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Pro-convention diffusionists, on the other hand, claimed a more general middle ground, promising that while the temporary introduction of slavery would ensure economic prosperity, Illinoisans would be able to avoid the negative consequences of the slave system through the forced deportation of all slaves once they gained their freedom.
Kuklick traces the development of anthropology as a discipline from the armchair evolutionists of the 1880s through the diffusionists of the early twentieth century to the functionalists of the forties with great precision and detail.
In contrast, the diffusionists, reflecting Edwardian concerns about national efficiency and decline, and the functionalists, reacting to the horrors of World War I and the social conflict of the 1920s, were more pessimistic about human rationality and progress, and presumed that stability and not change was the norm.