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date: 24 July 2024

Ideas of Race in Early Americafree

Ideas of Race in Early Americafree

  • Sean P. HarveySean P. HarveyDepartment of History, Seton Hall University


“Race,” as a concept denoting a fundamental division of humanity and usually encompassing cultural as well as physical traits, was crucial in early America. It provided the foundation for the colonization of Native land, the enslavement of American Indians and Africans, and a common identity among socially unequal and ethnically diverse Europeans. Longstanding ideas and prejudices merged with aims to control land and labor, a dynamic reinforced by ongoing observation and theorization of non-European peoples. Although before colonization, neither American Indians, nor Africans, nor Europeans considered themselves unified “races,” Europeans endowed racial distinctions with legal force and philosophical and scientific legitimacy, while Natives appropriated categories of “red” and “Indian,” and slaves and freed people embraced those of “African” and “colored,” to imagine more expansive identities and mobilize more successful resistance to Euro-American societies. The origin, scope, and significance of “racial” difference were questions of considerable transatlantic debate in the age of Enlightenment and they acquired particular political importance in the newly independent United States.

Since the beginning of European exploration in the 15th century, voyagers called attention to the peoples they encountered, but European, American Indian, and African “races” did not exist before colonization of the so-called New World. Categories of “Christian” and “heathen” were initially most prominent, though observations also encompassed appearance, gender roles, strength, material culture, subsistence, and language. As economic interests deepened and colonies grew more powerful, classifications distinguished Europeans from “Negroes” or “Indians,” but at no point in the history of early America was there a consensus that “race” denoted bodily traits only. Rather, it was a heterogeneous compound of physical, intellectual, and moral characteristics passed on from one generation to another. While Europeans assigned blackness and African descent priority in codifying slavery, skin color was secondary to broad dismissals of the value of “savage” societies, beliefs, and behaviors in providing a legal foundation for dispossession.

“Race” originally denoted a lineage, such as a noble family or a domesticated breed, and concerns over purity of blood persisted as 18th-century Europeans applied the term—which dodged the controversial issue of whether different human groups constituted “varieties” or “species”—to describe a roughly continental distribution of peoples. Drawing upon the frameworks of scripture, natural and moral philosophy, and natural history, scholars endlessly debated whether different races shared a common ancestry, whether traits were fixed or susceptible to environmentally produced change, and whether languages or the body provided the best means to trace descent. Racial theorization boomed in the U.S. early republic, as some citizens found dispossession and slavery incompatible with natural-rights ideals, while others reconciled any potential contradictions through assurances that “race” was rooted in nature.


  • Early National History
  • Slavery and Abolition
  • Native American History
  • African American History

Colonization and “Savagery”

On the eve of colonization, naturalistic explanations and biblical stories gave meaning to human difference for Europeans. The Renaissance increased circulation of classical theories. Those of Galen stressed the influence of geography upon peoples. Climate and individual bodily humors possessed corresponding properties (black bile was cold, yellow bile hot, blood dry, and phlegm wet). Because humors counterbalanced the surrounding environment, preponderant humors animated individuals and nations with characters either melancholic, choleric, sanguine, or phlegmatic. Ancient Greeks and later Romans also distinguished between themselves—possessed of reasoned speech, well-ordered political communities, and the technological ability to transform nature—and “barbarians” deficient in these markers of civility. For Christians and Jews, scripture provided testimony that God “made of one blood all nations of men.” All human beings shared descent from Adam through Noah, with the Deluge and the Tower of Babel explaining human dispersion and linguistic diversity with the authority of revelation, which came into the hands of ever more people beginning with the Protestant Reformation of the early 16th century.1

Over centuries of evangelization and expanding trade with unfamiliar peoples in Asia, and conflict with Muslim kingdoms in the Holy Land and Iberia, medieval writers transferred the classical dichotomy of civilized and barbarous to “Christian” and “heathen.” Even before the European discovery of the Americas, Portuguese and Spanish colonizers applied such ideas to the Guanche of the Canary Islands, who had been unknown until Iberian colonization in the mid-15th century. By the late 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth intensified colonization of Ireland, English Protestants insisted that Irish Catholicism was little better than paganism. With respect to the Guanche and the Irish, religious denigration fused with criticism of these peoples’ land use, material culture, gender roles, and militant resistance to conquest in portrayals of barbarism that justified colonization and provided a model for future efforts.2

From the earliest encounters, explorers and colonists observed and described the appearance, traits, and ways of life of indigenous Americans. Rather than monsters at the edge of the known world, Christopher Columbus found “handsome” people, whose skin resembled that of the “Canarians, neither black nor white.” The Tainos (Arawaks) were “naked,” possessed neither cities nor metal weapons nor idols. While these people were “timid,” the Caribs, a more “audacious race,” resembled the Tainos in appearance and material culture, but spoke a different language, made war on their neighbors, and “eat the people they can capture.” Columbus’s descriptions of weak innocents and fierce cannibals established a dichotomy that framed most European characterizations of the Native people of the Americas for the next five centuries and more. Despite depictions that distinguished sharply between Europeans and misnamed “Indians” at the outset of colonization, many Europeans believed the latter could be transformed. Three “sauage men” from northeastern North America arrived in England in the 1490s “in their demeanour like to bruite beastes,” Robert Fabian related, but after two years he “coulde not discerne [them] from Englishmen.”3

Such characterizations of indigenous people and societies justified enslavement and colonization. Initially, the Spanish employed the theory of natural slavery, a concept devised by Aristotle and reworked for Christians by Thomas Aquinas. Dominion was just because these people were uncivil, supposedly lacking cities and mastery of nature. The empires of Mesoamerica and the Andes, however, undermined this view. The Mexica (Aztecs) and Incas possessed hierarchical societies, courteous speech, impressive cities, flourishing commerce, and stone pyramids. While such attainments seemed to fulfill classical understandings of civility, theorists such as Francisco de Vitoria insisted that they did not live according to the law of nature. Charges of human sacrifice and cannibalism, which Catholic and Protestant invaders leveled against numerous inhabitants of the Americas, were especially damning. Indians were fully human, but only conversion would allow them to fulfill their human potential. Numerous writers elaborated the view of Indians as fundamentally deficient, but capable of being raised to Christianity and civility. Bartolomé de Las Casas defended this view in famous debates in 1550–1551, and Jose de Acosta elaborated it in Historia natural y moral de las indias (1590), which outlined different stages in the development of barbarous people, stressing growth of knowledge (as measured by language and literacy) and changes in the complexity of social organization. Other Europeans also embraced this view. According to Thomas Harriot in 1590, the “Inhabitants of the great Brettanie haue bin in times past as sauuage as those of Virginia.” A series of engravings by Theodor de Bry (based on watercolors by John White) of Carolina Algonquians, included an ancient Briton, painted for war, holding a severed head. The Roman empire and the gospel had brought civilization to Britain, which, in turn, would bring it to North America.4

Ethnographic descriptions of indigenous peoples proliferated in the 16th and 17th centuries, as the Protestant Reformation deepened imperial rivalries in the Americas. Some accounts asserted that the surrounding climate or celestial bodies, with the former influenced by the latter, explained human diversity. In the southern hemisphere especially, where sailors found constellations different from those known in northern skies, astronomy offered a window into human diversity. The “miraculous mouinges of ye Planetes, Starres, and heauens,” according to Richard Eden, who translated the earliest Spanish accounts for an English audience, produced “the varietie of diuers complexions, forms, and dispositions of all creatures vnder the face of heaven.” Finding differing natural environments (and differing responses to colonization), throughout the Americas, observers described Indians as melancholic or choleric or phlegmatic. Climate was thought to affect complexion—Indians were variously labeled tawny, swarthy, purple, olive, and chestnut, among others—but so too might customs. The use of bear grease and paint darkened the skin of infants allegedly born white over time, binding infants in cradle boards flattened their skulls, and raising children to ignore pain ostensibly produced adult women who could give birth painlessly and men able to withhold cries even as they endured torture. Alternately, some reports offered shared ancestry as an explanation for the similarity of widely separated peoples. John Pory concluded that the Natives surrounding Plymouth in 1622 were “of one race with those in Virginia, both in respect of their qualities and language … and are of the same hair, eyes and skin.”5

Initially, some observers spoke favorably of Native technology (such as canoes and bows) and drew parallels between European and Native political organization (paramount chiefs as kings); but varied disparagements of Native dress, gender roles, land use, religion, and language increasingly produced a discourse of Native “savagery.” Scanty garments and tattooing were thought to indicate female immodesty and moral depravity. Native men enjoying the supposed leisure of the hunt while their women toiled in fields, suggested women’s drudgery. Beyond missing matrilineal clans’ ownership of fields, such views denied the importance of Native agriculture, which Indians in eastern North America supplemented with hunting. Summing up an expansive view of savagery, one colonist described, “so good a Countrey, so bad people, having little of Humanitie but shape, ignorant of Civilitie, of Arts, of Religion; more brutish than the beasts they hunt, more wild and unmanly than the unmanned wild Countrey, which they range rather than inhabite; captivated also to Satans tyranny in foolish pieties, mad impieties, wicked idlenesse, busie and bloudy wickednesse.” The uneven success of missionaries, which many blamed on Native tongues and minds, reinforced such views. Beyond casting Indians’ linguistic diversity as a mark of social disorder, colonizers found deeper significance in sounds and syntax. The Puritan Cotton Mather linked Indians’ languages to their “Salvage Inclinations,” while the Jesuit Joseph François Lafitau argued that Native grammatical structures represented a “way of thinking” that diverged from that of Europeans.6

As early as the 17th century, some colonists came to postulate inherent traits in Indians and their societies. Native–settler conflict, such as the Anglo-Powhatan wars and the Pequot War in the 1620s–1630s, often catalyzed such views. Especially virulent characterizations of Indians emerged in the 1670s, when New Englanders faced an alliance of Wampanoags, Narragansetts, and others in King Philip’s War, and Chesapeake farmers and servants rose up against Doegs and Susquehannocks and the colonial ruling clique that profited from control of land, labor, and Indian trade in Bacon’s Rebellion. Amid violence, English colonists tended to dismiss distinctions between hostile and allied Indians, accused Indians of being by nature more beastly or cruel, and some called, as did Virginia rebels, “to ruin and extirpate all Indians in general.”7 Even those who advocated missionary efforts could hold essentialist views. Describing the Montagnais, the French Jesuit missionary Pierre Biard believed it was “certain that these miserable people, continually weakened by hardships … will always remain in a perpetual infancy as to language and reason.” Despite conviction that Indians were human beings capable of salvation, those who met disappointing results in evangelization often blamed some obstacle intrinsic to Indians themselves. Colonists were ignorant of microbes, but they also noted that Native people suffered disproportionately from smallpox, influenza, and other diseases even as their own population grew rapidly in the New World. Some also suspected that constitutional differences between Europeans and Indians explained perpetual charges of Indian drunkenness. Theories of Native inferiority in mind and body provided Europeans, simultaneously, a compelling claim to the land and reassurance that colonists would not degenerate in an alien environment.8

By the early 18th century, however, ascendant philosophical frameworks encouraged the learned to view minds, bodies, and societies as mutable. Comparisons of contemporary Indians to ancient peoples in the work of Acosta, Lafitau, and others converged with political theorization on the historical development of property and the interrelationship of environment, laws, and customs in the work of scholars such as Samuel Pufendorf and Montesquieu, as well as the psychology of John Locke, which held that the mind possessed no innate ideas and that words were merely conventional labels for things and concepts, to provide the foundation for theories of the progress of civilization. One view, best represented by Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, held that human advancement came from linguistic and mental refinement. “Savages” supposedly possessed few words and relied on metaphor, which explained stereotypes of Indians’ linguistic poverty and eloquence. Over time, the invention of new and more precise signs allowed for more analytical thinking and, thus, advancement in the arts and sciences, though precision came at the price of imagery in speech and writing. Another view, best represented by Adam Smith, stressed the appetites and passions over reason. Distinct modes of subsistence (hunting, shepherding, agriculture, and commerce) led to distinct forms of social organization. Progress came from increasing production and mastery over nature, which, in turn, increased specialization within societies and the transfer of knowledge among societies. Innumerable and occasionally contradictory ethnographic accounts from throughout the Americas, in turn, provided evidence for these theories.9

The construction of Native “savagery” provided a foil for Europeans’ conceptions of themselves as “civilized” and the justification for dispossession. Convergence of ideas of “savagery” with those of lineage, in turn, provided crucial foundations for the emergence of “race” in the 18th century.

