A leading conservationist in the United States, Madison Grant’s preoccupation with biodiversity was not limited to wildlife, but also extended to humans, particularly where that biodiversity intersected with the wider sweep of history, its meaning and interpretation, and government policy.
Grant provides here a racial and ethnic history of the European settlement of North America, spanning from the ancient nations of Europe to the United States of his day. His thesis was that the United States was settled mostly by Northwestern Europeans, particularly English and Ulster Scots. To his mind, this relative homogeneity, plus the generally high quality of these enterprising settlers, conferred upon the new nation its prosperity, cohesion, stability, and defining cultural characteristics.
Grant was concerned that then recent waves of immigration from poorer parts of Europe would lead to social instability, division, economic decline, and a growing underclass. He also thought that the failure to deal with problems left by slavery stored trouble for the future.
Today, Grant’s represents an unfashionable opinion, and his framework of analysis—not to mention his Nordicist bias—makes him seem somewhat outdated. Yet, he remains historically important: in his day, Grant enjoyed support with much of the old WASP establishment, including academics, politicians, and scientists who were leaders in their field. What is more, nearly half a century since the restrictive immigration legislation for which he campaigned was reversed, the old arguments have not gone away: as in Europe, they are being updated and revisited in the United States, which is now more socially unstable, more divided, less prosperous, and with a much wider underclass than before. This, despite strenuous efforts by Grant’s opponents over the past century. Worse still, the founding stock of the United States is now in steep decline, just as Grant predicted would happen without targeted policies; this, and the implications of that decline, makes him even more relevant today than he was in his lifetime.
Following the Anti-Defamation League’s efforts to suppress the book in 1933, there has not been a professional edition in print for the last eighty years.
This edition has been meticulously annotated, making it a resource for casual readers and scholars alike. It also comes with all the original maps, an expanded index, a foreword by Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute, and cover artwork by Alex Kurtagic. It is, above all, a beautiful, high-quality, collectible modern edition.