Patrician racist : the evolution of Madison Grant / by Jonathan Peter Spiro.
This dissertation is a biography of Madison Grant (1865–1937), who was one of the founders of the conservation movement in America. Among other accomplishments, Grant preserved the California redwoods, saved the American bison, created the Bronx Zoo, fought for strict gun control laws, built the Bronx River Parkway, and helped to create Glacier and Denali National Parks. To commemorate his efforts, the world's tallest tree was dedicated to Grant in 1931. Grant was also the author of the 1916 best seller, The Passing of the Great Race, which established him as the prophet of scientific racism in America. As such, Grant played a key role in convincing Congress to enact the immigration restriction legislation of the 1920s which all but eliminated the immigration of “inferior” non-Nordic races. Grant also worked for the passage of anti-miscegenation laws, and supported Marcus Garvey's efforts to repatriate America's Negroes back to Africa. Furthermore, Grant influenced many states to pass coercive sterilization statutes, by which thousands of Americans deemed unworthy were sterilized in the 1930s. Just as Grant and eugenics were declining in popularity in the U.S., his book was translated and published in Germany, where the leaders of the Nazi Party read it and Adolf Hitler declared “The Passing of the Great Race is my Bible.” When the Nazis gained power they began to systematically implement Grant's program of eugenics, and at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials after the war The Passing of the Great Race was introduced as a defense exhibit to justify the population policies of the Third Reich. Because Grant's personal papers were destroyed after his death, biographers have heretofore ignored him. But this dissertation utilizes the correspondence of hundreds of Grant's associates to piece together the events of his life; identify his intellectual antecedents and disciples; and trace his philosophical evolution from conservationism, to preservationism, to wildlife management, to scientific racism. Along the way, it sketches the history of—and the connections between—the conservation and the eugenics movements.
Record last modified: 2018-05-24 14:02:00
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