The Proposed Hierarchy of Mankind Illustration from Types of Mankind (1854), written by prominent ethnologists Josiah Clark Nott (1804-1873) and George R. Glidden (1809-1857). The book's theory was to prove that the African race as wholly separate from the Caucasian, or white, race. The book was embraced by slavery sympathizers as scientific proof that the African race was inferior.
The British Perfect the Spanish Practice The study of British colonial propaganda is instructive. What can be more effective, while preparing an aggressive war, than to proclaim the purity of one’s intentions and sanctity of one’s cause, while ascribing atrocities or heathenism to the enemy? Throughout history, the enemies of the British Empire, portrayed as aggressors, cruel, inhuman and often heathen were annihilated while the British preserved their image of a caring, ‘gentlemanly’ nation. By mastering the art of negative attributions, Great Britain started more wars than any other nation resulting in the deaths of millions of people, subjugated millions of others by sanctioning piracy, the drug trade, the slave trade, and yet, maintained an image of a cultured nation.
Anglo-Normans had justified their wars of conquest by denigrating the Irish over successive centuries: In 1183 a monk named Giraldus Cambrensis, a member of one of the main Norman families colonizing Ireland, wrote a book entitled The History and Topography of Ireland. It was a work of fiction designed to justify the Norman Conquest in Ireland. Accordingly, Cambrensis accused the Irish of various vices, including laziness, treachery, blasphemy, idolatry, ignorance of Christian beliefs, incest and cannibalism.
Accusation of Canibalism Throughout history, accusations of atrocities have been one of the most effective tools of attitude change and have often preceded hostilities between people or nations. A prototypical form of atrocity attribution is the accusation of cannibalism. The term cannibal was coined during Columbus’ times after the name of Caribs, a West Indian tribe with a reputation for eating their enemies. Following Columbus’ discoveries, the Spanish monarchy adopted a policy prohibiting the enslavement of natives in the new territories. However, the royal mandate for the West Indies contained a clause excluding cannibals from royal protection. Repeatedly, this clause was invoked to derive an economic advantage from human bondage.