presented the challenge of re-examining some of our fundamental notions. It was a time whensocial readjustment was necessary and new relationships had to be established. It was in 1865that the American Social Science Association was formed in Boston along the lines of the BritishSocial Science Association founded a quarter of a century before. Mr. Frank Sanborn, one of thefounders of the American Social Science Association, attributes its origin to the necessity of
studying these new questions raised by the Civil War.1 Whatever the causes, about this time aflood of graduate students was going from this country to the European universities, chieflythose in Germany, for study. Professor Small of the University of Chicago readily rememberedfifteen important scholars of the United States who studied in the German universities in theseventies.THE CHARACTER OF EARLY SOCIOLOGY IN THE NORTH AMERICAThe early sociologists in this country had been trained as scholars in other fields. Sumner was aneconomist. 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 AmericanEconomic Association. Ross was trained as a philologist and economist. Lester F. Ward was a pale botanist whospent most of his life in the service of the government at Washington. Small and Rosswere influenced by their experience in Germany, and all of them were profoundlyaffected by the writings of Comte and Spencer. Those who became interested insociology after Ward had written were influenced by his view of sociology. Small and The earliest American sociologist was Lester F. Ward. His Dynamic Sociology appearedin 1883. Unlike those of the other pioneers cited, Ward’s ideas were fairly well maturedwhen he wrote his first book. It may almost be said that his later writings were merelyelaborations of points which he developed in his Dynamic Sociology. To put the matter asbriefly as possible, Ward was primarily interested in correcting what he thought wereerrors in Comte and Spencer. He devoted himself with untiring energy to supplementingComte’s hierarchy of the sciences and to showing that Spencer’s correction thereof waswrong. The other great contribution of Ward was his emphasis upon the psychic factors in thedevelopment of culture or civilization. The logical scheme in which he presented hisreflections bear the impress of his scientific career. It was incidental to his maincontribution, and has not been followed by most other American sociologists. Hisemphasis upon the importance of the psychic elements in social evolution was a foil toSpencer’s materialism and was of the greatest possible significance. He also madeimportant contributions in minor ways, such as suggesting that evolution has not beencontinuous and direct. Whatever may be said of his scheme of sociology the importanceof this vigorous thinker to American sociology is very great.
William Graham Sumner had been studying in Germany during the sixties. He was tutorat Yale from 1866 to 1869. Then for three years he was assistant director of an Episcopal
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