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An American Affidavit

Thursday, April 21, 2016

151. Your Family Tree: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

Your Family Tree 

In 1896, Latin and Slavic immigration exceeded in body count for the first time the 
numbers arriving from the ancient lands of the Anglo-Saxons. In certain circles that was 
deemed a catastrophe second only to the Deluge. This moment had been anticipated for 
years, of course, and protections for good blood, or "the gene pool" as some preferred to 
call it, were popping like corn in the form of exclusionary associations you've seen and 
others like them. This was defensive. But other implements of war were being fashioned, 
weapons of offensive capability, social engines like modern factory schools, standing 
armies, social work empires designed to remake incoming aliens into shapes more 
agreeable to the spirit of the "Great Race," a term I'll explain in a moment. This 
machinery was grinding out "Americanized" Americans by 1913, just sixty-two years 
after the Know-Nothing Party of Massachusetts invented the term. 

New hereditary societies took a leading hand in Americanization. So did important 
monied interests. Chicago financial power got the Children's Court idea rolling at the 

beginning of the twentieth century, just as Boston railroad, mining, and real estate 
interests had initiated the compulsion school idea in the nineteenth. The Children's Court 
institution was nationalized rapidly, a most effective intimidation to use against 
uncooperative immigrants. Such courts soon displayed a valuable second side, supplying 
children to the childless of the politically better-connected sort with few questions asked. 
The similarity of this transfer function to the historic "Baby Trains" of Charles Loring 
Brace's "Children's Aid Society" fifty years earlier wasn't lost on the new breed of social 
engineer graduating from the right colleges in 1900. 

These new activist graduates, trained in the Chicago school of sociology and its 
anthropological variants by Ross, Cooley, Boas, and other seminal figures, had little 
sentimentality about individual destinies or family sovereignty either. All thought in 
terms of the collective improvement of society by long-range evolution. In the short run 
all were environmental determinists who believed protoplasm was wonderfully 
malleable, if not entirely empty. 

In 1898 the D.A.R., best known of all hereditarian societies, began issuing scientifically 
designed propaganda lectures on American history and government. By 1904, the Society 
of Colonial Dames was preparing school curriculum. In the same year, the Sons of the 
American Revolution distributed millions of pieces of historical interpretation to schools, 
all paid for by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Social Register, founded 1887, 
quickly became a useful index for the new associational aristocracy, bearing witness to 
those who could be trusted with the exciting work underway. Tiffany's started a 
genealogy department in 1875 to catch the first business from elites made edgy by The 
Descent of Man and, as the century ended, genealogical reference books — the Gore Roll, 
Boston's American Armoury and Blue Book, and more — came tumbling off the assembly 
line to assist Anglo-Saxons in finding each other. 

As late as 1929, even with Mein Kampf in bookstalls telling the story of Aryans past and 
present, David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford, published his own guide to good 
blood, Your Family Tree. It provided in painstaking detail the descent of America's new 
industrial aristocracy, from monarchs of great Aryan houses. Abe Lincoln, Grover 
Cleveland, and John D. Rockefeller, said Jordan, came out of the house of Henry I of 
France; Ulysses S. Grant was in a line from William the Conqueror; Coolidge and 
Shakespeare descended from Charlemagne. William Howard Taft, J. P. Morgan, and 
Jordan himself from King David of Scotland! So it went. 4 Was this all just simple 
amusement or did the game have some implications for the rest of us not so blue- 
blooded? Who were these fabulous Aryans the scholars were talking about? What was 
this "Great Race"? The answers were to prove both fabulous and chilling. 

The Crane plumbing family rejected the coat of arms suggested for them, a hand gripping the handle of a toilet chain with the motto "Apres 
moi le deluge." 

The Fatal Sound Shift 

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