“Negro” Slavery

Slavery was ubiquitous in the early modern world and, emerging from Muslim and Iberian Christian precedents, Africans were commonly assumed to be slaves. While enslavement of Indians, considered vassals of the Spanish crown, was illegal by the mid-16th century, Africans were legally enslaved in the colonies, just as they had been in Spain and Portugal in the centuries preceding colonization of the Americas. Iberians and other Europeans found justification in religion. Christians could enslave heathens and infidels in “just war,” and slaves could be Christianized while in bondage. Missionaries frequently compared African slaves willing to accept Christianity favorably to Natives who spurned the gospel. Because heathenism was crucial to the initial enslavement of Africans, however, planters often resisted evangelization. Morgan Godwyn, an Anglican minister in Barbados, deplored those who “openly maintained … That Negro’s were Beasts, and had no more Souls than Beasts.” Over the course of the 17th century, “Negro and Slave” became interchangeable terms, “even as Negro and Christian, Englishman and Heathen, are by the like corrupt Custom and Partiality made Opposites; thereby as it were implying, that the one could not be Christians, nor the other Infidels.”10

Colonial laws endowed shifting lines of difference with legal force. Unlike in the Iberian kingdoms, slavery no longer existed as an institution in early modern England. The first slaves held in the English colonies were stolen as slaves or bought as slaves. Initially, English colonial slavery followed Spanish and Portuguese models, which included hard, forced labor, but also significant degrees of manumission, incorporation into church and society, and intermixture. The blurring of the line between Christian and heathen, and growing numbers of freed people and children with mixed ancestry, however, prodded Englishmen to codify the lines of slavery and freedom. This process began in the Caribbean, with Barbadians making the bondage of Africans perpetual by 1636, but the way in which slavery became racialized may be clearest in the Chesapeake. Between 1640 and 1705, Virginia passed a series of laws that originally distinguished between Christian and heathen, freeman and servant, but which came to distinguish between whites and negroes and mulattoes. Laws required masters to arm every man in a household except for African men; made African women in addition to all of a household’s men taxable under the assumption that they, unlike English women, worked in the fields; defined a child’s status as following that of the mother only, thereby ensuring that a master’s progeny could be property; established that baptism did not alter the status of a slave; prohibited Africans, mulattoes, and Indians from intermarrying with white women; and barred masters from whipping white servants naked. The French created an analogous Code noir in the Caribbean in 1685 and Louisiana in 1724.11

African difference was defined through print culture as well. Prevailing medical views held Negroes to be more resistant to tropical diseases than Europeans, who were perhaps unsuited to the torrid zone. The success of smallpox inoculation—the subject of public controversy early in the 18th century—which underlined the shared bodily constitutions of Africans and Europeans, did nothing to alter notions of African fitness for labor in torrid climes. In advertisements for runaway slaves, colonists found continuous commentary on the traits of slaves, which described individuals with distinct bodies, skills, and styles, yet which painted a near-uniform picture of slaves as unfaithful and rebellious. Other newspaper advertisements provide implicit evidence of the casual breaking apart of black families even without economic motivation. Jeremy Belknap recalled at the end of the 18th century, “negro children … when weaned, were given away like puppies.” Even attacks on the legitimacy of slavery circulated ideas of African difference. The Massachusetts minister Samuel Sewall, who published The Selling of Joseph (1700), insisted that Negroes were “sons of Adam,” but he could not imagine them as free members of the community since “there is such a disparity in their Conditions, Colour & Hair, that they can never embody with us.”12

In contrast to Indians, whose physical appearance was of lesser importance than their putative, encompassing “savagery,” Europeans fixated upon the bodies of Africans. The 17th-century English traveler Sir Thomas Herbert comprehensively described Africans as “cole black, have great heads, big lips, are flat nos’d, sharp chind, huge limbd, affecting Adams garb.” Physical descriptions often cited similarities between Africans and apes, sometimes suggesting sexual relationships between the two. While descriptions of African women often echoed those of American Indian women regarding ostensible promiscuity and painless childbirth, African women were more frequently cast in monstrous terms. In The True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados (1657), Richard Ligon, suggested that when older enslaved women stooped over while weeding fields, “at a distance, you would think they had six legs.” Other accounts hyper-sexualized African bodies in ways that undermined their humanity and suggested fitness for slavery, as in descriptions of African women suckling their children as they worked in fields.13

Most Europeans focused their attention on complexion. Theories about Africans’ outward appearance were ancient, though discovery of the Americas reshaped older notions. Where the poet Ovid blamed Phaëton’s reckless driving of the sun chariot for scorching the lands and people of Africa, Ptolemy and other ancient sources attributed the putatively burned skin and crisped hair of sub-Saharan Africans to the fact that they lived in the torrid zone, where the force of the sun’s heat upon the human body was most intense. European discovery of the Americas, however, undermined this theory. Those who inhabited its equatorial regions did not resemble those living in the corresponding regions of Africa, American Indian complexions did not vary by latitude, and Africans transported to other regions in the transatlantic slave trade did not change in appearance. Explanations of color were not necessarily invidious; but many found evidence for suspicions regarding Africans’ inherent difference in the Bible. As the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” In addition, among Iberians and the English, “blackness” carried heavy moral weight, being associated with filth, ugliness, sin, malevolence, and treachery.14

Complexion, however, seemed unstable. Crowds came out to view the corpses of two men convicted of conspiring to burn New York City in 1741 when word spread that the black man was turning white and the white man black. Among colonists curious about a spectacle and increasingly interested in questions of color and character, albino children born of black parents caused a sensation, as did those whose blackness seemed to disappear. In 1697, the Virginia planter William Byrd II wrote a letter to the Royal Society of London, describing a young slave “dappel’d” with spots. Though born to “perfect Negroes,” Byrd suspected, “he may in time become all over White.” Such reports, which describe a pigment condition now known as vitiligo, fueled philosophical theories. While George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon argued that the case of the Cartagena slave Marie Sabine indicated the degenerative effects of an unhealthy American climate, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, suggested that if such a man and woman had children, they might produce a new race.15

Apparent instability only increased the importance of determining the cause of the putative blackness of Africans’ skin and, perhaps, formulating a comprehensive theory of “Negro” difference. Early dissections had found a lower layer of white skin and an outer layer of black skin, which were interpreted as confirmation of the ancient association of blackness with tropical heat. In 1665, however, Marcello Malpighi identified a distinct anatomical feature found only among those with dark skin. Blistering black skin with chemicals and examining specimens beneath a microscope, Malpighi identified an intermediate third layer of skin containing pigment, the rete muscosum. Learned colonists pursued natural philosophy that touched so closely upon their own societies, as demonstrated by responses to a prize offered by a French academy in 1739 on the physical causes of Africans’ color, hair, and their “degeneration.” The Virginia physician John Mitchell viewed the rete muscosum through the prism of Isaac Newton’s Opticks (1704), which had demonstrated that whiteness was a combination of all colors and that blackness was an absence of color. Africans and African Americans possessed a thicker epidermis, according to Mitchell, which “obstructs the Transmission of the Rays of Light.” Equatorial heat played a role, but so did the “very barbarous and rude manner, little better than beasts” of native Africans, which accounted for the disproportionate impact of the sun upon their bodies, while “luxurious Customs, and effeminate Lives” shielded Europeans. Indeed, Spaniards who allegedly led “the same rude and barbarous Lives with the Indians … would become as dark in Complexion” if they did not continually marry other Europeans. In contrast, the dissection of perished slaves in Guyana provided the basis of Pierre Barrère’s Dissertation sur la cause physique et la coleur des nègres (1741), which influentially argued that Africans’ darker bile stained not only skin but also the blood. Other anatomists focused their attention on even more interior portions of black bodies. In 1765, French anatomist Claude-Nicolas Le Cat claimed to have found an inky fluid, dubbed ethiops, secreted in black brains, which stained nerves, skin, and even sperm (providing putative evidence for a notion about Africans’ seed that was as old as the ancient Greek writer Strabo). While anatomists formulated these theories as alternatives to humoral or environmentalist explanations, many simply drew upon a range of views syncretically to understand African difference.16

Such theories were crucial as Europeans debated African capabilities. The Dutch geographer Corneille de Pauw insisted that the physiological discoveries of Le Cat and others explained Africans’ alleged inferiority of intellect. Colonials also played prominent roles in these debates, not only as scholars but also as examples of the abilities of people of African descent. The poetry, letters, and antislavery tracts of Phyllis Wheatley, Ignatius Sancho, and Olaudah Equiano carried this significance. Francis Williams, the youngest son of free black Jamaicans, was made the subject of a social experiment to determine whether a black man might be cultivated as a gentleman. He studied mathematics at Cambridge and, after being denied a place on the governor’s council upon his return to Jamaica, he established a school for free black children. This experiment became the subject of lively conversation in the colonies, prompting speculation that one of Williams’s parents had been white, while the Scottish philosopher David Hume defended his view of inherent black inferiority by dismissing Williams as “a parrot.”17

Europeans’ theories, prejudices, and aesthetic judgments merged with longstanding ideas about the fecundity of nature and the hierarchical status of the creatures within it. The Great Chain Being provided the foundation for Edward Long’s view, articulated in his History of Jamaica (1774), of Africans’ physical and moral status. After recounting accusations of sexual relations between African women and apes, and musing that the latter, physically similar, lacked the speech and abilities of the former, the planter stressed the existence of shades of physical and intellectual difference, from the “oran-outang, that type of man, and the Guiney Negroe; and ascending from the varieties of this last class to the lighter casts, until we mark its utmost limit of perfection in the pure White … every member of the creation is wisely fitted and adapted to the certain uses, and confined within certain bounds … by the Divine Fabricator.” Such views may have prevailed among slaveholders, though they were not confined to them. The title of a book by the antislavery race theorist Charles White expressed similar views far more succinctly: An Account of the Regular Gradation in Man (1799).18

Though explanations for blackness varied from the environmentalist to the essentialist, comprehensive understandings of “Negro” difference—articulated through the law, medicine, and popular print culture, as well as natural history and natural and moral philosophy—served to justify black slavery in the Americas.

