They say they are of the animal's family". Hair, Liverpool , chapter 1, fol. He certainly did not consider the chimpanzee a member of his family. But we now know that the inclusive African pronoun was correct, and the exclu- sionary European pronoun a mistranslation. We humans are all members of the same primate family as the chimpanzees. In the philosopher Peter Singer and others drafted a "Declaration on Great Apes", which argued that the moral equality articulated by the American Declaration of Independ- ence should be extended to all the great apes.
Shakespeare's contemporary Andrew Battel born c. By contrast, pronouns force a choice, and their use expresses an individual's, or a culture's, rough calculation of the limits of similitude. Torquemada's Portuguese maritime anecdote fascinat- ed early modern Europeans because it pushed those limits, by asserting, on the basis of alleged multiple-eyewitness contemporary testimony, that humans and apes were more alike than Europeans liked to believe.
Rape is the normal form of orangutan mating, and is fairly common among chimpanzees. Given the opportunity, orangutans and chimpanzees will rape human females. Between and two Portuguese observers in western Africa reported being told, by local informants, about the abduc- tion and rape of women by great apes.
Goodman, C. Porter, J. Czelusniak, S. Page, H. Schneider, J. Shosahni, G. Gunnell, and C. Battel apparently returned to London in , so Shakespeare might have heard him talk about Congo. But the ape may be treating the woman no worse than he routinely treats other females of his genus. From the perspective of the adult male ape, an ovulating woman may be just an- other female primate in estrus. Is the ape wrong? A defense attorney would contend that, once she was back among the Portuguese, the woman had every reason to allege that she had been raped.
Male bonobo chimpanzees do not rape females, but they do routinely exchange food for sexual favors. In all accounts of the Torquemada anecdote, the ape fed and protected the woman, who had been rejected by males of her own species. From the per- spective of the male ape, the alleged intercourse may have been normal and consensual. Humans can form strong emotional bonds with other primates, and vice versa. One reason that chimpanzees do not make good "pets", and have never become a real "companion species", is that they are too much like us; they easily get frustrated, emotionally jealous, and violent.
King Kong is, of course, misogynist, racist, imperialist, and capitalist. But it is also a love story.
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But although the sex is gone, surely every spectator sees the love in King Kong's huge eyes, when he looks at his little white pet. Merian Cooper made King Kong a person — violent, of course, but no more so than many other white male protagonists, and heroes, who die for love. Graham, ed. Owen J. Blum, Washington D. The monkey could have been motivated by jealousy, whether or not his emotional bond to the woman had ever been sexually consummated. In The Tempest, the rape is attempted offstage, and prevented before the play begins. It wasn't really the woman that interested them.
They had always had plenty of misogynous stories about lascivious women. It wasn't race that interested them, initially; the woman on the island was European, as were the only men in the story. Europeans had had contact with black men for millennia, had enslaved other humans for millennia, had created empires for millennia.
They didn't need new racial theories to justify any of those behaviors.
Philosophically, the most dangerous thing about that other primate was his familiarity, a similitude proven by the fact that he could successfully sire living and speaking children on a white woman. Chivalric protector, king of his domain, rapist, jealous husband, emotional blackmailer, child-killer: that other primate acted just like a man who was "white like us". Or was it men "white like us" who are acting just like primates? Modern racism can be interpreted, in part, as a defensive reaction to the early modern discovery of the great apes, which threw European thought into the turmoil that eventually led to theories of evolution.
The guardians of human uniqueness and privilege immediately responded to Torquemada's narrative by turning the ape into a devil, thereby folding it back into an utterly familiar Manichean homo- centric script. But the repressed, elided great apes kept coming back, more and more insistently real. In , the same year that The Tempest was published, Londoners could also buy a new book by an English traveler to Africa, who described the West African apes he had encountered as "a race and kind of people". Indeed, like Kong, or the "dead Indian" with whom Caliban is compared 2.
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For Jobson's im- portance to the racial history of the English word "white", see Taylor, White- ness, pp. Torquemada's story of interspecies sex produces, in the end, no living offspring, but within a century it was being cited as evidence that entire human populations were the result of cross-breeding between humans and apes. By the early twentieth century Herman Bernelot Moens was lobbying for mass hybridization of Africans and chimpanzees.
His proposal was defeated, but was its defeat a sign of empathy or of fear? The failure or the success of the experiment might have been equally disturbing. Since the seventeenth century, white men have needed new racial hierarchies to insulate themselves from their disquieting, increasingly-evident proximity to the great apes. Our concepts cannot cage it. Our pronouns cannot translate it, or them, or us. Marquis of Lansdowne, 2 vols.
Strum and Linda M. Fedigan, ed. Hair, Liverpool Ashworth, William B. Nicholas Jardine, J. Spary, Cam- bridge , pp. Brooke, Francis, tr. Cavalieri, Paola, Peter Singer, ed. Clairville, Sieur de, L'Amelinte, 2 vols. Cooper, Merian C. Damian, Peter, Letters , tr. Delrio, Martin, Disquisitionum Magicarum libri sex, quibus continetur accurata curiosarum artium, et vanarum superstitionum confutatio, utilis Theologis, Iurisconsultis, Medicis, Philologis, Louvain Dodds, Georges T.
