" was far from objective Rainger documents in what he calls the professor's "agenda for antiquity."

Let's return, for a moment, to that statue outside Osborn's museum. When the Professor initiated the addition of a Theodore Roosevelt Memorial annex, he fully intended that its architecture and sculptural program would speak for the values he held dear. As usual, he had much say about what the building said.

Built in 1935, the Roosevelt Annex speaks forcefully of the empire which Osborn's friend and hero, the twenty-fifth president, had so vigorously expounded, as well (notes Rainger of the museum's displays) as for "the preservation of nature and the racial and sociopolitical connotations associated with it." In startling contrast to the turreted Romanesque body of the museum, classicist John Russell Pope concocted a bombastic new wing employing a giant order of Ionic columns that would have been up-to-the-minute in contemporary Berlin or Rome.13 On its overscaled entablature, sculptor James Earle Fraser placed four heroic statues symbolizing America's (and, by extension, the Nordic race's) penetration and conquest of the continent: Boone, Audubon, Lewis, and Clark.14

Fraser's enormous equestrian statue of Roosevelt at once focuses Osborn's intention for the wing like a lens, even as it rattles modern sensibilities. Sitting ramrod straight, eyes fixed resolutely forward, his chest flared like a pouter pigeon, the President-as-Cowboy reaches for his gun. Fraser said he wanted to show Roosevelt "riding forward, really going forward," as did the progressive nation that he led. In the eugenic language used by Osborn and his cohorts, "Nation," "Race," and "the State" were frequently interchangeable. Moreover, since aggressiveness was deemed the foremost virtue of the Anglo-Saxon race, Roosevelt became its very embodiment and spokesman.15 Frontiersman, Explorer, Naturalist, Conservationist, President — the American Superman's relentless progress contrasts with the fatal torpor of Fraser's most famous statue, The End of the Trail. The latter icon depicted a Plains Indian slumping on a nag ripe for the glue factory. Amidst the imperial splendour of the San Francisco world's fair where it was first shown in 1915, it celebrated the tragic, but necessary, destiny of an unfit race.16 Fraser's triumphant Roosevelt, on the other hand, is flanked by an American Indian and an African black carrying his rifles, "symbols of the countries where he gathered trophies, and represent[ing] his love for all nations," according to the sculptor. Where Roosevelt rides, his companions walk.

Such iconography, Rainger's text makes clear, was hardly accidental. Osborn had devoted a lifetime to autocratically shaping the past in the interests of his class. That class for him constituted the cream of the master race, the survival of the fittest and the very crown of evolution.17 The language of "objective" science cloaked Osborn's agenda; his means were the displays and publications of his museum and of Columbia University where he taught.18 Osborn's professional colleagues increasingly felt the pressure of his enthusiasms for scientific breeding, immigration restriction, anti-Semitism, and, ultimately, for Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

Rainger believes that Osborn's displays were too arcane or too subtle to influence the public who flocked to his museum. Other scholars believe his subliminal advertisements did their job. Donna Haraway, for example, has deconstructed the paradoxical messages hidden within museum displays and collecting expeditions.19 Rainger gives an admirably lucid and detailed account of Osborn's intentions from his own writings and those of his colleagues and enemies: "Osborn claimed that the study of nature was the basis for his conclusions, but the emphasis on nature was merely the language, or rhetoric, that he employed in the effort to preserve, in the face of change, a traditional power structure."20 No one was more concise in his definition of Nature's — and of his own — ends than Osborn himself; he wrote "Nature teaches law and order and respect for property. If these people [the masses] cannot go to the country, then the Museum must bring nature to the city."21

Rainger succeeds best in his detailed and scholarly attention to Osborn's social milieu, which surpasses even that of Allan Chase's exhaustive Legacy of Malthus (1975). Such information (absent in Kühl) is essential for understanding the lavish funding available in the United States for eugenic research and promotion, but also for its ties to the conservation movement.