Blood and Lineage

Ideas of cultural and physical difference frequently intertwined with ideas of descent and heredity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Nowhere, perhaps, is this clearer than in the puzzle of Indian origins, a pressing issue once it became clear that the Americas represented a “new world.” Geography, customs, beliefs, bodies, and languages were all pressed into service to answer a question of ancestry and migration. Theories were innumerable: the Indians were the inhabitants of Atlantis, or Phoenicians, or Welsh. Perhaps the most prominent view—first published in 1594, but probably discussed long before, and reaching its fullest articulation in the southeastern trader James Adair’s History of the North American Indians (1775)—was that the Indians descended from the ten Lost Tribes, Jews who continued to keep the covenant even after being deported to Assyria after the conquest of Israel centuries before Christ. Another theory, first introduced by José de Acosta and increasingly accepted in the 18th century, was that the Indians descended from people in eastern Asia, who likely traveled by land to the Americas via an unknown connection. These two theories were not incompatible since the Lost Tribes might have followed just such a path over many generations. By the 17th century, other writers theorized that diverse old world nations had populated the supposedly new world, a theory especially congenial as the tremendous ethnic diversity of the Americas became increasingly apparent. The most prominent 18th-century proponent of this view was the missionary-chronicler Pierre-Francois-Xavier de Charlevoix, who concluded from the differences among Sioux “hisses,” the “throat[y]” speech of Hurons, and Algonquians’ “more natural” pronunciation that each possessed a distinct origin. Language provided the “Way of ascending to the Original of Nations, which is the least equivocal.” The philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz lent linguistic comparison tremendous authority by proposing a method that sought linguistic similarities that resulted only, supposedly, from shared ancestry.19

The Bible provided a framework for understanding other questions as well. According to Genesis, all human beings descended from Noah and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japhet. For Ham’s refusal to cover his father’s drunken nakedness (or, as in some glosses, for some more significant social or sexual transgression), Noah cursed the descendants of Ham’s son Canaan: “a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” Following the Deluge, the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japhet multiplied and dispersed across the earth. Commentaries assigned each brother’s progeny to various landmasses or to a particular type or quality of land, though with no true consensus on the details. According to one New Englander, John White, some believed Indians “to be Chams posterity, and consequently shut out from grace by Noahs curse.” More frequently, however, apologists for slavery linked the Curse of Ham to Africans, beginning with the Portuguese in the mid-15th century and the Spanish and English by the late 16th century. George Best, for example, observed “an Ethiopian” in England who fathered a child “as blacke as the father” by a white woman, despite both the “clime” and the mother’s “good complexion.” Mindful of the Curse of Ham, Best suggested that “this blacknesse proceedeth of some naturall infection … so all the whole progenie of them descended are still poluted.” Notions of lineage—scriptural genealogy and empirical observations of inherited traits and statuses—became crucial to upholding slavery.20

A focus on lineages became a crucial foundation for the invention of “race.” In the early modern era, the term referred to a noble family, a breed of domesticated animal, or another genealogically related group. Members were expected to share certain traits across generations if they maintained the lineage’s purity of blood (limpieza de sangre). Such ideas had been crucial in the Iberian Reconquista, when subjects with Muslim or Jewish forbears were considered to possess irrevocably tainted ancestries, and Spaniards embraced their ancestry in opposition to charges of degeneration in the American environment. Although the Spanish Crown initially considered Indian converts to possess potential purity of blood, a legal system of classification according to Spanish, Indian, or African descent, or degree of mixed descent, arose as intermarriage increased. Spanish policies encouraged the production of genealogies among those of European and Indian descent as a means to prove the possession of legal privileges. The Spanish imposed a similar system on New Orleans after 1769, though substantial numbers of blancos continued to form families with free women of color. In the second half of the 18th century, a new genre of painting emerged that divided the population into categories (usually sixteen) by depicting a mother of one race or racial intermixture, a father of another race or racial intermixture, and the child they would produce. At a time when colonial mestizaje came under increasing fire from Spain and from creoles as a mark of social degeneration and political disorder, these casta paintings provided positive and negative representations of intermixture. Racial categories, however, despite attempts to fix them in nomenclature, remained porous.21

In New France, as in New Spain, notions of purity of blood intertwined with religion and social rank. Intermarriage, or métissage, was a crucial component of francisation under Louis XIV, a strategy designed to strengthen the empire in North America, though fears of the degeneracy of fur traders who cohabited with Native women outside of imperial oversight intensified as well. By the late 17th century, imperial officials were divided over the propriety of intermarriage, and by the 18th century the failures of francisation gave rise to speculations about the inherent difference of Indians. Yet the lives of individuals such as Jean Saguingouara, son of a French officer and a Catholic Illinois woman, demonstrate a continued porousness of boundaries. His contract as a fur trader included a provision for the laundering of his shirts, which suggests his acceptance of European rather than Native notions of cleanliness (fresh linen as opposed to washing), and the degree to which racial conceptions rested in part upon uses of material culture. Interestingly, even as laws throughout the French Atlantic prohibited interracial marriage, examples from Haiti demonstrate a stunning attempt not to catalog intermixture, but to manufacture it. Some colonials built upon Buffon’s dynamic vision of nature, which stressed not only the transformative power of the environment and the degree to which active intervention in mating could direct the inheritance of desirable traits across generations. As early as 1776–1777, Gabriel de Bory and Michel-René Hilliard d’Auberteuil, respectively a former governor-general of Haiti and a French colonial lawyer, proposed plans for the selective breeding of slaves to create a new caste of mulatto soldiers who would secure the French colony from European rivals and restive slaves.22

Although some English colonists, such as the Jamaican planter Edward Long, advocated the precise nomenclature in use in New Spain, where distinguishing “casts” was a “kind of science,” smaller religious enterprises and larger settler populations led to different dynamics regarding intermarriage in the English colonies. Although English colonial laws did not prohibit Anglo-Indian intermarriage, unlike the earlier prohibition of intermarriage in Ireland, legitimate marriages were rare, mainly confined to those few instances in which Native women had converted to Christianity (such as the celebrated marriage between John Rolfe and Rebecca, the baptismal name of Pocahontas or Metoaka). Sexual relationships continued, of course, but these were illicit. Even in the early 19th century, elites such as Thomas Jefferson advocated Indian–white intermarriage as a means of uniting interests and of conveying “civilization.” Intermarriage, especially in the U.S. early republic, also provided a means of dispossession, as white representations of intermixture provided grounds for denying true Indianness to individuals and communities, for lamenting the disappearance of the race, and thus for eliminating indigenous claims to the land. This was especially true for Native–black unions, the progeny of which were often categorized as black or as people of color. English colonies and later U.S. states prohibited intermarriage between whites and blacks, though interracial sex, coercive and consensual, remained a regular feature of life on plantations and elsewhere. Racial categories in the English colonies and early United States were bounded more sharply, with fewer intermediate gradations, than in the French and Spanish colonies. Individuals in these colonies were white, Negro, or Indian, with terms like “mulatto” and “mustee” denoting intermixture but not its degree. When the United States assumed control of New Orleans following the Louisiana Purchase, it conceded to the city’s complex past and codified a tripartite racial system that recognized distinct privileges for free people of color, though inhabitants and visitors noted finer shades of difference.23

The impulse to parse lineage proportionally existed in tension with 18th-century natural history, which applied “race” to larger and larger groups of people, delineating common physical as well as intellectual, moral, and social traits. François Bernier published the first of these in 1684 in a French learned journal, correlating geography with skin, facial features, and bodily form to categorize the world’s peoples into four “species or races” (espècies ou races). Carolus Linneaus provided more influential classifications that grouped human beings with other primates and divided them from one another in successive editions of Systema naturae, beginning in 1735. Linnaeus established six distinct varieties of homo sapiens, grouped according to characteristics, complexion, and continent, adding unspeaking wild men and monstrous peoples (including pygmies in Africa, supposed giants in Patagonia, and Indians who flattened the heads of infants) to sanguine and inventive white Europeans; lazy, careless, and cunning black Africans; melancholy, haughty, and tradition-bound yellow Asians; and red warlike Indians who lived by habit. Other scholars practiced natural history while insisting on the gulf that separated humanity from beasts. Buffon counted six races (discarding monsters and wild men), while acknowledging individual diversity within races and stressing that environmental influences associated with human migration would produce degeneration over time and place. Other scholars worked to refine racial classifications. Anatomists such as Petrus Camper and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach focused attention on facial angle and skull shape, respectively, while the philologist Sir William Jones stressed the fundamental importance of languages’ grammatical organization. These classifications each presupposed humanity’s shared descent, but each flattened diversity and linked physical and cultural traits through ideas of ancestry.24

The earliest categorizations of diverse nations into single races can be seen with respect to Africans and those descended from Africans; but similar taxonomic practices were applied to Indians, whose diversity colonizers had long emphasized, in the 18th century. Most of these were not essentialist. Buffon, for instance, believed that all American Indians were underdeveloped in body and mind, as were other species of American flora and fauna, because the American land was unhealthy. (Other figures, such as de Pauw and Thomas François Raynal, extended this theory to assert the putative degeneration of European settlers in the Americas.) Some writers fused theories of stages and theories of genealogy. De Pauw and William Robertson, for instance, applied savagery to the presumed shared ancestry of all the indigenous peoples of the Americas. A “tribe of savages on the banks of the Danube must nearly resemble one upon the plains washed by the Missisippi [sic]” because “the disposition and manners of men … arise from the state of society in which they live,” Robertson asserted, but certain “features” and “qualities” were “common to the whole race” of American Indians.25

Although the view was heretical, some early-modern theorists insisted that the seeming cultural, linguistic, and physical difference of Africans and American Indians to other peoples indicated that they shared no common descent. The most famous 17th-century iteration of this polygenetic view was Isaac La Peyère’s Pre-Adamitae (1655), which postulated that human beings were created before Adam. By the middle of the 18th century, towering intellectual figures such as Hume and Voltaire spoke unambiguously of races being different species of humanity that possessed inferior characters and capacities. Among the most inflammatory, because the orthodox considered it so insidious, was that of Henry Home, Lord Kames. Sketches of the History of Man (1774) suggested that the story of the Tower of Babel, in which God confused human tongues and dispersed nations, should be interpreted as casting humanity into a savagery from which different peoples emerged at differing rates, just as they would have if different nations had descended from different original pairs. By the final quarter of the 18th century, views of separate creations and of distinct species of a human genus, had achieved unprecedented respectability, with some colonials, such as Edward Long and the surveyor Bernard Romans, offering more straightforward views of polygenesis.26

Theories about European, American Indian, and African “races” emerged from preexisting ideas and prejudices about “savagery” and “blackness,” the scattered observations of travelers and colonists with first-hand knowledge, and a train of philosophers engaged in explaining non-European bodies and minds by categorizing humanity into broad swaths based upon the geographic origin and physical and cultural characteristics of lineages.

“Whites,” “Indians,” and “Africans” in a Revolutionary Era

Even for ordinary Americans who knew little of philosophical debates, notions that large swaths of population were separated from one another by traits, perhaps inherent, that included way of life and moral character as much as appearance grew increasingly common by the mid-18th century. In a time of considerable violence, political convulsion, and perceived opportunities for social reform, “race” acted as a form of shared identity, the bounds of which had to be policed.

