Miscegenation: The Curious History of a Word
by Andrew Hamilton
THE TERM miscegenation has a curious history. It was coined by three Democratic Party newspapermen in a pamphlet published in 1864. The anonymous authors purported to advocate the practice, hoping to goad Republican “reformers” into endorsing the book’s sentiments, thereby discrediting the party in voters’ eyes during Abraham Lincoln’s reelection campaign.
The 74-page pamphlet, which can be read online, was entitled Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White and Negro (New York: Dexter, Hamilton & Co., 1864).
The booklet defined its newly-minted term under the heading “New Words Used in This Book:”
Miscegenation—from the Latin Miscere, to mix, and Genus, race, is used to denote the abstract idea of the mixture of two or more races.
Miscegen—is used to denote an offspring of persons of different races, with the plural form, Miscegens.
Miscegenate—is used as the verbal form of the first mentioned word; e.g. to miscegenate, i.e. to mingle persons of different races.
Miscegenetic—The adjective form.
“Genus” is defined as race. In contemporary classification genus is the taxonomic category above species, and below family. “Race,” on the other hand, is the category below, not above, the species level. Nevertheless, the word genus is defined by the dictionary as deriving from Latin “birth, race, class, kind—more at kin,” just as the pamphlet suggests.
Since the authors defined “miscegenation” as the mixing of races of any kind, a second concept was introduced to denote the mixing of Whites and Blacks specifically, the practice most relevant to the United States:
Melaleukation—The abstract form.
Melaleukon (plural formed by adding s to the word)—Substantive form.
These words are derived from two Greek words, viz.: Melas, black; and Leukos, white. The word Mignumi, to mix, is understood, making the word Melamigleukation, which, aside from its difficulty of pronounciation [sic], is ill adapted for popular use.
Although “miscegenation” has been widely employed from the moment of its inception, the second set of terms never caught on.
The authors’ explanation for creating these neologisms is an interesting one.
Reasons for coining these words—(1.) There is, as yet, no word in the language which expresses exactly the idea they embody. (2.) Amalgamation is a poor word, since it properly refers to the union of metals with quicksilver, and was, in fact, only borrowed for an emergency, and should now be returned to its proper signification. (3.) The words used above are just the ones wanted, for they express the ideas with which we are dealing, and, what is quite as important, they express nothing else.
The fact that precise terms for race mixture did not exist at such a late date says a lot about Whites’ (and probably other Gentiles’) innate lack of natural biological and psychological resistance to the practice. Think, too, of how Jews incessantly manipulate and revise terminology and language to control Gentile thought and behavior—which they do with smashing success. Compared to today there were many barriers to mixing, yes, but it was modern science that really brought the social implications of the practice into focus. That science was not far advanced in 1864.
From 1864 until today Miscegenation has been characterized as a hoax, though reading the text does not convey as clear an impression of an obvious ruse as the word suggests. In part this is due to the vastly different way in which race is now thought of and spoken about. The pamphlet’s concepts sound archaic to modern ears.
An online article, “The Miscegenation Hoax,” written (of course) from an anti-White perspective, is apparently based upon one of the few historical analyses of the episode, “The Miscegenation Issue in the Election of 1864,” Journal of Negro History, 34 (July 1949): 274-343. Was the academic article written by a Negro? God forbid. The author’s name was Sidney Kaplan.
The online article, presumably relying upon Kaplan, states that the identity of Miscegenation’s authors remained a mystery for many years. It says New York World journalist George Wakeman was identified as an author in his obituary in that newspaper around 1870, but the identity of the primary culprit, David Goodman Croly, who died in 1889, was revealed only around 1900 by his widow.
This is incorrect. Circus impresario P. T. Barnum identified Croly, Wakeman, and a third man, E. C. Howell, as the authors of Miscegenation in “The Great Miscegenation Hoax,” a chapter in his book The Humbugs of the World in 1866 (pp. 273-283). The authors’ identities and all relevant details of the deception were thus publicly known not long after Miscegenation appeared. “Miscegenation,” Barnum observed, “was republished in England by Trübner & Co.; and very extensive translations from it are still passing the rounds of the French and German papers.”
Barnum, a descendant of America’s early English settlers, was a Universalist (his formal religion), pro-Black, anti-Southern (or at least anti-slavery, though he owned at least one slave) Democrat-turned-Republican. An interesting historical sidelight: while serving in the Connecticut legislature he sponsored the anti-contraception bill that remained state law until it was overturned by the Warren Court’s landmark decision Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965. Griswold later served as precedent for the equally unconstitutional decisions Roe v. Wade (1972) (abortion), Lawrence v. Texas (2003) (homosexuality), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) (“same sex marriage”). All these rulings were critically important to the government’s successful attack on sex, reproduction, and the family.
The Humbugs of the World assailed everything from ghosts and witchcraft to spiritualists, business deceptions and money manias, quack medicine, and religious frauds. Barnum possessed remarkably detailed knowledge of the Miscegenation prank, and his humorous, informative account is entertaining to read.
Barnum called Miscegenation “one of the most impudent as well as ingenious literary hoaxes of the present day,” adding that it “achieved a notoriety which has hardly been equaled by any mere pamphlet published in this country.”
