The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Spring 1988, Volume 34, Number 2
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor
Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism.
By Reginald Horsman. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981. Notes. Index. 397 Pages. Paperback. Price unavailable.
Racism is one of the most important themes in San Diego history. Anglo-American racism has shaped the treatment of the Indians, the Afro-Americans, and the Spanish-Mexican population which inhabited the area when the United States took over in 1846. Thus no understanding of San Diego history-especially in the nineteenth century-can be complete without a full understanding of white racism. Reginald Horsman’s Race and Manifest Destiny (first published in 1981 and now reprinted in paperback) is the best single source for gaining that understanding. The book covers seriously, but in a readable form, the European and colonial origins of American racism, its overpowering role in American expansionism of the nineteenth century, and racism’s growth through “scientific” racism. This book should be required reading for anyone working on San Diego history in the nineteenth century.