Exploring Surnames, DNA & Genealogy in The Low Countries

Maarten Larmuseau - Exploring Surnames, DNA & Genealogy in The Low Countries

Published on Apr 27, 2015

There is limited knowledge on the biological relatedness between citizens and on the demographic dynamics within villages, towns and cities in pre-17th-century Western Europe. By combining Y-chromosomal genotypes, in-depth genealogies and surname data in a strict genetic genealogical approach, it has been possible to gain insights into the genetic diversity and the relatedness among indigenous paternal lineages within six Flemish communities at the time of surname adoption between 14th-15th century. Since these communities have been selected based on differences in geography and historical development, the genetic results provide relevant information in historical sciences, demography, forensic genetics and genealogy.

Dr. Maarten Larmuseau, evolutionary geneticist, University of Leuven - Dr. Maarten Larmuseau is a senior postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium). He is an evolutionary geneticist interested in the interaction between genetics, evolution and history in humans and animals. Currently he is making use of genetic genealogical tools within forensic, historical and human sociobiological research. His research in e.g. historical cuckoldry rates, the false identification of relics attributed to French kings, and the detection of forgotten historical migration events in the 16th century is well known by both academics and the broad public.

High Y-chromosomal diversity and low relatedness between paternal lineages on a communal scale in the Western European Low Countries during the surname establishment

There is limited knowledge on the biological relatedness between citizens and on the demographical dynamics within villages, towns and cities in pre-17th century Western Europe. By combining Y-chromosomal genotypes, in-depth genealogies and surname data in a strict genetic genealogical approach, it is possible to provide insights into the genetic diversity and the relatedness between indigenous paternal lineages within a particular community at the time of the surname adoption. To obtain these insights, six Flemish communities were selected in this study based on the differences in geography and historical development. After rigorous selection of appropriate DNA donors, low relatedness between Y chromosomes of different surnames was found within each community, although there is co-occurrence of these surnames in each community since the start of the surname adoption between the 14th and 15th century. Next, the high communal diversity in Y-chromosomal lineages was comparable with the regional diversity across Flanders at that time. Moreover, clinal distributions of particular Y-chromosomal lineages between the communities were observed according to the clinal distributions earlier observed across the Flemish regions and Western Europe. No significant indication for genetic differences between communities with distinct historical development was found in the analysis. These genetic results provide relevant information for studies in historical sciences, archaeology, forensic genetics and genealogy.

Jews and Democrats (vs. "elite WASPs" and Republicans)

For example, only 5 of 159 donors from the all-gentile California Club in Los Angeles gave to Democrats in 1968. The situation was the same at two similar clubs for which I had membership lists at the time, the Pacific Union in San Francisco, where only 5 of 89 donors gave to Democrats, and the Detroit Club in Detroit, where 5 of 110 gave to Democrats.

From C. Wright Mills disciple G. William Domhoff's The Power Elite and the State: How Policy Is Made in America:

Ferguson and Rogers not only miss the role of the South and its allies during the New Deal, they are blind to the great importance of Jewish contributors to the Democrats in every large city and at the national level since the 1960s. The material base of the party is now in a religious group that gives primarily to Democrats whatever the donor's particular business sector may happen to be. In this section I am going to marshall evidence to show that Ferguson and Rogers mistake religion for business sector in explaining Mondale's 1984 contributions. But several caveats must be registered before proceeding in order to head off potential misunderstandings. First, the only reason Jewish donors are so important to the Democrats is that most of the rich, northern gentiles have defected to the Republicans. Second, there is no mystery as to why most wealthy Jews remain Democrats, as I confirmed for myself in interviews with major Jewish donors in 1970 and 1971 (Domhoff, 1972). Not only are their family roots in the Democrats, and their community values more sympathetic toward helping the poor (Fuchs, 1956; Lipset and Raab, 1984), but they fear antisemitic Christians as well. As long as there is a fanatical evangelical and reactionary right in the Republican party, it is likely that the Jews will remain Democrats (cf. Isaacs, 1974; Cohen, 1989). Third, Jews remain Democrats in part because they do not fully trust rich gentiles. After all, those upstanding Episcopalians and Presbyterians have kept Jews out of upper-class social clubs in most cities until very recently, if any change has been made at all (Baltzell, 1964; Zweigenhaft and Domhoff, 1982). Finally, it needs to be said that not all Jewish donors give to Democrats. Twenty to 30 percent may give to Republicans in a typical election, and an even higher percentage in an atypical election where the Democratic nominee is perceived as anti-Israel, tolerant of antisemitism, or identified with the evangelical right-wing. [. . .]

New England self-perception circa 1950

"The inhabitants of New England," said an observer of a hundred years ago, "are of a character equal in strength to the austerity of their beliefs."

So, doubtless, are they to this day, though the austerity of their beliefs has been softened. (Weakened, say the surviving men of granite.) It was softened by the hordes from the Old World who swarmed into New England while Yankees were swarming into Ohio, Kansas, and Oregon. [. . .] The swarming immigrants brought a complexity in their religions, and even though the Yankees themselves had invented a number of religions of their own they still, one and all, spoke directly to the Lord without intermediary. With each of their homemade religions, it seemed, there was even less of divine authority than before. Now, with the immigrants, came a church armed with the same sort of absolute authority that had caused the Pilgrims and Puritans to leave old England. So, it was little wonder that the Yankees, who relied chiefly upon their individual consciences for guidance, feared it, found it alien, and were ready to believe the worst that any scoundrel could concoct about its clergy. [. . .]

But libel the Yankee if you will. He is today the most set-upon, the most abused, the most caricatured American of all. He is, in fact, almost the only American who pays no heed to libels about him. Who is the favorite villain of the stage, of the movies, of novels? He is a Yankee banker, name of Peabody or something similar, and not Cohen or Guggenheim. The favorite spiritual mountebank of the stage and movies and novels is not good Father O'Houlihan, bu the Reverend Dr. Sears, or something similar, patently a Congregational minister. The simple clown is not Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown, but a clod from Pumpkin Center, Maine. [. . .] Uncle Tom's Cabin is not to be shown on the screen because it reminds that Negroes once were slaves--and not because of its cruel Simon Legree, born a Yankee. Oliver Twist is banned because of Fagin, a Jew; and the clever magicians of Hollywood have at last produced The Three Musketeers without the unfrocking of a Cardinal Richelieu.

The time rapidly approaches when the only safe target of libel in the United States will be the Yankee of the old stock; nor is he likely to give a tinker's dam for't. He is content in his smug belief that Yankees are above and beyond libel, as secure as are Yankee legends, such as the Horseman of Boston named Revere, as Colonel Allen at Ticonderoga, Nathan Hale at the gibbet, and the flowering of New England's bards and philosophers. Almost the only canard he will rise to refute is that his forebears were burners of witches. They were not burners of witches; they hanged them by the neck. . . .

Libels of the living Yankees are as of the wind. But, sir, commit no improprieties with History. [. . .] Narrow, sir, as the Yankee culture may have seemed, say, to the Episcopalians, and narrow and harsh to the Quakers, yet it was the only valid culture to withstand the rigors and disintegrating effects of the wilderness frontier. Consider, too, its magnificent vitality. It splintered, true enough, yet in every splinter remained something of the basic vitality--as witness those who call themselves Mormons or Adventists or Unitarians or Christian Scientists. [. . .] Yes, indeed, the Presbyterians were dynamic, too. They had a much stronger organization than the Puritans. They also were superb tamers of the frontier. One doubts that America ever saw more efficient pioneers. Yet I bid you read your history right. A full century before those stout people came, the Yankee Puritans called Congregationalists had founded schools and colleges, had founded a new form of civil government. [. . .]

Three hundred and thirty years after establishment of the first New England settlement [. . .], the surviving Yankees have adjusted themselves to living in a world that is no longer, except in very small part, their own. They come close to being, if they are not already, a minority in their own region. The old Yankee blood grows thinner, though slowly, by intermarriage with other stocks. In another two centuries or so the Yankee may well be extinct. What his descendant will be like must be left to prophets in the field of anthropology. [. . .]

You say that our poets are wrong? that the New England character is neolithic and is thus unsuited to a more plastic age? Very well, then. What would you consider as a base for the underpinnings of a nation? Surely, you do not mean that they state, the government, should be the source of energy, of enterprise, of intellect? That is not he way in which the small republic became a great nation. Much of the energy and even more of the intellect which have characterized America stemmed from New England sources. [. . .]

Aye, the Puritan, the Yankee, the New Englander has indeed been the butt of much sport and ridicule. He has been attacked and demolished for his narrowness, for his calm assurance that he alone was right. But, sir, you must either admit that somehow or other he accomplished prodigies; or you must cite some other group of people who accomplished more, or even as much, in the New World. Such a people does not come readily to mind. [. . .]

But what are the tidings? How goes the nation? In the middle of the twentieth century there seems to be no solid, no granitelike assurance. Many Americans say that we are without a positive philosophy, that we are confused, that we search here and there and in vain for some anchor rock that is more than a treacherous reef. No such doubts contaminated the thinking of the old Yankees. Perhaps that is why their notions interpenetrated the whole confederation. At the head of those notions was Industry, along with a rigid moral code for which there was not, nor is, another name. And somewhere in their baggage of notions was Economy, which one of their number, who was Noah Webster, declared to be "management without loss or waste." The foundation of all their notions was, of course, their belief, so clear and so unshakable as to mystify those who did not have it--their belief in a Power from which they could draw, as water form a well, the strength needed for their prodigious works of both mind and body. You must comprehend that when a Yankee went out to pick rock and build a fence, he picked rock and built fence to the glory of his God. When he went out to break path through snowdrirfts, it was to the glory of God. If he went to capture Louisburg, he captured Louisburg to the glory of God. When he decided to defy George the Third, it was for the glory of God that he defied him, because he understood that he, a Yankee, was a work with God. Yea, because he knew that he had an ally in the Almighty, this man succeeded. . . .

Simple and austere notions they were. They survive, here and there, but they are not held in any esteem by the mass of Americans today, who dismiss them as old-fashioned, as backward, as narrow, as antiquated. Perhaps they are. But they were notions formulated by an amazingly durable and most effective people who thought that their legs were made to stand upon. For three hundred years, more or less, that belief and those notions served them and America well. I could wish, sire, that we in mid-twentieth century were better acquainted with old Bradford of Plymouth Plantation, he, the governor of the Pilgrim colony, who was certain that all great & honorable actions are accompanied with greate difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages.

The Rock at Plymouth may have been overdone as a sentimental symbol. But the spirit revealed by old Bradford, and the generations following him, might well point the way, might even fill the void of which an uneasy "whole confederation" has become increasingly conscious.

