Theodore Lothrop Stoddard
June 29, 1883
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||May 1, 1950 (age 66)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Alma mater||Harvard, Boston University|
|Occupation||Scientist, historian, journalist, eugenicist|
Early life and education
Stoddard was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of John Lawson Stoddard, a prominent writer and lecturer, and his wife Mary H. Stoddard. He attended Harvard College, graduating magna cum laude in 1905, and studied Law at Boston University until 1908. Stoddard received a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 1914.
Stoddard authored many books, most of them related to race and civilization. He wrote primarily on the alleged dangers posed by "colored" peoples to white civilization. Many of his books and articles were racialist and described what he saw as the peril of immigration. His most famous book was The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in 1920. In this book, he presented a view of the world situation pertaining to race and focusing concern on the coming population explosion among the non-white peoples of the world and the way in which "white world-supremacy" was being lessened in the wake of World War I and the collapse of colonialism.
Stoddard argued that race and heredity were the guiding factors of history and civilization and that the elimination or absorption of the "white" race by "colored" races would result in the destruction of Western civilization. Like Madison Grant in his The Passing of the Great Race, Stoddard divided the white race into three main divisions: Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean. He considered all three to be of good stock and far above the quality of the colored races but argued that the Nordic was the greatest of the three and needed to be preserved by way of eugenics. He considered most Jews to be racially "Asiatic" and argued for restricting Jewish immigration because he considered them a threat to Nordic racial purity in the US. He warned that US was being "invaded by hordes of immigrant Alpines and Mediterraneans, not to mention Asiatic elements like Levantines and Jews."
Stoddard blasted the ethnic supremacism of the Germans and blamed the "Teutonic imperialists" for the outbreak of World War I. He opposed what he saw as the disuniting of white European peoples through intense nationalism and infighting.
Some of the predictions that Stoddard made in The Rising Tide of Color were accurate, though not all of them were original to him or predicated on white supremacy. They include Japan's rise as a major power; a war between Japan and the US; a second war in Europe; the overthrowing of European colonial empires in Africa and Asia; the mass migration of non-white peoples to white countries; and the rise of extremist Islamism as a rival to Western civilization because of religious radicalism. (Stoddard was anti-Islamic and would publish the book The New World of Islam in 1921.)
"Civilization's going to pieces," broke out Tom violently. "I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard?"
"Why no," I answered, rather surprised by his tone.
"Well, it's a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved."
"Tom's getting very profound," said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. "He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we — "
"Well these books are all scientific," insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. "This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things."
"We've got to beat them down," whispered Daisy, winking ferociously toward the fervent sun.
"You ought to live in California —" began Miss Baker, but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.
"This idea is that we're Nordics. I am, and you are, and you are, and —" After an infinitesimal hesitation he included Daisy with a slight nod, and she winked at me again. " — And we've produced all the things that go to make civilization — oh, science and art, and all that. Do you see?"
There was something pathetic in his concentration, as if his complacency, more acute than of old, was not enough to him any more.
In The Revolt Against Civilization (1922), Stoddard put forward the theory that civilization places a growing burden on individuals, which leads to a growing underclass of individuals who cannot keep up and a 'ground-swell of revolt'. Stoddard advocated immigration restriction and birth control legislation to reduce the numbers of the underclass and promoted the reproduction of members of the middle and upper classes. He considered social progress impossible unless it was guided by a "neo-aristocracy" from the most capable individuals that was reconciled with the findings of science rather than based on abstract idealism and egalitarianism.
In Re-Forging America: The Story of Our Nationhood (1927), Stoddard wrote:
We want above all things to preserve America. But "America," as we have already seen, is not a mere geographical expression; it is a nation, whose foundations were laid over three hundred years ago by Anglo-Saxon Nordics, and whose nationhood is due almost exclusively to people of North European stock—not only the old colonists and their descendants but also many millions of North Europeans who have entered the country since colonial times and who have for the most part been thoroughly assimilated. Despite the recent influx of alien elements, therefore, the American people is still predominantly a blend of closely related North European strains, and the fabric of American life is fundamentally their creation.
