History 47

American Sociology and the Problem of Order:

"The Socialization of Authority"

revised 2/5/98

*development of sociology in U.S. (see handout diagram)
(1) sociology traditionally viewed in terms of end of laissez faire, new concern with poverty etc..
(2) to day look at in light of the problem of order art the turn of the century. especially with reference to the arguments of Diggins, "Socialization of Authority" (see syllabus), and of William Graebner,
The Engineering of Consent [brief summary of thesis]. Also consider other policy manifestations of pragmatic revolt: education, eugenics (see Degler, ch. 2) .
(3) Since major concern was
society also see more explicit concern with social order, and impact of the events of the 1890s in creating more "conservative concern with "order". Viewed politically go from Sumner (internalized "mores") to Ward (radical freedom but gradually conservatized); to Small and Giddings (left progressive and right progressive academic liberalism), and Ross (social control) and Cooley (socialization of authority).

I. Lester Frank Ward: the "American Aristotle"

*the following is derived from Bannister, Sociology and Scientism, ch. 1.

 A.Ward is also a case of how ambition directed and channeled by professionalism. Key problem for ward was freedom and order, that is he began as the "Jacksonian" American who desired freedom passionately but also feared its consequences. Too different form during his youth

1. society as problematic. Like James wanted to validate feeling, but feeling was much more anarchic. (cf. Ross).Rootlessness:When Ward's father died in 1857, Lester apparently broke with his mother, and rarely mentioned her again. When he later petitioned for a job in Washington, he described himself as "an orphan," despite the fact that she was still living. "Pride of ancestry," he observed on one occasion, "is a mark of degeneracy." With no past worth mentioning, he sought a future in "science," where family background, a classical education, and the right schools were only marginally important [Ward, Glimpses, 1:lxvi. On Ward's career see Ward, "Personal Remarks," ibid., pp. lviii-lxxxix; "Autobiography," Ms. 121 pp. , LFW; Chugerman, Ward; and Scott, Ward]

2. Common school experience.

The teaching was first. During 1860-61 Ward became a school master to finance his own education at nearby Susquehanna Institute in Towanda. There he had his first taste of the Common School creed, now three decades old and showing signs of age. In theory, common school reform combined high idealism, scientific pedagogy, and state controls: teacher training and state accreditation were means to the ideal of universal education. In practice, it introduced its own stultifying rituals. [Church, Education, p. 57; Fishlow, "The American Common School Revival," pp. 40-67; Katz, Irony].

Ward knew both the ideal and the reality. "What great end can a small school of common pupils in an obscure country place bring about?," he once asked his students. The answer was not status or fame, but to be a part of the "grand theme" of universal education, and ultimately to achieve a oneness with all humanity. [ Ward, "Our Aim," [academic essay #30], ms., LFW. ] But things looked different as he sat for his accreditation examination, or tried to introduce the latest innovations into the classroom. The "people" and the reformers were hopelessly at odds, he told his classmates in one of several sardonic essays on the subject in the college newspaper. In the popular view, the Common School "literati," armed with their "catalogue of scientific innovations," were figures of mirth. The "ideal" teacher was one who stuck to the textbook, and wasted no time giving explanations or introducing collateral material. If students preferred lengthier explanations, so much the worse for them. "Learn to think. Pschaw." The "successful" teacher must have strong rods, a powerful physical frame, and a capacity for anger "to overcome their chickenhearted sympathies during the process of flagellation." [ Ward, "The Popular Idea," [essay #34], ms., LFW, and Young Ward's Diary, ed. Stern, pp. 82-3. See also "Teacher's Examination," [essay #43], ms., LFW. ] 

Although Ward intended this irony as a defense of "scientific innovations," his tone suggested that he was well aware that "science" and popular opinion could well be at odds. Universal education remained the bedrock of his thought; but the Common School creed clearly needed a sounder basis in theory. This basis his sociology would eventually provide.

