Full text: Problems in eugenics

252Section III.F. A. Woods. 
notorious flatterers that their work may best be left out, but the nineteenth 
century has furnished reliable portraits, and photography comes to our aid. 
The whole in a nut-shell is this : As a question of proportionate numbers, 
and in the same grade of society, it is as hard to find a sixteenth century 
naso-orbital type at the present day as it is to find a modern among the 
northerners at the time of the Renaissance. It does not seem reasonable 
that any differences in the environment could cause these differences in 
relations and proportions of bones of the face. At least to those who deny 
the inheritance of modifications acquired through the environment, it is hard 
to understand how the change has been brought about, except by some 
internal and gametic cause associated with matters of selection and survival. 
The faces of the early aristocracy seem more like the peasants of to-day. 
As a tentative hypothesis, I would suggest that an unconscious sexual 
selection has actually caused this change. When the Renaissance brought 
a revival in the arts of antiquity, the standards of Greece and Rome became 
the models for everything, including standards of beauty, and the faces of 
the north-western Europeans have grown more like the Greeks and Romans— 
the upper classes, on the average, leading the way. Of course, the doctrine 
of evolution makes it certain that the human face is not the same now as it 
was once. If we look far enough back into the past (the stone age, for 
instance), the face was certainly different; but the interesting point about 
the portraits is that they show such an astonishingly rapid change. Human 
nature is not the same throughout all ages, nor do we look like our ancestors 
of a few generations ago. 
There is a fascinating interest in explaining the decline of the great 
civilizations of the past, and there is always much that is superficial in such 
explanations from the failure to take into account causes of growth which 
acted anterior to the beginning of the decline—factors that were at one 
time present but were afterwards withdrawn; and no factor of such a char­ 
acter is more important to carefully consider than the dynastic factor, and, 
indeed, the whole aristocratic element of which royalty is but the top 
and crown. Because Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome, Spain, Portugal, and 
various other European nationalities declined, it is no reason why other 
nations should follow in the same track. The new or western nations are 
built upon entirely different foundations. They have evolved in such a way 
that great masses of people have become elevated and able to govern them­ 
selves; whereas the earlier civilizations were dependent for their growth, 
and indeed for their very life, on a few people who formed an artistocratic 
class far superor to the masses whom they governed. 
This is proved by the fact that prior to the nineteenth century no 
country with the exception of Great Britain was able to make political and 
economic progress except under the leadership of a great monarch, or a 
single great personality—some great statesman who acted as a monarch. 
I have just completed a research involving several years of study and
	        

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