As early as the mid-17th century, “white” became a significant social category in colonies based upon plantation slavery. In the English Caribbean and Chesapeake, “white” became an identity that was able to join planters and indentured servants, English and Irish, Protestants and Catholics, Anglicans and Quakers (and, later, Presbyterians and Baptists). In French Louisiana, too, “white” became a label that included diverse subjects and excluded slaves, free people of color, and Indians. The creation of race, in this sense, was closely tied to the patrolling of social boundaries, which made legal prohibitions on intermarriage and bastardy, and especially with controlling white women’s sexuality, particularly important means of preserving racial purity, even while upholding masters’ prerogatives (including sexual coercion) over their human property. In all of these places, “whiteness” was an abstract identity and a set of legal privileges (such as not being enslaved; being able to marry, own a gun, or give testimony in court) that were deliberately created and codified. 27 Outside of plantation colonies, however, a sense of “whiteness” remained elusive.

In the ethnically diverse mid-Atlantic, especially outside of the city of New York (where slaves were nearly a fifth of the population), immigrants and their descendants recognized little common ground with other Europeans before the mid-18th century. Benjamin Franklin believed the English and the Saxons provided “the principal body of white people” in the world. Franklin felt some white identity, but he excluded most non-English from its bounds, fearing that “swarthy” immigrants would “Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them” since they would “never adopt our language or customs, any more than they can acquire our complexion.” Other writers spoke confidently of assimilation, though some, such as J. Hector St. Jean de Crèvecoeur, imagined the “strange mixture of blood” among a “promiscuous breed” of Europeans creating “a new race of men.”28

While diverse Indians in the region might lump all whites together, only violence in the backcountry in the era of the Seven Years’ War and War for Independence (c. 1754–1795) brought motley Europeans—English, Scot-Irish, German; Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pietist—to refer to one another and to themselves as “the white people.” Those whites, increasingly, despite material and spiritual exchange between Indians and settlers, insisted that Indians were inherently savage. Some settlers understood them to be analogous to “the Canaanites, who by God’s commandment were to be destroyed,” according to the Moravian missionary John Heckewelder, while others “maintained, that to kill an Indian, was the same as killing a bear or a buffalo.” While many voices, primarily in the east, called for a sustained campaign to teach Indians the ways of “civilization” (Christianity, English, private property, plow agriculture for men and spinning and weaving for women) in the late colonial and early national eras, it met opposition among those who thought the effort either undeserved or futile. According to Hugh Henry Brackenridge, a Pittsburgh lawyer and man of letters, Indians had “the shapes of men and may be of the same species,” but they were “so degenerate” as to be “incapable of all civilization,” which justified “dispossess[ing] them of the goodly lands” and provided “sufficient order to exterminate the whole brood.”29

A white racial identity also emerged from the narrowing of diverse early-modern forms of bonded labor to the stark binary of enslaved and free, and the gradual emancipation of slaves in states north of Maryland in the early years of the U.S. republic. In January 1784, for example, a group of New York citizens declared the “traffick of White people” to be “contrary … to the idea of liberty this country has so happily established.” The poverty of emancipated slaves, who toiled in menial labor and enjoyed few educational opportunities, was frequently blamed on some supposed unfitness for freedom. In the South, only elites’ acceptance of egalitarianism among whites, conjoined with white supremacy, mollified ordinary white farmers otherwise resentful of planters’ power. Racial ideologies took shape in expanding forms of print culture; on the nation’s stages, where minstrel shows depicted rural slaves and urban black dandies as objects of ridicule and as figures blissfully outside of ever more disciplined forms of market relations; and in rural posses and urban riots, in which white majorities used violence to enforce white privilege and black subordination.30

Racial lines defined citizenship in the early republic. While revolutionary-era constitutions secured the franchise of any individuals meeting a certain property requirement, the insertion of “white” accompanied the elimination of property qualifications in revised constitutions in the early 19th century. All “free white persons” could become citizens through naturalization. Commenting on the torrent of Irish Catholics into New York after 1840, the diarist George Templeton Strong observed that “nature” had formed their “prehensile paws” to wield the tools of manual labor, and he believed “Our Celtic fellow citizens are almost as remote from us in temperament and constitution as the Chinese.” Yet, the fact remained that the Irish successfully seized citizenship while the Chinese, whose numbers grew suddenly after the California Gold Rush, met violent resistance. Mexicans, Catholic like the Irish and guaranteed citizenship under the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo (1848), were disfranchised on racial grounds. The widespread view that the United States was a white nation, and that whites possessed the right to claim the continent, undergirded calls for the colonization of emancipated slaves, Indian removal, and “manifest destiny.” By the time of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), the U.S. Supreme Court considered it a settled principle that citizenship had always been “confined to the white race; and that they alone constituted the sovereignty in the government.”31

Racial categories also gained significance among people of Native and African descent. In “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” the poet Phyllis Wheatley, struck at those who “view our sable race with scornful eye,” reminding “Christians, negroes, black as Cain, / May be refin’d, and join th’angelic train.” Though she chose “sable” rather than “black” to describe her appearance, she identified with others of her complexion even as she rejected associations of “blackness” and sin. Beginning in the 1760s, enslaved and free authors of African descent in England and British America such as Wheatley and Ignatius Sancho began to cast themselves as “African” to lend authority to their opposition to slavery. This new diasporic identity, rooted in a sense of pride, suffering, and racial difference from Europeans, was not limited to black intellectuals alone. In the wave of post-revolutionary emancipation, free blacks established churches (e.g., African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia and elsewhere), institutions dedicated to racial uplift (e.g., African Free School in New York City), and fraternal organizations (e.g., African Masonic Lodge in Boston). Each rested upon and deepened the shared history and identity among people of African descent.32

Diasporic ties and a national identity, however, remained at odds. Black Americans and Britons, such as Olaudah Equiano and Paul Cuffe (who also possessed Wampanoag ancestry), believed that colonization of Sierra Leone and Liberia presented the opportunity to create a black nation that would bring Christianity, “civilization,” and commerce without the slave trade to Africa; but these projects fell short. Colonists did not identify with pagans, and the black public in the United States rejected colonization as demeaning of itself and as a slaveholder strategy to strengthen the institution by removing free blacks. These tensions were especially charged in the wake of the Haitian Revolution, which heightened race-based hopes and fears. In the explosive pages of An Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1829), David Walker demanded an end not only to slavery but also to racial prejudice; yet his appeal to a global community of exploited nonwhite peoples demonstrated an expansive notion of race, which he believed to be very real (speculating, for instance, on whites’ inherent moral defect). In advocating a black uprising, Walker offered a jarring, and for many a terrifying, alternative to complacent calls for colonization or the gradual amelioration of slavery and prejudice. Around this time, free blacks began replacing “African” associations and institutions with “Colored” ones, as they more insistently claimed an “American” identity for themselves.33

A racial identity also emerged among some Natives in the 18th century. Indians had long noticed physical distinctions, but did not consider them immutable. Caddos around the turn of the 18th century, for example, “often exposed … young Frenchmen to make them become tanned like themselves.” Yet, between the mid-17th and the mid-18th century accounts from the Great Lakes to the mid-Atlantic indicate that increasing numbers of Indians pointed to factors such as newcomers’ technologies and bodies to assert that the Europeans possessed an origin distinct from their own. Further, southeastern Indians referred to themselves as “red” by the mid-1720s, before any known European did so. While initially this likely referred to the traditional moiety division among Creeks (with red denoting war and white peace), in the succeeding decades the designation clearly came to refer to skin color.34

From the 1730s–1750s, prophets emerged among the Iroquois and Delawares who urged diverse indigenous peoples to recognize a common identity among themselves that separated them from whites, and linked these ideas to calls for resisting settlers’ expansion. As the Cayuga orator Gachradodow told colonial officials at the Treaty of Lancaster (1744), the Atlantic Ocean separated distinct worlds, “as may be known from the different Colours of our Skin … you have your Laws and Customs, and so have we.” Only refusing to cede more land, purifying Native societies by rejecting elements of cultural exchange (such as alcohol and Christianity), and performing new rituals, would restore the physical and spiritual power once enjoyed by Indians’ ancestors. This message was most fully amplified at mid-century by Neolin (Delaware), whose message inspired Pontiac (Ottawa), and many others. In the first two decades of the 19th century, Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh (Shawnee), as well as Hillis Hadjo (Creek), offered similar messages to similar effect, inspiring numerous warriors to attempt to drive back whites. These radical racial messages sought to create a unified pan-Indian identity, but they also divided Indians precisely because they cut against older, more familiar identifications with village, clan, language, and tribe.35

Racial ideas also flourished among those who very deliberately adapted Euro-American religion and political economy. Drawing, in part, on indigenous views of separate creations, many Catawbas, Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws adapted traditional notions of captivity to plantation slavery. Diverse southern New England and upper Hudson Valley Algonquians came together to form the communities of Stockbridge and Brothertown, but frustrated by white prejudice and pressure, they relocated to live among the Oneidas, ethnically distinct traditional rivals but fellow Christians. Many of these people came to believe that only a divine curse could explain the failure, despite their conversion and “civilization,” of harmonious relations with whites. Racial ideas also provided a means of social criticism. The Methodist preacher William Apess (Pequot), for instance, held up an “Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man” and he asserted “Indian Nullification” of unjust laws in a series of pamphlets in the 1830s. Apess and others drew upon tribal and Indian identities in an era when whites not only forced Indian removal to the West but also denied the existence of Native people who remained in the East.36

Folk articulations of “white” or “African” or “Indian” identities proliferated in the mid-18th century. These racial identities played a crucial role in the U.S. early republic, where they provided the means of unifying diverse peoples who sought to wield power and those who attempted to resist it.

Ethnology: “An American Science”

The Enlightenment’s philosophical examination of different “races,” whether understood to be human varieties or human species, converged with revolutionary-era folk articulations of racial identity and the new nation’s professed commitment to equality and natural rights, to drive American interest in studies of the origins, migrations, kinship, and capabilities of different races (a set of studies which, by the mid-19th century, would be called ethnology), and to apply that knowledge to society and government in the U.S. early republic.