DuChaillu, Paul B. Graham, New York , pp. Goodman, M. Gun- nell, and C. Ashwin, London Guillermin, John, dir. Haver, Ronald, David O. Selznick's Hollywood, New York Barbara Haveland, London Shirley C. Fedigan, Chicago , pp. Jackson, Peter, dir. Janson, H. Jordan, Winthrop D. Jourdain, Sylvester, A Discovery of the Bermudas. Wright, ed. Lewis, M. Judith Terry, Oxford Kingston, Jamaica William Phillip, London Nidditch, Oxford Macdonald, D. Lewis, in Romanti- cism and Colonialism: Writing and Empire, , ed.
Tim Fulford and Peter J. Kitson, Cambridge , pp. Purchas, Samuel, ed. Raymond Corbey and Bert Theunissen, Leiden , pp. Rosen, David N. Rowe, Nicholas, ed. Shakespeare, William, The Tempest, ed. Stephen Orgel, Oxford Sherman, New York Teensma, Lisbon Sinibaldius, Giovanni, Geneanthropeiae, Rome Tarantino, Quentin, dir. Giovanni Allegra, Madrid Ferdinando Walker, London Vaughan, Alden T. Contractar- ian liberalism is now the dominant global ideology of modernity.
However, what is usually unacknowledged is that race and racism are central to modernity also, and that the politics of race shapes the politics of the social contract. Modernity's social contract is actually a racial contract, one that draws on pre-modern racial ideas. In this chapter, I will argue that in Thomas Hobbes's version of the contract, his supposedly uncompromising "modern" at- tack on, and break with, Aristotelian assumptions is in fact only partial.
Hobbes's "natural savages" are akin to Aristotle's "natural slaves". Indeed, for some commentators, it goes back even further, to the Old Testament covenant with God. It develops in the medieval period as a minority viewpoint on the appropriate relationship between feudal lords and their vassals. But it achieves its triumphant, recognizably modern incarnation only in the sev- enteenth and eighteenth centuries, in what has been called the "golden age" of social contract theory.
The century and a half from to wit- nesses the publication of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan , John Locke's Two Treatises of Government , Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract , and Immanuel Kant's The Metaphysics of Morals , all classic texts of ethical and political theory whose ideas continue to shape political debate today. We are asked to imagine individuals in a pre-social and pre-political stage of hu- manity, a "state of nature", who then decide, because of its disadvantages, to come together to create society and the state. The "contract" is then either a literal representation of, or a metaphor for, this act of construc- 1 Michael Lessnoff, Social Contract, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, , chapters Mills tion.
But since human beings are always in social groups, whether small or large, and never in a state of nature, the account cannot be literally true, so it fails as ur-anthropology. Writing more than sixty years ago, in his introduction to an anthology on the theme, Sir Ernest Barker analyzed this strange resilience: The general idea of the Social Contract, which has haunted the generations The critic may urge that it was mechanical, and not organic, in its interpretation of political life; juristic, and not ethical, in its rationale of political obligation; a priori, and not historical, in its explanation of political society and political authority.
The criticisms have their justice But if it was unhistorical, the theory was still historic — and historic in more than one sense. Not only could it show a long and continuous history Even if there had never been a contract, men actually behaved "as if" there had been such a thing The theory of the Social Contract might be mechanical, juristic, and a priori. But it was none the less a way of expressing two fundamental ideas or values to which the human mind will always cling — the value of Liberty, or the idea that will, not force, is the basis of government, and the value of Justice, or the idea that right, not might, is the basis of all political society and of every system of political order.
In effect, the metaphor captures both a crucial factual claim and a crucial moral claim: that we make society and the polity and that social structures and political institutions should respect our moral equality. Morris, introduction, to Morris, ed. Rawls's A Theory of Justice is standardly given the credit for reviving not just contractarian- ism, but Anglo-American political philosophy as well. So the social contract is central not merely to the birth of modernity but, renascent, to current moral and political debates.
But this inspirational story has a darker side rarely discussed in political theory circles. I have argued elsewhere that the centrality of race and racial domination to the making of the modern world requires a revisionist political narrative of modernity whose implications for the contract, both descriptive and nor- mative, need to be made explicit. The Contract and Liberalism Let us begin by taking a closer look at the key points of social contract theory, which will make clear why, despite all the differences between the ideal polities Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant propose, the contract as an intellectual device has nonetheless come to be seen as central to liberal- ism.
Legitimate authority is legitimate because those subject to it have willed to be subject 4 John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, rev.
