Another guilt-wracked, self-hating Puritan descendant

Frederick Adams Woods, a lecturer on biology at MIT, was sometimes described as "the American Galton". In "The Racial Origins of Successful Americans" (Popular Science Monthly, v. 84, 1914, pp. 397-402), Woods uses surname lists to determine:
while the Irish and Jewish element in New York may control politics and the wholesale and retail trade, they have not often risen to high positions [. . .] In the 4 leading American cities, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, it is safe to say that, at the present time, those of English and Scotch ancestry are distinctly in possession of the leading positions at least from the standpoint of being widely known, and that, in proportion to their number, the Anglo-Saxons are from 3 to 10 times as likely as are the other races to achieve positions of national distinction. [. . .] The truth of the matter is that all the stocks that have come into America in recent years since 1830 have been very inferior to those already here in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; [. . .]

We have heard a great deal about the Melting-Pot, but no one as far as I know has brought forward any proof that there is a Melting-Pot in true biological sense, i. e., that there is any genuine mingling of blood sufficient to overcome the natural tendency that all species and varieties have to grow apart and become more dissimilar in course of time. If there had been a thorough mingling of the races in this country, there would have already been a decline in natural ability, but the tendency of like to mate with like, the natural tendency of the most successful to mate among themselves, works in the opposite direction. The real strength of a country is so dependent on the qualities of its leaders that it behooves patriots, sociologists and philosophers to take all these questions into account and consider more carefully the genesis and significance of that small fraction of one per cent, which represents the intellectual crust.
Woods' surname method seems to be a bit cruder than those later used by Ellsworth Huntington and Nathaniel Weyl. Irrespective of the accuracy of his conclusions, it can't be said that Woods was lacking in self-confidence or self-regard as an upper-middle to upper class, New England Puritan-descended "WASP". In "Historiometry as an exact science" (Science. 1911 Apr 14;33(850):568-574.), Woods, using techniques similar to those used by Charles Murray in Human Accomplishment, finds:
As concerns American history, one fact is very evident at the start, whatever be the method of grading as applied to Americans or whatever be the mental eminence graded, some states in the union, some sections of the country, have produced more eminence than others far beyond the expectation from their respective white populations. In this regard Massachusetts always leads, and Connecticut is always second, and certain southern states are always behind, and fail to render their expected quota. I have already pointed out that the ratios seem orderly for a first approximation. That is, the higher the grade of the individuals the greater and greater becomes the proportion of those born in Massachusetts.
In "The Racial Limitation of Bolshevism" (Journal of Heredity, Vol. x, No. 4, April 1919, pp. 188-190), Woods argues that analysis of European history sustains the belief that "Nordic countries have been extremely free from periods of anarchy" and Anglo-Saxons are "by nature averse to Bolshevism". (Regretfully, Mencius Moldbug was not around to teach Woods to see past the facts.) Woods' other writings include Mental and moral heredity in royalty: a statistical study in history and psychology and The influence of monarchs: steps in a new science of history‎.


TGGP said...

The Irish did come to power in Massachusetts. The result was the Curley effect.

Statsaholic said...

1900-1930 was that brief time where the Puritans actually acted like they liked themselves.

This is evidence against the idea that Anglo-Saxon types are self-hating for genetic reasons, given how recently that time period was.

n/a said...

"This is evidence against the idea that Anglo-Saxon types are self-hating for genetic reasons"

I agree. But, no, that is not the only period "where the Puritans actually acted like they liked themselves."

wasposlav said...

Interesting blog you've got here.

I have a question for you: how exactly did the old New England elite allow the Jews to wrest control of the United States away from them? Why didn't they put up more of a fight? This is probably the most important question of American history, yet I haven't seen a good answer anywhere. Maybe you have some insights, with your extensive knowledge of early 20th century racialism and old Yankee lore.

n/a said...

The abstract of the paper TGGP indirectly linked to:

The Curley Effect

Edward L. Glaeser
Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andrei Shleifer
Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

May 2, 2002

Harvard Institute of Economic Research Paper No. 1956

James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston, used wasteful redistribution to his poor Irish constituents and incendiary rhetoric to encourage richer citizens to emigrate from Boston, thereby shaping the electorate in his favor. Boston as a consequence stagnated, but Curley kept winning elections. We present a model of the Curley effect, in which inefficient redistributive policies are sought not by interest groups protecting their rents, but by incumbent politicians trying to shape the electorate through emigration of their opponents or reinforcement of class identities. The model sheds light on ethnic politics in the United States and abroad, as well as on class politics in many countries including Britain.

JEL Classifications: D70, D72, H4
Working Paper Series

n/a said...


The New England elite alone never controlled America. For that matter, the New England elite were themselves never monolithic.

Some elements of the elite supported mass immigration from Europe for the same reasons some business elites today support mass third-world immigration. New England elites were no worse in this respect than elites from other regions of the US.

By the time the bleeding was stopped in 1924, enough Jewish and other non-traditional immigrants were here that I think most of the damage was already done.

American society would have needed radical restructuring to prevent history playing out the way it played out.