In the same book, referring to the 1924 Immigration Act, Stoddard wrote:
It is perfectly true that our present immigration policy does (and should) favor North Europeans over people from other parts of Europe, while it discriminates still more rigidly against the entry of non-white races. But the basic reason for this is not a theory of race superiority, but that most fundamental and most legitimate of all human instincts, self-preservation — rightly termed "the first law of nature."
The cardinal point in our immigration policy should, therefore, be to allow no further diminution of the North European element in America's racial make-up.
The Nazi Party's chief racial theorist Alfred Rosenberg got the racial term Untermensch from the German version of Stoddard's 1922 book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man. The German title was Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925).
Between 1939 and 1940, Stoddard spent four months as a journalist for the North American Newspaper Alliance in Nazi Germany. He got preferential treatment by Nazi officials compared to other journalists. An example was the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda's insisting that NBC's Max Jordan and CBS's William Shirer use Stoddard to interview the captain of the Bremen.
Stoddard visited the Hereditary Health Court in Charlottenburg, an appeals court that decided whether Germans would be forcibly sterilized. After having observed several dysgenics trials at the court, Stoddard stated that the eugenics legislation was "being administered with strict regard for its provisions and that, if anything, judgments were almost too conservative" and that the law was "weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way." However, Stoddard was taken aback by the forthrightness of the Nazis' anti-Jewish views, foreseeing that the "Jewish problem" would soon be settled "by the physical elimination of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich."
Stoddard wrote a memoir, Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today (1940), about his experiences in Germany. Among other events, the book describes interviews with such figures as Heinrich Himmler, Robert Ley and Fritz Sauckel, as well as a brief meeting with Hitler himself.
After World War II, Stoddard's theories were deemed too closely aligned with those of the Nazis and so he suffered a large drop in popularity. His death from cancer in 1950 went almost entirely unreported despite his previously broad readership and influence.
Personal and professional
Stoddard was a member of the American Historical Association, the American Political Science Association, and the Academy of Political Science. He was also on the board of directors for the American Birth Control League and was part of its founding.
- The French Revolution in San Domingo, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914.
- Present-day Europe, its National States of Mind, The Century Co., 1917.
- Stakes of the War, with Glenn Frank, The Century Co., 1918.
- The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921 [1st Pub. 1920]. ISBN 4-87187-849-X
- The New World of Islam, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922 [1st Pub. 1921]. 
- The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under Man, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922.
- Racial Realities in Europe, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924.
- Social Classes in Post-War Europe. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
- Scientific Humanism. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926.
- Re-forging America: The Story of Our Nationhood. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927.
- The Story of Youth. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1928.
- Luck, Your Silent Partner. New York: H. Liveright, 1929.
- Master of Manhattan, the life of Richard Croker. Londton: Longmans, Green and Co., 1931.
- Europe and Our Money, The Macmillan Co., 1932
- Lonely America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., 1932.
- Clashing Tides of Color. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935.
- A Caravan Tour to Ireland and Canada, World Caravan Guild, 1938.
- Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, Inc., 1940.
- African Fundamentalism: A Literary and Cultural Anthology of Garvey's Harlem Renaissance
- Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the Twentieth Century, p. 41-42
- Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan
- The Ku Klux Klan: History, Organization, Language, Influence and Activities of America's Most Notorious Secret Society, p. 99. "Stoddard, Lothrop - The 1920s exalted cyclops of Massachusetts Provisional Klan No. 1"
- Cox, Michaelene (2015). The Politics and Art of John L. Stoddard. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, p. 36–38.
- Gossett, Thomas F. (1963). Race, the History of an Idea in America. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, p. 391; Alfred L. Brophy & Elizabeth Troutman, The Eugenics Movement in North Carolina, North Carolina Law Review 94 (2016): 1871, 1883 (discusing Stoddard's ph.d. dissertation and first book on the Haitian Revolution, The French Revolutuion in San Domingue (1914), and noting his early concern over race).
- The Rising Tide of Color, (1920). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. xi.
- Huntington, Ellsworth (1922). "The Racial Problem in World-Politics," Geographical Review 12 (1), pp. 145–146.
