A Caucasian Caucus?

With all the buzz about tonight’s Iowa Caucus, I got to wondering where in the world the word caucus came from. Did it derive from caucasian, the term for white people? Probably not. One etymology for caucus gives this:

Etymology uncertain. Mr. J. H. Trumbull finds the origin of caucus in the N. A. Indian word cawcawwassough or ca[‘u] cau-as’u one who urges or pushes on, a promoter. See citation for an early use of the word caucus.

Uncertainly, there you have it. But that still left me with the question of why white people are called caucasian. After all, there is a geographical region called the Caucasus, where countries like Georgia and Azerbaijan are located. I’m white with regard to race, and have checked “Caucasian” on my census form, but none of my ancestors are from the Caucasus. I once even had a Russian friend look at me in unbelief when I told him that white people in the U.S. were called Caucasian. So why am I Caucasian? Wikipedia has a nice summary of the evolution of the term:

In physical anthropology, Caucasian is a purported race that includes most of the natives of Europe, West Asia, North Africa, and as far east as the Indian subcontinent. This category was first proposed by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who coined the term in his treatise “On the Natural Varieties of Mankind” in 1775. His studies based the classification of the Caucasian race primarily on skull features, which Blumenbach claimed were optimized by the inhabitants of Georgia in the Caucasus mountains.

A more in-depth treatment can be found from this Yale University paper (PDF). So there—now you can differentiate between a caucus and a Caucasian.

2 thoughts on “A Caucasian Caucus?”

  1. first of all we must understand
    that we americans are a special people
    to God, put here for a purpose. God
    being Jesus, the creator of all life, and our redeemer. The King James Bible
    is his word to us. Only the Holy Spirit
    can teach us.
            Go to Gen’s Chapter 48 and read
    very carefully, especially when you
    get to verse,s 16 and 19. Whoever
    these boys were, they were to be
    called Israel, and one would become
    a multitude of nation’s,or a group of
    nation’s. The first verse in the next
    chapter gives the time frame.( The
    latter days ) Chap. 49.
          Where are these people now?
    We must remember that Jesus was
    the God of the old testament also, and
    all things must come by him through
    the Holy Spirit.
            The so called ten lost tribes had been lost from the area where Jesus
    grew up.( Force out ) years before.
    They weren’t really lost because Jesus
    told the apostles to go first to the lost tribes [ sheep ] of Israel. Jesus knows when each
    bird fall’s from the sky, so He knew.
       Where were they? They were lost in
    the Caucasians mountains, and they
    wondered for years, later moving across, and eventually reaching Great Britain.
    ( Ephraim )
       Then later moving to America.
    ( Manasseh )
        I wonder where Manassas, va
    got it’s name, and also it is in prince
    william county. ( Odd )
    Great Britain is the only nation that
    has become a group of nation’s in the
    latter days. The sun use to never set
    on Great Britain, And they are our
    brother nation.
          We are the regathered ten tribes
    of Israel. That is where the word
    caucus comes from. (The regathering
    of congress, and senate for a short
    Caucasians are we white people in
    general. Please write back……Bruce.

  2. Bruce,

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at with regards to this post, but the argument you’ve outlined is textbook British Israelism, a specious theory that has little to no historical or biblical backing. There’s nothing in Scripture that says that any tribes migrated to Europe. You can see an excellent refutation of the theory here.

    Furthermore, there is no need for American or British Christians to be ethnically Israel. Read the book of Romans–ethnicity is useless if there is not a spiritual change of the heart.

    Christ is indeed King, and he is indeed the God of the Old Testament, but you would do well to steer clear of a theory that has been used by everyone from Nazis to white supremacist groups.

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