Working Definition:

Savagery denoted a position on a timeline of human evolution and hierarchies of civilization. According to historian Gail Bederman, “In the context of the late nineteenth century’s popularized Darwinism, civilization was seen as an explicitly racial concept…. Civilization denoted a precise stage in human racial evolution—the one following the primitive stages of ‘savagery’ and ‘barbarism.’…But only the white race had, as yet evolved to the civilized stage.” Savagery was the antithesis of civilization and intertwined with conceptions of race, gender, and class.

Related Terms:

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Paul A. Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996)