He considered the idea of indiscriminate miscegenation to be “absurd.” This suggests woeful shortsightedness or lack of discernment on his part. By contrast, David Croly is sometimes called as a futurologist—he wrote a book called Glimpses of the Future—and is credited with predicting the Panic of 1873 and the collapse of Jay Cooke & Co. and the Northern Pacific Railroad before they happened.
Besides reflecting what the alien ruling class of our own day has actually imposed upon the people, it is a fact that Miscegenation was initially greeted enthusiastically by some extremists (Barnum names several of them) and freely advertised for sale in their publications. It was only after deception began to be suspected that these individuals raised their guard and deceitfully hedged their enthusiasm.
This is not to say that race mixing was a common theme among White Leftists. Unlike today, extremists did not advocate miscegenation as a tool of genocide, but adopted the milder position that interbreeding should be left to the free choice of individuals. However, the issue did not come up often. Although many Leftists harbored intense hatred toward Southern Whites, hybridization was not then viewed as a major weapon of extermination.
Leftists of the time seem not to have given the matter much thought, except to point out the prevalence of racial hybridity between White slave owners and their female slaves in the South, and its comparative absence in the North. Even Lincoln did this.
Nevertheless, the extreme Left was not hostile to Miscegenation in principle—the seeds were already there—and, after an interregnum including the imposition of Jewish rule, we know how things subsequently developed. Barnum was wrong.
David Goodman Croly, the man primarily responsible for the prank, or at least the most prominent individual publicly associated with it, was born in County Cork, Ireland and came to the U.S. as a child. (This makes Chapter 9 of Miscegenation, “Present and Future Relations of the Irish and the Negro,” a curious read.) Croly served as managing editor of the New York World from 1862 to 1872, the crucial years encompassing the Civil War and Reconstruction. The World was one of the biggest and most influential newspapers in the country, the organ of the conservative Democratic Party and counterpoise to Horace Greeley’s Left-wing, Radical Republican New York Tribune.
Croly’s English-born wife Jane Cunningham Croly (Cunningham is a Scottish surname) was a well-known journalist and moderate feminist.
The couple had four children. Though not a large number for the White population of the time, it was still twice the replacement rate. Son Herbert Croly was the author of The Promise of American Life (1909), an influential Progressive Era text. In 1914 he was a founding editor, with Jews Walter Lippmann and Walter Weyl, of The New Republic magazine, which became a pillar of America’s Left-wing Establishment for nearly a century. The publication was bankrolled by two bluebloods, J. P. Morgan partner Willard Straight and his wife Dorothy Payne Whitney Straight. Their son Michael Whitney Straight (1916-2004), a Communist and spy for the KGB, was featured on the cover of Instauration magazine as “Majority Renegade of the Year” in January 1984.
Walter Weyl, by his White wife, was the father of Nathaniel Weyl, a Communist Party-USA member who later became a favorite among conservative-oriented White racialists. Prior to his death in 2005 Nathaniel supported Democratic Party presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Jew John Kerry.
David Goodman Croly was an adherent of the Religion of Humanity, derived from the philosophy of French positivist Auguste Comte. The Religion of Humanity is a genuine if socially marginal (as it ultimately turned out) religious sect lacking a supernatural dimension. Croly co-founded the American branch of the Church of Humanity in New York City. His son Herbert was raised in the faith.
David Croly wrote a short book about the Church’s beliefs under the pseudonym C. G. David (a rearrangement of his real name) called A Positivist Primer (New York: David Wesley, 1871). It sets out in question-and-answer format the main tenets of the Religion of Humanity, a purely scientific faith. Religious positivism bears some resemblance to psychologist Raymond Cattell’s later non-racialist Beyondism and other rationalist-oriented religions. The ninth section of the book, on marriage and the woman question (pp. 70-78), is very levelheaded and sensible.
Although any “Religion of Humanity” seems destined to founder on the rock of universalism—throughout the book Croly speaks solely in terms of “man” and “humanity”—Auguste Comte has nevertheless been called an “anti-racist racist.” Croly, too, appears not to have been a raging “egalitarian,” as his association with the Democratic Party and its main newspaper likewise suggests. (In the book Croly both asks and answers the questions.)
Querist. Has Positivism any international polity? Has it any rule between nations, any way of lifting up savage races?
Positivist. Our theory recognizes the relativity of all human institutions. . . . Hence we say that the Fetichist [sic] has a religion suited to his wants, and that all efforts to rid the savage of his native beliefs, and impose upon him the intellectual or religious convictions of the higher races, are unphilosophical, unnatural, and can not but prove in the end pernicious. The Positivist, therefore, discountenances the missionary efforts of the Catholic and Protestant churches. When we organize missions we will recognize the validity of the faiths of these inferior races, and will not try to naturalize the conceptions of an advanced civilization among savage or semi-civilized peoples. Nothing but mischief has resulted from this attempt to impose faiths alien to them upon these backward nations. (p. 109)
Of Judaism he writes: “The Jehovah of the Jew was a fiend, revengeful, vain, lustful, greedy, covetous, proud,—a very fair illustration of Jewish character as presented to us in Bible history. The God of the Christian is an essentially different being, the merciful, loving Father . . .” (p. 11)
Nevertheless, the Religion of Humanity was not Christian.
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