A Review: Conquest Of A Continent by Madison Grant

August 4, 2008

 

A Review

Conquest Of A Continent

by

Madison Grant

Madison Grant

Madison Grant

Review by R.E. Prindle

Texts:

Grant, Madison, Conquest Of A Continent, Liberty Bell Publications, 2004. Reprint of 1933 Edition

Fischer, David Hackett, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways In America, Oxford, 1991

Higham, John, Strangers In The Land: Patterns Of American Nativism 1860-1925 Rutgers U. Press 1955

Myers, Gustavus, History Of Bigotry In The United States, Random House, 1943

Wittke, Carl, We Who Built America: The Saga Of The Immigrant, Case Western Reserve, 1939

     In the immediacy of the moment one frequently overlooks or forgets the history leading up to the moment.  One might think for instance that the current flap over Diversity and Multi-Culturalism is a recent occurrence.  While the two terms are of recent provenance the argument under different names goes back much farther while the protagonists are essentially the same.

     The story of immigration into America is almost always told from the point of view of the immigrant.  Few books tell the tale from the Nativist point of view and they are universally and viciously derided as a tale told by bigoted idiots.  While charity is demanded from the Nativists none is to be expected from the immigrationists.

     Thus we get volumes like Strangers In The Land by John Higham and Carl Wittke’s We Who Built America that distort the issue in favor of immigrants while deprecating the Natives.

     Qustavus Myers’ History Of Bigotry In The United States on the other hand appears to be a willful misunderstanding of the nature of the relative status between immigrant and native resulting in a slanderous approach like that of the contemporary Greil Marcus.

     Conquest Of A Continent has been placed on the Jewish Index Of Anti-Semitic Books.  Based on that I expected a detailed derogatory examination of the Jews from their entry into America perhaps being the conquerors referred to.  The President of the American Jewish Committee sent a letter to every Jewish publisher in the United States demanding that they refrain from either reviewing the book  or noticing it at all.  Dynamic silence was to prevail.

     After reading Conquest I can only conclude that the AJC was hyper sensitive to a degree.  Since his 1916 Passing Of The Great Race Mr. Grant had learned that ‘You Don’t Mess With Rohan’ to quote Adam Sandler.  Grant all but ignores the Jews in his volume.  No, his offense, according to the AJC was even more egregious, he uses the world Nordic and dares to imply that they are ‘the Great Race’ rather than the AJC’s own Semites.

     The other volumes mentioned and, indeed, all writing in this genre which is pretty extensive, defers to the Jews as ‘the Great Race’ probably genetically superior to all others.

     So Madison Grant is interested in telling the story of how the Nordic race conquered the continent.  This approach can only be considered as a sin by non-Nordics.  Grant then tells the story of how the US and Canada were occupied by peoples other than the native Indians.

     He begins early referring to twelfth century attempts to settle by Scandinavians.  In the 1100s the firece native Indians were able to exterminate the invaders and may well have been able to exterminate the Puritan settlers but for the fact that a small pox epidemic shortly before the Puritan arrival had reduced the native population by as much as half while weakening them concomitantly.  Such is the luck of the draw.

     Grant thus traces immingration back to its origins colony by colony and then State by State as the Nordics moved Westward.

     David Fischer in his excellent Albion’s Seed retraces the same ground fifty years after Grant with much addional detail concerning the places of origin and their activities once in the US.

     Grant’s approach is in some ways superior to that of Fischer since as an unabashed Nordic advocate he is interested in detailing the exact racial content of the occupation of the various states and provinces.  If you aren’t aware of the progress of settlement and by whom there are numerous surprises.  My own notions were certainly vaguer before I read Grant.

     I was surprised at the seeming numerical superiority of Southern migrants in the Westward movement.  It seems that Whites did not like to live in the South where they were compelled to compete with slave labor while being despised by both the plantation owners and their slaves.  Thus there was a constant stream of the best and brightest  of the South moving into the North and West.  As Grant notes, Virginia was the mother of States.

     Then too some of Grant’s population statistics are of interest also.  At the 1790 census before the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 there were less than a million Africans in the United States.  Seventy years later as the Civil War began the number had increased to four and a half million. Thus natural increase was out of the question.  It follows then that between 1800 and 1860 more Africans were brought to the US than there were before 1800.  As a result the slave trade fluorished more than ever.

     Prior to 1800 Alabama and Mississippi had no settlers so that in 1860 these two States were still rough frontier States still in a state of organization.

      There is much good background here as to how the US came under settlement.  The continent was accupied in its entirely when the truly major immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe began to accelerate in the 1870s and 1880s changing the basic Nordic institutions  of the country.  The change in Grant’s eyes was much for the worse.

     Carl Wittke’s We Who Built America published in 1939 was undoubtedly in response to Grant’s Conquest Of A Continet.  Wittke, was published by Case Western Reserve University.  Grant explains the meaning of The Western Reserve which has always puzzled me.  The Western Reserve was three million acres set aside as a concession to the State of Connecticut for giving up other territorial rights.

     Wittke made a great impression with his his volume, his opinions being taken as overriding fact.  I remember my sixth grade teacher in Michigan lauding the book to the skies.  I finally read it a couple years ago.  Not so much.

     As is usual with books and writers of this type Wittke overstates his case and underproves his facts.  A contribution to the dialogue at best.

     Grant’s book should prove useful to any unbiased reader.  If his attitude of Nordic superiority offends you, ignore it.  His history as history is sound.  For those of you reared on Myer’s History of Bigory attitude you will probably be surprised to find that there is another point of view.  Bigotry is not a matter solely of American destestation of immigrants as the program of Diversity and Multi-Culturalism indicates, bigotry is a red herring and not the issue.  The issue is who will be Top Race.  The contestants for the Top Spot have turned out to be the Africans, Semites (both Jews and Arab Moslems) Hispanics, Chinese and Euro-Americans. (Grant’s Nordics)  As you can see race has replaced nationalism.

     The contest is real and ongoing.  Peace is merely another form of war.  The prize will go to who wants it the most.  If you don’t see the contest in these terms I suggest you remove your rose colored glasses.

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