Arthur de Gobineau

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Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau (14 July 1816, Ville-d'Avray, Hauts-de-Seine – 13 October 1882, Turin) was a French aristocrat, novelist and man of letters who became famous for developing the racialist theory of the Aryan master race in his book An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853–1855). De Gobineau is credited as being the father of modern racial demography.


Life and theories

Gobineau's father was a government official and staunch royalist, and his mother, Anne-Louise Magdeleine de Gercy, was the daughter of a royal tax official.

In the later years of the July Monarchy, Gobineau made his living writing serialized fiction (romans-feuilletons) and contributing to reactionary periodicals. He struck up a friendship, and had voluminous correspondence with, Alexis de Tocqueville, who brought him into the foreign ministry while he was foreign minister during the Second Republic.[1] Gobineau was a successful diplomat for the French Second Empire. Initially he was posted to Persia, before working in Brazil and other countries.

He came to believe that race created culture, arguing that distinctions between the three races - "black", "white", and "yellow" - were natural barriers, and that "race-mixing" breaks those barriers and leads to chaos. He classified the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa as racially mixed.

Gobineau also questioned the belief that the black and yellow races belong to the same human family as the white race and share a common ancestor. Trained neither as a theologian nor a naturalist and writing antecedent to the popular dissemination of a theory of evolution, Gobineau took the Bible to be an accurate account of human history and accepted in An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races the day's prevailing Christian doctrine that all human beings shared the common ancestors Adam and Eve (monogenism as opposed to polygenism). Nonetheless, he suggested that except for the Church's teaching there were no other indicators to suggest the colored races descended, like the white race, from Adam[2][3], since ".. nothing proves that at the first redaction of the Adamite genealogies the colored races were considered as forming part of the species"[4].

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