3. Sex. 

Ward's courtship of Lizzie Vought the daughter of a local shoemaker, taught lessons less cerebral but no less important. This time the issue was not democracy and science, but feeling and reason. The feeling knew no bounds. Chronicling their romance in his diary, Ward strained for words to express his joy. "O bliss! O love! O passion pure, sweet and profound." But emotion was not enough. Feeling was feminine: like woman, it needed control. The quickening of "mental machinery," he wrote in one diary entry, raised Victor Hugo's Marius "from an effeminate and listless youth" to an "enthusiast for principle." "The manly authority of science," he explained in a different context, was the antidote to the "effeminate incredulity" that accepts ideas merely on authority. [ Ward, Young Ward's Diary, p. 10; "Kant's Antinomies," Glimpses, 3: 1-17. ]

Passion was also risky at a time when birth control was still in the handicraft stage. Consumed by his love, Ward turned for guidance to Hollick's Physiology, a birth-control manual of the day. After a night together produced new intimacy ("all that we did, I shall not tell here, but it was all very sweet and loving and nothing infamous," he wrote), he decided to show Lizzie the Hollick. "How much of it she read I do not know, but she liked it," he confessed. "After that we became more familiar." So also, throughout his life, he preached that intellect and passion together increase happiness.

"She begged me to bring it on our walk, to which I finally agreed. While we were sitting there she asked me to read her a little from the book. I tried, but failed entirely. I could not either give it nor read it to her. I wished to show it to her, and accordingly I went into the woods to cut canes for us, and left the book with her. How much of it she read I do not know, but she liked it. After that we became more familiar. She told me that she was ignorant like myself, and she wished to have the book but had not the place to hide it. We returned, and at four o'clock I left he with a sweet loving kiss. I urged her to study more and she promised to do so."[Ward, Young Ward's Diary, p. 45].
B. Intellectual Traditions. Worked from Common Sense philosophy to reconciliation of Comte and Spencer.

1. Sir Wm. Hamilton a starting point. The Common Sense realism of Sir William Hamilton structured these half-formed conceptions. [ For Ward on Hamilton see DS, 1: 104; 2: 93. ] From Hamilton's Lectures on Metaphysics Ward learned that the human mind consisted of intellect, will, and the emotions. He especially liked Hamilton's concept of will, and his image of the human mind as active and striving. From Hamilton he later borrowed the term "conation" (from the Latin conare, to endeavor) to describe "the efforts which organisms put forth in seeking the satisfaction of their desires." "By this [faculty] he is enabled to comprehend the truth of Nature and by this he is compelled to admire the sublime, investigate the unknown and wonder at the marvelous," he wrote in one college essay. [ Ward, "The Human Race," [essay #17]; see also "The Mind," [essay #26], mss. LFW. ]

 *this set him against any idea of mind as simply a mechanical calculator, with only passive role (one tenet of positivism)

2. Comte: also could not see "laws" as only "constant conjunction" or "statistical" regularities.

a. own experience with statistics

b.thus unlike Comte could not reject "causes"

Note: did however take from Comte the idea of "science of society" [n.b. Comte coined term "sociology"; and of sociocrats., leaving unanswered where they would get final values (i.e. did not accept Religion of Humanity).


 C. Ward and transition to university culture.

1. various government positions 

2. like Cambridge Washington had a vital pre-university academic culture: Biological Society of Washington, 

a. sociocracy a perfect rationale for gov't bureaucracy 

b. but this culture also allowed/encouraged broader intellectual interests. Ward in Spencer tradition of "synthetic philosophy." 

D. Works and intellectual development. Dynamic Sociology and Psychic Factors.

II. Sumner, Ross, Cooley, and the Problem of Authority.
*although usual to do Sumner vs. Ward, actually makes more sense with other two because
Folkways appeared 1906, right between Social Control (1901) and Social Organization (1909)
**to understand all three, look at problem of authority in America (John P. Diggins, "Socialization
***4 position which range from objective to subjective.

1. Sumner mores

2. Ross, "social control"

3. Small "interests"

4. Cooley "looking glass self"

A. Sumner. (summary of Bannister, Introduction to Liberty Fund edn. of Sumner's works.)

B. Ross

C. Cooley

III. Antiformalism in Practice

A. Dewey and "progressive education"

B. Holmes and "sociological jurisprudence"

C. William Graebner, The Engineering of Consent : frrom the YMCA to Student Council

D. Eugenics and the Logic of Social Control (see Degler, Ch. 2)

Written by Robert Bannister, 1/4/98. May be reproduced in whole or part for educational purposes, but not copied or distributed for profit.