Essays of William Graham Sumner - Vol. 1

Essays of William Graham Sumner - Vol. 1

Essays of William Graham Sumner - Vol. 1

Essays of William Graham Sumner - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The twenty-four years that have elapsed since Sumner's death have justified the conviction long held by his admirers that his conclusions would remain timely for decades to come. I have in mind not merely the "rediscovery," after fifty years, of the Forgotten Man -- who was, indeed, much misapprehended at his resurrection until identified by recourse to what might be called his birth-certificate. I am thinking, rather, of the numbers of letters that have come my way through the years, expressive of the perennial timeliness of Sumner's utterances; of the number of verbal comments to the same intent that I have heard; and of the series of references to Sumner and to his views which I have encountered in editorials, articles, and books -- even, latterly, in fiction. I am thinking of how Folkways reached a sales-figure in its twenty-fifth year that was almost four times the average of its first five years. Sumner's "soul goes marching on"; it is my personal conviction that he is destined to become a greater prophet in the future, when we shall have been disciplined out of our recent and present illusions and follies, than he has been in the past. Harboring such sentiments, I regard the preservation of his most pregnant utterances in readily available form as the obligation of a lover of truth and, indeed, as the duty of a patriot. That it is likewise a task of piety goes without the saying.

As regards the present enterprise, the assembling of Sumner's most important pieces into a definitive edition . . .

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