American Highways: A Popular Account of Their Conditions and of the Means by Which They May be Bettered

by Nathaniel Southgate Shaler


Nathaniel Southgate Shaler (1841-1906) studied at Harvard College and then went on to become a professor in paleontology there. Although he was from Kentucky, he served in the Union Army as an officer during the Civil war. However, he was an apologist for slavery, and in an 1884 Atlantic Monthly article stated that slavery in the US had been “infinitely the mildest and most decent system of slavery that ever existed.” This racism influenced his own teachings. Initially a creationist, he later became a proponent of Lamarckian theories, and an espouser of Aryan supremacy.

Less controversially, he had a great interest in the roads of America and produced this study of their value. he also produced a volume of poetry and a novel, Elizabeth of England. Yet his views on race remain a stain on his biography.