Essays of William Graham Sumner - Vol. 1

By William Graham Sumner; Albert Galloway Keller et al. | Go to book overview

CONSEQUENCES OF INCREASED SOCIAL
POWER1

LET us ask what are some of the consequences of advancing social power. We ought, by taking up that question, to find out whether some of the social phenomena which interest us most are due to exuberant social power or are products of philosophy.

Social force is won by advance in the mechanic arts, or in science, or by the acquisition of more land. The history of inventions and discoveries, however, teaches us that they are never won arbitrarily, but always appear upon the lines of effort which lie directly in the path of human advance for the time being. Take the case of the two most important inventions which helped to break up the mediaeval order -- those of gunpowder and printing. The invention of gunpowder came at the end of a series of efforts and experiments which had been continued for centuries for the purpose of attaining some more effective means of carrying on war, the chief business of the time. The invention of printing was produced out of the effort to find cheaper means of multiplying religious books, so as to meet the religious sentiment which was the most powerful sentiment of the time.

The discovery of America opened immense tracts of new land to settlement and use by the crowded populations of Western Europe. This latter gain was for a long time not available; it was necessary that the mechanic arts should go through a long development and come up

____________________
1
The Independent, August 13, 1891.

-454-

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Essays of William Graham Sumner - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • How Sumner Impressed a Graduate Student Who Never Met Him xv
  • Autobiographical Sketch of William Graham Sumner 3
  • The Teacher's Unconscious Success 6
  • Purposes and Consequences 11
  • Discipline 20
  • Integrity in Education 36
  • The Scientific Attitude of Mind 43
  • Religion and the Mores 55
  • The Mores of the Present and the Future 73
  • The American Code 89
  • The Absurd Effort to Make the World Over 91
  • The Abolition of Poverty 107
  • Foreword to "Lynch-Law" 112
  • Witchcraft 114
  • War 136
  • Earth Hunger or the Philosophy of Land Grabbing 174
  • The Bequests of the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth 208
  • The Family and Social Change 236
  • Modern Marriage 255
  • Is Liberty a Lost Blessing? 285
  • Who is Free? is It the Savage? 290
  • Liberty and Responsibility 310
  • Rights 358
  • Some Natural Rights 363
  • Some Points in the New Social Creed 369
  • An Examination of a Noble Sentiment 374
  • The Banquet of Life 379
  • The Boon of Nature 384
  • Land Monopoly 390
  • A Group of Natural Monopolies 396
  • Another Chapter on Monopoly 400
  • The Family Monopoly 405
  • The Family and Property 410
  • Equality 421
  • The Demand for Men 424
  • The Significance of the Demand for Men 430
  • What the "Social Question" Is 435
  • What Emancipates 442
  • Power and Progress 448
  • Consequences of Increased Social Power 454
  • Who Win by Progress? 460
  • The Forgotten Man 466
  • A Parable 497
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