Few topics in the Western intellectual tradition have been subjected to as much scrutiny and analysis as the topic of race. This book examines the evolution of the concept. It shows that late-eighteenth-century North Americans came to believe that their society was composed of biologically exclusive and permanently unequal human groups, each with distinctive behavioral, moral, spiritual, and intellectual characteristics, led people to see biophysical and behavioral features as innate and immutable. In the nineteenth century, differences between whites, American Indians, and blacks were magnified in the popular mind and in scholarly writings to the point that these groups were seen as separate species, justifying the preservation of 'racial' slavery and the subsequent dehumanization of freed blacks. With the application in the late nineteenth century of the racial worldview to European peoples and the subsequent twentieth-century inhumanity and brutality of Nazi race ideology, the concept of race came under attack. Liberal ideology coupled with advances in science prompted criticism of 'race' and efforts to eliminate the term from the lexicon of science.