Lewis Henry Morgan

Lewis Henry Morgan, 1818–81, American anthropologist, b. Aurora, N.Y., grad. Union College, Schenectady, 1840. Practicing as a lawyer, he became interested in the Native Americans of his locality, and in 1847 he was made an adopted member of the Seneca tribe. His League of the Ho-de-no-sau-nee or Iroquois (1851, repr. 1954) is unexcelled among early descriptive reports. Morgan was interested in social organization, and developed a theory correlating kinship terminologies with forms of marriage and rules of descent, holding that matriarchal patterns had originally prevailed over all other kinship patterns. His Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family (1870) presents this principle. Ancient Society (1877, repr. 1959), which classified the cultures of the world into progressive stages—savagery, barbarism, and civilization—attracted the attention of Marx and Engels, who interpreted its evolutionary doctrine as support for their materialistic theory of history. Morgan's work was accused of being overly speculative, and provoked a reaction against theories of cultural evolution within American anthropology that lasted well into 20th cent. Ethnographic and archaeological research has invalidated Morgan's specific evolutionary models, but his tireless research and his wide-ranging theoretical interests are credited with serving to advance the new field of anthropology. Morgan's Indian Journals were edited by Leslie A. White and published in 1959.

See biographies by B. J. Stern (1931, repr. 1967) and C. Resek (1960); study by T. R. Trautman (1987).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Lewis Henry Morgan: Selected full-text books and articles

Lewis Henry Morgan and the Invention of Kinship By Thomas R. Trautmann University of Nebraska Press, 2008
Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family By Lewis Henry Morgan University of Nebraska Press, 1997
The American Mind: Selections from the Literature of the United States By Harry R. Warfel; Ralph H. Gabriel; Stanley T. Williams American Book, vol.2, 1937
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Origin of Kinship in Oceania: Lewis Henry Morgan and Lorimer Fison By Gardner, Helen Oceania, Vol. 78, No. 2, July 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
'By the Facts We Add to Our Store': Lorimer Fison, Lewis Henry Morgan and the Spread of Kinship Studies in Australia By Gardner, Helen Oceania, Vol. 79, No. 3, November 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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