[Stewart Hall Holbrook. The Yankee exodus: an account of migration from New England. Macmillan, 1950. pp. 353-362]

Related: New England self-perception circa 1810

James Truslow Adams, the "American dream", and America as "A Nation of Immigrants": nothing to do with New Englanders

What the man behind the ‘American Dream’ really meant

WE All FEEL drawn to the “American Dream.” For millions, immigrants especially, the phrase has evoked the full promise of the United States. What it means exactly, though, has shifted significantly over the years, and that accordion-like expansiveness has only increased its usefulness.

The man credited with first crafting the “American Dream” had, in some ways, lived it out himself. James Truslow Adams’s story was not one of rags to riches, but he did reinvent himself mid-career, becoming a writer after an unfulfilling stint in finance. Ironically, however, Adams’s new life landed the inventor of an all-inclusive phrase as a specialist in a very cloistered niche, the Colonial history of New England, for most of his writing years. There he seemed a familiar type: the antique New Englander writing about New England antiquity.

That was not a type normally given to wild-eyed celebrations of immigration, especially in the 1920s. At the time, the trial of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti had awakened intense local controversy, admissions quotas were widely in place at local universities, and prominent Bostonians dominated a national organization, the Immigration Restriction League, whose purpose was all too clear from its name. But Adams routinely defied expectations. Indeed, this seeming Yankee was not a Yankee at all, but a Brooklynite — with a Venezuelan grandmother to boot. As Adams wrote his acclaimed histories of New England, he did it in a way that subtly recast the familiar story, teasing out democratic elements that were not always in the earlier versions.

Adams's father was half Southern (his family was from Maryland and Virginia, and unrelated to the presidential family) and half Venezuelan. His mother was born in New York, and her ancestors appear to be mid-Atlantic (including some French and with no New England ancestry that I was able to identify).
In the 1920s, Adams circled back to the beginnings of America’s global might, which he located in the first settlement of New England. The time and place were well known, but he found a way to enliven them, with some emphasis on the backsliders who did not fit squarely into the Harvard-centric version of New England’s past. Specifically, he did not disparage Rhode Island and New Hampshire — as so many earlier historians had — and even found much to praise there, including a higher level of religious freedom and a strong democratic ethos that often resisted Boston’s demands. His approach would eventually be called social history, and find favor later in the 20th century, even if he was a bit too rarefied to be completely at home with the raffish elements he celebrated.

Adams’s books were a critical and popular success. In 1921, he won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Founding of New England,” the first in a trilogy of New England histories. He never strayed far from this region, eventually moving to Southport, Conn., and creating some confusion by writing about the Adams family, to which he was not related.

But his own family was interesting enough, particularly the fact that his father was born in Caracas. That strand of DNA must have helped. Unlike some peers, he saw economic and social factors as essential to the story and disdained the traditional emphasis on Puritans fleeing persecution. In other words, he saw the earliest New Englanders as immigrants, seeking their version of the American Dream. He created a precedent for the New England historians to come who would celebrate immigration as vital to the American experience — Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr., Oscar Handlin, Bernard Bailyn, and John F. Kennedy, among others.

Of the immigration-celebrating "New England" historians mentioned, three are Jews and one is an Irish Catholic whose seminal contribution to American immigration history, commissioned by the ADL, was ghostwritten by one Myer Feldman, in cooperation with "Arthur Mann, a historian supplied by the Anti-Defamation League."

Update: Steve Sailer has an article on "Benjamin Franklin’s American Dream". Franklin's vision for America was dead opposite the ADL's:

Hodgson explains Ben Franklin’s American Dream:
Living in the mid-eighteenth century, [Franklin] had a vision of a middle-class society that was necessarily one in which the majority owned and worked their own lands. . . . His dream was of a prosperous and middle-class America, peopled largely by the English, that spanned a continent and confidently assumed a preeminent place among nations.
In 1964, four decades after mass immigration had been shut down, the country looked rather like Franklin’s vision. But the mechanisms Franklin had identified as crucial to American happiness have been increasingly forgotten during the ensuing Nation of Immigrants nostalgiafest.

Near Eastern admixture in Tuscany: signal of Etruscans, or medieval slaves?

Mitogenomes from The 1000 Genome Project Reveal New Near Eastern Features in Present-Day Tuscans

Genetic analyses have recently been carried out on present-day Tuscans (Central Italy) in order to investigate their presumable recent Near East ancestry in connection with the long-standing debate on the origins of the Etruscan civilization. We retrieved mitogenomes and genome-wide SNP data from 110 Tuscans analyzed within the context of The 1000 Genome Project. For phylogeographic and evolutionary analysis we made use of a large worldwide database of entire mitogenomes (>26,000) and partial control region sequences (>180,000).


Different analyses reveal the presence of typical Near East haplotypes in Tuscans representing isolated members of various mtDNA phylogenetic branches. As a whole, the Near East component in Tuscan mitogenomes can be estimated at about 8%; a proportion that is comparable to previous estimates but significantly lower than admixture estimates obtained from autosomal SNP data (21%). Phylogeographic and evolutionary inter-population comparisons indicate that the main signal of Near Eastern Tuscan mitogenomes comes from Iran.


Mitogenomes of recent Near East origin in present-day Tuscans do not show local or regional variation. This points to a demographic scenario that is compatible with a recent arrival of Near Easterners to this region in Italy with no founder events or bottlenecks.

Something I never see mentioned in these papers attempting to make inferences about the origins of Etruscans based on genetic variation in modern Tuscans:
Until recently, slaves have been invisible in the literature on medieval Tuscany, leading scholars to overlook them as a means of contact with the east. Historians abandoned this assumption when Giulio Prunai and Iris Origo documented the importation of hundreds of slaves to the region, conclusively demonstrating that the institution was widespread in medieval Tuscany.

[Michael P. Kucher. The Water Supply System of Siena, Italy: The Medieval Roots of the Modern Networked Cities.]

Introduction. Among the unfamiliar minor episodes of history - those shadowy backwaters which so often repay exploration - there is one that is little known even by students of mediaeval Florence: the story of the slaves brought to Tuscany from the Black Sea and from Africa, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, who came to form no inconsiderable proportion of the Florentine population. A traveller arriving in Tuscany at this time might well have been startled by the appearance of the serving-maids and grooms of the Florentine ladies. Mostly small and squat, with yellow skins, black hair, high cheek-bones and dark slanting eyes, many of them deeply marked by smallpox and by scars or tattooed patterns on their faces, they certainly seemed to belong to a different race from the Florentine. Sometimes, too, a lady would be attended by a negro, or by a taller, fair-haired woman, white-skinned, but also unmistakably foreign; and if the traveller had friends in one of the Florentine palazzi and went to call, he found several other exotic figures there, too: swarthy or yellow little girls of eleven or twelve, and sometimes a small Moorish boy, acting as nursemaids or playmates for the little Florentine merchant-princes.

All these were slaves: most of them Tartars, but some also Russian, Circassian or Greek, Moorish or Ethiopian. Every prosperous noble or merchant had at least two or three of them; many had more. Even a notary's wife, or a small shopkeeper's, would have at least one, and it was far from uncommon to find one among the possessions of a priest or nun. [. . .]

Where had they all come from? Who were they? And - we may add - what was the part they played in the domestic life of Tuscany? The answer to these questions forms a curious story. It may be pieced together from deeds of sale and enfranchisements and wills, from the ledgers of foundling hospitals, from the bills of lading of trading-ships, from court records and judgments and city stat- utes, from private letters and diaries and account-books. Out of all these docu- ments a picture emerges of a whole underworld of alien, uprooted creatures - the "displaced persons" of their time. Sometimes a few of them succeeded in escaping from servitude - but often only to form the dregs of the predatory population of outlaws who lived by robbery on the Tuscan roads, or who swelled the crowd during bread riots or political tumults. And by far the greater number of them remained (often even after enfranchisement), in their masters' houses, the necessary background of every domestic scene, speaking a curious half-in- comprehensible jargon, waiting at every table, listening at every door, and mingling (as to this, the records leave us no doubt) their blood with that of their Tuscan hosts. Domestici hostes, domestic enemies - that was Petrarch's name for these inmates of every household, so alien and yet so close, and the author of a treatise of domestic economy in Sicily, Caggio, held the same opinion. "We have," he wrote, "as many enemies as we have slaves."

The interest of this forgotten episode of history is a double one - social and ethnical. On the one hand it is curious to discover that Florentine society during the last centuries of the Middle Ages depended, even if to a lesser degree than that of Athens and Rome, on services of men who were un-free. Beneath the co- operative associations of the guilds - the Arti Maggiori e Minori - beneath even the oppressed, hungry rabble of the popolo minuto, the Tuscan cities held another class- made up of men and women without human or legal rights, without families of their own, without any recognized ties between them, with- out even a name, save that given to them by their master: the slaves.

Moreover, and perhaps this is the most interesting point- they came to form a sufficiently large proportion of the population to affect, by this strong alien infiltration, the Tuscan stock- and, perhaps, the Tuscan character. Many widely different strains had already contributed to the formation of the Tuscan people: Etruscan, Roman, Lombard, Frankish. And now there came this new blood from the East and, later on, from Africa - vigorous and vital, di genteferigna.* From the cities it spread - since slaves, as we shall see, were kept even in remote country villages - throughout the whole of Tuscany. We may see their features in many of the pictures of the time. To this day, if you watch a group of children squatting in a semicircle in the dust of a village street, their voices and hands upraised in the old Mediterranean game of morra, you will some- times see among them the crisp black curls, the dark skin and flashing eyes of an Arab boy, or the high cheek-bones and slanting eyes of a little Tartar.

[Iris Origo. The Domestic Enemy: The Eastern Slaves in Tuscany in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. Speculum / Volume 30 / Issue 03 / July 1955, pp 321-366.]

Reply to Peter Frost (part 5): anthropology as the science of race

In discussing the history of anthropology, Sarich and Miele (in Race: The Reality of Human Differences) find it useful to:
highlight three critical junctures in which science, politics, and personality interacted: the disputes between Ernst Haeckel and Rudolf Virchow, between Franz Boas and Madison Grant, and finally between Carleton Coon and Ashley Montagu.
Of the two cases that played out in America, both involve race-denialist Jewish immigrants opposing "northeastern WASPs" with colonial roots (Coon's ancestry is 3/4 colonial New England and 1/4 Cornish; all of Grant's ancestors were in America before 1790, at least half of Grant's ancestry can be traced back to New England).

Darwinism in Britain, whether in the early days or today, has fo­cused on individuals, with groups emerging from them. British evolutionism has always had the shopkeeper’s sober obsession with keeping a good set of books. In Germany, however, Darwin­ ism took on a collectivist, romantic tone. There the great apostle of Darwin, Ernst Haeckel (1834-1913), imbued the theory of nat­ural selection with the spirit of German Romanticism. [. . .]

