Victorian Racial Attitudes

Victorian racial attitudes prevailed in White America until the 1920s and remained dominant well into Modern America when World War II transformed American racial attitudes.

The following excerpt comes from Stanley Coben’s book Rebellion Against Victorianism: The Impetus for Cultural Change in 1920s America:

“Victorianism in the United States was basically the culture of an ethnic and religious group: a confederation of Protestants of British-American descent. Gregory H. Singleton has shown mostly clearly how the consociation which united various Protestant denominations that had British origins helped perpetuate Anglo-American social and political dominance in the United States and maintained the prominence of that group’s cultural values. The high degree of eventual assimilation of Victorian values by nineteenth-century immigrant groups from virtually every part of Europe, and by middle class African-Americans, assisted the conscious effort by Anglo-American Protestants to retain cultural and economic dominance.

The largely British-American Victorians received a rich heritage of ethnic and religious bigotry from their forebears. The early colonists considered blacks barely human. According to most evidence, in the mid-nineteenth century this attitude remained a common one, and perhaps regard for blacks as people had deteriorated even further. Although nineteenth-century English and American Victorians granted the possibility of progress to inferior races, most Victorians set limits on that possibility for those of African descent; and soon late nineteenth and early twentieth-century science produced both evidence and theories verifying that the majority of Victorians was correct. The Victorians established the late nineteenth century color bar which separated them from blacks, Asians, and American Indians and embedded this concept and the social structures it supported deeply into Victorian culture …

During the forty-year period after completing his formal education, especially from 1881 to 1895, Roosevelt wrote a prodigious amount of scholarly literature. Racial themes dominated this work, particularly Roosevelt’s four volume historical epic The Winning of the West. White supremacy, in the form of Nordicism, Anglo-Saxonism, Aryanism, and Teutonism, was his preponderant explanation for the winning of the West by white Americans …

By the early twentieth century, fashions in the expression of racial ideas had shifted, and Roosevelt exchanged the then somewhat discarded the somewhat discredited terms he had used before, such as “Anglo-Saxon,” for frequent references to “the English-speaking race.” As Dyer observed, however, Roosevelt’s “celebration of the heritage, exploits, and destiny of the ‘English-speaking race’ continued unabated through his life and scarcely differed from his earlier lauding of Anglo-Saxons and Teutons.” Roosevelt had nothing but praise for Madison Grant’s classic lament in 1916 for the noble Teuton, The Passing of the Great Race.

As president of the United States (1901-1909), Roosevelt continued to seek advice from the chief advocates of Victorian racial concepts among American social and biological scientists. The scholars with whom President Roosevelt corresponded most frequently were sociologist Edward A. Ross of the University of Wisconsin, paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, director of the Museum of Natural History in New York City, and biologist Charles Benedict Davenport of Harvard.”

The shift can be seen in the reception of Madison Grant’s books The Passing of the Great Race (1916) and The Conquest of a Continent (1933). The world changed in the 1920s. The American intelligentsia had become antiracist. It wasn’t until the late 1930s and early 1940s though that the antiracist consensus in the new social science filtered down to the media and public opinion shifted.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “racism” first appeared in English in the United States in 1936 in a fascist pamphlet by Lawrence Dennis called The Coming American Fascism: The Crisis of Capitalism. The first use of “racist” as an adjective was in 1938 which was also the year the American Anthropological Association passed its first resolution that condemned “racism.”

This is how racial attitudes changed from Victorian to Modern: in the social sciences (1920s), in the media (late 1930s/early 1940s) and finally in the public (1940s and 1950s).

In 1939, a Roper poll found that 7 out of 10 Americans believed that blacks were less intelligent than Whites. More than 8 out of 10 Americans believed that blacks should be prevented by law or social pressure from living in White neighborhoods. At that time, the Jim Crow South and much of the West practiced segregation while restrictive covenants and sundown towns were commonplace in the Midwest.

In 1942, 42 percent of Whites believed that blacks were as intelligent as Whites, 30 percent believed blacks and Whites should attend integrated schools, 51 percent believed that blacks and Whites should be segregated in public transportation, and 62 percent were bothered by the thought of having black neighbors.

In 1946, a poll found that 53 percent of Whites believed that blacks were as intelligent as Whites – this was first time in American history that a majority of White Americans professed to believe in racial equality.

By 1952, 78 percent of Whites believed that blacks were as intelligent as Whites, 49 percent believed blacks and Whites should attend integrated schools, 60 percent believed that blacks and Whites should not be segregated in public transportation, and 52 percent of Whites were not bothered by the thought of having black neighbors.

About Hunter Wallace 9596 Articles
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13 Comments

  1. When I was a child, things were the very antithesis of what they are today – so much racial consciousness that even Whites, in every major city that I ever visited, during those years, were almost entirely segregated to their own racial neighbourhoods.

    Yes, if you are too young to have seen it, get this : the Irish had their neighbourhood, and the Ukrainians theirs, and the Italians theirs, and so on and so forth.

    Of course, there were always interlopers, though, they were always the minority.

    So, in a sense, in those days, The United States was like The European Union of today – a conglomeration of different nations and races that, outside of work or the tyrannical sway of romantic attraction, largely kept to themselves.

    In those days, you might visit other kinds of people, you, might go to one of their restaurants, but, after that, you went home to your own kind.

