MADISON GRANT WARNS OF THE PASSING OF THE “GREAT RACE” (1918)
[Madison Grant’s 1918 book The Passing of the Great Race was used as the theoretical justification for new laws drastically reducing immigration.]
In New England, however, whether through the decline of Calvinism or the growth of altruism, there appeared early in the last century a wave of sentimentalism, which at that time took up the cause of the Negro and in so doing apparently destroyed, to a large extent, pride and consciousness of race in the North., The agitation over slavery was inimical to the Nordic race, because it thrust aside all national opposition to the intrusion of hordes of immigrants of inferior racial value and prevented the fixing of a definite American type....
The native American by the middle of the nineteenth century was rapidly acquiring distinct characteristics.... The Civil War, however, put a severe, perhaps fatal, check to the development and expansion of this splendid type by destroying great numbers of the best breeding stock on both sides and by breaking up the home ties of many more. If the war had not occurred these same men with their descendants would have populated the Western states instead of the racial nondescripts who are now flocking there....
These new immigrants
were no longer exclusively members of the Nordic race as were the earlier ones
who came of their own impulse to improve their social conditions. The
transportation lines advertised
With a pathetic and fatuous belief in the efficacy of American institutions and environment to reverse or obliterate immemorial hereditary tendencies, these new-comers were welcomed and given a share in our land and prosperity. The American taxed himself to sanitate and educate these poor helots and as soon as they could speak English, encouraged, them to enter into the political life, first of municipalities and then of the nation....
These immigrants adopt the language of the native American, they wear his clothes, they steal his name and they are beginning to take his women, but they seldom adopt his religion or understand his ideals and while he is being elbowed out of his own home the American looks calmly abroad and urges on others the suicidal ethics which are exterminating his own race....
It is evident that in
large sections of the country the native American will
entirely disappear. He will not intermarry with inferior races and he cannot
compete in the sweat shop and in the street trench with the newcomers. Large
cities from the days of
One thing is certain; in any such mixture, the surviving traits will be determined by competition between the lowest and most primitive elements and the specialized traits of Nordic man; his stature, his light colored eyes, his fair skin and light colored hair, his straight nose and his splendid fighting and moral qualities, will have little part in the resultant mixture.