Haeckel and all he came to champion were opposed by his former professor, the distinguished biologist Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902). The conflict between them was both personal and political. The two men were polar opposites in appearance, ancestry, and tempera­ ment. Haeckel was tall, blond, German in name and appearance, with a strong love of the out-of-doors, and a generalist looking for one grand theory to account for everything. Virchow, whose name and appearance betrayed a Slavic ancestry, was a detail man and a pedantic laboratory taskmaster. Haeckel was charismatic and devel­oped a huge, almost religious following; Virchow was respected, even feared, but rarely liked. Haeckel was a strong supporter of the German Volk and Reich; Virchow was a radical advocate of social reform who fought at the barricades in the revolution of 1848. Vir­chow was a member of the German Progressive Party and opposed Bismarck’s policies. The Iron Chancellor, having already dispatched or intimidated earlier opponents with saber or pistol, challenged the professor to a duel. Virchow declined— unless they agreed to fight with scalpels. [. . .]

Between 1863 and Virchow’s death in 1902, Haeckel and his former professor clashed at scientific conferences and in print. Haeckel’s evolutionism was progressive, moving from lower to higher forms. Without any physical evidence, Haeckel went out on a limb and predicted fossil hunters would soon discover a crea­ture he dubbed Pithecanthropus, the ape-man or missing link. In­spired by Haeckel’s prediction, one of his disciples, Eugène Dubois, found the fossil he termed Pithecanthropus erectus (now classified as Homo erectus) in Java in 1891. For Virchow this finding entailed pointless speculation. He rejected the fossils, saying they were the result of pathological degeneration. As his repugnance grew at what he saw as the associations and implications of monism, Vir­chow came to reject evolution altogether. Any change in individ­uals or species that could be observed rather than hypothesized, he argued, was evidence of degeneration, not progress. [. . .]


When Galton died in 1911, eugenics was widely accepted not only in Britain and Germany but in the United States as well. Raymond Pearl, professor of biology at Johns Hopkins University (then a supporter of eugenics but later an opponent), noted that by 1912, “eugenics was catching on to an extraordinary degree with radical and conservative alike.” [. . .]

At the start of the twentieth century, most American anthropologists came from wealthy Brahmin families and were educated at Harvard University. They were solidly in the eugenics camp, agreeing with Galton on both individual and race differences. And then, as one author put it, Along Came Boas. His name is hardly a household word, but it is no exaggeration to say that Franz Boas (1858-1942) remade American anthropology in his own image. Through the works of his students Margaret Mead (Coming of Age in Samoa and Sex and Temperament in Three Soci­eties), Ruth Benedict (Patterns of Culture), and Ashley Montagu (innumerable titles, especially the countless editions of Man’s Most Dangerous Myth), Boas would have more effect on American intellectual thought than Darwin did. For generations, hardly anyone graduated from an American college or university with­ out having read at least one of these books. They all drew their inspiration from Boas’s The Mind of Primitive Man.

Franz Boas came from a German Jewish home, steeped in the “sentiment of the barricades” of the 1848 revolutions that swept across Europe. He originally obtained his doctorate in physics but later turned to geography. After fieldwork with the Greenland Es­ kimos, he took up anthropology— Virchow’s brand, not Haeckel’s. Virchow, in the words of one biographer, “had perhaps the greatest influence on Boas.” [. . .]

Appointed chairman of the department at Columbia University in 1899, Boas transformed anthropology from the leisure study of a few well-to-do WASPs into a highly credentialed discipline that pumped out Ph.D.’s. By 1915 his students had a two-thirds con­ trolling majority on the executive board of the American Anthropological Association. In 1919, Boas could boast that “most of the anthropological work done at the present time in the United States” came from his former students at Columbia. By 1926 they headed every major department of anthropology in America.

Before Boas, anthropology was the study of race. After Boas, anthropology in America became the study of culture, defined as “personality writ large,” [. . .]

Like his mentor Virchow, Boas was skeptical of evolutionary explanations, genetic or cultural. He even entertained a sympa­ thy for Lamarckism. What turned him into the godfather of cul­tural determinism in America, however, was the growing popular appeal and political power of the eugenics and anti-immigration movements. [. . .]

Franz Boas was a dark-haired Jewish immigrant from a leftist milieu, educated at German universities steeped in the ideals of the Enlightenment. Madison Grant, an archetypal Nordic, was a lawyer turned amateur biologist and a pillar of America’s WASP establishment. Grant claimed that his fellow American Nordics were committing racial suicide, allowing themselves to be “el­ bowed out” of their own land by ruthless, self-interested Jewish immigrants, who were behind the campaign to discredit racial re­ search. Yogi Berra’s words would have been apt: “It was déjà vu all over again.” Haeckel’s monism had driven Virchow from skepti­ cism into rejecting biological evolution. Nativist, proeugenic, elitist tracts such as Grant’s drove Boas from skepticism into re­ jecting the evolutionary perspective on culture and even linguis­ tics (which he had earlier advocated).

In his book In Search of Human Nature (1991), which is subti­ tled The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought, Degler concluded that Boas’s substitution of cultural for genetic determinism was not the result of

a disinterested, scientific inquiry into a vexed if controversial ques­ tion. Instead, his idea derived from an ideological commitment that began in his early life and academic experiences in Europe and continued in America to shape his professional outlook. To as­sert that point is not to say that he fudged or manufactured his evi­dence against the racial interpretation—for there is no sign of that. But, by the same token, there is no doubt that he had a deep inter­est in collecting evidence and designing arguments that would rebut or refute an ideological outlook— racism—which he consid­ered restrictive upon individuals and undesirable for society.

Coon vs. Montagu:

The Boasians were outsiders. Papa Franz and many of his stu­dents were Jews, though “the preponderance of Jewish intellectu­als in the early years of Boasian anthropology and the Jewish identities of anthropologists in subsequent generations has been downplayed in standard histories of the discipline.” Some, like Boas himself, were immigrants to boot. Montagu was born Israel Ehrenberg in the working-class East End district of London, En­gland. He was so leery of anti-Semitism (“If you’re brought up as a Jew, you know that all non-Jews are anti-Semitic . . . It’s a good working hypothesis”) that he reinvented himself as Montague Francis Ashley-Montagu from London’s well-to-do West End fi­nancial district, complete with a posh public school accent. When he came to the United States, Montagu played the role of the British headmaster, lecturing American audiences before a re­ceptive media on the foolishness of their prejudices. Later he dropped the hyphen and became simply Ashley Montagu.

Mead and Benedict could point to WASP pedigrees as pure as Madison Grant’s, but Mead was bisexual and Benedict a lesbian. At that time, those sexual orientations were far more stigmatized than they are today. Their sexual preferences are relevant, be­ cause developing a critique of traditional American values was as much a part of the Boasian program in anthropology as was their attack on eugenics and nativism. [. . .]

Whatever their individual origin, the Boasians felt deeply es­tranged from mainstream American society and the male WASP elites they were displacing in anthropology. Gene Weltfish, an­ other student of Boas, epitomized this sense of alienation when she said she felt that her generation had only three choices— go live in Paris, sell The Daily Worker (the U.S. Communist Party newspaper) on street corners, or study anthropology at Columbia. [. . .]

According to Degler, “Boas almost single-handedly developed in America the concept of culture, which, like a powerful solvent, would in time expunge race from the literature of social science.” In fact, Boas achieved his goal only with help, including a great deal from a most unwelcome source— Hitler and the Holocaust. After World War II, “race” and “eugenics” became very dirty words. The University of London’s Department of Eugenics changed its name to the Department of Genetics; the Eugenics Society became the Galton Institute; the Annals of Eugenics was renamed the Annals of Human Genetics; and Eugenics Quarterly became Social Biology. In 1949 the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organi­ zation (UNESCO) was called upon to adopt “a program of dissemi­ nating scientific facts designed to remove what is generally known as racial prejudice.” For the drafter of the first UNESCO statement, Ashley Montagu, this was an opportunity to deny the reality of race.


The preliminary match in anthropology’s fight over race was Vir­chow versus Haeckel. Then there was Boas versus Madison Grant. The final match in anthropology’s dispute went the distance. It was almost as lengthy as the names of its participants— Montague Francis Ashley-Montagu versus Carleton Stevens Coon.

Again there was a personal element to the clash. Coon was from a New England family that could trace its roots to colonial times and before that to Cornwall, ancestral home of the leg­ endary King Arthur. Coon was quite proud of his ancestry. Those sympathetic to Coon believed his personal dislike of Montagu was because he thought everyone else should dislike him as well. Why the need to pass oneself off as something one is not? Mon­ tagu, as already noted, had his “good working hypothesis” about non-Jews and anti-Semitism. [. . .]

Coon believed that race was a central issue and his job as an anthropologist was to study race; Montagu felt his was to banish race to the periphery and replace it with the concept of “ethnic group.” He began his effort to have the word “race” replaced by “ethnic group” in his 1942 book, Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race. When he was selected to draft the initial (1950) UNESCO Statement on Race, Montagu was given a plat­ form from which to present his view to a much larger, non-acade­mic audience. [. . .]

In his autobiography, Adventures and Discoveries, Coon ex­ plained how younger members wanted a special meeting at the 1961 AAPA convention, supposedly to discuss new business but in fact to censure Putnam’s book. [. . .]

Coon asked for a show of hands on how many attendees present had read the book they were about to censure. Only one. Then he asked how many had even heard about it before the ses­ sion. Only a few. Nonetheless, the resolution condemning Race and Reason passed.

In Coon’s words, “The Communists did not need to fight us. They could rot us from within. I could see it all as in a horrid dream.” (Remember, this was 1961 when both the Cold War and the civil rights movement were at their peaks.) He refused to have his name appear on the resolution as president of AAPA and resigned.

Reply to Peter Frost (part 4): Grant vs. Boas

From Jonathan Spiro's Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant:
Nordic and Anti-Nordic

The lifelong hostility between Madison Grant and Franz Boas was the personification if not the core of the nature-nurture debate in the United States. Grant was the prophet of scientific racism and, in Ellsworth Huntington’s phrase, the perennial “cheer leader of the Nordics in America.” Boas, on the other hand, devoted a lifetime to counteracting “the vicious, pseudo scientific activity of so-called scientists” who belittled nurture and pro- moted “this Nordic nonsense.” [. . .]