The most eloquent American writer on equality and natural rights, who famously ridiculed the idea that nature formed some men saddled and others spurred, expressed a “suspicion” that “blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” Thomas Jefferson owned scores of men and women, fathering six children by Sally Hemings; yet he insisted that emancipation would result in race war unless accompanied by expatriation. In Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), he argued that black inferiority was “fixed,” but that Indians were capable of “cultivation.” The former view justified slavery and the necessity of colonization, while the latter allowed him to refute Buffon’s theory that the unhealthy Americas had only recently emerged from Deluge. So did Jefferson’s contention, based on the relative degree of linguistic diversity in the continents, that the Americas must have been settled longer than Asia, and that people from the former had actually colonized the latter. These conjectures, and his impulse to turn his countrymen’s efforts to collecting information about Indians—which he extended through the American Philosophical Society (est. 1743) and institutionalized as president through ventures such as the Lewis and Clark Expedition—were tremendously influential, though most initial commentators roundly rejected his theories.37

The question of whether races could change received sustained attention in the context of revolutionary natural rights ideology and gradual emancipation in the North. From the 1790s to the 1850s, black intellectuals such as the mathematician and almanac maker Benjamin Banneker, the militant abolitionist David Walker, and the physician James McCune Smith, challenged Jefferson’s views on black inferiority and the need for racial separation. Figures whose race seemed to be in some way unstable, such as the black Virginian Henry Moss, sparked the curiosity of popular crowds and debates among the learned. Benjamin Smith Barton was convinced that Moss’s perspiration washed away blackness, but his student Charles Caldwell believed that the body had absorbed it. Benjamin Rush thought Moss confirmed his theory that blackness was a form of leprosy, demanding strict prohibitions on interracial sex, while Samuel Stanhope Smith accepted Moss as proof that a free American environment was gradually eliminating blackness, a process that intermixture with whites would accelerate. Moss himself believed his transformation to be the work of Providence, perhaps because exhibiting himself provided the means to purchase his freedom.38

Medical discourses remained crucial to racial notions. In slave markets, blackness was a sign of health and strength for field hands, though lighter skin was preferred for domestics, despite its association with intelligence and the risk of slaves running away and passing as free. The New Orleans physician Samuel Cartwright diagnosed diseases peculiar to blacks, including “drapetomania” and “dysӕsthesia ӕthiopica,” which referred to supposed afflictions that caused slaves to run away and to act with “rascality” toward overseers. The Mobile physician Josiah Nott predicted the extermination of whites and blacks if intermixture proceeded, which the craniologist Samuel G. Morton refined into an elaborate polygenetic theory of hybridization that postulated the possibility, contra Buffon, of distinct species producing fertile offspring, but with fertility diminishing with biological distance. Such theories shaped the defense of slavery as a positive good as well as state laws, plantation management, and even international diplomacy. In a letter to his British counterpart, Secretary of State John C. Calhoun drew upon the results of the deeply flawed 1840 census, which recorded implausible levels of insanity and suicide among northern free blacks, in a proslavery defense of Texas annexation.39

The malleability of physical differences was a hotly contested issue in these years, though theories of fixity steadily gained in prominence throughout the first half of the 19th century. Samuel Stanhope Smith argued that skin color resulted from the reciprocal effects of climate and social state. Most strikingly, in An Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human Species (1787; rev. ed. 1810), he suggested that shared conditions and intermixture among Indians and lower-class whites was producing an “American complexion” from the convergence of lower-class white settlers and Indians. While some authorities, such as the eminent British ethnologist James Cowles Prichard, cited him in defense of their own environmentalist theories, American opponents such as Charles Caldwell and John Augustine Smith, ridiculed such explanations of difference. Work by John C. Warren and Samuel G. Morton, especially the latter’s Crania Americana (1839), shifted debate away from complexion and toward bones, particularly skulls. Adapting Blumenbach’s five-race classification, Morton rejected the anatomist’s interpretation by arguing that races were fixed and unequal. In subsequent publications he explicitly argued for polygenesis. In Crania Ægyptiaca (1844), Morton argued that the creators of Egyptian (i.e., western) civilization were white and that blacks had been an enslaved caste. His associate George Gliddon elaborated these views in public lectures and polemical, stridently anticlerical articles based upon physical ethnology and hieroglyphics. Descriptions of black civilization in Egypt became central to black abolitionists’ counterattack, as in The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered (1854), an address that Frederick Douglass delivered at Western Reserve College.40

Indians also captured attention, frequently focused on Indian origins and broader debates about polygenesis. Language was a crucial field of investigation. Benjamin Smith Barton’s writings, especially New Views of the Origins of the Tribes and Nations of America (1797; rev. ed. 1798), compared words drawn from diverse Indian and Asian tongues in an attempt to prove, contra Jefferson, Indians’ origins in Asia. In 1819 the retired missionary John Heckewelder and the lawyer Peter S. Du Ponceau argued that Indians spoke copious and beautiful languages, but ones organized according to a fixed “plan of ideas” that all Indians and no old world peoples possessed. Du Ponceau’s work, extended by John Pickering and Albert Gallatin, inspired sustained evangelization and missionary philology, but frustrations at recording Native sounds with English letters and using Native words and grammatical forms to translate Christian concepts fueled new theories of Indians’ physical and mental difference. Such theories converged with similar work in Europe, such as that of Wilhelm von Humboldt, who formulated his views in conversation with American philologists. Even for those who publicly supported “civilization” efforts and who rejected polygenism, such as the Indian agent-ethnologist Henry R. Schoolcraft, philology could seem to undermine philanthropy.41

Learned and popular interest in Indian antiquities and customs was also central to racial theories. While Benjamin Smith Barton pointed to Indians’ grammatical complexity and graphic systems to argue that Indians had degenerated from a previous civilization capable of building the large earthen mounds in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, Caleb Atwater argued in the first transactions of the American Antiquarian Society (est. 1812) that a distinct race of Mound Builders had been vanquished by savage invaders from whom Indians descended. Demonstrating the degree to which archaeological theories undermined Indians’ claims to their lands, President Andrew Jackson defended Indian removal in a message to Congress by calling attention to the “monuments and fortifications … the memorials of a once powerful race, which was exterminated or has disappeared to make room for the existing savage tribes.” Innumerable popular tracts disseminated and elaborated such theories, and Ephraim G. Squier and Edwin Davis’s Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (1849), the inaugural publication of the Smithsonian Institution, lent them scientific legitimacy. Ethnographic descriptions of Indians’ ways of life also ranged from the serious (e.g., George Catlin’s remarkably illustrated account of the peoples of the Great Plains) to the sensationalistic.42

U.S. citizens expanded their investigations of race while different ethnologies competed with one another. The three decades before the Civil War saw the seminal publications of the American School of Ethnology (Morton, Gliddon, Nott, Squier, and Louis Agassiz), which were remarkably influential, and controversial, for their insistence upon polygenism, racial inequality, and that the body alone (not language) revealed “race.” Ethnological debates grew more urgent when “Manifest Destiny” brought staggeringly diverse and little known western Indians, Mexicans, and Chinese into the nation. At the same time, scholars at the American Ethnological Society and American Oriental Society (each est. 1842), published accounts of the peoples, manners and customs, languages and monuments of the peoples of the Pacific Islands, Asia, and Africa, increasingly encountered through expanding U.S. commerce, missionary work, and exploration (e.g., Wilkes Expedition in 1838–1842). Most of these peoples were interpreted in light of a racial binary that associated dark skin with servility and native status with savagery; possessors of the former were disqualified from republican citizenship, while possessors of the latter were incapable of civilization. In addition, innumerable representations and misrepresentations of European and nonwhite peoples, societies, and histories appeared in the popular press. Describing “American Ethnology” to a popular audience in 1849, Ephraim Squier stressed that since “Nowhere else can we find brought in so close proximity, the representatives of races and families of men, of origins and physical and mental constitutions so diverse,” ethnology was a truly “American science.”43

Despite the importance of racial theories to proslavery, removal, and conquest, some ethnologists argued against the most pernicious forms of racism. At a time when whites lauded themselves as the only race capable of independent civilization, Albert Gallatin drew upon languages, agriculture, and astronomy to argue that “American civilization” in Mesoamerica was indigenous, even if Indians’ ancestors originated in Asia, and that Cherokees and Pueblos further confirmed the possibility of Indian cultivation. With denigration of Mexico’s mixed-race inhabitants commonplace—some advocating seizing all of Mexico; others prophesying the impossibility of assimilating so many ostensibly inferior peoples—Gallatin declared it incompatible “with the principle of Democracy, which rejects every hereditary claim of individuals, to admit an hereditary superiority of races,” in a passionate opposition to the Mexican War. Some nonwhites challenged race science even more deeply. William W. Warren, a Christian Ojibwe, for instance, targeted both the American School and Schoolcraft, equating polygenesis with pagan superstitions of spontaneous emergence and dismissing ethnologists’ insistence that all American Indians shared a common ancestry. Warren argued that his own “Algic race,” descended from the Lost Tribes, had always been distinct from his people’s traditional rivals, the Tartar-descended “Dakota race.” The black abolitionist James McCune Smith rejected “so-called ‘races’ of mankind” as a fantasy because peoples had intermingled throughout history. The fusion of diverse Europeans, Indians, and the “ever-despised negro” was forming a true “American People.”44

Race emerged from Europeans’ preexisting prejudices, ongoing ethnographic observation and philosophical speculation, and justification of social primacy, though groups excluded from the category of whiteness formulated their own notions of race. Racial ideas were fiercely debated in early America. Did the races share a common ancestry? Were the races fixed, or capable of alteration or improvement? Was “race” best traced through the body or through language? What, ultimately, was “race”? For all this uncertainty, however, race acquired legal power and social significance—for whites circumscribing the boundaries of democracy; for Indians and blacks defending their lands and their freedom—in the U.S. early republic in the decades before the Civil War, with ideas of biological fixity ascendant, though not unchallenged.

Discussion of the Literature

The earliest histories of the emergence of modern, biological ideas about race in the mid-19th century appeared in the civil rights era. See William Stanton, The Leopard’s Spots: Scientific Attitudes toward Race in America, 1815–59; Thomas F. Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America. Winthrop D. Jordan’s White Over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550–1812, is the classic account of anti-black prejudice preceding racial slavery, and of the question of racial equality gaining new meaning from the American Revolution. George M. Fredrickson’s The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny extends the investigation through Reconstruction, stressing the difference of mid-19th-century racism from what preceded it. For an overview, see Alden T. Vaughan’s “The Origins Debate: Slavery and Racism in Seventeenth-Century Virginia.”45

Studies of Indians have focused on the emergence of ideas of savagery. The pioneering work, Roy Harvey Pearce, Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind, recounted the ways that “savagism” provided a foil for whites’ sense of themselves. Anthony Pagden’s The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology; Ronald Meek’s Social Science and the Ignoble Savage; and Robert E. Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian: The Early Years of American Ethnology, 1820–1880 provide more detail.46 In the Vietnam era, Brian W. Dippie, The Vanishing American: Popular Attitudes and American Indian Policy in the Nineteenth Century; Bernard W. Sheehan, Seeds of Extinction: Jeffersonian Philanthropy and the American Indian; Robert F. Berkhofer, The White Man’s Indian: Images of the Indian from Columbus to the Present; and Reginald Horsman’s Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of Anglo-American Racial Anglo-Saxonism, directly linked ideas to U.S. power.47

In the last two decades, scholars have stressed ordinary people’s production of multifarious ideas of difference. Among the most important contributions have been made by those scholars who have centered questions of gender and sex to constructions of race, such as Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia; Nancy Shoemaker, A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America; Jennifer Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order in Early New Orleans; María Elena. Martínez, Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico; and articles by Jennifer Morgan and Heather Miyano Kopelson in the William and Mary Quarterly.48 On other ways of life in constructions of race, see Shoemaker; Joyce Chaplin’s Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500–1676; John Wood Sweet’s Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730–1830.49 Rebecca Anne Goetz’s The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race; Sophie White’s Wild Frenchman and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana; and Sean P. Harvey’s Native Tongues: Colonialism and Race from Encounter to the Reservation, provide more focused attention, respectively, on religion, material culture, and language.50

The centrality of lineage to ideas of race has been increasingly appreciated. See Nicholas Hudson’s “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’: The Origin of Racial Classification in Eighteenth-Century Thought,” Eighteenth-Century Studies (1996), and María Elena Martínez and Guillaume Aubert in the forum “Purity of Blood and the Social Order” (WMQ 2004). Spear, Goetz, and Harvey build on this insight. On notions of Native ancestry, Lee Eldridge Huddleston’s Origins of the American Indians: European Concepts, 1492–1729 (1967) is unmatched.51

