Gobineau, Joseph-Arthur, count de

Gobineau, Joseph-Arthur, count de

biographical name

(born July 14, 1816, Ville-d'Avray, France—died Oct. 13, 1882, Turin, Italy) French diplomat and writer. While serving in the diplomatic service (1849–77), he wrote the Essay on the Inequality of Human Races (1853–55), which asserted the superiority of the white race over others and labeled the “Aryans,” or Germanic peoples, as the summit of civilization. He claimed that white societies flourished as long as they remained free of “black and yellow strains” and that dilution would lead to corruption. His theory of racial determinism in Essay influenced the racist beliefs of such figures as Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler.

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