🔥 Buffon, Jefferson and the theory of New World degeneracy | SpringerLink

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been exporting to their colonies was largely gluttony for themselves and degeneracy to indigenous cultures One evidence of this degeneracy was sloth.


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Mather defined this danger as "Criolian degeneracy"?a concept through which he sought to When Captain John Smith named a stretch of the North American coast everyone else well knew, what was inexcusable sloth in him would kill.


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John Wesley. Where is he that has of in the last century. But if Mr. Herbert then said, " 0 England, full of»in, but most of sloth," what would he have said now?


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been exporting to their colonies was largely gluttony for themselves and degeneracy to indigenous cultures One evidence of this degeneracy was sloth.


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It is not surprising, then, if God here obliquely blames the stupidity and sloth of Since, then, they were so degenerate and so utterly unlike their fathers, it is not.


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It is not surprising, then, if God here obliquely blames the stupidity and sloth of Since, then, they were so degenerate and so utterly unlike their fathers, it is not.


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So he explained, following Bishop John of Jerusalem and Joseph of Antioch, like that [they had not degenerated]', but afterwards it was all change In they were encouraged in leisure, idleness, sloth, lust and luxury Indeed.


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been exporting to their colonies was largely gluttony for themselves and degeneracy to indigenous cultures One evidence of this degeneracy was sloth.


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It is not surprising, then, if God here obliquely blames the stupidity and sloth of Since, then, they were so degenerate and so utterly unlike their fathers, it is not.


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He describes them as all living in “filth and sloth, and by the intermarriages of the throughout the world, have degenerated into Syrians, Parthians, Egyptians;.


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The Tragic Real-Life Story Of The Man Who Played Sloth

