Courtesy Michael Blakey
Published at the height of polygenism’s popularity, Josiah Nott and George Gliddon’s 800-page illustrated volume, Types of Mankind (shown left), reproduced the work of Louis Agassiz and Samuel Morton, spreading racist views to a popular audience. The work sold well and nine editions were printed. Some slave owners found justification for slaveryan extreme form of human oppression whereby an individual may "own" another person and the...
in the Bible, and others used this new “science” to defend it.
By the 19th century, the scientific debate focused on whether human biological difference was just a racial variation, or represented an entirely different species. The “species” theory, polygenism, held that human “races” were of different lineages and suggested a hierarchy outlined in the “Chain of Being” that positioned Africans between man and lower primates.
Polygenism was the antithesis of monogenism, which espoused a single origin theory of humanity consistent with the Bible. Ironically, proponents of slavery were, for the most part, monogenists, because polygenypre-evolutionary scientific argument that human biological "races" are separate species, each descended from different biblical... was incompatible with the Bible.