Osborn's father had made his fortune in shipping and railroads, bequeathing to his son enormous power and the certainty that he and his associates represented the survival of the fittest. Those associates constituted the summit of New York's Wealthy Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite, allowing Osborn to tap the resources of the Morgans, Fricks, Dodges, Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, and Harrimans for his museum and associated causes. Family connections and club ties proved indispensible in Osborn's empire-building.22

Key members of Osborn's circle organized the ultra-select Boone and Crockett Club in 1887, the nation's earliest conservation organization. The "B&C" dedicated itself to the study and preservation of wildlife but above all to the "manly sport with the rifle," i.e., to an exclusive and aristocratic pastime opposed to the vulgar practice of market hunting which was so rapidly decimating America's game. As such, the B&C membership perceived wildlife much as the English lord did the game on his estate— and with as little sympathy for the plebeian poacher.23 Members of the Club became key players in the American Museum of Natural History, New York Zoological Park (Bronx Zoo), and San Francisco's Save-The-Redwoods League, as well as eugenics and immigration restriction movements. Among the charter members of the B&C were Theodore Roosevelt who would, as President, make conservation for the first time a major national policy.

Roosevelt also increasingly voiced his fears of "race suicide" as a torrent of "degenerate" racial stocks poured through America's golden door on his watch. His fears may have been stimulated by another Club member and friend, Madison Grant, to whom Calvin Coolidge, Hitler, and numerous other luminaries, later expressed their sincerest admiration.

As President of the Boone and Crockett Club from 1928 to 1937, Grant was a committed conservationist and anti-Semite,24 a gentleman of inherited means, a Wall Street lawyer, President of the New York Zoological Society, Trustee of the American Museum of Natural History and American Defense Society, Councilor of the American Geographical Society and Society of Colonial Wars, and self-proclaimed anthropologist.25 He also found time to author numerous professional papers on caribou, moose, and other wildlife, as well as national parks and the endangered redwoods. Grant is, however, best remembered for the two books which revealed the growing threat to the master race from the uncontrolled influx and fecundity of inferior stock. Both The Passing of the Great Race (1916) and The Conquest of A Continent (1933), featured admiring introductions by Grant's good friend Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn, and both employ ostensibly scientific rhetoric to turf over Grant's seething hatred for darks, degenerates, and democracy.26 As such, both books were enormously influential.27 To his racial fixations, Grant fused an advocacy of conservation common to the men of Boone and Crockett.

It makes for an uneasy alliance. In The Conquest of A Continent, for example, Grant relates how the Nordic (Aryan, etc.)28 race forcefully occupied North America, destroying its forests, looting its minerals, exhausting its soils, and evicting the Indians: "Waste was the order of the day in America:"

All this was perhaps inevitable, but never since Caesar plundered Gaul has so large a territory been sacked in so short a time. Probably no more destructive human being has ever appeared on the world stage than the American pioneer with his axe and rifle.29

Yet it was precisely those pioneers whom the Boone and Crockett Club eponymously honored, and who were perennially invoked as emblematic of Racial Will — of the daring, dash, and ruthless enterprise which had lifted America to world dominance, and Grant, Osborn, Roosevelt, et al. to the apex of its social ladder.30 Grant's plunderers were those same industrialists and bankers (or the fathers who bequeathed them fortunes from the sacking) who, at the turn of the century, took up the twin causes of conservation and eugenics.31

The enthusiasm for conservation among the plutocracy at the turn of the century was more than a passing fashion; it came with a changed view of capital concomitant with inherited wealth and a growing sense of noblesse oblige. The descendants of the men who had mown the forests, gutted the mountains, and slaughtered the seals grew ever more concerned with the long-term management of their assets. Thorstein Veblen called them the Captains of Solvency as they retreated from direct, and risky, involvement in extractive industries. Proliferating dynasties required assured returns well into the future; typically, inherited fortunes went into real estate, utilities, and stocks and bonds while the males of the line went into the gentlemanly professions of banking, law, politics, and academia. In doing so, the sons and grandsons of the robber barons distanced themselves from the destruction which their managed portfolios demanded, while gaining at the same time the leisure to lobby for recreational nature preserves amidst the accelerating ruin.32

So, too, did the support for eugenics spring from concerns common to the equestrian class. As it has throughout history, that class was acutely concerned with the breeding of fine horses for competitive display and sport. Speeches, articles, and scientific papers frequently linked the scientific breeding of thoroughbreds and prize livestock to that needed for pedigreed humans. Genealogy became a passion for many. "Mongrelization" was widely regarded with repugnance and outlawed by most states. Eugenicists advocated registries, which would permit scientists to determine who should, and should not, be allowed to breed for the long-term benefit of the race. 33

One should not waste much time searching for consistency in the writings and speeches of the eugenic conservationists except in their bedrock hatred and fear of the dark and degenerate. Nature, by its very vagueness, furnished them an admirably protean concept with which to legitimate the status quo and to suggest remedies for the crisis to which misguided charity had brought it. They, like the Nazis afterward, appointed themselves interpeters of Divine Plan through natural law. In an increasingly secular age, Nature became the surrogate for God; as Rainger explains, they were, for Presbyterian Osborn, virtually the same.34