But Franz Boas (1858–1942) was the antithesis of Madison Grant. Whereas Grant was the scion of an aristocratic American family and displayed all the attitudes and prejudices implied by such a heritage, Boas was the product of an upper-middle-class German household in which, as he put it, “the ideals of the revolution of 1848 were a living force.” His progressive Jewish parents raised him with a firm belief in the dignity of the individual and the equipotentiality of all humans. As such, during his four-decade reign at Columbia University as the world’s most famous anthropologist, Boas preached with increasing vigor and confidence against racial prejudice, and consciously and actively worked to thwart the dangerous influence of Grant (“that charlatan”) and his disciples. 3 Boas rejected Grant’s division of mankind into biologically distinct and hierarchical subspecies. He challenged not only the superiority but the very existence of the Nordic race. And he denied that there was any correlation between the physical characteristics of a population and its mental or moral traits. The latter, he asserted, were created by the “culture” in which an individual was raised, not his or her germ plasm. Where Grant proclaimed that man was a mammal like any other and that anthropology ought to be a branch of zoology, Boas took the opposite tack and, in the words of Elazar Barkan, “divorced the biological from the cultural study of humankind.” In sum, Boas categorically rejected every tenet of Grant’s scientific racism and actively opposed every facet of Grant’s eugenic program. Of course, it was clear to Grant that the root of Boas’s hostility lay in the fact that he was a Jew, and Grant explained to Maxwell Perkins that Boas “naturally does not take stock in [my version of] anthropology which relegates him and his race to the inferior position that they have occupied throughout recorded history.”

Reply to Peter Frost (part 3): The founding of the NAACP

Frost: "As a professor at Columbia, he was dealing with a regional WASP culture that still preserved the radical abolitionism of the previous century. A good example was Mary White Ovington, a founder of the NAACP "

Three people are credited as the initial instigators of the NAACP: one Northeasterner, one Southerner, and one Jew.

One man who did not approve of the mob's behavior was the wealthy Kentucky writer, William English Walling. His Jewish wife had suffered similar discrimination in Russia from anti-Semites. Walling wrote an article for the Independent, a publication that had long defended human rights, expressing his shock at Springfield's shamelessness. He described boycotts intended to drive blacks out of the city as terrorist tactics that could ultimately undermine a democratic way of life.

In response to the article, Mary White Ovington, a wealthy social worker and granddaughter of a white abolitionist, contacted Walling. Ovington had dedicated herself to solving blacks' problems. In January 1909, Ovington and Henry Moskowitz, another social worker, met with Walling in his New York apartment, where they conceived a national biracial organization of fair-minded whites and intelligent blacks to address wrongs endured by blacks. Three white people founded the NAACP.

The Southerner, William English Walling, was a socialist with a Jewish wife. Mary White Ovington was evidently also a socialist.

Ovington is described above as "wealthy", but as concerns her personal means this seems to be false, and as concerns her family it seems their business (a gift shop) experienced frequent reversals. Ovington apparently collected a salary for years as a settlement worker, and depended on a fellowship from the "Greenwich House Committee on Social Investigations" to write the book to which Boas contributed a foreword. According to Ovington herself, it was not until 1903, after hearing a speech by Booker T. Washington, that "The Negro and his problems came into my life," and she decided "to be of some help to this neglected element." This was not a cause she picked up from her parents.

Boas was a member of the committee that awarded Ovington the fellowship. Including Boas, it looks like 3 out of the 7 committee members were Jewish (the other two being E. R. A. Seligman, a son of the banker Joseph Seligman, and Vladimir Simkhovich, both also Columbia professors).

Reply to Peter Frost (part 2): Boas was a product of German(-Jewish) culture, not American culture

The version of history in which Franz Boas was a dispassionate purveyor of real talk who picked up anti-racism from "liberal WASPs" is of course wholly Peter Frost's own invention. This scenario finds no support outside of Frost's imagination.

Boas's agenda remained consistent over his entire career, and it's not an agenda he picked up in America. Boas was born in Germany, studied anthropology in Germany, brought his fully-formed worldview with him from Germany, and continued to identify with Germany throughout his life.

This paper (Leonard Glick, Types Distinct from Our Own: Franz Boas on Jewish Identity and Assimilation. American Anthropologist, 84: 545–565.) provides some background on the world Boas was born into (including discussion of Jewish emancipation, the German reaction, the 1848 revolutions, etc.) and how this background affected Boas.

For a problem of such magnitude, he continued, there could be only one solution: “Israel must renounce its ambition to become the master of Germany.” The Jews should accept at once the inescapable necessity that their influence in German life be curbed and abridged through strict quotas in every public sector, and through reorganization of the nation’s economic structure. “Either we succeed in this,” he concluded, “and Germany will rise again, or the cancer from which we suffer will spread further. In that event our whole future is threatened and the German spirit will become Judaized” (ibid.:287). The impact of this speech on Berlin political life was “extraordinary,” says Massing, and for the next five or six years the so-called Berlin movement, led by Stoecker and with anti-Jewish agitation as its definitive characteristic, “kept the capital in a turmoil” (ibid.:30; Boehlich 1965).

In 1881 Stoecker was elected to the Reichstag as representative for Siegen, the constituency immediately adjacent to Minden, and retained this position for many years. He was also by then representative for Minden to the Prussian Diet and is said by one German historian to have been “at that time one of the most popular men in Minden- Ravensberg” (Herzig 1973:125; Pulzer 1964:99). His opponent in the Reichstag election was Rudolf Virchow, the distinguished physical anthropologist and progressive politician with whom Boas soon afterward established close ties. Stoecker distributed an election-eve pamphlet describing Virchow as a defender of Jewish usurers. Moreover, he continued, the Progressives (left liberals) were calling Virchow “the representative of culture,” but “I do not want any culture that is not Germanic and Christian” (Massing 1949:41). [. . .]

It was in this troubled social environment that Franz Boas grew to young adulthood. Clyde Kluckhohn and Olaf Prufer, writing on his “formative years,” have something to say about the intellectual life of the period but make no mention of Volkish ideology. They do note that anti-Semitism was an important problem for Boas: “The letters from Kiel,” they remark, “are particularly full of accounts of unpleasant activities among the student body, and of gross personal behavior” (1959:10-11). Commenting on the same period, A. L. Kroeber says that the “non-intellectual aspects” of Boas’s university life “may be presumed to have been warm and rich,” but he also notes that Boas left with “several deep facial scars from sabre cuts received in duelling.” He then refers, somewhat ambiguously, to Boas’s self-identification as being of the “Mosaic confession” and to a story about a fight and duel following an anti-Semitic insult (1943:7-8). 5 Stocking states explicitly that the duels were “fought over anti-Semitic remarks” (1979:33).

Nor was it "liberal WASPs" Boas primarily affiliated himself with in America.
His immediate solution to the question of religious identification, to the extent that he accepted this as a question, was to become a member of the Society for Ethical Culture, founded in New York City by Felix Adler, an educator, social activist, and later professor of political and social ethics at Columbia. Adler was the son of the rabbi of the most prestigious Reform congregation in the country, Temple Emanu-El of New York. It was anticipated that he would succeed his father in the same pulpit, but at age 22 he delivered a guest sermon, entitled “The Judaism of the Future,” which permanently eliminated that prospect. Judaism, along with all other formal creeds, was on the verge of extinction, he declared, and the only proper course was abandonment of religious particularism in favor of a humanistic faith embracing all humanity: “... we discard the narrow spirit of exclusion, and loudly proclaim that Judaism was not given to the Jews alone, but that its destiny is to embrace in one great moral state the whole family of men…” (Radest 1969: 17; emphasis in original). This was, in fact, wholly within the spirit of Reform Judaism, although Adler carried the argument a step further by inviting eve[r]yone to join. In his lecture inaugurating the Ethical Culture movement, delivered in 1876, Adler proposed “to entirely exclude prayer and every form of ritual,” and declared his primary allegiance to “freedom of thought” as the “sacred right of every individual man” (ibid. :27 -28).

The organization prospered and achieved something of a reputation for service in the interests of social reform and humanitarian ideals. The membership was heavily and probably predominantly composed of cultivated German Jews, for whom it gave organizational legitimation to the very same values that Boas summarized as “the ideals of the revolution of 1848,” and it is quite apparent why it appealed to him. 8 Although he does not appear to have been deeply engaged with the Society’s program, he did travel to London in 1911 to deliver a lecture on “Instability of Human Types” at a Universal Races Congress, sponsored by the Society, which brought together Asians, Africans, and Europeans for what may have been the first such effort to achieve genuine cross-cultural exchange on a formal level (Radest 1969:93-94).

"Fair housing" as a Jewish issue

Nathaniel Weyl asserts:
Another case of the Jewish voters cutting off their own noses was the vote in 1964 on various state and city "public accommodations" ordinances. These measures restricted or totally abolished the right of house and apartment owners to refuse to sell or rent on the basis of race. The purpose was to enable Negroes to move into previously white residential areas. Since residential discrimination against Jews had become pretty much of a dead letter, the Jewish interest was identical with that of the other whites.
While Weyl is no doubt correct that as an objective matter the impact of residential discrimination on Jews in 1960s America was negligible, this did not stop Jews from viewing the fight against freedom of association as a "Jewish issue". As perceived by Jews, Jewish interests were hardly "identical with those of the other whites".
In confronting housing discrimination [. . .], Jews navigated the difficult terrain of determining how an issue might be a Jewish one even when Jews were not always directly involved in it. A 1960 investigation revealing that Jews, among other minorities, had been systematically handicapped in their ability to purchase homes in the Grosse Pointe suburbs of Detroit stood out for Jewish leaders as the exception that proved the rule: in only very few cases did Jews face housing discrimination. A NCRAC report from 1960 explained, "All of us are cognizant . . . that discrimination against Jews in housing is trivial in comparison with discrimination against Negroes; that it is an irritant and an affront to Jews, whereas it is a deprivation as well as a deep indignity to Negroes." Jewish leaders, the report admonished, should not concern themselves with the "occasional Judenrein [Jew-free, a term used by the Nazi regime] apartment houses or neighborhoods, but with those festering and unresolved problems created by the persistence of racial housing segregation in the cities and suburbs." A few years later, NCRAC "took some gratification in the fact that Jewish organizations and individuals are prominently represented in citizens' fair housing bodies." To liberal Jewish leaders, fair housing was a Jewish issue.

[Lila Corwin Berman. Metropolitan Jews: Politics, Race, and Religion in Postwar Detroit]

The Grosse Pointe Gross Point System
In the Spring of 1960 as a result of a court case, the realtors association of very affluent suburban Grosse Pointe (the association brought together realtors from all the Grosse Pointes--Farms, Woods, etc.), just to the northeast of the city of Detroit, was "exposed." [. . .]

Under the system a realtor would find a potential purchaser for a home. Then a private investigator would be hired to make a report on the person. The report would be given to a committee of three brokers and they would take information from the report and use it to assign points to the buyer. Points would be given for matters such as the "extent to which" the buyer was "Americanized," along with his "general standing." This included references to the "swarthiness of appearance," "friends," "dress," "religion," "education," "use of grammar," and "accent."