    Humanity had been that way since time immemorial, long before the letter V in Queen Victoria was ever written.

  2. I really do not like the extremes – one extreme that says that, because you are of a certain race, you cannot have anything to do with anyone other than your tribe – or, conversely, the other view that says, you need not ever think about race, or your way, in particular, because the entire subject is fallacious, irrelevant, and evil.

    I think The Modern West, in pushing to the latter, and in attempting to force everyone to accept and embody the latter, is trying to strip from us an element of our Humanity, and that cannot be good – even if none of us fully understand the ramifications of what losing that aspect of our Humanity means, in the longrun.

    • Yeah, well, we know you’re an anti-racist, bean burner, and fan of Mexican cucarachas, “Ivan,” so that’s about what one would expect from you.

      Seeing you smarming and wheedling around that “Mexican Karen,” as someone so aptly called her, Cristina de Goblina or whatever she is, verbally writhing like Uriah Heep, is a sickening spectacle.

  3. “By 1952, 78 percent of Whites believed that blacks were as intelligent as Whites”

    Who conducted this poll ?

    How many ppl were giving the “socially polite” answer ?

    ( I call BS on the polling numbers.)

    • I definitely call BS on those numbers.

      When the Germans captured White and Negro soldiers from the USA during World War II, they initially housed them all together. However, the Whites refused point blank to eat with the Negroes, and the Germans were forced to set up separate arrangement to feed and otherwise provide basic care for their prisoners, since they didn’t want to deal with a race-based hunger strike.

    • After World War II, politically incorrect comments on race in public became taboo for obvious reasons, but most in the Greatest and Silent Generations were what society today would deem racially insensitive. Look at the huge referendum win to preserve closed housing in CA and other states in the 1960s. Nobody in his right mind can say race didn’t play a part in the massive opposition to school busing in the 70s and 80s and that led to busing being virtually extinct now. The surviving members of those two generations are the most racially aware even today and unlike what the left tells us, being informed about racial differences and being a WN are two separate things. You don’t have to be a WN fascist to know our country will only survive if Western Europeans remain a majority and what will happen if blacks and browns become the majority. Plenty of racially informed people date or befriend people of other races without surrendering common sense.

      Trump Trump
      Wally Wally

  4. Teddy was a terrible asthmatic. He suffered a lot. But he bulled his way through it and became a tough man. It’s time to take one feature of the victorians to heart. Time to shut the press up about the Covid19 story. Once Trump gets put of the hospital he should call out journalists by name Todd, Don, Anderson, Rachel, Wallace and tell them to stop being cunts about the disease. He had it and beat it. The press have hurt the people.

  5. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. . .

    Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide”

    (John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 1814).

  6. The American People very much changed during / after World War II. The mainstream media promoting the whole Aryan Race rules Germany and caused World War II probably turned some people off from White Racialism. I think people should look at World War II for what it was. I’m a very proud Nationalist and even agree with much of what National Socialism believes. However I don’t think White People fighting other White People was the answer. I think Hitler should have focused more on Propaganda / Diplomacy and turned other European countries and America into a NS view. We already had that going on with FDR as he was a Democrat who believed the Government could do more. I agree with that 100% and I argue with people every single day on that subject. The Government can do much more for us. I’ll say that even with the Nazis who probably turned some people off from White Racialism….the Klan was very strong after World War II. During the 1960s the White Citizens Council was strong. JB Stoner, Ed Fields, and so on. David Duke was the inventor of the White Nationalist Movement. White Racialism was still strong but I think what changed is when the Churches got more involved in Jewish Supremacist theology that was only enhanced by World War II. We’ve seen Church denomination after Church denomination turn liberal and I think Politics went with it. Deo Vindice !

    • @Brian…

      “The mainstream media promoting the whole Aryan Race rules Germany and caused World War II probably turned some people off from White Racialism. ”

      Probably?

      Some people?

      Yes, Dear Brian, whatever values, courage, and genius one might attribute to Hitler, there can be little doubt that he put Nationalism, White Nationalism, in particular, deep deep in the hole.

    • The correct answer is Hitler was half-Jewish and the ruling class of Europe was Jewish as well. WW1 and 2 were sock puppet wars to steal land, murder whites, and to create Rothschild’s Israel in the Middle East. It would be the NWO ground for world rule by the Cabal. Then the white nations, the only ones who could and would stand up against the satanists, were to be destroyed. This is what the continual downward slide of PC culture is for: get rid of the non slave people who will not submit.

  7. While the Victorian era were steps in the right direction overall, I do disagree with the Nordicism of the late Victorian/Early Edwardian era and see it as a product of its time. The various European ethnicities do have their differences in behaviours/attitudes and even within the Northern European context there are differences.

    When these late Victorians are talking about the “Great Germanic Race” I believe they’re really lumping in Germans arbitrarily because of the rise of Germany in this period and a large portion of the imported population in the mid-late 1800s were Germans and it was a way to link the countries together. Outside of Prussians and Austrians, what is now known as Germany was a relatively unremarkable area and sort of still is.

    I’d actually be surprised if some sort of leader against the Zionists in todays age would be of German descent. It’s far more likely to be some community oriented Southern or Eastern European or a Individualist maverick Anglo-Celtic than a German who is more comfy with voting Republican/Conservative than trying to outmaneuver the Jews. Hopefully the people who disagree will prove me wrong!

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