Darwin's Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery, and the Quest for Human Origins

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-04-30
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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There has always been a mystery surrounding Darwin: How did this quiet, respectable gentleman come to beget one of the most radical ideas in the history of human thought? It is difficult to overstate what Darwin was risking in publishing his theory of evolution. So it must have been something very powerfula moral fire, as Desmond and Moore put itthat helped propel him. That moral fire, they argue, was a passionate hatred of slavery. In opposition to the apologists for slavery who argued that blacks and whites had originated as separate species, Darwin believed the races belonged to the same human family. Slavery was a "sin," and abolishing it became his "sacred cause." By extending the abolitionists' idea of human brotherhood to all life, Darwin developed our modern view of evolution. Drawing on a wealth of fresh manuscripts, family letters, diaries, and even ships' logs, Desmond and Moore argue that only by acknowledging Darwin's abolitionist heritage can we fully understand the development of his groundbreaking ideas.

Author Biography

Adrian Desmond is an honorary research fellow in the biology department at University College London and the author of seven other books on evolution and Victorian science, including an acclaimed biography, Huxley. James Moore's books include The Post-Darwinian Controversies and The Darwin Legend. He has taught at Harvard, Notre Dame, McMaster, and the Open University. Desmond and Moore's Darwin (1991) won four awards, including the James Tait Black Prize for Biography.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. viii
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introduction: Unshackling Creationp. xv
The Intimate 'Blackamoor'p. 1
Racial Numb-Skullsp. 27
All Nations of One Bloodp. 49
Living in Slave Countriesp. 68
Common Descent: From the Father of Man to the Father of All Mammalsp. 111
Hybridizing Humansp. 142
This Odious Deadly Subjectp. 172
Domestic Animals and Domestic Institutionsp. 199
Oh for Shame Agassiz!p. 228
The Contamination of Negro Bloodp. 267
The Secret Science Drifts from its Sacred Causep. 297
Cannibals and the Confederacy in Londonp. 317
The Descent of the Racesp. 348
Notesp. 377
Bibliographyp. 422
Indexp. 457
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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