Norman C. Thomas writes: "The screening process was not required for persons of Northern European ancestry, e.g., Anglo-Saxons, Germans, French, Scandinavians, etc. Out of a maximum 100 points, Poles had to score 55 to pass, Southern Europeans 65, and Jews 85. Negroes and Orientals were not eligible for consideration, their disqualification being automatic."

Grosse Pointe in MI
The Grosse Pointe area was well-known for the point system, in which those deemed undesirable (non-Protestants, Eastern Europeans, etc.) had to amass more points in order to purchase a home. Realtors and the Grosse Pointe Property Owner's Association would sometimes hire private detectives, who would find answers to various questions, including "Appearances - swarthy, slightly swarthy, or not at all?" and "Accents - pronounced, medium, slight, not at all?" The maximum score for the survey was 100, with most prospective residents needing a score of 50.

However, according to Michigan Attorney General Paul Adams, "a Pole is expected to have five additional points. An Italian, Yugoslav, Greek, Syrian, Lebanese, Armenian, Maltese, Rumanian, or other southern European is required to have 15 additional points. A Jew is required to have 35 additional points and his points are more difficult to achieve because of penalties in a special marking system for Jews. Orientals and Negroes are not considered at all."

In 1960, William E. Bufalino Jr., a Jewish attorney from Detroit, sued the city for libel because he was branded "swarthy" and denied a home. The state of Michigan ordered the suburb to abandon the system within 30 days. However, there is some indication that it persisted officially until 1961, and possibly unofficially after that.

"'The most desirable neighborhood for the raising of children, according to these Grosse Pointe real estate dealers and brokers,' Rabbi [Leon] Fram said, 'is one in which the children shall never see a Negro except in the role of a porter or a shoe shine boy, never encounter any human being who believes in a faith other than Christianity, never hear a foreign accent.' He quoted the minister of a Grosse Pointe church as stating that 'Jesus Christ could never qualify for residence in Grosse Pointe.'" -"Klan Standards Prevail in G.P., Rabbi Charges", Detroit News, 14 May 1960

James Loewen on "sundown towns":
The practice of exclusion was usually quite open. Hundreds of towns posted signs. The Academy Award-winning movie of 1947, Gentleman's Agreement, was about the method by which Darien, Connecticut, one of the most prestigious suburbs of New York City, kept out Jews, and that publicity hardly ended the practice. In the 1960s, some residents of Edina, Minnesota, the most prestigious suburb of Minneapolis, boasted that their community had, as they put it, "Not one Negro and not one Jew."

[In Race and Racism in the United States: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic edited by Charles A. Gallagher, Cameron D. Lippard]

The Jew in American Politics (part 8): Jewish Voting Behavior: 1932-1967

Elsewhere in the book, Weyl is keen to point out that "only" on the order of 1% of American Jews were card-carrying members of the Communist Party. Here he acknowledges 15-20% of Jews supported the Communist-endorsed Henry A. Wallace in the 1948 election ("The raison d'etre of this third-party movement was to obtain continuing American support of the Soviet Union and American acquiescence in continuing Soviet aggression").

Other than that, we see the familiar pattern of Jews bloc-voting for Democratic candidates.

We also get to hear more about how the Jewish fight against freedom of association was purely the result of misguided universalism ('Another case of the Jewish voters cutting off their own noses was the vote in 1964 on various state and city "public accommodations" ordinances. These measures restricted or totally abolished the right of house and apartment owners to refuse to sell or rent on the basis of race. The purpose was to enable Negroes to move into previously white residential areas. Since residential discrimination against Jews had become pretty much of a dead letter, the Jewish interest was identical with that of the other whites. [. . .] In Detroit some Jewish districts voted ten-to-one against a homeowners' rights ordinance designed to permit landlords to sell or rent at their discretion. In Los Angeles, Jewish districts voted two-to-one against Proposition 14, a very similar measure, which was approved by California voters as a whole by a two-thirds majority.'). Since residential discrimination against Jews had diminished by this time, it's obviously impossible Jews maintained an overblown concern with suppressing freedom of association out of perceived self-interest.

The Jew in American Politics (part 7): Socialism, Communism and the Far Left

"The alien nature of American Communism was revealed by the complaint of its leader, Charles Ruthenberg, that in 1920 it didn't have five speakers able to present its case in the English language."

The Jew in American Politics (part 6): WWI to the great depression

Weyl probably overemphasizes the loyalty of Jewish voters to the Republican party between the Civil War and World War I. But he correctly notes that to the extent Jews assimilated, they became more conservative (not the reverse).

The Jew in American Politics (part 5): the "fight against anti-Semitism", 1880-1914

As mentioned, Weyl is at pains throughout the book to make clear Jewish leftists are not pursuing their perceived self-interests. Yet his book is filled with examples of Jews organizing to pursue their perceived self-interests, including especially to suppress "anti-Semitism".

The Jew in American Politics (part 4): abolitionism, utopian socialism, and anti-Semitism

Nathaniel Weyl, a Jewish Communist turned anti-Communist, is eager to persuade his Jewish (or, if we're being realistic, mostly non-Jewish) readers that the true interests of Jews lie with conservatism and that Jewish leftism is not motivated by Jewish pursuit of self-interest -- thus the focus on highlighting "anti-Semitism" on the left wherever possible and the emphasis on Karl Marx as a self-hating Jew.

But the following section is of interest mostly because it correctly situates American experiments in utopian socialism like Brook Farm (one of Moldbug's favorite "proofs" that leftism is really New England Puritanism) in their European context.

The Jew in American Politics (part 3): 1848ers

Arrival of the German Jews

A rapid expansion of population in Germany during the decades of peace following the Napoleonic wars resulted in mass emigration to America. Schedules of vessels departing for the United States were posted even in the most humble German towns and villages. The exodus was so immense that, in the course of barely two weeks, four thousand people left the small state of Baden alone. German Jews were part of this trek. They were subject to the same forces of overpopulation and economic need as their Christian neighbors. They had the additional goad of rampant discrimination, inability to get licenses as craftsmen and an atmosphere poisoned by anti-Semitism. [. . .]

The emigration was immensely accelerated by the crushing defeat of the liberal 1848 revolutions in Europe and the triumph of reaction. Up to 100,000 German Jews came to the United States in the twelve years between that event and the Civil War.

Jews had taken a prominent part in the leadership of the 1848 uprisings and a large majority of European Jewry had sympathized with them. Thus, Daniele Manin, a Catholic of Jewish ancestry, was the outstanding leader of the Venetian rising of 1848 and two Jews were members of the Cabinet of the short-lived Weimar Republic of that time. The Prussian National Assembly which proclaimed the new liberal constitution of 1848 had several Jews as members and elected one of them, Raphael Kosch, as its vice president. The more important Frankfurt parliament had at one time a Jewish president and a Jewish vice president. In Breslau, Berlin, Mainz, Worms, Cracow and Vienna, Jews were prominent in the 1848 struggle as military leaders, politicians and newspaper editors. In the last category was Karl Marx, the Jew-hating son of an apostate Jew. The Hungarian National Army under Louis Kossuth had no fewer than 20,000 enlisted Jewish soldiers in its ranks.l7

When the revolution was stifled throughout Europe, its Jewish and non-Jewish adherents turned increasingly toward the United States. Hence, the massive Jewish emigration of the 1840's and 1850's was politically selective.

The Jew in American Politics (part 2): 1820s-1840s

"a substantial majority" of the 15,000 or so American Jews supported the Van Buren Administration--that of probably the most radical President in American history prior to the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt:

The Jew in American Politics (part 1)

Mencius Moldbug notoriously attempted to blame native-born American elites for the leftism/radicalism of his co-ethnics:
As for the Jews, being no suckers, they realized that they should assimilate into the most socially prestigious branch of the American tradition - the progressives. Again: done.
If you find the above excuse clever rather than hilariously inept, I encourage you to work on correcting your lack of basic knowledge of American and Jewish history. As a start, some excerpts from Nathaniel Weyl's 1968 book The Jew in American Politics (a shorter excerpt was posted here):

Problem and Paradox

American Jewish political behavior is an anomaly and a contradiction. The American Jewish community is overwhelmingly middle class and upper middle class. American Jews are more highly educated than any other national or religious group in the U.S. population. They are concentrated in entrepreneurial, professional, scientific and aesthetically creative occupations. Their income is much higher than the national average. Their contribution to the economic, political and creative leadership of the nation is much greater than their numerical strength would indicate.

Yet in their political attitudes, they are overwhelmingly liberal-to-radical and this despite the general rule of political behavior that the higher a group stands in status, income and education, the more it tends to prefer a conservative to a liberal philosophy. Thus, despite the fact that the intellectual community in the United States has in recent years tended to be preponderantly liberal, a majority of college graduates has consistently supported the Republican Party and taken a conservative stance on most controversial domestic issues. This was partially confirmed, as far as education is concerned, in the wake of Senator Goldwater's 1964 presidential defeat one that gave the Republican Party a smaller proportion of the total popular vote than it had obtained in any of the previous six presidential contests. Even after this massive setback, one segment of the population remained loyal to the GOP according to the evidence of public opinion polls. That last steadfast group was the college-bred, the element which William James considered the only true American aristocracy.

Two years later, a Gallup Poll revealed that 59% of the college-trained had supported Republican candidates in the 1966 elections as against 4l% who voted Democratic. By contrast of those with less than a grade-school education, 6l% backed Democratic, and only 39% Republican, candidates. The Republicans had the support of 58% of the business and professional voters, 52% of the white-collar workers and 50% of the farmers, but only 39% of the manual workers.l

A positive correlation apparently exists between wealth, income education and status, on the one hand, and conservatism, on the other. [. . .]

Jewish Liberalism: the Allinsmith Study

The degree of commitment of American Jews to liberalism is different from the degree of that commitment among other religious groups. The difference is that the Jewish devotion to liberalism is not correlated with economic or educational status. This was demonstrated almost 20 years ago by Wesley and Beverly Allinsmith.2

Toward the close of World War II, the Allinsmiths asked 8,820 members of eight religious denominations whether they believed that the most important postwar task of the U.S. Government was to provide opportunity for people to get ahead on their own or "to guarantee every person a decent and steady job and standard of living."

Nationally, 47% of the people questioned preferred security to opportunity. As the percentage of manual workers in each denomination increased, the proportion favoring security rose. Status, education and income were inversely related to the choice of security. As one proceeded from Congregationalists to Presbyterians to Episcopalians to Methodists to Lutherans to Baptists and finally to Catholics, the preference for security steadily increased from 26% to 58%.