Cambridge, MA, ; orig. Mills to it. But, secondly, this voluntarism is also consensual — the theory pos- tulates a consensus of wills among all those subject to a given legitimate authority If the individual wills are not willful but rational, it is postulated, consensus can be reached. The contract as a concept represents the triumph of nomos over physis, of convention over nature. Hobbes argues for absolutism, a sovereign above the law, unconstrained by the separation of powers we have come to see as distinctive of liberal democracies, as against totalitarian states.
Nonetheless, it is still the case that his fearsome LEVIATHAN is brought into existence by the voluntary consensual agreement of individuals rationally convinced that it is better to transfer their rights to such an entity rather than remain in the deadly state of nature. Locke, his successor, is more acceptable to liberalism. The abso- lutism Locke is primarily targeting in the Two Treatises is that of Sir Rob- ert Filmer, Tory author of Patriarcha, rather than Hobbes's, but many of his criticisms are nonetheless applicable to Hobbes's version also. Locke's starting-point is not the amoral Hobbesian state of nature, but a moralized state where individuals have equal rights and freedoms.
Whether outside of society or within society, then, natural law morally limits what we can do, so that the Lockean polity is a moral polity, where rights and freedoms are guaranteed and protected by the constitutionalist sovereign. Rousseau argues for a radically transformational political order in which, by alienat- ing ourselves fully to the community, we are metamorphosed into political citizens guided by the general will.
But again, the repudiation of repre- sentative liberal democracy is the decision of freely-consenting individu- als, rationally motivated by the goal of avoiding the problems of the cor- rupt plutocratic state he had described earlier in Discourse on the Origins of Inequality.
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So even if his own political solution is found dubious, and illiberal, the utopian vision of a citizenry prepared to subordinate their self- 6 Lessnoff, Social Contract, pp. Finally, Kant is emphatic that in the Rechtsstaat, realpolitik cannot be allowed to trump morality, and that reasons of state can never override universal reason. The categorical imperative to respect the personhood of others must thus regulate our social interactions, and it constrains the government itself.
So though Kant, unlike Locke, did not recognize the right to revolution, both converge on the essential desiderata of the liberal state, one guided by the rule of law in which individuals' basic rights and freedoms are to be protected. Just compare the key terms on Lessnoff's and Gray's lists.
Contractarian abso- lutism exists, non-contractarian for example, utilitarian liberalism exists. So given that liberalism is the globally dominant ideol- ogy, having eclipsed its Marxist challenger, this means that contractarian liberalism is central not just to the history of Western political thought but to its present also. These are the framing assumptions of modernity. Mills Who Contracts? The crucial question then is obviously: who gets to contract?
How should we think of the "men" the equal individuals who, at the birth of modern political theory, are seen as the agents of the contract, those whose wills are supposed to bring society and the polity into existence? Who are the people whose rights are to be respected and protected by the liberal state, whose consent gives legitimacy to government, and whose freedom and equality are to be safeguarded? In contemporary political theory, it is customary to represent them as abstract, generic adult humans. With the obvious exceptions the severely 'retarded', the brain-dead , the presumption is that all human beings are full persons, in the sense of having their basic rights and freedoms recognized.
The social contract is thus supposed to be a story we can all relate to and identify with. But as feminists have long demonstrated for gender, this presumption is profoundly mistaken. The "men" really are male. If feminists have shown that liberalism is patriarchal, we need to recognize that it is also generally racial. The relation between race, racism, and modernity has of late become increasingly contested. Seemingly countervailing evidence from the ancient Greco-Roman world and the early medieval periods, or from non-Western sources, is thus to be categorized otherwise, as instances of ethnocentrism and color preju- dice, but not racism.
Race and racism are both distinctively modern and distinctively, or at least mainly, Western. But dissenters from this view have always existed. Some disagree with both claims. Hund, for example, has long argued that characteri- zations of other peoples in terms of "savagery" and "barbarism" should count as racism, and that such depictions can be found in the ancient non- Western as well as Western worlds.
To begin with, obviously, the neatness of the present periodization will have to be given up. Rather than a non-racial, pre-modern epoch antiquity, feudalism that then gives way to a sharply demarcated, racial modern ep- och, we would have to accept the fact that racism and racial thinking go back thousands of years. So it would mean acknowledging that they are far more deep-rooted in human interactions than previously thought. As a corollary, the case for making race a subject of inquiry across various disciplines would be greatly strengthened, and made more urgent.
Finally, it should be noted that even if this revisionist historical analysis is correct, it would not at all be the case that modernity would lose its distinctive- ness altogether. Modernity would still be demarcated from the pre-modern epoch of race in a number of ways: by the far greater detail and degree of systematicity of racist thought, by the advent of Western racial domina- tion as a social system that would eventually become global, and relat- edly, of course for those sympathetic to social constructionism , by the emergence of "whites" and "nonwhites" as the two basic racial categories, which would not have existed in antiquity.
