Chapter 3 makes the case that the modern conception of race as a static way of being finds its roots in the cultural isolation of the English during the Medieval period, the rise of market Capitalism, and the philosophies that descended from these two forces. England was culturally isolated relative to continental Europe, which maintained extensive trade networks with the eastern and north African cultures, and thus, maintained a much more heterogeneous population in terms of ethnic background and biophysical characteristics among its people. The Protestant Reformation and the abandonment of the "Divine Right of Kings" began pushing out the old feudal society in which people were more closely associated with the lands they worked and their kinship networks. This was replaced by the view that labor and land were things that could be bought and sold as commodities which placed a high emphasis on private ownership as social currency. Protestant thinking was (is) highly individualistic compared to Catholic, and this is reflected in the economic philosophy of the time. Individual freedom is about self maximization and the unrestricted amassing of personal wealth. The result of this is that individuals view themselves as islands rather than as parts of a whole, meanwhile labor (and thus, the individual) is devalued or inflated by the market based on market needs. People become their labor and land, and are judged as being free or not on that basis.
This ideology is what laid the groundwork for English tension with the Irish, and functions as the baseline for the development of modern American racism. For the Irish during this time, freedom was a concept intimately tied to mobility and one's herd. Irish pastoralists viewed the English idea of "scratching the Earth" for a living as being essentially bonded and therefore unfree. The English saw the Irish as being violent and savage with no real centralized authority or stability. The Irish were social "non-entities" since their way of life did not square with English concepts of freedom and personhood. Likewise, their so-called "brutish" existence could be interpreted under Protestant doctrine as lacking the favor of God. They were described as heathens and immoral, dangers to themselves and others, incapable of self control. None of which were qualities of civilized men. Dehumanizing them in this way allowed for their enslavement under the assumption that they would be "better off." English masters borrowed the plantation system from the Spanish which was designed to keep slaves dependent. The application of the term "savage" to all Irish imparts a semi-static nature to their being. Dehumanizing them through the application of a specific nature opens the door for strict biological hierarchy in keeping with the dominant natural philosophy of the time (and previous 1500 or so years), primarily "Great Chain of Being."
"Civilizing the Savage" became the ostensible goal for future imperialism. This shows that the concept of race was not yet seen as biologically hereditary as there was at least a sense that the civilizing process could succeed. This was not to last, though as was described in Spain, Jews and Muslims could transcend their ethnic "deficiencies" through conversion to Christianity. By the time of colonization in the new world, the concept of the "savage" was firmly entrenched in English thinking and could be applied to any group which lacked the basic properties of freedom as the English defined it (personhood through property and divine favor). As the Empire spread, it became easier to justify oppressive policies in the name of national superiority and the unifying factor of Protestantism. This was the beginning of institutionalized racism in the two most important arenas of English and, by extension, American life: National and religious identity.