This work was the first modern attempt to prove that race is the primary force determining world events and history.
Working with the limited scientific data available at the time of writing (1853), Arthur de Gobineau divided humans into three major groupings, white, yellow and black.
He argues that the cause of the downfall of civilizations is always racial mixing, and that every civilization has either been directly controlled by what he called “Aryans” or has had a significant Aryan element mixed in it.
He also argues that climate and environment have no bearing on racial characteristics.
This book was a cornerstone work for 20th century racial theory, and is of immense importance for this reason alone.
This new edition has been completely reset and contains all the original text.
From The Author’s Dedication
I. The Mortal Disease of Civilizations and Societies Proceeds From General Causes Common to Them All
II. Fanaticism. Luxury, corruption of morals and irreligion do not necessarily lead to the fall of societies
III. The Relative Merit of Governments Has No Influence on the Length of a Nation’s Life
IV. The Meaning of the Word “Degeneration”; The Mixture of Racial Elements; How Societies are Formed and Broken Up
V. Racial Inequality is Not the Result of Institutions
VI. Nations, Whether Progressing or Stagnating Are Independent of the Regions in Which They Live
VII. Christianity Neither Creates nor Changes the Capacity for Civilization
VIII. Definition of the Word “Civilization”; Social Development Has A Two-Fold Origin
IX. Definition of the Word “Civilization”(Continued); Different Characteristics of Civilized Societies; Our Civilization is not Superior to Those Which Have Gone Before
X. Some Anthropologists Regard Man as Having a Multiple Origin
XI. Racial Differences Are Permanent
XII. How the races were physiologically separated, and the different varieties formed by their inter-mixture. They are unequal in strength and beauty
XIII The Human Races Are Intellectually Unequal; Mankind is Not Capable of Infinite Progress
XIV. Proof Of The Intellectual Inequality Of Races (Continued). Different Civilizations Are Mutually Repulsive; Hybrid Races Have Equally Hybrid Civilizations
XV. The Different Languages Are Unequal and Correspond Perfectly In Relative Merit to the Races That Use Them
XVI. Recapitulation; The Respective Characteristics of the Three Great Races; The Superiority Of The White Type, And, Within This Type, Of The Aryan Family
About the author: Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau (1816–1882) was a French aristocrat, novelist and early ethnologist who set the academic standard for the development of racial science.