The Jews were the only exception to this rule. Although they were a very high status group ranking first in occupational level, third in educational level and fourth in economic level, 56% of them preferred security to opportunity. This was almost as high as the Catholic preference for security.

Moreover, within each of the eight religious denominations, the preference for opportunity was greatest among those with most education, highest status and best occupational level. Again, the Jews were the only exception.

The 1944 presidential vote also revealed this marked difference between Jewish and Gentile political behavior. The upper-class and upper-middle-class Christian denominations voted heavily against Roosevelt and in favor of Republican standard-bearer Thomas Dewey. Only 31.4% of the Congregationalists, 39.9% of the Presbyterians and 44.6% of the Episcopalians backed Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The more working-class denominations, however, voted heavily for him, particularly the Catholics who were 72.8% in his favor. In terms of their combined educational, occupational and status rank in the Allinsmith survey-that of second place-the Jews might well have been expected to vote Republican. Actually, they were 92.1% for Roosevelt. This overwhelming support was greater than that of any of the Christian denominations. [. . .]

However, in the 1952 elections, despite the fact that the Republican presidential candidate, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had led the Western coalition to victory over the Nazis, 75% of the Jewish voters supported Adlai E. Stevenson, a man who had played no role of any importance in World War II. There was no difference in the attitude of the candidates toward Jewry or the state of Israel. The issue was clearly one of moderation vs. liberalism. In a situation where American voters as a whole gave decisive support to Eisenhower, three-fourths of the Jews backed his Democratic opponent. Moreover, interviews in depth of Boston voters showed that only 30% of the Gentiles with high socioeconomic status, as against 60% of those with low socioeconomic status, backed Stevenson. Among Boston Jews, 72% of those with high status voted for Stevenson.

Evidently we are dealing with a political phenomenon that is unique and not explicable in the standard terms of public opinion analysis. The aberrant political behavior of American Jewry has deep roots in the religious, economic and political history of the Jewish people. It is related to their centuries-long struggle to find institutions and socioeconomic forces which would give them equality of opportunity and security from the specter of persecution which has so often haunted them.

This aspect of the political behavior of American Jews is not, I believe, realistically related to their experience in the United States. Attitudes have been absorbed from their heritage in Czarist Russia, from their relationship to the revolutionary movements against Czarism and, more recently, from the holocaust which European Jewry suffered under the Nazis. A Jewish syndrome has arisen in America and elsewhere, which magnifies minor slights and injuries from conservative groups, while largely overlooking the global threat to Israel and to Western civilization posed by Soviet and Chinese Communism and by the strident, racist nationalisms of the new, impoverished states of the Asian and African world. Above all, Jews in general have refused to recognize themselves as an elite group with an immense stake in the existing social order and a great political role to play in the orderly evolution of the world toward the institutions of Western civilization, institutions which have alone thus far given man both order and freedom.

Reply to Peter Frost's most recent bizarre attempt at rewriting history (part 1)

Peter Frost has previously claimed:
Anti-racism was neither solely nor primarily a Jewish invention. It initially arose through a radicalization of the abolitionist movement in the early to mid 19th century, its adherents being overwhelmingly of WASP origin. It then fell into decline, largely in response to the failure of black emancipation and the growing influence of Darwinian thinking in the social sciences. It was this half-discredited antiracism that Jewish immigrants, like Franz Boas, encountered in the late 19th century and the early 20th. With the rise of Nazi Germany, antiracism made a resurgence, and Jewish intellectuals certainly contributed to this resurgence for obvious reasons. But it was at all times as much a northeastern WASP cultural trait as a Jewish one.
He's now back with more of this:

How did [Franz Boas's] views on race evolve over the next twenty years? This evolution is described by Williams (1996), who sees his views beginning to change at the turn of the century. After getting tenure at Columbia University in 1899, he became immersed in the elite liberal culture of the American northeast and began to express his views on race accordingly. [. . .]

From 1900 to 1930, Boas seemed to become increasingly liberal in his views on race, but this trend was hesitant at best and reflected, at least in part, a change in the audience he was addressing. As a professor at Columbia, he was dealing with a regional WASP culture that still preserved the radical abolitionism of the previous century. A good example was Mary White Ovington, whose Unitarian parents had been involved in the anti-slavery movement and who in 1910 helped found the NAACP. Boas was also dealing with the city's growing African American community and, through Ovington's contacts, wrote articles for the NAACP. Finally, he was also dealing with the growing Jewish community, who identified with antiracism partly out of self-interest and partly out of a desire to assimilate into northeastern WASP culture.

It's an outrageous distortion of history to suggest Jews supported antiracism "out of a desire to assimilate into northeastern WASP culture".

Most northeasterners, of any class, were never abolitionists (antislavery does not equal abolitionist), and even most abolitionists did not advocate anything approaching modern anti-racism.

No major constituency in America denied the existence of biological differences between blacks and whites when Boas immigrated, and advocating such views provided no quick path to social advancement (though obviously, at a deeper level, Boas was no doubt motivated by a desire to eliminate "anti-semitism").

It would have been very strange indeed for a physical anthropologist in 1890s America to outright deny the existence of race or obvious racial differences. What matters is the direction in which Boas differed from his contemporaries. And there's no question Boas was promoting "anti-racism" from the outset. Frost selectively quotes Boas's 1894 address "Human Faculty as Determined by Race", but even the excerpts chosen by Frost should make clear which direction Boas was pushing. Boas was not disinterestedly speaking race realist truth to an anti-racist American establishment, but lecturing Americans that no differences in civilizational potential had been proven to exist between the races of man, and insisting that any mental differences that existed could not be large, as the opening and conclusion make clear:

Proud of his wonderful achievements, civilized man looks down upon the humbler members of mankind. He has conquered the forces of nature and compelled them to serve him. He has transformed inhospitable forests into fertile fields. The mountain fastnesses are yielding their treasures to his demands. The fierce animals which are obstructing his progress are being exterminated, while others which are useful to him are made to increase a thousand fold. The waves of the ocean carry him from land to land and towering mountain ranges set him no bounds. His genius has moulded inert matter into powerful machines which wait a touch of his hand to serve his manifold demands.

What wonder when he pities a people that has not succeeded in subduing nature; who labor to eke a meagre existence out of the products of the wilderness; who hear with trembling the roar of the wild animals and see the products of their toils destroyed by them; who remain restricted by ocean, river or mountains; who strive to obtain the necessities of life with the help of few and simple instruments.

Such is the contrast that presents itself to the observer. What wonder if civilized man considers himself a being of higher order as compared to primitive man; if it is claimed that the white race represents a higher type than all others.

When we analyze this assumption, it will soon be found that the superiority of the civilization of the white race alone is not a sufficient basis for this inference. As the civilization is higher, we assume that the aptitude for civilization is also higher; and as the aptitude for civilization presumably depends upon the perfection of the mechanism of body and mind, the inference is drawn that the white race represents the highest type of perfection. In this conclusion, which is reached through a comparison of the social status of civilized man and of primitive man, the achievement and the aptitude for an achievement have been confounded. Furthermore, as the white race is the civilized race, every deviation from the white type is considered a characteristic feature of a lower type. That these two errors underlie our judgments of races can be easily shown by the fact that, other conditions being equal, a race is always described as the lower the more fundamentally it differs from the white race. This becomes clearest by the tendency on the part of many anthropologists to look for anatomical peculiarities of primitive man which would characterize him as a being of lower order, and also by the endeavors of recent writers to prove that there exist hardly any anatomical features of the so-called lowest races which would stamp them as lower types of organisms. Both these facts show that the idea dwells in the minds of investigators that we should expect to find in the white race the highest type of man. [. . .]

Although, as I have tried to show, the distribution of faculty among the races of man is far from being known, we can say this much: the average faculty of the white race is found to the same degree in a large proportion of individuals of all other races, and although it is probable that some of these races may not produce as large a proportion of great men as our own race, there is no reason to suppose that they are unable to reach the level of civilization represented by the bulk of our own people.

Barbara Ehrenreich: a more representative example of the non-"ethnic" element of our present elites than Garry Trudeau

Ehrenreich, one of Peter Dreier's "Fifty Most Influential Progressives of the Twentieth Century", is the daughter of upwardly mobile, working class parents (her father was a copper miner who ended up a corporate executive).

Ehrenreich was born Barbara Alexander to Isabelle Oxley and Ben Howes Alexander in Butte, Montana, which she describes as then being "a bustling, brawling, blue collar mining town".[6] In an interview on C-SPAN, she characterized her parents as "strong union people" with two family rules: "never cross a picket line and never vote Republican".[2] In a talk she gave in 1999, Ehrenreich called herself a "fourth-generation atheist".[7]

"As a little girl", she told The New York Times in 1993, "I would go to school and have to decide if my parents were the evil people they were talking about, part of the Red Menace we read about in the Weekly Reader, just because my mother was a liberal Democrat who would always talk about racial injustice."[8] Her father was a copper miner who went to the Montana State School of Mines (now part of the University of Montana), and then to Carnegie Mellon University. He eventually became a senior executive at the Gillette Corporation. Her parents later divorced.

While, owing to heritable factors, we expect present elites will on average have forebears who are at least slightly above average in social status, the vast majority of their ancestors a generation or two ago were relatively unremarkable middle or working class people. The far-from-perfect heritability of social status and the fact that middle and working class people greatly outnumbered elites means there would have been significant upward social mobility in any case; but the massive expansion in the ranks of the college educated and white collar workers over the past century, along with mass immigration, means the overwhelming majority of present US elites have no special connection to the 19th-century or earlier American upper class.

Even if we limit ourselves to the non-"ethnic" elements among present leftist elites, I have no doubt Ehrenreich is much more typical than Trudeau.

An acquaintance was telling me about the joys of rediscovering her ethnic and religious heritage. "I know exactly what my ancestors were doing 2,000 years ago," she said, eyes gleaming with enthusiasm, "and I can do the same things now." Then she leaned forward and inquired politely, "And what is your ethnic background, if I may ask?"

"None," I said, that being the first word in line to get out of my mouth. Well, not "none," I backtracked. Scottish, English, Irish--that was something, I supposed. Too much Irish to qualify as a WASP; too much of the hated English to warrant a "kiss Me, I'm Irish" button; plus there are a number of dead ends in the family tree due to adoptions, missing records, failing memories and the like. I was blushing by this time. Did "none" mean I was rejecting my heritage out of Anglo-Celtic self-hate? Or was I revealing a hidden ethnic chauvinism in which the Britannically derived served as a kind of neutral standard compared with the ethnic "others"?