We can then parallel the gender analysis of liberalism with a racial one. In the case of race, the "geography" is both external and internal: colonized nations whose economies are necessary appendages for the European metropolis, and subordinated populations within Europe and the Euro-settler states themselves. The color line then demarcates those who become "whites" from those who become "nonwhites", a moral car- tography of personhood and sub-personhood. So the mistake is to think that racism is an anomaly, a deviation from principles intended to apply universally to all humans.
Mills sistently racially as sexually exclusionary since patriarchy already exists as a social formation at the dawn of modernity, whereas white supremacy does not , it gradually develops as a racial liberalism, an imperial liberal- ism. Egalitarianism, universalism, and the presumption of an equal rational capacity to will cannot in general therefore cross racial lines any more than they can cross gender lines, since these lines demarcate different moral statuses.
Not everybody is capable of making the contract. Hobbes as Aristotelian Contractarian I now want to focus on Thomas Hobbes, whom I will argue well illustrates both this transition to modernity and its incipient racialization. As earlier noted, though Hobbes's contract theory is not ultimately liberal, it clears the path toward liberalism by providing crucial theoretical elements to be used by later contractarians who are.
His uncompromising individualism, and famous characterization of the polity as composed of individual men seeking to realize their own subjective interests rather than an objective summum bonum, make him our contemporary, and a contributor to founda- tional liberal ideas, even if his absolutism harkens back to the pre-modern. The secondary literature generally characterizes this critique as clearly exemplifying the shift from the pre-modern to the modern.
Pitts argues that early liberalism is not consis- tently racist, and that it is only with the development of "imperial liberalism" in the nineteenth century that racial exclusion becomes the norm. Macpherson, introduction to Macpherson, ed. Modernity needs to include reworked antiquity". Aristotle had said in the Politics that the polis was natural, and that all men were social creatures zoa politika. He had also asserted that some men were inferior beings, natural slaves, though since their innate servil- ity was demarcated by their souls rather than their bodies, it would not always be externally visible.
Since the Politics is one of his best-known works, this assertion is not at all obscure, but has been famous, or notori- ous, for thousands of years, widely cited in pre-modern as well as modern times. But it is not normally instanced as an example of racism. We should see racism not as necessarily involving distinctions of color, but instead in non-question-begging terms as the regarding of individuals and groups of people as superior or inferior because of "collective traits, physical, mental, and moral, which are constant and unalterable by human will".
Now Hobbes is, of course, supposed to be an anti-Aristotelian. As Richard Ashcraft com- ments: "[M]en are not recognizably different from other animals by virtue of divine creation Macpherson says that he "asserted the equal natural rights of 15 Tom Sorell, introduction to Sorell, ed. Novak, ed. Mills man", and Alan Ryan writes of "Hobbes's insistence on the natural equality of mankind", as against Aristotelian natural hierarchy. And in this same paragraph, deriding Ar- istotle, he writes: The question who is the better man, has no place in the condition of meer Nature; where, as has been shewn before, all men are equall.
The inequal- ity that now is, has bin introduced by the Lawes civill. For the savage people in many places of America, except the government of small Families, the concord whereof dependeth on naturall lust, have no government at all; and live at this day in that brutish manner, as I said before. Insofar as Native Ameri- cans are human, then, they are clearly humans of a radically inferior kind, non-contractors. Moreover, Native Americans are brought up again in chapter 30 of Leviathan as a stigmatized comparison group for those in- ferring from the absence anywhere of Hobbes's recommended absolutist polity to the absence of any rational grounds for it: "Wherein they [the skeptics] argue as ill, as if the Savage people of America, should deny there were any grounds, or Principles of Reason, so to build a house, as to last as long as the materials, because they never yet saw any so well built".
The answer is, of course, already given in the text, in the form of the category of the "savage". When Hobbes says "all men" he really means "all civilized men". As Macpherson summarizes: "Civilized men would see the need to get out of this condition [the state of nature].
Hobbes knows that they never have been in it: savage peoples he believes are in it". Civilized men are superior and superior to it. Aristotle's natural inferiors are still social; Hobbes's natural inferiors are not. The conceptual door has been opened to a new kind of demarcation in the ranks of humanity, in which the mark of the superior has become the innate natural capacity to create the civil, to operation- alize nomos through the contract.
The savages cannot do this. They are distinguished as unequal by the naturalness of the state of nature for them savage: man of silva, the wood , by their sub-rational failure to grasp the 22 Ibid. Mills "Principles of Reason" necessary to create any government other than the lust-based one of the family. Their inequality has not been "introduced by the Lawes civill", unlike the conventional inequality of the civilized; it is an inequality of physis. Though Hobbes does not elaborate on the likely fate of Native Ameri- cans, his later category of the irrational, and stipulations of the appropri- ate rules of governance for them — "Children, Fooles, and Mad-men that have no use of Reason", and so have to be "Personated by Guardians, or Curators; but can be no Authors The natural sub-persons have no such agency, no such authorship, no such capacity to rise above physis, and must be spoken for by their rational superiors.
