Skip to main content

The psychological origins of the white male patriarchy

Abstract

A white male patriarchy developed in England as the British empire grew, expanding its colonial exploitation around the world. A rational explanation was required to explain how a small number of men deserved to control this enormous and growing wealth. With Darwin's theory of evolution (survival of the fittest), Galton's studies of genius (rich and successful men were related to each other) and Spencer's insight that natural selection in human societies was Nature's way of getting rid of bad stock and preserving the best, the theory took shape. The theory was imported to America where it flourishes. Psychologists provided evidence to support the ideas of the ruling class: intelligence, mental disorders, crime and the addictions are all due to bad genes and bad brains. The defect model occupies the center of the stage. There is no need to act to remove injustice, sexism, racism, homophobia—the causes of distress are not social, they are internal, personal defects. Drugs will reduce the symptoms while the search goes on for the internal defects.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Addams, J. (1902).Democracy and social ethics. NY: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Albee, G. W. (1982). The politics of nature and nurture.American Journal of Community Psychology, 10, 1, 1–36.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baltzell, E. D. (1964).The protestant establishment: Aristocracy and caste in America. New York: Random House.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blum, J. M. (1978).Pseudoscience and mental ability. New York: Monthly Review Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brigham, C. C. (1923).A study of American intelligence. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brigham, C. C. (1930). Intelligence tests of immigrant groups.Psychological Review, 165.

  • Burt, C. (1966). The genetic determination of differences in intelligence: A study of monozygotic twins reared together and apart.British Journal of Psychology, 57, 137–153.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burt, C. (1972). Inheritance of general intelligence.American Psychologist, 27, 175–190.

    Google Scholar 

  • Darwin, C. (1859).The origin of species and the descent of man. London: Murray.

    Google Scholar 

  • Darwin, C. (1860). The preservation of favored races in the struggle for life. New York: D. Appleton.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davenport, C. B. (1911).Heredity in relation to eugenics. New York: H. Holt and Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Deutsch, A. (1949). The mentally ill in America. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eysenck, H. J. (1971).The IQ argument: Race intelligence and education. New York: The Library Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Flynn, J. R. (1980). Race, IQ and Jensen. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Forgays, D. (Ed.) (1978).Primary Prevention of Psychopathology: Environmental Influences. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England.

    Google Scholar 

  • Galton, F. (1869/1914).Hereditary genius: An inquiry into its laws and consequences. London: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Galton, F. (1889).Natural inheritance. London: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garrett, H. E. (undated pamphlet, a.).Desegregation: fact and hokum. Richmond, VA., Patrick Henry Press.

  • Garrett, H. E. (undated pamphlet, b.). Race, a reply to Race and intelligence: a scientific evaluation by the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai B'rith. Washington, D.C.: National Putnam Letters Committee.

  • Grant, M. (1919).The passing of the great race, (revised edition). New York: Scribner.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hall, G. S. (1907). Youth: its education, regimen, and hygiene. New York: D. Appleton and Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hall, G. S. (1923). Life and confessions of a psychologist. New York: D. Appleton and Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hearnshaw, L. (1979).Cyril Burt, Psychologist. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Vintage Books Edition, 1981.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heber, F. R. (1978). Sociocultural retardation: A longitudinal study. In D.G. Forgays, (Ed.)Environmental influences and strategies in primary prevention. Hanover, N. H.: The University Press of New England.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herrnstein, R. J. (1973).I.Q. in the meritocracy. Boston: Little, Brown.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herrnstein, R. J. (1982). I.Q. testing and the media.The Atlantic Monthly, 249–50, pp. 68–74.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herrnstein, R. J. and Murray, C. A. (1994).The bell curve: intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jarvis, E. (1855/1971).Idiocy and Lunacy in Massachusetts: Report of the Commission on Lunacy, 1855. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Originally published by Wm. White, Boston, 1855.)

    Google Scholar 

  • Kamin, L. (1973). Heredity, intelligence, politics and psychology. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

  • Kamin, L. (1974).The science and politics of I.Q. Potomac, MD: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. (Distributed by Halstead Press Division of John Wiley and Sons, Inc.)

    Google Scholar 

  • Locke, J. (1806).An essay concerning human understanding. 2nd American edition. Boston, MA: Thomas and Andrews.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lombroso, C. (1912).Crime: its causes and remedies. Montclair, N.J.: Montclair. (Originally published 1876).

    Google Scholar 

  • Malthus, T. R. (1826).Essay on the principle of population. London: J. Murray.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marx, K. and Engels, F. (1859/1936). The manifesto of the communist party. Section II. In Karl Marx,Selected works (Vol. 1). New York: International Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDougall, W. (1921)An introduction to social psychology, 14th Edition. Boston: J. W. Luce & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDougall, W. (1929).Modern materialism and emergent evolution. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pastore, N. (1949).The nature-nurture controversy. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pearson, K. (1904). On the laws of inheritance in man.Biometrica, 3, 131–190.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pearson, K. (1925). Problem of alien immigration into Great Britain illustrated by an examination of Russian and Polish Jewish children.Annals of Eugenics, 1, 5–127.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scarr, S. (1975). From evolution to Larry P., or what shall we do about IQ tests?Intelligence, 2, 325–342.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scarr, S. & Weinberg, R. A. (1976). IQ test performance of black children adopted by white families.American Psychologist, 31, 726–739.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scarr, S., Pakstis, A. J., Katz, S. H., & Barker, W. B. (1977). The absence of a relationship between degree of white ancestry and intellectual skills within a black population.Human Genetics, 39, 69–86.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scarr, S. (1978). From evolution to Larry P., or what shall we do about I.Q. tests?Intelligence, 2, 325–342.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scarr, S. (1981).Race, social class, and individual differences in IQ. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schweinhart, L. J. & Weikart, D. P. (1988). The High/Scope Perry Preschool program. In R. H. Price, E. L. Cowen, R. P. Lorian, & J. Ramos-McKay (Eds.)14 ounces of prevention: A casebook for practitioners, (pp. 9–23). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schwendinger, H. & Schwendinger, J. (1974).The sociologists of the chair. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spencer, H. (1872).On social evolution; selected writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spencer, H. (1894).A plea for liberty: an argument against socialism and socialist legislation. Introductory lecture. London: J. Murray.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spencer, H. (1897).Principles of psychology. New York: D. Appleton.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thomas, M. C. (1979).The making of a feminist: early journals and letters of M. Carey Thomas. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Albee, G.W. The psychological origins of the white male patriarchy. J Primary Prevent 17, 75–97 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02262739

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02262739

Key words

  • Social Darwinism
  • patriarchy
  • class bias
  • prejudice