American eugenics must be understood in the context of the national experience of territorial conquest and slavery. A nominally Christian and civilized people required strong tonic to achieve the guilt-free animality which Herbert Spencer recommended for lasting national prosperity. As early as 1845, the Almighty had revealed His plan to journalist John O'Sullivan who coined the phrase Manifest Destiny. O'Sullivan's "destiny" proved so usefully unmanifest in reality as to justify righteous aggression in all directions for well over half a century. The New York Sun, in 1847, boasted that the American would exceed even the aggression of his Germanic ancestors: "By the quality of his social organism and civilization he is carnivorous — he swallows up and will continue to swallow up whatever comes in contact with him, man or empire."35

Historian Frederick Merk has defined America's native Lebensraum as "expansion, prearranged by Heaven, over an area not clearly defined. In some minds it meant expansion over the region to the Pacific; in others, over the North American continent; in others, over the hemisphere."36 O'Sullivan's epiphany arrived in time to sanctify the belligerent seizure of Mexico's northern half, including the harbor which was its chief prize. San Francisco Bay gave the U.S. its longed-for window on the Pacific. The following fifty years saw the forced segregation and concentration of the region's natives onto ever-dwindling and marginal reservations, if not their total extermination.

Digestion complete by 1898, the nation was ready for an encore of Manifest Destiny. The explosion of the Maine at Havana provided the casus belli, but Nordic instinct, rather than God, increasingly furnished the rationale for actions in the Caribbean and Pacific. General Arthur MacArthur, for example, defended the taking of the Philippines and the war against its people by citing the millenial "expansion to the West." The Spanish-American War, he told Congress, had swept "this magnificent Aryan people across the Pacific — that is to say, back almost to the cradle of its race."37 The U.S. press, no less than Germany's, puffed with Volkisch bravado; a 1901 article entitled "The Rule of the English-Speaking Folk" touted "the race that rules on every continent but one," and asserted that "the right measure of events whether past or future is always the race-meaure."38

It was, therefore, in the guise of Nature that the God who had earlier revealed Manifest Destiny to O'Sullivan dictated the fate of the weak to Madison Grant: "The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit, and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race [italics added]."39

More than anything else, the "laws of nature" as defined by the oligarchs on both side of the Atlantic served to link the early eugenics and conservation movements. Few scholars have yet examined that connection.40 To do so will require extensive primary research as well as cross-referencing in the archives of conservation, eugenics, and euthanasia organizations.

A good place to start would be the addresses delivered at the annual National Conservation Congresses, beginning at the Alaska-Yukon Exposition at Seattle in 1909.41 Gifford Pinchot initiated the Congresses. A member of the Osborn-Roosevelt set, the aristocratic Pinchot was also chief of the U.S. Forest Bureau, adviser to Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, and (with President Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard and other luminaries) charter member of the Race Betterment Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. From the start, speakers at the Conservation Congresses made explicit the connection between race and resources. The Honorable A.F. Knudsen of Hawaii, for example, wound up his pitch for Nordic hegemony on the Islands and elsewhere with the ringing injunction "Let conservation herald a new civilization and a new race!"

Others expanded on Knudsen's meaning, no one more so than the well-born Daughters of the American Revolution. Mrs J. Ellen Foster, the Chairman of the D.A.R.'s Committee on Child Labor, explained that the D.A.R. stood at once for conservation and for "forward movements" because progress was carried in the "good blood of the Revolution." Descended without pollution from the Founding Fathers, "We are their children and want to save what they gave us." What might seem at first glance a merely humanitarian gesture was, she explained in language that Pinchot could appreciate, a patriotic service to the State:

Now, why have we formed this committee against child labor? Because just as surely as a big tree is worth more than a growing slip, so a man is worth more than a child. That is a wonderfully commercial way to state it, isn't it? It is not only that we love the child and want him for ourselves, but it is because we know he is worth more to the country if he is allowed to grow up. He makes a better tree out of which to cut lumber to build a house or a church or a school if he is allowed to grow up to full stature...He cannot do that if he is put in a factory at a too early age.42

In a truly efficient society, children, like forests, could be grown as a crop. Eugenic science could actively improve the breed in the interests of the state. General Marion P. Maus of West Point followed Mrs. Foster, warning of racial deterioration and advising that American children must be educated to be ready for war: "Together with our conservation of natural resources we must conserve our military and naval power, by which our land is defended from attack, and thus conserve the honor and patriotism of the country."43 But first, the Nation/Race needed to innoculate itself against genetic pollution.

