It was a time when social readjustment was necessary and new relationships had

It was a time when social readjustment was necessary

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presented the challenge of re-examining some of our fundamental notions. It was a time when social readjustment was necessary and new relationships had to be established. It was in 1865 that the American Social Science Association was formed in Boston along the lines of the British Social Science Association founded a quarter of a century before. Mr. Frank Sanborn, one of the founders of the American Social Science Association, attributes its origin to the necessity of
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studying these new questions raised by the Civil War.1 Whatever the causes, about this time a flood of graduate students was going from this country to the European universities, chiefly those in Germany, for study. Professor Small of the University of Chicago readily remembered fifteen important scholars of the United States who studied in the German universities in the seventies. THE CHARACTER OF EARLY SOCIOLOGY IN THE NORTH AMERICA The early sociologists in this country had been trained as scholars in other fields. Sumner was an economist. Small at first was trained as a theologian, then as a political scientist and historian. Giddings, trained as a journalist, for a number of years was very active in the American Economic Association. Ross was trained as a philologist and economist. Lester F. Ward was a pale botanist who spent most of his life in the service of the government at Washington. Small and Ross were influenced by their experience in Germany, and all of them were profoundly affected by the writings of Comte and Spencer. Those who became interested in sociology after Ward had written were influenced by his view of sociology. Small and The earliest American sociologist was Lester F. Ward. His Dynamic Sociology appeared in 1883. Unlike those of the other pioneers cited, Ward’s ideas were fairly well matured when he wrote his first book. It may almost be said that his later writings were merely elaborations of points which he developed in his Dynamic Sociology. To put the matter as briefly as possible, Ward was primarily interested in correcting what he thought were errors in Comte and Spencer. He devoted himself with untiring energy to supplementing Comte’s hierarchy of the sciences and to showing that Spencer’s correction thereof was wrong. The other great contribution of Ward was his emphasis upon the psychic factors in the development of culture or civilization. The logical scheme in which he presented his reflections bear the impress of his scientific career. It was incidental to his main contribution, and has not been followed by most other American sociologists. His emphasis upon the importance of the psychic elements in social evolution was a foil to Spencer’s materialism and was of the greatest possible significance. He also made important contributions in minor ways, such as suggesting that evolution has not been continuous and direct. Whatever may be said of his scheme of sociology the importance of this vigorous thinker to American sociology is very great.
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William Graham Sumner had been studying in Germany during the sixties. He was tutor at Yale from 1866 to 1869. Then for three years he was assistant director of an Episcopal
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