And it was not chance that Buffon thought that cold and humidity were the norm for North America. He spent some additional time with King Frederick in later years, but again returned to Xanten. Buffon also had a theory for why degeneracy occurred in New World animals, hypothesizing that the New World was colder and more humid, and that this combination led to degeneracy. Again, he finds no evidence that those in the latter are larger. In addition, the study of natural history had advanced significantly since the time of Buffon, and there was no evidence of American degeneracy e. Thus, they have degenerated. As were the people who would not have the opportunity to migrate, which was the vast majority of the population. From until his death in , Buffon would publish 36 volumes of Natural History Buffon — These volumes, in sum, approached pages, and included hundreds of stunningly beautiful sketches drawn by Louis—Jean—Marie Daubenton. The answer probably lay in the general fear that many Europeans had regarding the potential of the New World. By the s, the key players were all long dead, and the loss of such dramatic personalities would naturally result in a loss of interest in what they were fighting about. This work tapped into pre-existing fears in Europe that America might emerge as a rival on the world stage, and so both the leaders, like Fredrick the Great, and the people of Europe Natural History was a best seller , embraced what became known as the theory of New World degeneracy. Notes was a popular book, but Jefferson understood that it was dry, and that to really make his point about degeneracy to the public, he would need to do something more. Like many philosophes of the French Enlightenment Buffon was a driven man. If Buffon had already laid out the basic idea of degeneracy in North America, why did de Pauw feel the need to write a book-long extension of this idea, emphasizing the effects on Creoles? As if both sides were not warmed by the same genial sun; as if a soil of the same chemical composition, was less capable of elaboration into animal nutriment; as if the fruits and grains from that soil and sun, yielded a less rich chyle, gave less extension to the solids and fluids of the body, or produced sooner in the cartilages, membranes, and fibres, that rigidity which restrains all further extension, and terminates animal growth. And to preserve the skins with hair on, with the hoofs on and bones of legs and thighs in skin without putrefaction…the skin of the head being whole and well dressed sic it may be drawn on at pleasure. Part of the reason may have been a sort of natural decay. He settled on a plan: he would have one of his friends procure for him a very large moose, ideally, he wrote, one seven to ten feet tall, then he would have that moose stuffed and sent to Buffon, who would have no choice but to admit that life in America was not small, weak and feeble. Indeed, he had established a special bureau in Hamburg whose primary function was to prevent emigration to the New World, and instead to attract potential newcomers to Prussia. The stuffed moose, after a number of false starts, finally arrived in Paris in early October Jefferson wanted to deliver it to Buffon himself, in person, but Buffon was too ill to receive visitors. In , while the hunt for the moose was on, Jefferson was appointed minister plenipotentiary to France. Still, Sullivan searched for the moose himself, and he also sent out orders to some of his colleagues to look for the perfect animal for Jefferson. Why the degeneracy theory vanished when it did in the mid s is difficult to determine. At nineteen he graduated law school, but decided against a profession in law, as his eclectic interests had turned to mathematics. Animals found only in the New World are degenerate compared to those found only in the Old World. Two of the tables Jefferson used as evidence against the theory of New World degeneracy. In the face of all that, support for the theory of New World degeneracy diminished and then disappeared. Or did they not judge of them by sight, or perhaps even from report only? The response to degeneracy is evident in many genres of early American writing. There was no retraction. Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Fredrich Hegel — was a vociferous advocate of the theory of degeneracy. Frederick had a strong anti-emigration policy when it came to North America. In the middle of the 18th century, the New World, and in particular, North America, was a mystery to the governments and people of Europe. Dilly; {/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Much of the information he had was from French travelers that had been there and then returned to Paris. A few of the many examples that the Count provides include:. Have they not been so ignorant as often to mistake the species? A defence of the constitutions of Government of the United States of America. Jefferson knew that Buffon knew he was wrong, and that gave him some solace. Americans countered degeneracy in many ways, including in early school textbooks Miller The most striking example of this is in the textbooks of the Reverend Jedidiah Morse — , a well-respected historian and geographer of his day, and a contributor to the first encyclopedia published in the United States Moss Chapter 1 of The History of America in Two Books quotes at length both Buffon and de Pauw, so students could see for themselves the sort of material that European philosophers were writing about their country. In , he was inducted into the French Royal Academy of Sciences for his work on probability theory, centering on a game of chance called Franc - carreau. In his role as curator, Buffon decided that he would write the definitive encyclopedia of natural history: what, over time, became Natural History: General and Particular Histoire Naturelle, Generale et Particular. Many years later, when President Thomas Jefferson presented Meriwether Lewis the orders for his mission with William Clark, those orders were written by Jefferson himself, wherein he instructed Lewis and Clark, among other things, to measure:. Register your interest. Natural History was a huge success, and was translated into English, Dutch and German. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. The truth is, that a Pigmy sic and a Patagonian, a Mouse and a Mammoth, derive their dimensions from the same nutritive juices. Did they measure or weigh the animals they speak of? It was not just the animals of North American that were degenerate, so too were the indigenous people, exposed to the dangerous combination of cold and humidity. Were they acquainted with the animals of their own country, with which they undertake to compare them? She treated them rather like a stepmother than a parent, by refusing them the invigorating sentiment of love, and the strong desire of multiplying their species…In the savage, the organs of generation are small and feeble. After just a few months, de Pauw missed the seclusion he enjoyed in Xanten, and returned to his parish. These satires would appear in newspapers and, above and beyond their political overtones, were a form of entertainment in the years following the American Revolution. But there was to be no such next volume of Natural History. In addition, Jefferson was far from convinced that the data Buffon used to build his theory was reliable. This degradation of humanity must be imputed to the vitiated qualities of the air stagnated in their immense forests, and corrupted by noxious vapours from standing waters and uncultivated grounds. Adams J. Such travelers often spent their time trapping in Canada and the northern United States, where it was extremely cold during the winter, or in the humid French-owned province that would become Louisiana. Barlow would use his biting wit to mock degeneracy in his poem called The Anarchiad The Anarchiad was not the only satirical poem that attacked degeneracy. In the fledgling United States, Thomas Jefferson and others took the lead to debunk this theory. More than that, it would have been obvious to almost all the players on the world stage that America was not degenerate. Any attempt to domesticate animals e. The economic facts, with America emerging as power player, also spoke against degeneracy. From then until his death in , he led a secluded life that appears interrupted only by two visits to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, at his palace at Potsdam. It might very well be a place of endless resources, to which people could migrate, along with their money, to go off and lead better lives. One such genre was the satirical poem, many of which were political in nature. He has no hair, no beard, no ardour for the female…. Footnote 8. These orders were clearly written by a man who knew his natural history. But he feared that the theory of New World degeneracy would live on after the Count and weave its tentacles into the brains of many, and for a long time. In Notes, Jefferson writes:. People moved more freely between Europe and America, and could see for themselves that what Buffon and de Pauw and others had said about humans degenerating in America was incorrect. Native Americans were, Buffon pronounced:. Was natural history the object of their travels? Morse told his young readers that even if climate was responsible for the traits that Buffon and De Pauw believed existed, they misapplied their own theory. It was also the talk of the Paris salons, and Buffon quickly became a national hero, on the scale of Voltaire and Rousseau, with Louis XVI having his statue cast and placed in front of the Royal Gardens where it remains to this day. Soon after he received the moose, Buffon died. Footnote 9. References to New World inferiority pepper the work of poet John Keats — What caused such deep astonishment? De Pauw was educated at the University of Gottingen, after which he accepted a clergy position in the Prussian district of Xanten. In Volumes 9 and 14 of Natural History Buffon makes four claims about the degenerate nature of North American animals, and in general, New World animals:. Sullivan had been a representative at the Second Continental Congress, and when Jefferson approached him about obtaining a moose to send to Buffon, he was Attorney General of New Hampshire. It has been used many times, and in many different ways in biology, physics and mathematics, referring to everything from mental characteristics and degenerative communication systems to the degeneracy that is, redundancy of the genetic code and degenerative distributions in mathematics. And, for this very reason, the monarchs of Europe were worried. Footnote Sullivan continued to update Jefferson on his hunt for the moose, and in the winter of , he told Jefferson that a team of a dozen men he had hired had gotten the perfect animal, and that:. In his magnum opus, Natural History: General and Particular, Count Buffon, one of the leading natural historians of the 18th century, argued that all life in the New World, particularly North America, was degenerate—weaker, smaller and feebler—than life in the Old World. Eventually the degeneracy argument died; but it did not die an easy death. Jefferson admitted that climate might affect the size of animals, but argued there is no evidence that it actually does. London: C. The Creoles, descended from Europeans and born in America… have never produced a single book. The idea that Europeans could now emigrate and obtain vast tracts of land on the other side of the globe was not appealing to Old World monarchs, including Fredrick the Great. But, Jefferson was more than interested in natural history—he was enamored with it.