Many titles have traced the emergence of racial ideas among diverse groups. On ideas of whiteness, see David R. Roediger’s Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class; Matthew Frye Jacobson’s Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race; and Peter Silver’s Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America.52 James Sidbury’s Becoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic, compellingly traces early formulations of “African” and “Colored” identities, as does Sweet. Mia Bay’s The White Image in the Black Mind: African-American Ideas about White People; Bruce Dain’s A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory in the Early Republic trace black writers’ theorization about race in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War.53 For Indians’ ideas of race, besides Shoemaker, see foundational articles by James H. Merrell on “The Racial Education of the Catawba Indians,” and by William G. McLoughlin and Walter H. Cosner Jr., “‘The First Man was Red’: Cherokee Responses to the Debate over Indian Origins, 1760–1860.” Gregory Evans Dowd’s A Spirited Resistance: The Native American Struggle for Unity, 1745–1815; David J. Silverman’s Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America; and Christina Snyder’s Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America do especially well to root new racial ideas in older Native beliefs and practices.54

Importantly, these authors diverge on when a true understanding of “race” emerged. Some find essentialist understandings of difference present in classical sources and clearly articulated in the early modern era. See Miriam Eliav-Feldon, Benjamin Isaac, and Joseph Ziegler, eds., The Origins of Racism in the West. Jordan, Berkhofer, Chaplin, and Goetz each argued that racial ideas crystallized before the 18th century. The authors of a special issue of William and Mary Quarterly on “Constructing Race: Differentiating Peoples in the Early Modern World” argue this point too.55 In contrast, other scholars point to the Enlightenment as a crucial moment in the philosophical–scientific definition of “race” and its differentiation from “nation.” See, for example, Hudson; Ivan Hannaford’s Race: The History of an Idea in the West; Roxann Wheeler’s The Complexion of Race: Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture (2000); and Andrew Curran’s Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment (2013).56 Still other scholars point to the social–political context in North America, sometimes in tandem with philosophical currents. Dowd, Shoemaker, Silverman, Snyder, and Silver point to the intensification of white settlement, the expansion of slavery, and increasing territorial and cultural pressure on Indians in crystallizing ideas of race in the mid-to-late 18th century. To these, Sweet adds the effects of emancipation.57 Fredrickson, Dain, Sweet, and Harvey stress the importance of the revolution, as well as the hardening of racial ideas in the mid-19th century. See also the “Special Issue on Racial Consciousness and Nation Building in the Early Republic” in Journal of the Early Republic. For a general overview that stresses race as a body of folk beliefs and social stratification, rather than a set of philosophical or scientific theories, see Audrey Smedley, Race in North America: The Origin and Evolution of a Worldview (1993).58

Despite these differences in approach and in chronology, scholars have come to recognize the hereditarian basis of many of the earliest pejorative characterizations of peoples as well as the persistence of non-bodily “cultural” understandings of race long after the ascendance of biology. Ideas of “race” in early America remain a fertile field of scholarly inquiry, with much more work remaining to be done.

Primary Sources

Innumerable sources contain material pertinent to ideas about race or its component parts, including ancestry and physical and cultural traits. Early travel narratives are invaluable, though they vary by richness as well as in the quality of indexes and editorial notes. Decades’ worth of publications by the Hakluyt Society and the Champlain Society contain scores of early English and French accounts, with the former including voyages to Africa as well as the Americas. For eastern Indians in the 17th and early 18th centuries, the seventy-two volumes of the Jesuit Relations are unparalleled, well-indexed in an edition by Reuben Gold Thwaites, and now available as searchable digital sources courtesy of Creighton University. Numerous translations of journals kept by German-speaking Moravian missionaries among the Iroquoians and Algonquians of the mid-Atlantic in the mid- to late 18th century are also tremendously valuable. The most important early-modern theorizations of Indians’ social state available in English include José de Acosta’s Natural and Moral History of the Indies, ed. Jane E. Mangan, trans. Frances López Morillas (2002); Joseph Francois Lafitau’s Customs of the American Indians Compared to the Customs of Primitive Times, ed. William N. Fenton and Elizabeth L. Moore, 2 vols. (1977); and William Robertson’s History of America, 3 vols. (1780).59 Other works, such as Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix’s Journal of a Voyage to North America (1761); and James Adair’s History of the North American Indians, ed. Kathryn E. Holland Braund (2005), contain significant ethnographic information, but privilege the question of lineage over that of social condition.60 With respect to African slaves, Edward Long’s History of Jamaica, 3 vols. (1774) provides especially important descriptions, and John Mitchell’s “Essay upon the Causes of the different Colours of People in different Climates,” in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions (1744–1745), provides a detailed attempt by a colonial to theorize skin color within prevailing scientific frameworks.61 See also Transactions of the American Philosophical Society.

Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden (1954), and the two most detailed attempts to refute its heterodox views: Benjamin Smith Barton’s New Views of the Tribes and Nations of America, rev. ed. (1798); and Samuel Stanhope Smith’s Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human Species, rev. ed. (1810) demonstrate interest in questions of descent and development, understood mainly through the frameworks of natural history, moral philosophy, and scripture, proliferated in the U.S. early republic.62 Voluntary associations were crucial for publishing racial theorization and other studies that became incorporated into philosophical or scientific studies of race, much of which was subsequently reviewed in the popular press, now accessible though subscription databases such as Proquest’s American Periodicals Series and Readex’s Early American Newspapers. The latter provides an especially important window into the racial views of ordinary people. Researchers will find scattered material in the publications of state historical societies and learned societies. See especially Transactions of the Historical and Literary Committee of the American Philosophical Society (1819, 1838, 1843); Archaeologia Americana: Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society (1820, 1836); and Transactions of the American Ethnological Society (1845, 1848, 1853), which include publications by John Heckewelder, Peter S. Du Ponceau, Caleb Atwater, Albert Gallatin, Samuel G. Morton, and Ephraim G. Squier.

A number of other titles provide a sense of expanding ethnographic knowledge. Missionary organizations extended their reach in this era, with the Papers of the America Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (est. 1810), held by Harvard University’s Houghton Library, providing unmatched breadth and depth. Some material was published in monthly issues of Missionary Herald. See also Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., Early Western Travels, 1748–1846, 32 vols. (1904–1907); George Catlin’s Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians (1841); two reports of the United States Exploring Expedition’s journey across the Pacific, Horatio Hale’s Ethnography and Philology (1846) and Charles Pickering’s Races of Man, and their Geographic Distribution (1848); and Henry R. Schoolcraft’s Information respecting the History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, 6 vols. (1851–1857).63 The titles by Hale, Pickering, and Schoolcraft illustrate the growing importance of federal collection and publication of racial knowledge, and mid-19th-century disputes on both the methods and conclusions of ethnology. The most influential works on polygenism, the fixity of races, and the primacy of the body over language in determining race and ancestry are those of the American School of Ethnology: Samuel G. Morton’s Crania Americana (1839) and Crania Ægyptiaca (1843), and Josiah Nott and George Gliddon’s massive compilations Types of Mankind (1854) and Indigenous Races of the Earth (1857). Most of these, along with many missionary and learned society publications, are available on Project Gutenberg or Google Books.

The personal papers of these particular philologists and ethnologists are tremendous resources for reconstructing not only theories of race but also the networks that produced and disseminated those theories. Especially rich are the papers of Benjamin Smith Barton, Peter S. Du Ponceau, and Samuel G. Morton, with collections for each housed at the American Philosophical Society and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (though, for Morton, HSP only stores the collection on behalf of the Library Company of Philadelphia); the papers of Albert Gallatin at New-York Historical Society; and the papers of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft at Library of Congress. The Gallatin and Schoolcraft papers are also available on microfilm.

Sensitive readings of nearly all of the above sources will yield indications of the roles that nonwhites played in the production of ideas about race. For especially rich theorizations about race by black intellectuals, which directly addressed prevailing debates in ethnology, see Hosea Easton’s Treatise on the Intellectual Character, and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the U. States; and the Prejudice Exercised towards Them (1837); Frederick Douglass’s Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered (1854); and the excellent collected edition of The Works of James McCune Smith: Black Intellectual and Abolitionist, ed. John Stauffer (2006).64 The Afro-Native writer Robert Benjamin Lewis’s Light and Truth, From Ancient and Sacred History (1836) is also important.65 For evidence of Native engagement with racial theories as authors in their own right, see Elias Boudinot, Cherokee Editor: The Writings of Elias Boudinot, ed. Theda Perdue (1983); William Apess, On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, a Pequot ed. Barry O’Connell (1992); Kah-ge-ga-gah-bouh [George Copway], The Traditional History of the Ojibaway Nation (1850); Peter Jones (Kahkewaquonaby), History of the Ojebway Indians; with Especial Reference to their Conversion to Christianity (1861); and William W. Warren, History of the Ojibway People (1984).66

Further Reading

  • Brown, Kathleen M. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
  • Chaplin, Joyce E. Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500–1676. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001.
  • Curran, Andrew. Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
  • Dain, Bruce. A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory in the Early Republic. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.
  • Davis, David Brion, Alden T. Vaughan, Virginia Mason Vaughan, Emily C. Bartels, Robin Blackburn, Benjamin Braude, James H. Sweet, Jennifer L. Morgan, Karen Ordahl Kupperman, and Joyce E. Chaplin. “Constructing Race: Differentiating Peoples in the Early Modern World.” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser. 54.1 (January 1997): 7–252.
  • Dowd, Gregory Evans. A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745–1815. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
  • Harvey, Sean P. Native Tongues: Colonialism and Race from Encounter to the Reservation. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015.
  • Horsman, Reginald. Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980.
  • Jordan, Winthrop D. White over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550–1812. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968.
  • Kidd, Colin. The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Martínez, María Elena. Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.
  • Morrison, Michael A., James Brewer Stewart, David R. Roediger, Daniel K. Richter, Lois E. Horton, Joanne Pope Melish, Jon Gjerde, James Brewer Stewart, Lacy K. Ford, James P. Ronda, and David Brian Davis, “Special Issue on Racial Consciousness and Nation Building in the Early Republic.” Journal of the Early Republic 19.4 (Winter 1999): 576–775.
  • Pagden, Anthony. The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
  • Shoemaker, Nancy. A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Sidbury, James. Becoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Spear, Jennifer. Race, Sex, and Social Order in Early New Orleans. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
  • Sweet, John Wood. Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730–1830. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.


  • 1. Acts of the Apostles, 17:26 (King James Version). See also Benjamin Braude, “The Sons of Noah and the Construction of Ethnic and Geographical Identities in the Medieval and Early Modern Period,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Ser., 54 (1997): 103–142; and Ivan Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1996), 89–91.

  • 2. James T. Sweet, “The Iberian Roots of American Racist Thought,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Ser., 54 (1997): 143–166, esp. 158; Rebecca Anne Goetz, The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2012), 18–19; and Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 58.

  • 3. The Journal of Christopher Columbus (During His First Voyage), and Documents Relating to the Voyages of John Cabot and Gaspar Corte Real, trans. and ed., Clements R. Markham (London: Hakluyt Society, 1893), 38, 68, 160; and Richard Hakluyt, “A Note of Sebastian Gabote Voyage,” in Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America and the Islands Adjacent, ed. John Winter Jones (London: Hakluyt Society, 1850), 23–24. See also Robert F. Berkhofer, The White Man’s Indian: Images of the Indian from Columbus to the Present (1978; New York: Vintage, 1979), 4–7; and Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 10–11, 78–82.