That was the topic addressed by Mrs. Matthew T. Scott, President-General of the D.A.R., at the Second Conservation Congress. Mrs. Scott praised generic Woman, "who is the divinity of the spring whence flows the stream of humanity — nay, she is the source herself." The American Woman carried within her womb, she insisted, the Holy Grail of the race. Her following remarks left no doubt that by "Woman" Mrs. Scott meant a small subset of the Caucasian race.

"General" Scott poetically imagined the United States to be a brimming reservoir of Anglo-Saxon germ plasm which demanded fencing from the trampling hooves of the great world's livestock:

But not merely the cup whence flows the stream of human life, must we guard and cherish; we must look to the ingredients which are being cast into the cup. We must protect the fountain from pollution. We must not so eagerly invite all the sons of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, wherever they may have first seen the light, and under whatever traditions and influences and ideals foreign and antagonistic to ours they may have been reared, to trample the mud of millions of alien feet into our spring. We must conserve the sources of our race in the Anglo-Saxon line, Mother of Liberty and Self-government in the modern world. I would rather our coming census showed a lesser population and a greater homogeneity. Especially do I dread the clouding of the purity of the cup with color and character acquired under tropical suns, in the jungle, or in paradisian islands of the sea alternately basking in heavenlike beauty and serenity and devastated by earthquake and tornado and revolution. (Applause)44

A quarter century later, Nazi racial hygienists would use precisely the same imagery, down to the mystical invocation of the Holy Grail, to promote Lebensborn (Spring of Life), a program of "scientific" breeding between racially clean women and SS men designed to speed the advent of the Aryan superman.45

That the President-General ended her litany of jungle dread with the word "revolution" suggests that upheaval is what the Daughters of the American Revolution most feared for their own country, race, and class.46 She, like Madison Grant, was willing to use the most advanced means to preserve the existing social pyramid for all time; she concluded with an anthem that pointedly linked the conservation of natural resources to that of Race and Nation:

We, the mothers of this generation — ancestresses of future generations — have a right to insist upon the conserving not only of soil, forest, birds, minerals, fishes, waterways, in the interest of our future home-makers, but also upon the conserving of the supremacy of the Caucasian race in our land. This Conservation, second to none in pressing importance, may and should be insured in the best interests of all races concerned; and the sooner attention is turned upon it the better. (Great applause.)47

General Scott was by no means alone in her willingness to use revolutionary means from above to preëmpt a revolution from below. Permeated as it was with messages of Anglo-Saxon or Aryan supremacy, the U.S. press was ready to entertain radical proposals for the maintenance and furtherance of "nature's laws." A 1912 editorial in the elite magazine The World's Work correctly stated that "To many men, [eugenics] has become a religion," just as its founder, Sir Francis Galton, had urged. At the time, the campaign by eugenecists for compulsory sterilization had only begun but was already achieving notable successes;48 According to World's Work, great things could be expected of of the new science: "When it reaches the positive stage, it will meet tremendous opposition; it proposes a social revolution. But there is surprisingly little opposition to its negative proposals — there is, on the contrary, a surprisingly ready acceptance of the idea that the unfit should not be permitted to be fathers and mothers [italics added]"49 The editors were apparently no less surprised in 1912 at how easily Americans accepted sterilization than was Nazi Hans Günther in 1934 at the "overwhelming" acceptance of immigration restriction in a putatively liberal country.

America's forward-thinking women were ready to do their bit for Fatherland and Race. Writing in The World's Work in December of 1912, Mrs. Mabel Potter Daggett insisted that "The American woman is the leader of the awakened social conscience in a country-wide crusade that is coöperating to build a better race...These women have united in a determination to find out how the perfect child may be produced and cultivated." Science and coercian together would wreak a social and biological revolution from above: "And when the present haphazard methods in this respect have been superseded, it is expected that social ostracism will be meted out to fathers and mothers who bring into the world [unhealthy babies]." Scientific knowledge would then fashion from the perfect baby the perfect parent to recover, at last, nature's Superrace: "And a new people...shall be fashioned once more in that image of God from which the generations have so long departed."50

