146. Exclusive Heredity: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org
At the end of the nineteenth century, an explosion in the creation of exclusive hereditary societies took place which couldn't have been predictedfrom the course of the American past. These peculiar clubs constituted the most flagrant leading edge of a broad-based movement to erect nothing less than a coherent national upper class whose boundary was drawn in bloodlines. This might be better understood as an early manifestation of the genetically charged environment of American life at the advent of the twenty- first century. This social enclosure movement produced orthodox factory schooling for the masses as one of its very first policy thrusts. It produced the licensing phenomenon which echoed the traditional right of English kings to confer a living on some loyal subjects by reserving good things for them which are denied to others. We have been wrestling with many other aspects of class- and caste-based government and society ever since we came out of this period.
Evidence that this movement was organized to concentrate power within a Brahmin caste stratum is caught by the sudden ostracism of Jews from the ranks of America's leading social clubs in the decade and a half directly following Herbert Spencer's visit to America. This was far from business as usual. Jesse Seligman, a founder of New York's Union League Club, was forced to resign in 1 893 when his son was blackballed by the membership committee. Joseph Gratz, president of the exclusive Philadelphia Club during the Civil War, lived to see the rest of his own family later shunned from the same place. The Westmoreland in Richmond boasted a Jewish president in the 1870s, but soon afterwards began a policy of rigid exclusion; The University Club of Cincinnati broke up in 1 896 over admission of a Jewish member. The point is whatever was wrong with Jews now hadn't been wrong earlier. Who was giving the orders to freeze out the Jews? And why?
The striking change of attitude toward Jews displayed by Bostonian blue blood and author Henry Adams is a clue to where the commands might have originated, since the Adams family can be presumed to have been beyond easy intimidation or facile persuasion. Adams'1890 novel Democracy illustrated the author's lifelong acceptance of Jews. Democracy featured Jewish characters as members of Washington society with no ethnic stigma even hinted at. In 750 intimate letters of Adams from 1858 through 1896, the designation "Jew" never even occurs. Suddenly it shows up in 1896. Thirty-eight years of correspondence without one invidious reference to Jews was followed by twenty-two years with many. After 1 896 Adams seemed to lose his faith entirely in the Unitarian tradition, becoming, then, a follower of Darwin and Spencer, a believer in privileged heredities and races. H.G. Wells' The Future in America (1906) called attention to the transformation the English writer witnessed on a visit to this country: "The older American population," said Wells, "is being floated up on the top of this immigrant influx, a sterile aristocracy above a racially different and astonishingly fecund proletariat...." That fecundity and that racial difference dictated that a second American Revolution would be fought silently from the Atlantic to the Pacific about a century ago, this time a revolution in which British class-based episcopal politics emerged victorious after a century and a quarter of rejection.
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