  • 4. Thomas Harriot’s Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (London, 1590), unnumbered page titled, “Som Pictvre of the Pictes which in the olde tyme dyd habite one part of the great Bretainne.” See also Pagden, Fall of Natural Man, 27–108, 119–197; and Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), 27–30, 49–61.

  • 5. Richard Eden, The First Three Books on America, [?1511]–1555 A.D., ed. Edward Arber (Birmingham, UK, 1885), xlii, 338; Champlin Burrage, ed., John Pory’s Lost Description of Plymouth Colony in the Earliest Days of the Pilgrim Fathers, Together with Contemporary Accounts of English Colonization Elsewhere in New England and the Bermudas (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1918), 50. See also Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, “New World, New Stars: Patriotic Astrology and the Invention of Indian and Creole Bodies in Colonial Spanish America, 1600–1650,” American Historical Review 104.1 (February 1999): 33–68, esp. 37–47; Joyce Chaplin, Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500–1676 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006), 116–125, 243–279; Brown, Good Wives, 57, 63; and Roxann Wheeler, The Complexion of Race: Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 17–21.

  • 6. Samuel Purchas, “Virginias Verger: Or a Discourse shewing the benefits which may grow to this Kingdome from American English Plantations, and specially those of Virginia and Summer Ilands,” in Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes, Contayning a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells by Englishmen and Others, vol. 19 (New York: Macmillan, 1906), 231; “Letter-Book of Samuel Sewall,” Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 6th ser., 1 (1886), 401; and Joseph Francois Lafitau, Customs of the American Indians Compared to the Customs of Primitive Times, ed. William N. Fenton and Elizabeth L. Moore, 2 vols. (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1977), 2: 264. See also Bernard Sheehan, Savagism and Civility: Indians and Englishmen in Colonial Virginia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 65–88; Brown, Good Wives, 45–74; Kupperman, Indians and English, 48–50, 78–79, 107–114; and Sean P. Harvey, Native Tongues: Colonialism and Race from Encounter to the Reservation (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015), 20, 26–35.

  • 7. “Nathaniel Bacon, his manifesto concerning the present troubles in Virginia,” in Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1675–1676, ed. W. Noel Salisbury (London, 1893), 448. See also Kupperman, Indians and English, 228–240; Chaplin, Subject Matter, 15–16, 244; Jill Lepore, The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity (New York: Vintage, 1999), 166–167; and James D. Rice, Tales from a Revolution: Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 44, 57, 67–68.

  • 8. Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 73 vols. (Cleveland, 1896–1901), 2:13. See also Carole Blackburn, Harvest of Souls: The Jesuit Missions and Colonialism in North America, 1632–1650 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000), 133–134; Chaplin, Subject Matter,116–198, 270–279; and Cañizares-Esguerra, “New World, New Stars.”

  • 9. Pagden, Fall of Natural Man, 146–209; Ronald L. Meek, Social Science and the Ignoble Savage (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1976); and Harvey, Native Tongues, 19–48.

  • 10. Morgan Godwyn, The Negro’s and Indians Advocate, Suing for their Admission into the Church: or a Persuasive to the Instructing and Baptizing of the Negro’s and Indians in our Plantations (London, 1680), 39, 36. See also Winthrop D. Jordan, White over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550–1812 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 4–11, 17–18; Sue Peabody, “‘A Nation Born to Slavery’: Missionaries and Racial Discourse in the Seventeenth-Century French Antilles,” Journal of Social History 38.1 (2004): 113–126; Sweet, “Iberian Roots”; and María Elena Martínez, “The Black Blood of New Spain: Limpieza de Sangre Racial Violence, and Gendered Power in Early Colonial Mexico,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 61.3 (July 2004): 479–520, esp. 488–492.

  • 11. Michael Guasco, Slaves and Englishmen: Human Bondage in the Early Modern Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), 26–33, 195–226; Brown, Good Wives, 107–136; Goetz, Baptism, 86–111, 136–137; and Jennifer M. Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order in Early New Orleans (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 52–78.

  • 12. [Samuel Sewall], The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial (Boston, 1700), 1–2; and John Wood Sweet, Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730–1830 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 58–64, 83–97, 154, 256–257, 284 (Belknap quoted on 154). See also Margot Minardi, “The Boston Inoculation Controversy of 1721–1722: An Incident in the History of Race,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 61.1 (January 2004): 47–76.

  • 13. Sir Thomas Herbert, Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Asia and Afrique (London, 1638), 27. See also Jordan, White over Black, 20–43; Brown, Good Wives, 37–41, 111, esp. 111; and Richard Ligon, A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados (London, 1657), 51. See also Jennifer L. Morgan, “‘Some Could Suckle over Their Shoulder’: Male Travelers, Female Bodies, and the Gendering of Racial Ideology, 1500–1770,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 54.1 (January 1997): 167–192.

  • 14. Jeremiah 13:23 (King James Version). See also Jordan, White over Black, 4–11; and Sweet, “Iberian Roots.”

  • 15. Will[iam] Byrd, “An Account of a Negro-Boy that is dappel’d in several Places of his Body with White Spots,” Philosophical Transactions 19 (1695–1697): 781–782. See also Jordan, White over Black, 244–252; Jill Lepore, New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (New York: Vintage, 2005), 170–171; and Andrew Curran, Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), 87–105.

  • 16. John Mitchell, “An Essay upon the Causes of the different Colours of People in different Cimates,” Philosophical Transactions 43 (1744–1745): 102–150, at 126, 138, 140, 150; and Curran, Anatomy of Blackness, 1–4, 117–130 (“degeneration” quoted at 2). See also Jordan, White over Black, 245–250; Wheeler, Complexion of Race, 25–28; and James Delbourgo, “The Newtonian Slave Body: Racial Enlightenment in the Atlantic World,” Atlantic Studies 9.2 (June 2012): 185–207.

  • 17. David Hume, “Of National Characters,” in Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, edited by Eugene F. MIller (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1985), 208. See also Curran, Anatomy of Blackness, 127–128; Vincent Carretta, “Who Was Francis Williams?” Early American Literature 38.2 (Spring 2003): 213–237; and James Sidbury, Becoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 17–65.

  • 18. Edward Long, History of Jamaica, 3 vols. (1774), 2: 351–375, at 375. See also Wheeler, Complexion of Race, 209–233; and Jordan, White over Black, 482–502, esp. 499.

  • 19. P. de Charlevoix, Journal of a Voyage to North-America. Undertaken by Order of the French King [1761] (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1966), 1: 52, 49–50, 299. See also Harvey, Native Tongues, 49–79; and Lee Huddleston, Origins of the American Indians: European Concepts, 1492–1729 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967).

  • 20. Genesis 9:25 (King James Version); [John White], The Planters Plea, or the Grounds of Plantations Examined, and Usuall Objections Answered (London, 1630), 55; George Best, “Experiences and Reasons of the Sphere, to Prove Al Partes of the World Habitable, and thereby to Confute the Position of the Five Zones,” in The Three Voyages of Martin Frobisher, in Search of a Passage to Cathaia and India by the North-West, A.D. 1576–8, edited by Richard Collinson (London: Hakluyt Society, 1867), 54–55. See also Braude, “Sons of Noah”; Colin Kidd, The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 19–53; Goetz, Baptism, 58–72; Jordan, White over Black, 11–18; and Martínez, “Black Blood of New Spain,” 488–492.

  • 21. Nicholas Hudson, “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’: The Origin of Racial Classification in Eighteenth-Century Thought,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 29.3 (1996): 247–264; Cañizares-Esguerra, “New World, New Stars”; María Elena Martínez, Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008), 1–13, 25–60, 91–264; Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order, 129–154; and Evelina Guzauskyte, “Fragmented Borders, Fallen Men, Bestial Women: Violence in the Casta Paintings of Eighteenth-Century New Spain,” Bulletin of Spanish Studies 2 (2009): 175–204.

  • 22. Guillaume Aubert, “‘The Blood of France’: Race and Purity of Blood in the French Atlantic World,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 61.3 (July 2004): 439–478; Saliha Belmessous, “Assimilation and Racialism in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French Colonial Policy,” American Historical Review 110.2 (April 2005): 322–349; Sophie White, Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 176–228; and William Max Nelson, “Making Men: Enlightenment Ideas of Racial Engineering,” American Historical Review 115.5 (December 2010): 1364–1394.

  • 23. Long, History of Jamaica, 260–261. See also Chaplin, Subject Matter, 186–191; Goetz, Baptism, 61–71; Brown, Good Wives, 187–211; Sweet, Bodies Politic, 147–171, 286–295; Gary B. Nash, “The Hidden History of Mestizo America,” Journal of American History 82.3 (December 1995): 941–964, esp. 941–947; Wheeler, Complexion of Race, 210–211; and Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order, 178–214. On the denial of Indianness, see Ruth Wallis Herndon and Ella Wilcox Sekatau, “The Right to a Name: The Narragansett People and Rhode Island Officials in the Revolutionary Era,” Ethnohistory 44.4 (Fall 1997): 433–462; and Jean M. O’Brien, Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).

  • 24. Jordan, White over Black, 220–221; Hudson, “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’”; Bruce Dain, A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory in the Early Republic (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 9–14; Hannaford, Race, 202–205; Sweet, Bodies Politic, 272–277; Kidd, Forging of Races, 56–87; and Harvey, Native Tongues, 92–93.

  • 25. William Robertson, The History of America (1792; London: Routledge, 1996), 2: 30, 52, 48. See also Hudson, “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’”; Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, How to Write the History of the New World: Histories, Epistemologies, and Identities in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001); and Harvey, Native Tongues, 43–47.

  • 26. Long, History of Jamaica, 2: 352, 375. See also Lee Huddleston, Origins of the American Indians: European Concepts, 1492–1729 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967); David N. Livingstone, Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 26–60; Wheeler, Complexion of Race, 184–87; Curran, Anatomy of Blackness, 137–149; Kidd, Forging of Races, 61–73, 86–87, 95–100; and Harvey, Native Tongues, 55–56.

  • 27. Jenny Shaw, Everyday Life in the Early English Caribbean: Irish, Africans, and the Construction of Difference (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2013); Brown, Good Wives, 197–198; Goetz, Baptism, 112–137; Heather Miyano Kopelson, “Sinning Property and the Legal Transformation of Abominable Sex in Early Bermuda,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 70.3 (July 2013): 459–496; and Aubert, “Blood of France”; Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order, 129–214.

  • 28. Benjamin Franklin, “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind and Peopling of Countries” (1751), in Writings of Benjamin Franklin, edited by Jared Sparks, vol. 2 (London, 1882), 320–321; and J. Hector St. Jean de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer, and Sketches of Eighteenth-Century America, ed. Albert E. Stone (New York: Penguin, 1981), 68–70. See also Jordan, White over Black, 335–341; and Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998), 39–43.

  • 29. John Heckewelder, Narrative of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Delaware and Mohegan Indians, from its Commencement, in the Year 1740, to the Close of the Year 1808 (Philadelphia, 1820), 68, 130; Freeman’s Journal, or the North American Intelligencer (Philadelphia), May 28, 1783, p. 1. See also Nancy Shoemaker, A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 129–130; and Peter Silver, Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America (New York: Norton, 2008), 18–30, 110–123, 202–204, 261–301.