How far were the proponents of eugenics willing to go in order to achieve the Utopia that the Superrace would bring? Social ostracism, immigrant restriction, segregation, and compulsory sterilization to eliminate the unfit fell under the rubric of negative eugenics. Increased fecundity of superior stock constituted positive eugenics. Yet the eugenics movement generated other negative proposals which, though less publicly advocated, would reach fruition in Hitler's Germany. Dr. W. Duncan McKim bravely spelled out the measures necessary in his book Heredity and Human Progress, first published in 1899.51

Dr. McKim suggested that carbonic acid gas should be employed to mercifully exterminate a large and defective portion of the U.S. population. Such an action, he admitted, might seem at first glance radical but would, in fact, be carried out altruistically in the best interests of those killed, the Race, and the State:

It is thus by an artificial selection that it is proposed to elevate the human race. While not interfering with the general productiveness of our kind, I would limit the multiplication of the organically weak and the organically vicious, restricting the plan, however, to the very weak and the very vicious who fall into the hands of the State, for maintenance, reformation, or punishment. The surest, the simplest, the kindest, and most humane means for preventing reproduction among those whom we deem unworthy of this high privelege, is a gentle, painless death; and this should be administered not as a punishment, but as an expression of enlightened pity for the victims — too defective by nature to find true happiness in life — and as a duty toward the community and toward our own offspring. To change for the better human nature as found in vicious stocks would be, as we have seen, a slow and exceedingly difficult, if not hopeless, undertaking; but so to change it in stocks already good is but a hastening of the natural trend of human evolution [italics in original]52

Once again, such a program to speed evolution on its preappointed path was simply what God, through His agency Nature, demanded. Christ had promised to come with a sword: "That life should be voluntarily offered for the common weal, and that society should take such life as seems to menace its own existence, have alike an authoritative warrant in the divine method plainly revealed in nature."53

With the weak and degenerate eliminated, Heaven would descend to America "and a spirit of altruism would gradually become the dominant factor in the regulation of the affairs of men54 ...Poverty, disease, moral degradation, and crime would be eliminated from the earth, and the conceptions of our most optimistic dreams would be surpassed by the glories of reality."55

The Nation favorably reviewed Dr. McKim's work, recommending it to "all good citizens interested in human progress."56 How influential McKim's euthanasial manifesto was remains unclear, but the fact that Professor Samuel Holmes, who for decades taught zoology and eugenics at Berkeley, could cite it, in 1933, as an "ably defended" argument presumably worthy of consideration, suggests that it had staying power among committed race supremacists.57

Dr. Holmes apparently regretted the opposition which made Dr. McKim's plan unfeasible in the U.S. Under cover of war, the Nazis implemented it. By their own reckoning, they were only helping Nature accomplish what It wanted to do, and, as Stefan Kühl makes clear, they had long been learning from Americans how to best achieve those ends. The G.I.s who first opened the gates to Dachau unwittingly witnessed the results of Nature's laws, as their own countrymen had interpreted them.


1Like many others, Albert Speer believed that the taste for neoclassicial architecture shared by the democracies and dictatorships was merely coincidental. (Speer, Albert, Inside the Third Reich, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1970, 96.) When poet Robinson Jeffers' asserted in The Double Axe (1948) that, from a cosmic perspective, the Axis and Allied powers were fundamentally identical, Bennett Cerf of Random House appended an unprecedented disclaimer which concluded "Time alone is the court of last resort in the case of ideas on trial." Current revisionism is putting those ideas in the dock.

2America and the Holocaust claims that key State Department officials covered up the existence of Nazi death camps during the war and refused to admit Jews fleeing Germany or to bomb the camps due to well-entrenched anti-Semitism within the Department, thus knowingly condemning refugees to death in occupied Europe. The contention is largely based on Christopher Simpson's The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, New York: Grove Press, 1993.

3Quoted in Kühl, Stefan, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, xiv.

4Christopher Simpson's Blowback follows that collusion after the war.

5Kühl, for instance, reveals the importance of The Pioneer Fund, founded in 1937 by textile magnate Wickliffe Draper, which lavishly financed eugenics research before the war and continues to do so to the present.

6Kühl cites, in particular, anthropologist Roger Pearson's Race, Inetlligence and Bias in Academe (1991). Pearson's work has been financed by the Pioneer Fund; its claims of racial hierarchy are virtually identical to those of pre-war eugenicists. Pearson was praised by President Ronald Reagan for "promoting and upholding those ideals and principles that we value at home and abroad." Kühl, op. cit, 4.