The introduction of the "savage" is what makes this reconciliation possible, dividing humanity so that any cog- nitive dissonance is eliminated, and the seeming conceptual contradiction between Enlightenment natural egalitarianism and Enlightenment natural hierarchy resolved. Hobbes's non-liberal contract puts the old Aristotelian "naturalist" distinction on a new theoretical foundation, and lays the con- ceptual groundwork for later liberal theorists who, as the discourse of race became more explicit and systematized in subsequent centuries, would be able to paint "civilized" and "savage" in their "natural" colors of white rul- ers and nonwhite ruled, the subjects and objects of the contract.
Novak, eds. Baker, Sir Ernest, ed. Fredrickson, George M. Gray, John, Liberalism, Minneapolis Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, ed. Macpherson, New York Mills, Charles W. Morris, Christopher W. Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice, rev. Tom Sorell, New York , pp. Sorell, Tom, ed. Proto-Racism Carolina in Locke's Mind Robert Bernasconi The recognition that racism is better understood as a system and only derivatively as an ideology has not been fully integrated into histories of racisms. They still tend to be writ- ten predominantly from the standpoint of the history of ideas and without reference to the formation and persistence of social structures.
In this paper I argue for a strong notion of proto-racism that highlights the formation of systems of racial oppression. To illustrate the value of this notion I return to the question of the relation of John Locke's Two Treatises of Government to his role in the formation of New World slavery, especially through his part in writing The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina. It did not consider how centuries of oppression had institutionalized racial inequalities, even though anti- Black racism had shaped society and its effects would persist long after the theories that had been used to justify it had been abandoned.
In the United States today racism still comes to public attention most often when someone makes a racist remark, such as using a racial epithet, rather than 1 Cf. Proto-Racism 69 in an analysis of institutions. Although there are powerful philosophical critiques of racism as a system Jean-Paul Sartre and Frantz Fanon , in the public consciousness racism is located in the mind or in the passions rather than in social structures. But there should be no surprise that the use of the notion of culture or ethnicity as a sub- stitute for race has not taken us to the promised land.
The notion of proto-racism was coined in order to write the history of racisms before races. For example, Benjamin Isaac describes as proto-rac- ism the prototypes of the theoretically based racism of the Enlightenment period that he detected in classical antiquity. Isaac's argument is that "some essential elements of later racism have their roots in Greek and Roman thinking".
I do not intend to address that particular controversy in this essay. My aim here is to make a case for a different notion of proto-racism as a tool for the history of racism, or, as is more properly said today, the history of racisms, as racism seems to constantly reinvent itself and can even coexist in contradictory forms. One thinks, for example, of the co-existence in the late nineteenth cen- tury of the longstanding hierarchy of skin color, whereby those of lighter skin were valued above those of darker skin within a given race as well as 4 Cf.
Robert Bernasconi, Racism is a System, in: S. Crowell, ed. See also Wulf D. Hund, Rassismus, Bielefeld , p. The most damning element is his involvement as Secretary of the Lords Proprietors in the writing of The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, even though we do not know — and in all likelihood will never know — all the details of his role in formulating the article which read "Every Freeman of Carolina shall have absolute Power and Authority over his Negro Slaves of what Opinion or Religion soever".
Roger Woolhouse, Locke. A Biography, Cambridge , p. Parker, ed. Proto-Racism 71 John Locke by John Hales in , and in the Introduction he explained that he had printed it from Locke's own copy with several amendments made in his own hand: "He had presented it, as a work of his, to one of his friends, who was pleas'd to communicate it to me". First, it addressed the ongoing controversy over whether Negro slaves could gain their freedom by being baptized following the conven- tion that Christians should not enslave their fellow Christians. The Fun- damental Constitutions of Carolina singled out "Negro slaves" to be the exception to this custom.
They could be slaughtered without pen- alty. Subsequently it was recognized that this was not a good arrangement, not least because so much of Carolina's wealth and above all its capac- ity to produce wealth was tied up in its slave population. Similar edicts were being introduced elsewhere in North America and the Caribbean, but they were not as severe. A law passed in Virginia in October which decreed that if any slave having resisted his master or her or his master's representative should die in course of his being corrected, then the slave's death should not be considered a felony "since it cannot be presumed that premeditated malice which abuse makes murder a felony should induce any man to destroy his own estate".
The absence of a concept of race for most of this period — it was only introduced in something like its modern sense by Bernier in — has convinced some scholars that Locke cannot be accused of racism because he could not discriminate against any group on account of their race. John Locke, Never before printed, or not extant in his Works, London , n. II, p. Slavery in the Americas was not transformed when the theoretically articulated racism that was employed to justify it was in- troduced, but that was because it was already racialized, which happened when Negro slaves were singled out for special treatment.
The absence of an explicit racial doctrine is also at the heart of James Farr's recent essay "Locke, Natural Law, and New World Slavery", in which he set out to attack Anika Maaza Mann's and my attempt to ex- pose what we understood as Locke's racism. The problem is that Farr is left with the contradictions that arise from Locke's involve- ment in the slave trade and his apparent rejection of any form of hereditary slavery. Farr, Locke, p. Rogers, ed. Proto-Racism 73 among some scholars, most evident in their treatment of Kant, to prefer to accuse a major philosopher of poor reasoning rather than of racism.
