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date: 27 October 2021

Race, Concept of. 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to United States History
Author(s):
Audrey SmedleyAudrey Smedley

The term “race” with reference to human beings first appeared in English literature in the sixteenth century as a classifactory term with a meaning similar to “kind” or “type,” as in “a race of bishops” or “a race of saints. ” In the eighteenth century the term was more frequently applied to the diverse populations in England's American colonies: the Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans. Here race evolved as a ranking system reflecting the dominant English attitudes toward these populations. Conquered Indians were kept separate and apart from Europeans, often exploited, or moved off their lands for new settlers. ... ...

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