Theodore Lothrop Stoddard
June 29, 1883
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
May 1, 1950
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, in 1883. 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 over two dozen books, most related to race and civilization, focusing primarily on the dangers posed by "colored" peoples to "white" civilization. Many of his books and articles were racialist, describing 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 "colored" 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 (see 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.
In The Rising Tide of Color Stoddard blasted the ethnic supremacism of the Germans, blaming the "Teutonic imperialists" for the outbreak of the First World War. He opposed what he saw as the disuniting of White/European peoples through intense nationalism and infighting.
Some predictions made in The Rising Tide of Color were accurate; others were not. Accurate ones — not all of which were original to Stoddard or predicated on white supremacy — include Japan's rise as a major power; a war between Japan and the USA; 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 Islam as a threat to the West because of Muslim religious fanaticism (Stoddard was an Islamic scholar and published the book, The New World of Islam in 1921.)
An allusion to the book occurs in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which is set in 1922 and was published in 1925. Tom Buchanan, the husband of Daisy Buchanan, the novel's principal woman character, says:
"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, leading to a growing underclass of individuals who cannot keep up and a 'ground-swell of revolt'. Stoddard advocated immigration restriction and birth control legislation in order to reduce the numbers of the underclass while promoting the reproduction of members of the middle and upper classes. He believed social progress was impossible unless it was guided by a "neo-aristocracy" made up of the most capable individuals and 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 that 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."
In the same book, he said that "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."
World War II and after
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. For example the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda insisted that NBC's Max Jordan and CBS's William Shirer use Stoddard to interview the captain of the Bremen.
Stoddard visited the Hereditary Health Supreme Court in Charlottenburg, an appeals court that decided whether people would be forcibly sterilized. After having observed several dysgenics trials at the court, Stoddard stated that the eugenics legislation of Nazi Germany 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". 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
After World War II, Stoddard's theories were deemed too closely aligned with those of the Nazis and he suffered a large drop in popularity. His death in 1950 from cancer 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 appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Birth Control League, a forerunner to Planned Parenthood by Margaret Sanger. Stoddard was a lifelong Unitarian and Republican. He was also an enthusiastic stamp collector.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- "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.
- Stefan Kühl (2001). The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. Translated by. Oxford University Press US. p. 61.
- Spiro, Jonathan P. (2009). Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant. Univ. of Vermont Press. pp. 373–374.
- 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
- Weingarten, Karen (2011). "Bad Girls and Biopolitics: Abortion, Popular Fiction, and Population Control," Literature and Medicine 29 (1), pp. 81-103.
- "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.
- "Stoddard, Lothrop," The Fiction Mags Index.
- "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.
- Profile of Lothrop Stoddard, at ArchivesThe Northlander
- Stoddard Family Association
- The Colchester Collection