- Leonard Dinnerstein. 1995. Antisemitism in America. Oxford University Press. page 94 
- Marcel Stoetzler. 2014. Antisemitism and the Constitution of Sociology. U of Nebraska Press
- Jerome Karabel. 2006. The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 84
- The Rising Tide of Color (1920), p. 227.
- "This spirit of rebellion against Western domination has become greatly intensified since the beginning of the present century, and the matter becomes still more portentous when we realize that, by the very nature of things, Western political control in the Orient, however prolonged and however imposing in appearance, must ever rest on essentially fragile foundations. The Western rulers will always remain an alien caste; tolerated, even respected, perhaps, but never loved, or regarded as anything but foreigners. Furthermore, Western rule must necessarily become more precarious with the increasing enlightenment of the subject peoples, so that the acquiescence of one generation may be followed by the hostile protest of the next. It is indeed an unstable equilibrium, hard to maintain and easily upset." — The New World of Islam (1921), p. 105.
- Lubinskas, James P. (2000). "A Warning From the Past," American Renaissance 11 (1), pp. 1–5.
- Slater, Peter Gregg (1973). "Ethnicity in The Great Gatsby," Twentieth Century Literature, 19 (1), pp. 53–62.
- "The Great Gatsby," Chap. 1.
- Stoddard, Lothrop (1922). "The Ground-Swell of Revolt." In: The Revolt Against Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 142–176.
- Stoddard, Lothrop (1922). "Neo-Aristocracy." In: The Revolt Against Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 237–268.
- "Re-forging America: The Story of Our Nationhood," (1927). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 101.
- Shall the Negro be Encouraged to Seek Cultural Equality?: Report of the Debate Conducted by the Chicago Forum, Chicago Forum, 1929.
- Taylor, Carol M. (1981). "W.E.B. DuBois's Challenge to Scientific Racism," Journal of Black Studies 11 (4), pp. 449–460.
- Losurdo, Domenico (2004). Translated by Marella & Jon Morris. "Toward a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism" (PDF, 0.2 MB). Historical Materialism. Brill. 12 (2): 25–55, here p. 50. doi:10.1163/1569206041551663. ISSN 1465-4466.
- Stefan Kühl (2001). The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. Oxford University Press US. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-19-514978-4. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
William L Shirer (1941 / 2004). Berlin Diary. Tess Press / Black Dog & Leventhal. p. 207. ISBN 1-57912-442-9. Check date values in:
- Spiro, Jonathan P. (2009). Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant. Univ. of Vermont Press. pp. 373–374. ISBN 978-1-58465-715-6. Lay summary (29 September 2010).
- Guterl, Matthew Pratt. The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940, Harvard University Press, 2004.
- Fant, Jr. Gene C. "Stoddard, Lothrop," American National Biography Online, 2000.
- Margaret Sanger (1922). The Birth Control Review. M. Sanger. pp. 26, 50, 74, 89, 100.
- Dona Schneider; David E. Lilienfeld (2008). Public Health: The Development of a Discipline. Rutgers University Press. p. 621. ISBN 978-0-8135-4232-4.
- "Defining the Stakes of the War," The New York Times, September 15, 1918.
- Stone, Shepard. "Mr. Hitler's 'New Sparta'," The Saturday Review, June 29, 1940.
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- "New-York Tribune," November 02, 1922.
- Bachman, James Robert. Theodore Lothrop Stoddard: The Bio-sociological Battle for Civilization, University of Rochester. Department of History, 1967.
- Bertonneau, Thomas F. "American Nietzsche," Part II, The Alternative Right, March 2010.
- Frank, Glenn. "The Literature of Despair," The Century Magazine, July 1925.
- Locke, Robert. "Wahhabism, China, Mass Immigration: Lothrop Stoddard Rediscovered," V Dare, February 21, 2004.
- McDaniel, George. "America's Racialist Moment: Racism as Reform," The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. VI, No. 1, 2006, pp. 38–54.
- Newby, Idus A. Jim Crow's Defense: Anti-Negro Thought in America, 1900-1930, Louisiana State University Press, 1965.
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