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Through the antebellum period and American Civil War, American and European race theorists exchanged ideas through correspondence and scientific explorations asserting the truth of scientific racism. Scientific racist beliefs posited the natural superiority of white people and inferiority of Black people based on what these theorists claimed were innate biological characteristics, and these beliefs served as a critical linkage between Europe and the United States. Utilizing correspondence and journal entries, this paper shows that this exchange of scientific racist ideas significantly influenced the Confederacy’s political thought and policy positions, especially foreign relations, through the Civil War. Through the work of propagandist Henry Hotze, the Confederacy sought to gain support among the European public, particularly in Great Britain, by promoting scientific racist ideas justifying the Confederacy’s defense of slavery. Such ideas were assimilated from American race theorists like Samuel George Morton and Samuel Cartwright, along with European race theorists like Arthur de Gobineau. This paper ultimately demonstrates the historical continuity of racist beliefs that unite actors across borders to uphold white supremacy into modern times.

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