Throughout the 60's and 70's, I watched one group after another--African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans--stand up and proudly reclaim their roots while I just sank back ever deeper into my seat. All this excitement over ethnicity stemmed, I uneasily sensed, from a past in which their ancestors had been trampled upon by my ancestors, or at least by people who looked very much like them. In addition, it had begun to seem almost un-American not to have some sort of hyphen at hand, linking one to more venerable times and locales.

But the truth is, I was raised with none. We'd eaten ethnic foods in my childhood home, but these were all borrowed, like the pasties, or Cornish meat pies, my father had picked up from his fellow miners in Butte, Montana. If my mother had one rule, it was militant ecumenism in all matters of food and experience. "Try new things," she would say, meaning anything from sweetbreads to clams, with an emphasis on the "new."

As a child, I briefly nourished a craving for tradition and roots. I immersed myself in the works of Sir Walter Scott. I pretended to believe that the bagpipe was a musical instrument. I was fascinated to learn from a grandmother that we were descended from certain Highland clans and longed for a pleated skirt in one of their distinctive tartans.

But in Ivanhoe, it was the dark-eyed "Jewess" Rebecca I identified with, not the flaxen-haired bimbo Rowena. As for clans: Why not call them "tribes," those bands of half-clad peasants and warriors whose idea of cuisine was stuffed sheep gut washed down with whisky? And then there was the sting of Disraeli's remark--which I came across in my early teens--to the effect that his ancestors had been leading orderly, literate lives when my ancestors were still rampaging through the Highlands daubing themselves with blue paint.

Motherhood put the screws on me, ethnicity-wise. I had hoped that by marrying a man of Eastern European-Jewish ancestry I would acquire for my descendants the ethnic genes that my own forebears so sadly lacked. At one point, I even subjected the children to a Seder of my own design, including a little talk about the flight from Egypt and its relevance to modern social issues. But the kids insisted on buttering their matzohs and snickering through my talk. "Give me a break, Mom," the older one said. "You don't even believe in God." [. . .]

But, then, on the fumes of Manischewitz, a great insight took form in my mind. It was true, as the kids said, that I didn't "believe in God." But this could be taken as something very different from an accusation--a reminder of a genuine heritage. My parents had not believed in God either, nor had my grandparents or any other progenitors going back to the great-great level. They had become disillusioned with Christianity generations ago--just as, on the in-law side, my children's other ancestors had shaken off their Orthodox Judaism. This insight did not exactly furnish me with an "identity," but it was at least something to work with: we are the kind of people, I realized--whatever our distant ancestors' religions--who do not believe, who do not carry on traditions, who do not do things just because someone has done them before.

[. . .] In my parents' general view, new things were better than old, and the very fact that some ritual had been performed in the past was a good reason for abandoning it now. Because what was the past, as our forebears knew it? Nothing but poverty, superstition and grief. "Think for yourself," Dad used to say. "Always ask why."

In fact, this may have been the ideal cultural heritage for my particular ethnic strain--bounced as it was from the Highlands of Scotland across the sea, out to the Rockies, down into the mines and finally spewed out into high-tech, suburban America. What better philosophy, for a race of migrants, than "Think for yourself"? What better maxim, for people whose whole world was rudely inverted every 30 years or so, than "Try new things"?

The more tradition-minded, the newly enthusiastic celebrants of Purim and Kwanzaa and Solstice, may see little point to survival if the survivors carry no cultural freight--religion, for example, or ethnic tradition. To which I would say that skepticism, curiosity and wide-eyed ecumenical tolerance are also worthy elements of the human tradition and are at least as old as such notions as "Serbian" or "Croatian," "Scottish" or "Jewish." I make no claims for my personal line of progenitors except that they remained loyal to the values that may have induced all of our ancestors, long, long, long ago, to climb down from the trees and make their way into the open plains.

People have different interests and different dispositions. The "values" Ehrenreich belatedly claims as her cultural inheritance are subject to significant genetic influence. Though a range of political opinion has existed within every class throughout recent American and European history, traditional elites tended to favor the right, out of self-interest and likely also because some of the biologically-influenced traits associated with political conservatism favored entry into and retention in the elite. We now have whole segments of the elite where entry among non-"ethnics" is restricted to those who actively forsake their group and traditionalism. This does not favor "elite WASPs", but people who are genetically predisposed in that direction and relatively rootless to begin with.
I have to talk about my family a little bit. There is a reason in my case why the constant linkage of God, family, and flag is upsetting to me, and it has to do with the history of my particular family. I am a fourth-generation atheist. My freethinking ancestors were not members of the "liberal elite" who are always getting bashed for being anti-religious, who are so hated by the current conservative elite. My atheist ancestors were miners, railroad workers, farmers, farm workers. Once they had been religious people, many of them Catholics.

The story is told that my great-grandmother, a Montana farmwoman named Mamie O'Laughlin, sent for a priest when her father was dying. The priest did not want to be bothered. (This is western Montana, the late 19th century, the trip would have been dangerous.) And he sent back a message to Mamie that he would come but only if she would pay him a fee of $25, which was a huge sum in those days and way beyond the means of my great-grandmother. So her father died without the consolation, whatever it may have been, of the sacrament. [. . .]

At one time there were dozens of freethought newspapers published throughout the United States. The freethought movement was very much connected to movements for social change of different kinds. In the Northeast, the freethought movement was linked to the working men's movement of the early 1800s, which was a progenitor of the trade union movement. In the West it flourished among miners and other low-paid working people who were drawn to the Wobblies and other unions at the early part of this century. [. . .]

But this is not how it worked in my family. My dad was a really hardline atheist. I am not as hardline as he is. He used to read us Ingersoll on Sunday mornings--that was family quality time. He really believed some of the things, I later found out, that it says in the bible; like that we shall be judged by the way we treat "the least amongst us." He believed that, because he had been one of those "least amongst us" in his life. [. . .]

Here's a strange story from my great-grandfather John Howes whose earliest rebellion against religion--I am slightly embarassed to say--was to pee in the holy water before Easter service when he was a young Catholic boy in Canada.


Garry Trudeau: weak, sensitive boy traumatized by prep school, not a product of "old money liberalism"

The Myth of Old Money Liberalism

Haidt on moral foundations 1/2

Haidt on moral foundations 2/2

The liberal progress narrative and moral foundations

"No Irish Need Apply": A Myth of Victimization

Journal of Social History 36.2 (2002) 405-429
"No Irish Need Apply": A Myth of Victimization
Richard Jensen
Retired Professor of History, University of Illinois, Chicago

Irish Catholics in America have a vibrant memory of humiliating job discrimination, which featured omnipresent signs proclaiming "Help Wanted--No Irish Need Apply!" No one has ever seen one of these NINA signs because they were extremely rare or nonexistent. The market for female household workers occasionally specified religion or nationality. Newspaper ads for women sometimes did include NINA, but Irish women nevertheless dominated the market for domestics because they provided a reliable supply of an essential service. Newspaper ads for men with NINA were exceedingly rare. The slogan was commonplace in upper class London by 1820; in 1862 in London there was a song, "No Irish Need Apply," purportedly by a maid looking for work. The song reached America and was modified to depict a man recently arrived in America who sees a NINA ad and confronts and beats up the culprit. The song was an immediate hit, and is the source of the myth. Evidence from the job market shows no significant discrimination against the Irish--on the contrary, employers eagerly sought them out. Some Americans feared the Irish because of their religion, their use of violence, and their threat to democratic elections. By the Civil War these fears had subsided and there were no efforts to exclude Irish immigrants. The Irish worked in gangs in job sites they could control by force. The NINA slogan told them they had to stick together against the Protestant Enemy, in terms of jobs and politics. The NINA myth justified physical assaults, and persisted because it aided ethnic solidarity. After 1940 the solidarity faded away, yet NINA remained as a powerful memory. [. . .]

Ethnic origins of The Nation's "Fifty Most Influential Progressives of the Twentieth Century"

Fifty "progressives" influential in twentieth century America, as selected by Peter Dreier. While Dreier is (in this venue) perhaps overly modest about the Jewish contribution to twentieth century American leftism, my interest here is mainly in dissecting the origins of northwestern European portion of the list (which should provide a sample that's reasonably unbiased with respect to regional and sub-NW European ancestry).

Even on this list, weighted towards a time when people of colonial American stock, and particularly those with early New England ancestry, made up a much larger fraction of the US population than they do today, Yankees are a distinct minority. Only 5 out of 50 (10% of the total list, and 17% of the NW European portion of the list) are of over 1/4 New England ancestry, and 4 of those 5 were born in the 19th century.

As a point of reference, people of Puritan stock made up a much larger fraction of distinguished American scientists:
Cattell in his 1904 questionnaire to the scientists starred in 1903 (and to some additional persons who were almost starred, included to increase the number of returns to about 1000) found that "more than half of the scientists were at least of half Puritan stock." Since 1904, the Puritan stock in America has formed a declining percentage of the total population, partly because it was the first major American group to practice rigorous birth control. Also the millions of immigrants who have arrived in America since 1800 have contributed an increasing share of our population. These changes increase the desirability of obtaining information on the subject by the 1946 questionnaire. A total of 873 of the 905 scientists who replied reported on their "racial stock or blood." Tables 10-20 and 10-21 show the percentages which had various fractions of the chief "bloods." The Puritan stock led in each of the categories, full or nearly full bloods, 3/4 or more, half or more, quarter or more. However instead of the "more than half" found by Cattell, their contribution has declined to 31 percent which are half or more Puritan. Other English stock is second, German third and Scots and Scotch-Irish
Note also that even on this somewhat whitewashed list, the total amount of New England ancestry (adding up to the equivalent of 6 1/8 individuals) falls below the amount of Jewish ancestry (6 Jews and one 1/2 Jew), despite the fact that the proportion of New England genes in the US was vastly higher than the proportion of Jewish genes for the period in which most of these people were born.

Related: "The 25 Most Influential Liberals In The U.S. Media" (2009) by ancestry

NW European (30/50)

Eugene Debs (1855–1926) (1 of 51) [Alsatian: "Eugene Debs was born on November 5, 1855, in Terre Haute, Indiana, to Jean Daniel and Marguerite Mari Bettrich Debs, who both immigrated to the United States from Colmar, Alsace, France."]

Jane Addams (1860–1935) (2 of 51) [Something like 7/8 Pennsylvania German, 1/8 Pennslyvania English ancestry.]

Florence Kelley (1859–1932) (4 of 51) [Mid-Atlantic (including Irish) ancestry.]

John Dewey (1859–1952) (5 of 51) [New England ancestry. "Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont, to a family of modest means.[5]"]

Lincoln Steffens (1866–1936) (6 of 51) [1/2 Canadian, 1/2 English.]

Upton Sinclair (1878–1968) (8 of 51) [Southern (including Scottish) ancestry.]

Margaret Sanger (1879–1966) (9 of 51) [Irish Catholic ancestry.]