The questions to be asked were: who could legitimately be enslaved? How should they be treated? And under what conditions might they and their families be freed from slavery? We should always remember that even though there was agreement about the legitimacy of slavery, there was no agreement about what that meant in the sense of what power slave owners legitimately possessed over their slaves.
The English context was clearly uppermost in Locke's mind when he was writing Two Treatises. He wanted to show against Sir Robert Filmer that there was no basis for understanding the English as slaves by virtue of conquest. Among the arguments Locke used was to deny that the children of prisoners captured in a just war could legitimately be considered slaves: "the Absolute Power of the Conqueror reaches no further than the Persons 23 Zack, Slavery, p. Bernasconi and Mann, Contradictions, pp.
Even captives during a war must have made such agreements to persuade their masters to release them from their chains in return for work. Thirdly, and most importantly, Locke's restriction of slavery to captives from a just war enabled him to identify slavery with a master's despotical right over his slaves, and for him, unlike other authors, the right to kill one's enemies was not restricted to the moment of battle but remained in place throughout their captivity.
It describes two kinds of slaves. One refers to Negro slaves, of whom it is said: "Absolute power over them in master. Not manumitted by church membership. An odd notion to the contrary being held in England at the time". South Carolina Charters, pp.
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It was thus in the American context that this new harsher conception of slavery was formulated and subsequently incorporated in Two Treatises. Locke made extensive revi- sions to The Fundamental Constitutions early in It appears to have gone unnoticed that the August version of the Constitutions omitted the article about the power of freemen over their slaves, although it was restored in April Nevertheless, we know Locke was not responsible for the omission because the copy with his revisions survives in the New York Public Library and this was not one of his proposals.
The text also shows that in his copy Locke left intact another change whose source is unclear and could conceivably be a mistake. One need only contrast Locke's account with the comments on slavery to be found in James Tyrrell's Patriarcha non Monarcha to see how ex- treme Locke's position was against Negro slaves. Tyrrell wrote that a slave or servant in the state of nature could quit the service of his or her mas- ter, negotiate conditions before submitting to service, and have "as much Right as a son or child of the Family, to defend his life, or what belongs to him, against the unjust violence or rage of his Master".
Tyrrell added: "And if he cannot enjoy these, I believe there is no sober Planter in Barbadoes who are most of them Assignees of Slaves taken in War but will grant such a Slave may lawfully run away if he can". Furthermore, the master cannot assign or sell the slave to another, including his heirs, without the slave's consent. Tyrrell published Patriarcha non Monarcha in June , before Locke had completed the chapter on slavery in the Two Treatises.
This was when the friendship be- tween the two men was at its height. Milton has redated the writing of the major part of the First Treatise to the spring or summer of and suggests that the Second Treatise may have been begun late in with much of it complete by the end of June and the remainder written in This means that during the period when Locke was most actively writing the Second Treatise he made at least six visits to Tyrrell's house, for stays of anything from three days to three weeks. Locke must have recognized the implications for his own view.
Pufendorf concludes from this that slaves cannot be treat- ed like other property that we can "abuse and destroy at our pleasure". The fundamental principle of Pufendorf's philosophy was socia- 35 Ibid. Proto-Racism 77 bility, not individualism. One can also contrast the account in the Second Treatise with what Locke would have read in Grotius: "No Masters, if we judge by the Rules of full and complete Justice, or before the Tribunal of Conscience have the Power of Life and Death over their Slaves".
How- ever, Grotius continued: "Nor can one Man have any Right to kill another, unless he has committed some capital crime". Farr cites a passage in which Grotius describes historical practices that provide Locke with precedents of masters treating their slaves harshly, but fails to spot the passage where Grotius introduces the principle that rejects such behavior. Locke's doctrine giving the captors the right to kill their captives is not here referred to as Locke's but as "the Custom of The consequence of Locke's conception of slavery did not go unnoticed by Locke's contemporaries.
The reviewer, perhaps Leclerc himself, who was Locke's friend, offered this comment on the early chapters of the Second Treatise: "The commerce which Europeans can have with barbarous peoples, who recognize neither 40 Hugo Grotius, De jure belli ac pacis, Leiden , p. The Rights of War and Peace, Indianapolis , p. This power would also, looking back to the January version of The Fundamental Constitutions, give absolute power to all freemen in Carolina over all Negro slaves.
Whether Locke's friend had dis- cerned Locke's true purpose or not, a clear inference from Locke's theory had been recognized immediately on publication: the genocides of Ameri- can Indians and of Africans had been foretold and in such a way that it was presented as a moral obligation. Nevertheless, there is one overriding problem for attempts to relate the chapter on slavery from the Second Treatise to North American slavery: in that work Locke denied hereditary slavery.