  • 30. Independent Journal (New York), January 24, 1784, p. 3. See also Sweet, Bodies Politic, 106–110, 143–144; Joanne P. Melish, “The ‘Condition’ Debate and Racial Discourse in the Antebellum North,” Journal of the Early Republic 19.4 (Winter 1999): 651–672; and Lacy K. Ford Jr., “Making the ‘White Man’s Country’ White: Race, Slavery, and State-Building in the Jacksonian South,” ibid., 713–737. On minstrelsy’s divergent but coexisting impulses, see Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

  • 31. Allan Nevins and Milton H. Thomas, eds., The Diary of George Templeton Strong, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1952), 1: 318, 2: 348; Transcript of Dred Scott v. Sanford, (1857). See also Lois E. Horton, “From Class to Race in Early America: Northern Post-Emancipation Racial Reconstruction,” Journal of the Early Republic 19.4 (Winter 1999): 629–649; James Brewer Stewart, “Modernizing ‘Difference’: The Political Meanings of Color in the Free States, 1776–1840,” ibid., 691–712; David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (London: Verso, 1991); and Elliott West, “Reconstructing Race,” Western Historical Quarterly 34.1 (Spring 2003): 6–26.

  • 32. Phyllis Wheatley, “On Being from Africa to America,” in Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773; Denver, 1887), 17. See also Sidbury, Becoming African in America, 3–90, 119–123, 131–155; Sweet, Bodies Politic, 328–352; and Dain, Hideous Monster of the Mind, 2–4, 70–72, 87–89.

  • 33. Sidbury, Becoming African in America, 157–202; Dain, Hideous Monster of the Mind, 81–83, 98–114, 139–148; and Mia Bay, The White Image in the Black Mind: African-American Ideas about White People (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 13–74.

  • 34. “Voyage to the Mississippi through the Gulf of Mexico,” trans. Ann Linda Bell, annot. Robert S. Weddle, in La Salle, the Mississippi, and the Gulf, edited by Mary Christine Morkovsky and Patricia Galloway (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987), 231. See also Daniel K. Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001), 179–182, 193–201, 228–232, 289 n. 69; and Shoemaker, Strange Likeness, 80, 130–140.

  • 35. Carl van Doren and Julian P. Boyd, eds., Indian Treaties Printed by Benjamin Franklin, 1736–1762 (Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1938), 63. See also Gregory Evans Dowd, A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745–1815 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992); and Shoemaker, Strange Likeness, 133, 137–140.

  • 36. James H. Merrell, “The Racial Education of the Catawba Indians,” Journal of Southern History 50.3 (August 1984): 363–384; Christina Snyder, Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Indian Country (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012), 182–248; Sweet, Bodies Politic, 312–328; David J. Silverman, Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010); and Richter, Facing East, 237–242.

  • 37. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1954), 138–140, 143, 100–102. See also Jordan, White over Black, 429–481; Dain, Hideous Monster of the Mind, 26–39; Peter S. Onuf, “‘To declare them a free and independent people’: Race, Slavery, and National Identity in Jefferson’s Thought,” Journal of the Early Republic 18.1 (Spring 1998): 1–46; Bernard W. Sheehan, Seeds of Extinction: Jeffersonian Philanthropy and the American Indian (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1973), 15–88; and Harvey, Native Tongues, 57–61.

  • 38. Jordan, White over Black, 449–455, 509–517, 531–534, 544; Dain, Hideous Monster of the Mind, 40–80, 140–145, 261–263; Sweet, Bodies Politic, 271–295; and Kariann Yokota, Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America became a Postcolonial Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 213–225.

  • 39. [Samuel] Cartwright, “Negroes.—Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro,” in The Southern States, Embracing a Series of Papers Condensed from the Earlier Volumes of De Bow’s Review, upon Slavery and the Slave Institutions of the South, Internal Improvements, etc. (Washington, D.C., 1856), 315–329, at 322, 323. See also Dain, Hideous Monster, 197–235, 254–261; Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), 135–161; and William Stanton, The Leopard’s Spots: Scientific Attitudes toward Race in America, 1815–59 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), 66–67, 113–118, 126–128, 134–139, 189–191.

  • 40. Samuel Stanhope Smith, An Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human Species (New-Brunswick: J. Simpson, 1810), 68. See also Sheehan, Seeds of Extinction, 20–23, 34–42; Robert E. Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian: The Early Years of American Ethnology, 18201880 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989), 55–103; and Ann Fabian, The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America’s Unburied Dead (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 9–45.

  • 41. Harvey, Native Tongues, 61–65, 85–88, 95–181; and Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian, 146–193.

  • 42. Andrew Jackson, "Second Annual Message," December 6, 1830. See also Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian, 104–145, 172–176; Robert Silverberg, The Moundbuilders of Ancient America: The Archaeology of a Myth (New York: New York Graphic Society, 1968), 1–165; Harvey, Native Tongues, 82–95, 159–169; Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian; Stanton, Leopard’s Spots; Fabian, Skull Collectors, 79–119; and Dain, Hideous Monster of the Mind, 197–237.

  • 43. See also E. G. S., “American Ethnology,” American Review, A Whig Journal Devoted to Politics and Literature 3.4 (April 1849): 385–386. See also Harvey, Native Tongues, 182–184, 196–218; Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian; Stanton, Leopard’s Spots; Fabian, Skull Collectors, 47–162; Dain, Hideous Monster, 197–237; Sweet, Bodies Politic, 303; Jordan, White over Black, 89–91; Barry Allen Joyce, The Shaping of American Ethnography: The Wilkes Exploring Expedition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001), 2–3; and West, “Reconstructing Race.”

  • 44. Albert Gallatin, Peace with Mexico (New York, 1847), 13; William W. Warren, History of the Ojibway People (1887; St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1984), 212, 61–62; and James McCune Smith, “‘Civilization’: Its Dependence on Physical Circumstances” [1859], in The Works of James McCune Smith: Black Intellectual and Abolitionist, edited by John Stauffer (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 260, 262. See also Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980), 208–297; Harvey, Native Tongues, 194–196, 202–203; and Dain, Hideous Monster, 237–263.

  • 45. Stanton, Leopard’s Spots; Thomas F. Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America (1963; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Jordan, White over Black; George Frederickson, The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817–1914 (1971; Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1987); and Alden T. Vaughan, “The Origins Debate: Slavery and Racism in Seventeenth-Century Virginia,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 97.3 (July 1989): 311–354.

  • 46. Roy Harvey Pearce, Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1953); Pagden, Fall of Natural Man; Ronald Meek, Social Science and the Ignoble Savage (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1976); and Bieder, Science Encounters the Indian.

  • 47. Brian W. Dippie, The Vanishing American: Popular Attitudes and American Indian Policy in the Nineteenth Century (Austin: University of Texas Press,1970); Sheehan, Seeds of Extinction; Berkhofer, White Man’s Indian; and Horsman’s Race and Manifest Destiny.

  • 48. Brown, Good Wives; Shoemaker, Strange Likeness; Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order; Morgan, “Some Could Suckle”; and Kopelson, “Sinning Property.”

  • 49. Chaplin, Subject Matter; Shoemaker, Strange Likeness; and Sweet, Bodies Politic.

  • 50. Goetz, Baptism of Early Virginia; White, Wild Frenchman and Frenchified Indians; and Harvey, Native Tongues.

  • 51. Hudson, “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’”; Martínez, “Black Blood of New Spain”; Aubert, “Blood of France”; Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order; Goetz, Baptism of Early Virginia; Harvey, Native Tongues; and Lee Eldridge Huddleston, Origins of the American Indians: European Concepts, 1492–1729 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967).

  • 52. Roediger, Wages of Whiteness; Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color; and Silver, Our Savage Neighbors.

  • 53. Sidbury, Becoming African in America; Sweet, Bodies Politic; Bay, White Image in the Black Mind; and Dain, Hideous Monster of the Mind.

  • 54. Shoemaker, Strange Likeness; James H. Merrell, “The Racial Education of the Catawba Indians,” Journal of Southern History 50.3 (August 1984): 363–384; William G. McLoughlin and Walter H. Cosner Jr., “‘The First Man was Red’: Cherokee Responses to the Debate over Indian Origins, 1760–1860,” American Quarterly 41.2 (June 1989): 243–264; Dowd, Spirited Resistance; Silverman, Red Brethren; and Snyder, Slavery in Indian Country.

  • 55. Miriam Eliav-Feldon, Benjamin Isaac, and Joseph Ziegler, eds., The Origins of Racism in the West (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Jordan, White over Black; Berkhofer, White Man’s Indian; Chaplin, Subject Matter; Goetz, Baptism of Early Virginia; and David Brion Davis et al., “Constructing Race: Differentiating Peoples in the Early Modern World,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 54.1 (January 1997): 7–252.

  • 56. Hudson, “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’”; Hannaford, Race; Wheeler, Complexion of Race; and Curran, Anatomy of Blackness.

  • 57. Dowd, Spirited Resistance; Shoemaker, Strange Likeness; Silverman, Red Brethren; Snyder, Slavery in Indian Country; Silver, Our Savage Neighbors; and Sweet, Bodies Politic.

  • 58. Fredrickson, Black Image in the White Mind; Dain, Hideous Monster; Sweet, Bodies Politic; Harvey, Native Tongues; and Michael A. Morisson, et al., “Special Issue on Racial Consciousness and Nation Building in the Early Republic,” Journal of the Early Republic 19.4 (Winter 1999): 576–775.

  • 59. José de Acosta, Natural and Moral History of the Indies, ed. Jane E. Mangan, trans. Frances López Morillas (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2002); Lafitau, Customs of the American Indians; and Robertson, History of America.

  • 60. de Charlevoix, Journal of a Voyage to North America; and James Adair, History of the North American Indians, ed. Kathryn E. Holland Braund (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005).

  • 61. Long, History of Jamaica; and Mitchell’s “Essay.”

  • 62. Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden; Benjamin Smith Barton, New Views of the Tribes and Nations of America, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: John Bioren, 1798); and Smith, Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion.

  • 63. Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., Early Western Travels, 1748–1846, 32 vols. (Cleveland, Ohio: A. H. Clark, 1904–1907); George Catlin, Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians (New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1841); Horatio Hale, Ethnography and Philology (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1846); Charles Pickering, The Races of Man, and their Geographic Distribution (Philadelphia: C. Sherman, 1848); and Henry R. Schoolcraft, Information Respecting the History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, 6 vols. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1851–1857).

  • 64. Hosea Easton, Treatise on the Intellectual Character, and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the U. States and the Prejudice Exercised towards Them (Boston: Isaac Knapp, 1837); Frederick Douglass, “The Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered, address delivered at Western Reserve College, July 12, 1854,” in Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings, edited by Philip S. Foner and Yuval Taylor (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1999); and The Works of James McCune Smith: Black Intellectual and Abolitionist, ed. John Stauffer (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

  • 65. Robert Benjamin Lewis, Light and Truth, From Ancient and Sacred History (1836; Boston: Benjamin F. Roberts, 1844).

  • 66. Elias Boudinot, Cherokee Editor: The Writings of Elias Boudinot, ed. Theda Perdue (Athens: University of George Press, 1983); William Apess, On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, a Pequot, ed. Barry O’Connell (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992); G. Copway (Kah-ge-ga-gah-bouh), The Traditional History of the Ojibway Nation (London: Charles Gilpin, 1850); Peter Jones (Kahkewaquonaby), History of the Ojebway Indians; with Especial Reference to their Conversion to Christianity (London: A. W. Bennett, 1861); and William W. Warren, History of the Ojibway People (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1984).