Excerpt from Jose Vasconcelos The Cosmic Race / La Raza Cosmica trans. Didier T. Jaén (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1997)
In the opinion of respectable geologists, the American continent includes some of the most important regions of the world. The Andes are, undoubtedly, as old as any other mountain range on Earth. And while the land itself is ancient, the traces of life and human culture also go back to time beyond any calculations. The architectural ruins of legendary Mayans, Quechuas, and Toltecs are testimony of civilized life previous to the oldest foundations of towns in the Orient and Europe. As research advances, more support is found for the hypothesis for Atlantis as the cradle of civilization that flourished millions of years ago in the vanished continent and in parts of what is today America.
If we are, then, geologically ancient, as well as in respect to the tradition, how can we still continue to accept the fiction, invented by our European fathers, of the novelty of a continent that existed before the appearance of the land from where the discoverers and conquerors came?
The question has paramount importance to those who insist in looking for a plan in History. The confirmation of the great antiquity of our continent may seem idle to those who see nothing in the chain of events but a fateful repetition of meaningless patterns. With boredom we should regard the work of contemporary civilization, if the Toltec palaces would tell us nothing else but that civilizations pass away leaving no other fruit than a few carved stones piled upon each other or forming arched vaults or roofs of two planes intersecting at an angle. Why begin again, if within four or five thousand years other new immigrants will distract their leisure by pondering upon the remains of our trivial contemporary architecture? Scientific history becomes confused and leaves unanswered all these ruminations. Empirical history, suffering from myopia, loses itself in details, but it cannot determine a single antecedent for historical times. It flees from general conclusions, from transcendental hypotheses, to fall into the puerility of the description of utensils and cranial indices and so many other, merely external, minutiae that lack importance when seen apart from a vast and comprehensive theory.
Only a leap of the spirit, nourished with facts, can give us a vision that will lift us above the micro-ideology of the specialist. Then we can dive deeply into the massive events in order to discover a direction, a rhythm, and a purpose. Precisely there, where the analyst discovers nothing, the synthesizer and the creator are enlightened. Let us, then, attempt explanations, not with the fantasy of the novelist, but with an intuition supported by the facts of history and science.
The race we have agreed to call Atlantean prospered and declined in America. After its extraordinary flourishment, after having completed its cycle and fulfilled its particular mission, it entered the silence and went into decline until being reduced to the lesser Aztec and Inca empires, totally unworthy of the ancient and superior culture. With the decline of the Atlanteans, the intense civilization was transported to other sites and changed races: it dazzled in Egypt; it expanded in India and Greece, grafted onto new races. The Aryans mixed with the Dravidians to produce the Hindustani, and at the same time, by means of other mixtures, created Hellenic culture.
Greece laid the foundations of Western or European civilizations; the white civilizations that, upon expanding, reached the forgotten shores of the American continent in order to consummate the task of recivilization and repopulation. Thus we have the four stages and the four racial trunks: the Black, the Indian, the Mongol, and the White. The latter, after organizing itself in Europe, has become the invader of the world, and has considered itself destined to rule, as did each other previous races during their time of power. It is clear the domination of the whites will also be temporary, but their mission is to serve as a bridge. The white race has brought the world to a state in which all human types and cultures will be able to fuse with each other. The civilization developed and organized in our times by the whites has set the moral and material basis for the union of all men into a fifth universal race, the fruit of all the previous ones and amelioration of everything past.
White culture is migratory, yet it was not Europe as a whole that was in charge of initiating the reintegration of the red world into the modality of pre-universal culture, which had been represented for many centuries by the white man. The transcendental mission fell upon the two most daring branches of the European family, the strongest and most different human types: the Spanish and the English.
Our age became, and continues to be, a conflict of Latinism against Anglo-Saxonism: a conflict of institutions, aims, and ideals. [...] The greatest battle was lost on the day that each one of the Iberian republics went forth alone, to live her own life apart from her sisters, concerting treaties and receiving false benefits, without tending to the common interest of the race. The founders of our new nationalism were, without knowing it, the best allies of the Anglo-Saxons, our rivals in the possession of the continent. The unfurling of our twenty banners at the Pan American Union in Washington, should be seen as a joke played by skillful enemies. Yet, each of us takes pride in our humble rags, expression of a vain illusion, and we do not even blush at the fact of our discord in the face of the powerful North American union. [...] It is necessary to trace our patriotism back to our Hispanic fountainhead and educated on the lessons we should derive from the defeats, which are also ours. If our patriotism is not identified with the different stages of the old conflict between Latins and Anglo-Saxons, it shall never overcome a regionalism lacking in universal breadth. We shall fatefully see it degenerate into the narrowness and myopia of parochialism or into the impotent inertia of a mollusk attached to its rock.
So that we shall not be forced to deny our own fatherland, it is necessary that we live according to the highest interest of the race. The first stage of the profound conflict was decided in Europe and we lost. Afterward, when all the advantages were on our side in the new world, since Spain had conquered America, the Napoleonic stupidity gave Louisiana away to the Englishmen from this side of the ocean; this decided the fate of the new world in favor of the Anglo-Saxons. Napoleon, in his foolishness, was not able to surmise that the destiny of the European races was going to be decided in the New World. When, in the most thoughtless manner, he destroyed French power in America, he also weakened the Spaniards. He betrayed us and placed us at the mercy of the common enemy. None of these facts were even considered because the destiny of the race was in the hands of a fool, because Caesarism is the scourge of the Latin race.
Napoleon's betrayal of the global destiny of France mortally wounded the Spanish empire in America at the moment of its greatest weakness. The English speaking people took possession of Louisiana without combat, reserving their ammunitions for the now easy conquest of Texas and California. Without the base of the Mississippi, the English, would not have been able to take possession of the Pacific; they would not be the masters of the continent today; they would have remained in a sort of Netherlands transplanted to America, and the new world would be Spanish and French. Bonaparte made it Anglo-Saxon.
[...] Only the Iberian part of the continent possesses the spiritual factors, the race, and the territory necessary for the great enterprise of initiation the new universal era of Humanity. All the races that are to provide their contribution are already here: The Nordic man, who is today the master of action but who had humble beginnings and seemed inferior in an epoch in which already great cultures had appeared and decayed; the black man, a reservoir of potentialities that began in the remote days of Lemuria; The Indian, who saw Atlantis perish but still keeps a quiet mystery in the conscience. We have all the races and the aptitudes. The only thing lacking is for true love to organize and set in march the law of History.
[...] All this was to indicate that through the exercise of the triple law, we in America shall arrive, before any other part of the world, at the creation of a new race fashioned out of the treasures of all the previous ones: The final race, the cosmic race."