This is the central plank — per- haps the only surviving plank — of the attempt to distance the Two Treatises from New World slavery. What is one to make of Locke's rejection of he- reditary slavery in a philosophical work given that it was all around him? Matters would be easy if there was clear evidence that Locke was against hereditary slavery in Carolina, but there is no such evidence. Furthermore he was already Secretary to the Lord Proprietors when The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina made reference to the slaveholder's "absolute ar- bitrary Power over the Lives, Liberties and Persons of his Slaves and their Posterities",45 and so he knew that in Carolina as well as in other places in the Americas slavery was understood as a hereditary condition.
If the texts can be reconciled, it would seem to me that we should focus on the place where Locke excludes hereditary slavery: it is in the chapter on Conquest. One could perhaps distinguish the rights that belong to a conqueror with an army invading a nation and the rights of individuals exercising the ex- ecutive power of the law of nature.
However, Locke does not specify that. There is no doubt that that was more important to him than justifying hereditary slavery in the American context, not least because the latter was not under serious challenge. However, Farr in his argument against seeing Locke's defense of slav- ery as racist introduces one more twist.
He insisted that "[a] racist doctrine or theory, if Locke had articulated or embraced one, would have had to ex- plain, empirically, the racial inferiority of Africans or Indians in compari- 44 Anon. Proto-Racism 79 son to other races". Nor was it a necessary condition, as the law of hereditary slavery meant that there were slaves who would have been considered White if freed. If one privileges theoretical racism, one is likely to see racism as a barely relevant overlay, a mere afterthought used to justify arrangements that were already in place.
But the fact that an element of theoretical racism was needed to justify the system shows that it embodied a certain racism. It is the introduction of this system that I call "proto-racism". Something relatively new was taking place, and it was considered legitimate. Whether or not it happened, it was authorized. Proto-racism is not less than racism, which is how the word has tended to be used previously.
That conception of proto-racism understands "proto-" as it is understood in "protoporphyrin". Proto-racism would have the least amount of racism. By "proto-racism" I 46 Farr, Locke, p. Thomas Jefferson to Francis C. Gray, 1 March , in A. Bergh, ed. As An- nette Gordon-Reed has observed, Sally Hemings' children would have been considered White by the laws of Virginia, and indeed they were in the census: cf. Zack, Slavery, p. To illustrate this let me address the question of the relation of racism to slavery as understood by Jean-Paul Sartre in an essay published in Once slavery was institutional, it was too late: "a son of a slaveholder, born amidst a regime based on oppression, not only considers the fact of possessing slaves as natural but also as legitimate".
The law confers good conscience. Indeed laws of this kind come with the suggestion that one not only can, but should treat one's slaves that way so as to sustain the institution. Sartre fails to conceptualize the difference, but in my terms he has differentiated proto-racism from racism. Proto-racism happens, for example, in the moment of the institutionali- zation of racism as when the Proprietors of Carolina introduced the idea that one may legitimately put one's slaves to death without pretext only if they are Negroes.
Subsequently Locke in Two Treatises produced the theoretical legitimation for treating them in this way by making use of the widespread assumption that Negroes that were enslaved in the Americas were captives from a just war and attaching to that condition unprecedent- ed consequences.
Locke had reasons, which are well understood, for re- jecting hereditary slavery in Two Treatises. The reasons for giving absolute power to slaveowners in the same book seem equally clear, if one is not already predisposed to make excuses for canonical philosophers of a kind that would not be asked for in the case of lesser mortals.
And when one sees Locke in this way, the advantage that the category of "proto-racism" brings to the task of distinguishing different kinds of racism should also be clearly apparent. References Anon. Sartre, La violence, p. Revolutionary Violence, p. Bergh, Albert Ellery, ed. Crowell, Cambridge forthcoming. Grotius, Hugo, De jure belli ac pacis, Leiden ; trans. The Rights of War and Peace, Indianapolis Hirschfeld, Magnus, Racism, London Hund, Wulf D.
Milton, J. Tully, James, Rediscovering America, in: G. Vermeil, Edmond, Le racisme allemande, Paris Woolhouse, Roger, Locke. A Biography, Cambridge Hence, often a distinction is made between 'modern' and 'pre-modern' racism.
Political science -- Philosophy
In the French feudalism-absolutism debate of the early eighteenth century involving Boulain- villiers, Dubos and Montesquieu, it becomes obvious how 'racist' and 'classist' ideological notions are being instrumentalised by the protagonists in the struggle for political power during the period of transition between feudal-absolutist and bourgeois society and politi- cal nation. Most historians of racism seem to agree that 'modern' racism emerged in the eighteenth century.
Some authors refer to it as 'proto-racism'2 or 'quasi-racism'. Some authors also refer to the importance of the Renaissance period Reconquista, the discovery of America, i. Geiss distinguishes between a 'broader' and a 'closer' pre-history of racism. The complex diversity and mutual entanglement of these phenomena in both past and present becomes obvious when analysing concepts such as 'race', 'class' and 'nation'6 in their concrete historical interconnectedness. This article aims to illustrate this by taking an example from the formative period of 'modern' racism, in which racism, classism and nationalism were still — at least conceptually — unseparated.