7Kühl, op. cit., 36

8ibid., 98-9. Germans would soon make up for lost time.

9Gosney and Popenoe reported that most of the over 6000 patients sterilized in California State Hospitals BY 1929 expressed satisfaction with the operation. "Most of the dissenters felt that sterilization would be a good thing for the defective or mentally diseased, but that it did not apply to their cases — such complaints only as one would expect from a mentally unbalanced person." Gosney, Eugene S., and Popenoe, Paul, Sterilization for Human Betterment: A Summary of Results of 6,000 Operations in California, 1909-1929, New York: Macmillan Company, 1929, xiv.

10Kühl, op. cit, 42-3.

11Gosney and Popenoe, 1929, op. cit., 86.

12ibid., 85.

13Pope, with Arthur Brown, Jr., was a leader of the late and guttering classical movement in America. He designed the Jefferson Memorial and National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and was a member of Osborn's set.

14Fraser, like Gutzon Borglum and Felix de Weldon, made a career of patriotic sculpture.

15The four walls of the colossal rotunda are inscribed with Roosevelt's quotations organized in two, linked dualities: Youth/Manhood and Nature/The State. In the latter category, Roosevelt's assertion that "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords" again speaks as much for The Race as for The State.

16The Panama-Pacific International Expositon's iconography is a compendium of Social Darwinism and Nordic supremacy. Guidebooks described the equestrian statue at the entrance to the fair as the Superman, splitting the Panamanian Isthmus. He was, implicitly, Roosevelt — though given unmistakably Aryan features by sculptor Alexander Sterling Calder.

17Cf. "...the parliamentary principle of majority rule sins against the basic aristocratic principle of Nature." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, quoted in Ofstad, Harald, Our Contempt for Weakness: Nazi Norms and Values — and Our Own, Gothenburg: Almquist & Wiskell International, 1989, 58.

18Eugenics was well-entrenched in U.S. academia. E.g., Presidents Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard and David Starr Jordan of Stanford, among many others, advocated eugenic measures to preserve "the race." Professor Edward Alsworth Ross, whom Jordan fired, recalled that "there was an influence at Stanford I mistrusted. In Dr. Jordan's 'Evolution' course, which every Stanford student took, the world of life was presented as the adaptations brought about by a 'survival of the fittest' continued through eons. Terms were used which seemed to link up the repulsive dog-eat-dog practices of current business and politics with that 'struggle for existence' which evoked the higher forms of life. It seemed to me that in the mind of the callow listener an aura was thrown about brazen pushfulness and hard aggressiveness." Among those influenced by Jordan's lectures were Herbert Hoover and novelist Jack London, who further popularized Jordan's racism in his best-sellers. See Starr, Kevin, Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915, New York: Oxford University Press, 1973, 309, 341.

19See Haraway, Donna Jeanne, Primate Visions : Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science, New York: Routledge, 1989, Chapter 3 ["Teddy Bear Patriarchy."]

20Rainger, op. cit.,., 148.

21Quoted in Haraway, op. cit.,, 26.

22The conventional White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) acronym is, of course, redundant. Wealth, even more than color, indicates worth, particularly as it becomes hereditary, and those ASPs lacking this gene frequently fell into the category of "white trash." As such, they were just as eligible for sterilization as any of the lower races, since poverty was taken as a symptom of hereditary weakness as it had once been of God's displeasure. What Rainger has not noticed is that nearly all the leaders of the American eugenics movement were of Scottish descent, further suggesting the Calvinist doctrine of the elect.

23The articles of incorporation listed the species of large game which any potential member was required to kill before gaining admission to the Club.

24In his Legacy of Maltuhs, (p. 164) Allan Chase documents Madison Grant's efforts to have Jewish anthropologist Franz Boas, who opposed the racial theorists, fired from Columbia. Zoology and eugenics Professor Samuel Holmes (whom we meet later) wrote of Jews "Racial distinctiveness is a subject upon which they have developed a sensitivenss which in some cases becomes a morbid complex. Feeling that they are somehow on the defensive, they are not easily tolerant of other people's pretensions to superiority. Jewish anthropologists — and anthropology has come to be largely a Jewish science — love to pitch into the 'Nordic myth,' and a number of them seem to find much satisfaction in the doctrine that the mental endowments of the African Negroes are on the same level as those of the whites, even the much-extolled Nordics. If this doctrine could only be clearly established!" Holmes, Samuel J., The Eugenic Predicament, New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1933, 122.