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935) (10 of 51) [New England ancestry.]

Roger Baldwin (1884–1981) (11 of 51) [New England ancestry.]

Frances Perkins (1880–1965) (12 of 51) [New England ancestry.]

John L. Lewis (1880–1969) (13 of 51) [Welsh: "Lewis was born in or near Cleveland, Lucas County, Iowa (distinct from the present township of Cleveland in Davis County) to Thomas H. Lewis and Ann Watkins Lewis, both of whom had immigrated from Llangurig Wales."]

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) (14 of 51) [3/4 mid-Atlantic, 1/4 Southern (including Scottish) ancestry.]

Norman Thomas (1884–1968) (15 of 51) [1/2 Welsh, 1/8 Scottish, something like 1/8 to 1/4 New England, and 1/8 to 1/4 mid-Atlantic.]

A.J. Muste (1885–1967) (16 of 51) [Dutch: "A.J. Muste was born January 8, 1885, in the small port city of Zierikzee, located in the Southwestern province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. Muste's father, Martin Muste, was a coachman who drove for a family that was part of Zeeland's hereditary nobility.[1]"]

Henry Wallace (1888–1965) (18 of 51) [Something like 3/4 mid-Atlantic, 1/4 New England ancestry. "The Wallace family was of Scots-Irish Presbyterian stock, and had originally emigrated from Ulster, Ireland, to Pennsylvania."]

Walter Reuther (1907–70) (20 of 51) [German: "Reuther was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on September 1, 1907, the son of a socialist brewery worker who had emigrated from Germany." / "In the same year that he became president of the Labor Federation, Val Reuther married Anna Stocker, a recent immigrant from rural Swabia in southern Germany."]

Woody Guthrie (1912–67) (23 of 51) [3/4 Southern, 1/8 Irish, 1/8 New England. "Guthrie was born in Okemah, a small town in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, the son of Nora Belle (née Sherman) and Charles Edward Guthrie.[4] His parents named him after Woodrow Wilson, then Governor of New Jersey and the Democratic candidate soon to be elected President of the United States."]

Earl Warren (1891–1974) (24 of 51) [1/2 Norwegian, 1/2 Swedish.]

Rachel Carson (1907–64) (28 of 51) [At the level of her grandparents, appears to be 1/2 Scotch-Irish from Ireland and 1/2 Scottish or Scotch-Irish from America. "Carson was born on May 27, 1907, on a small family farm near Springdale, Pennsylvania, just up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh. She was the daughter of Maria Frazier (McLean) and Robert Warden Carson, an insurance salesman.[4]"]

Harry Hay (1912–2002) (30 of 51) [Something like 1/2 Scottish (at the level of his grandparents), 1/4 Southern, and 1/4 mid-Atlantic (some ancestors in this last 1/4 were born in New England, but they don't appear to have colonial New England ancestry, their ancestry instead being New York Dutch, recent English, Scotch-Irish, etc.]

C. Wright Mills (1916–62) (33 of 51) [3/4 Southern, 1/4 Irish Catholic. Born in Texas.]

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006) (34 of 51) [Scottish Canadian: "Galbraith was born to Canadians of Scottish descent, Sarah Catherine Kendall and Archibald "Archie" Galbraith, in Iona Station, Ontario, Canada"]

David Brower (1912–2000) (35 of 51) [Appears to be around 3/4 mid-Atlantic and 1/4 likely New England.]

Pete Seeger (1919–) (36 of 51) [Roughly 3/4 New England, 1/8 mid-Atlantic, 1/8 French]

Michael Harrington (1928–89) (39 of 51) [Irish Catholic: "Michael Harrington was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 24, 1928, to an Irish-American family. He attended St. Roch Catholic School and Saint Louis University High School"]

Tom Hayden (1939–) (44 of 51) [Irish Catholic.]

Billie Jean King (1943–) (47 of 51) [Something like 2.75/8 mid-Atlantic, 1.25/8 Southern, 1/8 New England, 1/8 Scottish, 1/8 Canadian, and 1/8 unknown.]

Bill Moyers (1934–) (48 of 51) [Born in Oklahoma. Southern ancestry.]

Barbara Ehrenreich (1941–) (49 of 51) [It appears that through her father she is 1/4 Southern and 1/4 a mix of Scottish and Irish, while through her mother she is 1/4 English and 1/4 Scottish (by way of Canada). 'Ehrenreich was born Barbara Alexander to Isabelle Oxley and Ben Howes Alexander in Butte, Montana, which she describes as then being "a bustling, brawling, blue collar mining town".[6] In an interview on C-SPAN, she characterized her parents as "strong union people" with two family rules: "never cross a picket line and never vote Republican".[2] In a talk she gave in 1999, Ehrenreich called herself a "fourth-generation atheist".[7]']

Michael Moore (1954–) (50 of 51) [Moore's father's mother was born in Ireland; his father's father was roughly 1/2 mid-Atlantic and 1/2 Southern, likely with more English than (Scotch-)Irish ancestry, but evidently this side also came to be identified as "Irish" within Michael Moore's family: "Both sides of the family originally came from Ireland -- the last to arrive being his grandfather, William Connors and grandmother Mary (Hogan) Connors, both of whom hailed from County Cork. The entire family was not only proud of being Irish, they were also grateful for its gifts of humor, Catholicism and music (though not necessarily in that order)." His mother's father was born in Canada, parents having been born in Ireland (I think they were likely Northern Irish Protestants, but presumably have been imagined as Irish Catholics within the obese director's Catholic family). His mother's mother's ancestry is 1/2 New England and 1/2 Northern Irish Canadian. In summary, it looks like Moore's ancestry is 5/8 Irish (part of this probably Northern Irish Protestant), 1/8 mid-Atlantic, 1/8 Southern, and 1/8 New England. "MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, that's true ['had a very strict Catholic upbringing']. My parents are good Irish Catholics." '“My Irish American background has a lot to do with my work, both in terms of the values that I was raised with -- that we’ll be judged by how we treat the least among us -- and that the rich man is basically up to no good,” he says.']

Jewish (7/50)

Louis Brandeis (1856–1941) (3 of 51)

Sidney Hillman (1887–1946) (17 of 51)

Saul Alinsky (1909–72) (22 of 51)

I.F. Stone (1907–89) (26 of 51)

Betty Friedan (1921–2006) (38 of 51)

Harvey Milk (1930–78) (41 of 51)

Gloria Steinem (1934–) (43 of 51) [1/2 Jewish: "Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio, on March 25, 1934.[2] Her mother, Ruth (née Nuneviller), was a Presbyterian of Scottish and German descent, and her father, Leo Steinem, was the son of Jewish immigrants from Germany and Poland.[14][15]"]

Black (11/50)

W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963) (7 of 51)

A. Philip Randolph (1889–1979) (19 of 51)

Paul Robeson (1898–1976) (21 of 51)

Ella Baker (1903–86) (25 of 51)

Jackie Robinson (1919–72) (27 of 51)

Thurgood Marshall (1908–93) (29 of 51)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–68) (31 of 51)

Bayard Rustin (1912–87) (32 of 51)

Malcolm X (1925–65) (37 of 51)

The Rev. Jesse Jackson (1941–) (45 of 51)

Muhammad Ali (1942–) (46 of 51)

Hispanic (1/50)

Cesar Chavez (1927–93) (40 of 51)

Arab (1/50)

Ralph Nader (1934–) (42 of 51)

When readers of The Nation were asked to make their own nominations, the resulting list came out much more heavily Jewish than Dreier's original list:

NW European (4/11)

Robert La Follette Sr. (1855–1925) (3 of 11) As a US congressman (1885–1890), governor of Wisconsin (1901-1906), US senator (1907-1925), candidate for President (1924) and editor of La Follette's Weekly Magazine (founded in 1909 and later called The Progressive, still based in Wisconsin), "Fighting Bob" La Follette consistently and effectively challenged corporate power and militarism and inspired generations of reformers and radicals. [3/4 Southern (including Scottish or Scotch-Irish), 1/8 French, 1/16 New England, and 1/16 mid-Atlantic ancestry.]

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) (4 of 11) Day founded the Catholic Worker movement, combining militant pacifism, radical economic redistribution and direct service to the poor, including the homeless. [Dorothy Day was born on November 8, 1897, in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. She was born into a family described by one biographer as "solid, patriotic, and middle class".[1] Her father, John Day, was a Tennessee native of Scots-Irish heritage, while her mother, Grace Satterlee, a native of upstate New York, was of English ancestry.]

John Muir (1838–1914) (5 of 11) Muir was the "patron saint" of the environmental movement, the founder of the Sierra Club and a major force in the creation of America's National Parks system. [Scottish: "John Muir's birthplace was a four-story stone house in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland. His parents were Daniel Muir and Ann Gilrye."]

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) (8 of 11) As president during the Great Depression, FDR instigated economic and social reforms that saved and humanized capitalism, despite the barbs of many critics, including most newspapers and business leaders, that his New Deal agenda was leading America to socialism. [Something like 3/4 New England, 1/4 Mid-Atlantic ancestry.]

Jewish (6/11)

Howard Zinn (1922–2010) (1 of 11) Zinn, an activist and scholar, changed the way Americans view their history.

Noam Chomsky (1928–) (2 of 11) Chomsky first made his mark as a brilliant linguist, but since the 1960s has been better known as a left-wing critic of the political and economic establishment, particularly on issues of war and human rights.

Amy Goodman (1957–) (6 of 11) Goodman is a progressive journalist, best known as host of the daily show Democracy Now!: The War and Peace Report, broadcast on over 800 radio and television stations as well as the Internet.

Emma Goldman (1869–1940) (7 of 11) Goldman was one of the most prominent radicals in twentieth-century America, an eloquent and inspiring speaker and writer who advocated anarchism, free speech, women's suffrage, birth control, free universal education without regard to race, gender or class and workers' rights.

Paul Wellstone (1944–2002) (10 of 11) Elected to the US Senate from Minnesota in 1990 by beating a much better-financed and better-known Republican incumbent, Wellstone became the most progressive senator, serving as the voice for labor, antipoverty, family farmers and antiwar movements.

Studs Terkel (1912–2008) (11 of 11) Terkel was a remarkable radio personality and oral historian whose interviews on his Chicago radio show and in his many prize-winning books celebrated the achievements of both ordinary and famous people.

Black (1/11)

Angela Davis (1944–) (9 of 11) Davis became a public figure almost by accident. In 1969, Davis was an acting assistant professor of philosophy at UCLA, a member of the Communist Party and an ally of the Black Panther Party. At the urging of California Gov. Ronald Reagan, the University of California's Board of Regents fired her because of her membership in the Communist Party. The controversy catapulted Davis into the public eye.