In 1860 the Southern sociologist Henry Hughes denounced the existence of the mulatto. Revealing the idealism at the heart of the racist attitudes of the white antebellum South, Hughes - in a passage occasionally cited by historians as something of a parody of those attitudes - writes that hybridism “ is heinous.” This is so, he claims, because it is doubly transgressive:

Impurity of races is against the law of nature. M ulattoes are monsters. The law of nature is the law of God. The same law which forbids consanguinous amalgamation for­ bids ethnical amalgamation. Both are incestuous. Amal­ gamation is incest.1