25Grant was also member of the Union, Knickerbocker, Century, University, Tuxedo, Down-Town Association, Turf and Field, Half Moon, and End of the Earth Clubs, the Shikar Club of London, president of the Eugenics Research Association, vice president of the National Institute of Social Sciences, co-founder of the American Eugenics Society, International Eugenics Society, Immigration Restriction League, Save-The-Redwoods League, and (with Osborn) the notorious Galton Society centered at the American Museum of Natural History, which, like the Boone & Crockett, he restricted to ASPs of good breeding and impressive fortune.

26E.g., "The revolt against European control, especially in the Orient, is becoming more and more pronounced. As said above, it has been encouraged unintentionally by the missionaries, who, in educating the natives, succeed only in arousing them to assert their equality with the European races. Probably the greatest tragedy in the world today is the corrosive jealousy of the fair skin of the white races felt by those whose skin is black, yellow, or brown. The world will hear more of this as the revolt of the lower races spreads." Grant, Madison, The Conquest of a Continent, New York: Scribner's Sons, 15.

27Early in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald has the loutish WASP Tom Buchanan splutter "It's a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved," to which Miss Baker suggests "You ought to live in California—."

28The "scientific" terms Nordic, Aryan, Caucasian, Teutonic, Anglo-Saxon, or just "the race" are as interchangable as "Race," "Nation," and "the State," though the last two are most commonly used in the popular press. Such confusion, contends philosopher Harald Ofstad, is not accidental;"Words like 'race,' 'Jew,' 'Aryan,' etc. should not be clearly defined, since this might limit the options of the elite." Ofstad, op. cit., 35.

29Grant, Madison, The Conquest of A Continent, or The Expansion of Races in America, New York and London, Scribner's Sons, 1933, 221.

30That civilization is barbarism, and the white man nature's supreme barbarian, are themes toyed with by eugenic enthusiasts such as Jack London whose novels promoted the splendid blond beast of his and Nietzsche's fantasies. E.g. "It's the way the white man has always done...He's out-savaged the savage the world around...He's out-endured him, out-filthed him, out-scalped him, out-tortured him, out-eaten him -- yes, out-eaten him. It's a fair wager that the white man, in extremis, has eaten more of the genus homo, than the savage, in extremis, has eaten." London, Jack, The Little Lady of the Big House, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916, 145. Cf. Nietzsche, whose blond beast when dealing with ordinary people "revert[s] to the innocence of wild animals....We can imagine them returning from an orgy of muder, arson, rape and torture, jubilant and at peace with themselves as though they had committed a fraternity prank — convinced, moreover, that the poets [e.g. London] for a long time to come will have something to sing about and to praise." Quoted in Simpson, 1993, op. cit., 3.

31Friendly reminiscences of Madison Grant may be found in the autobiography of Joseph D. Grant (no relation), a San Francisco industrialist who co-founded the Save-The-Redwoods League and who forcefully expresses the prejudices of his class. There exist few better examples of what Max Weber meant when he wrote "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart: this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved" than Grant's pompously bovine autobiography. See Grant, J.D., Redwoods and Reminiscences, San Francisco: Save-the-Redwoods League and The Menninger Foundation, 1973. Weber, Max, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958, 182.

32E.g., Many members of the select Bohemian Club, acting out pagan fantasies in the sacred grove of redwoods which the Club saved from logging, considered themselves conservationists and advocates of the City Beautiful, while simultaneously drawing upon fortunes made from the despoilation of their "beloved" California. The appreciation of nature, as of art, is another sign of good breeding. See, again, J.D. Grant (1973).

33Using the British aristocracy as its preferred role model, the American plutocracy adopted liveried servants, steeplechase racing, riding to hounds, and, above all, polo. California became a world center of the sport; a 1915 illustration called it "The Game of Games" and made the link explicit: "Red blood, taut nerves, keen eyes, a spirit of daring — all these are essentials of that peculiarly masculine sport, polo. Physical attributes, care and training, are no more necessary in the dumb player than in the mallet-wielder who, bold and reckless, hurtles down the field astride him in pursuit of the ball. Thoroughbreds they both must be — thoroughbreds they are!" San Francisco Chronicle, April 25, 1915.

34Like so many others of his class, he moved on to Episcopalianism.

35Merk, Frederick, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History, New York: Vintage Books, 1963, 235, n. 10.

36ibid., 24.

37Drinnon, Richard, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating & Empire Building, New York: Schocken Books, 1980, 318.