We are talking here about the 'feudalism-absolutism-debate', which Hannah Arendt refers to under the title 'The aristocratic race against the bourgeois nation'. Many historians have assumed that the classical French absolutism of the sev- enteenth and eighteenth centuries could only establish itself on the basis of a gradually developing — more or less unstable — equilibrium between aristocracy and bourgeoisie.
Etienne Balibar, Der 'Klassen-Rassismus', in. Balibar, Wallerstein, Rasse, Klasse und Nation. It is necessary to examine the political dimension more closely. In the early Capetian era tenth and eleventh centuries , the monarchy was relatively weak, and, outside its direct rule over the area around Par- is Francien , consisted predominantly of mere formal suzerainty over a range of counties, some of them larger and richer Normandy, Burgundy, Anjou, Aquitaine — the later high nobility Pairs de France — and nu- merous smaller, more or less 'free' lordships counties, baronies, knight's estates — the 'lesser' nobility.
By way of a clever politics of alliances with rising towns through the granting of market rights, tax privileges, jurisdic- tion etc , the Capetians managed, from about the twelfth century, to more or less secure their rule over the lesser nobility, and thereby extend their power base in the subsequent 'elimination contests' Elias with the com- peting high nobility.
Anderson, Entstehung, p. Elias, Prozess der Zivilisation, vol. What is important for us here is the changed position of the nobility in the absolutist feudal society of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in comparison to the territo- rial feudalism of the previous period. We have deliberately spoken of an 'absolutist feudal society', despite the fact that, in a historical perspective, it was a transitional form of society between feudal society and bourgeois society.
Even though a mercantile and manufacturing capitalism had de- veloped in the towns and cities, the French economy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was still characterised by a rural peasant agricul- ture. Socially and culturally, nobility and high clergy most of whom were of noble origin were still dominant. However, these groups were no longer predominantly the descendents of the old 'nobility of the sword'.
Margrave, Count, Baron. The administration of their territories including jurisdiction was usually delegated to relatives or administrators of bourgeois back- ground. The landed gentry, or lesser nobility, however, had to stay on their 11 Cf. Generally, members of the bourgeoisie were excluded from the appoint- ment to Court — yet there were a few prominent exceptions.
However, it would be wrong to conclude from this that Ludwig XIV saw himself as standing above the classes; on the contrary, as long as he lived he saw himself as a member of the nobility — albeit el- evated by ancestry and divine grace 'le premier Gentilhomme de France'. In the meantime, however, its culture had increasingly intruded into the higher echelons of the bourgeoisie and those parts of the nobility that were connected to it through economic activities and shared cultural interests. In salons led by ladies of the nobility, these groups sought to imitate the culture of courtly life.
The salons gained popularity not least among bourgeois intellectuals. After Ludwig XIV's death in , these 'enlightened' circles initially seemed to get the upper hand. He also stopped the persecution of religious mi- norities Jansenists, Huguenots and loosened censorship of printed items books, periodicals, pamphlets , thereby nourishing the widespread hope for an end of the absolutist regime. Henri Marquis de Boulainvilliers, Comte de Saint-Saire descended from an old noble family near Paris that could be traced back to the thirteenth century.
Excluded from access to the royal court, he em- barked on a military career.
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After the death of his father, he withdrew to his inherited estates near Paris, where he dedicated himself to philosophical and historical studies. Amongst other things, he produced a French transla- tion of Spinoza's 'Ethic' as well as numerous studies of the history of the nobility and of French political institutions. Among his most important works are the three volumes of 'Histoire de l'ancien gouvernement de la France' and the 'Essay sur la Noblesse de France' Both texts were only published posthumously in Holland and banned in France un- der the renewed absolutism of the s — despite the fact that they were already circulating among political friends of the author and originally had even been intended as an instruction, on behalf of the nobility, for the young king Louis XV.
Gaul was then a Roman province, which, since the conquest by Caesar was subjugated under the rule of the Roman Emperors, their ad- ministrative institutions, their law etc. His magnum opus, a sharply pointed dissection of the damage done to earthly political life by the incursions of the papacy and a plea for conciliar ecclesiology, was repeatedly condemned during the fourteenth century and in later years. Yet the treatise continued to be disseminated and received translation into several vernacular languages. The contents of the present volume represent a compendium of innovative scholarly contributions to the understanding of Marsilius, his life and times, and his lasting impact on Western thought.
Included are chapters that reflect a range of recent, ground-breaking research by both senior scholars and the future leaders in the field. After a general survey of the current state of scholarship on Marsilius, the volume divides into three thematically organized sections, covering a variety of historical, textual, methodological, theological, and theoretical questions. If you have personal access to this content, log in with your username and password here:. Author: Gerson Moreno-Riano. Your Access Options.