38Unsigned, "The Rule of the English-Speaking Folk," The World's Work, March, 1901. See also Emory, Frederic, "Our New Horizon," The World's Work, January, 1902 . ["Without knowing it, we were fashioning the master key that was to unlock for us the markets of the world and thus provide a new channel for the national instinct of expansion, the national dream of greatness to be seen and admired of all." Emory, a high State Department official, advocated the use of U.S. consuls as industrial spies in their host countries.

39Grant, Madison, The Passing of the Great Race, New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1916, 45. Grant simply regurgitated the half-digested ideas of Malthus, Spencer, Gobineau, Galton, Nietzsche, and others. Such intellectual underpinnings were largely unnecessary in the earliest period of American westward expansion, but they proved supremely useful for justifying aggression after the fact and as a basis for overseas expansion.

40Anna Bramwell has made a good start, but lacks an adequate class analysis of the twin movements. See Bramwell, Anna, Ecology in the Twentieth Century: A History, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.

41Lumber companies advertised heavily in the Proceedings of the Congresses, revealing the utilitarian emphasis of Pinchot's and Roosevelt's mainline conservation. Pinchot pointedly excluded John Muir and other preservationists who opposed him on San Francisco's plans to dam Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. See Hays, Samuel P., Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency, New York: Atheneum, 1969. For the imperial subtext of the American expositions, see Rydell, Robert W., All the World's a Fair, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984.

42Proceedings, First National Conservation Congress [of 1909],Washington, D.C., 1910, 92.

43ibid., 117.

44Proceedings, Second National Conservation Congress [of 1910], Washington, 1911, 275-6.

45See Hillel, Marc and Henry, Clarissa, Of Pure Blood, New York, St. Louis, & San Francisco: McGraw-Hill, 1976.

46The Count G.V. de Lapouge stated this view unequivocally in his keynote address to the Second International Congress of Eugenics, sponsored by Osborn at the American Museum of Natural History in 1921. Lapouge declared that"La guerre des classes est la vraie guerre de races," and concluded "Américains, il dépend de vous, je l'affirme fortement, de sauver la civilisation et de faire sortir de vous un peuple de demi-dieux." Eugenics in Race and State [Scientific Papers of the Second International Congress of Eugenics]," Baltimore; Williams & Wilkins Company, 1923, 6.

47op. cit.

48California legalized compulsory sterilization in its state hospitals in 1909 and was quickly emulated by many other states. None applied their laws with California's zeal. By 1922, the Golden State reported 2558 operations, over sixteen times what runner-up Nebraska. Eugenics in Race and State, [op. cit.], 290. By 1938, more than 25,000 operations had been performed in state institutions throughout the United States, almost half of them in California. Popenoe, Paul, and Gosney, E.S., Twenty-eight Years of Sterilization in California, Pasadena (Human Betterment Foundation), 1938, 1, 37-8.

49Editorial, "To Improve the Race," The World's Work, June, 1912.

50Daggett, Mabel Potter, "Women: Building A Better Race," The World's Work, December, 1912. The plan to recover a lost Superrace by scientific breeding and elimination of the unfit is, again, identical to the later Nazi racial program.

51McKim inherited a banking fortune which allowed him to retire at 37 to pursue eugenic and other interests. He appears to have been a member of the Osborn-Grant set.

52McKim, W. Duncan, Heredity and Human Progress, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1901, 188. McKim suggested that the program begin slowly and that it be expanded as its efficaciousness became evident. Those to be expunged included idiots, "moral imbeciles," epileptics, habitual drunkards, cat burglars, weak children, and so on.

53ibid., 213. To McKim, killing was as natural as death itself, for "in administering death, we merely bring sooner to a man that which must inevitably come by due process of nature." 194

54Cf. California's great historian, Hubert Howe Bancroft: "It was only in 1898 that Americans at least were bold enough to say that it was not only the right but the duty of the stronger to take charge of the weaker, even to the extermination of races and the appropriation of lands....The year of Ninety-eight saw for the first time applied the truly altruistic spirit to international affairs..." Bancroft, H.H., The New Pacific, New York: The Bancroft Company, 1899, 17.

55McKim, op. cit.., 256-7.

56The Nation, November 1, 1900.

57Holmes, Samuel, The Eugenic Predicament, Harcourt, Brace New York, 1933, 153. Holmes was an active member of euthansia and eugenics societes, including Grant and Osborn's Galton Society, as well as conservation clubs. See Holmes papers in Bancroft Library.



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