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On Liberty, Society, and Politics

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This is the finest single-volume edition of Sumner's works ever to appear.—
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This is the finest single-volume edition of Sumner's works ever to appear.—Ronald Lora, University of Toledo

William Graham Sumner is the "forgotten man" of American intellectual history and of the history of liberty. A thinker of extraordinary power, and a person who developed and integrated and thrilling view of the place of liberty in the development of society, he has too often dismissed or only superficially understood. It's great that his interpretations are now attracting closer scrutiny and appreciation.

He is remembered chiefly as one of the founding fathers of sociology. He was also a strong supporter of classical liberalism during a time when liberalism was being transformed into a belief in statism.

Sumner's analysis of the relation between the individual and society is deeper and more sophisticated than is commonly thought. For observers of the contemporary social scene, they raise issues concerning the relation of liberty to property and both to government that remain as vital as they were a century ago - or even more so!


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Foreword ix
Editor’s Note xxxvii
Bibliographical Essay xxxix
I / Preacher
1. Individualism [1871]
2. Tradition and Progress [1872]
3. Solidarity of the Human Race [1873]
II / Educational Reformer
4. The “Ways and Means” for Our Colleges [1870]
5. What Our Boys Are Reading [1878]
6. Our Colleges before the Country [1884]
7. Discipline [1880 or 1889]
III / Polemicist
8. Republican Government [1877]
9. Presidential Elections and Civil-Service Reform [1881]
10. The Argument against Protective Taxes [1881]
11. The Philosophy of Strikes [1883]
12. The Family Monopoly [1888]
13. Democracy and Plutocracy [1888–1889]
14. The Concentration of Wealth: Its Economic Justification [1902]
IV / Social Theorist
15. Socialism [1880s]
16. Sociology [1881]
17. The Forgotten Man [1883]
18. The Survival of the Fittest [1884]
19. Laissez-Faire [1886]
20. The State as an “Ethical Person” [1887]
21. Liberty [1887–1889]
22. The Absurd Effort to Make the World Over [1894]
V / Anti-Imperialist
23. The Fallacy of Territorial Expansion [1896]
24. The Conquest of the United States by Spain [1898]
25. War [1903]
VI / Sociologist
26. Purposes and Consequences [ca. 1900–1906]
27. The Scientific Attitude of Mind [1905]
28. Mores and Statistics [ca. 1900–1906]
29. Science and Mores [ca. 1900–1906]
30. On Mores and Progress [ca. 1900–1906]
31. Folkways [1906]
VII / Prophet
32. The Bequests of the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth [1901]
33. The Mores of the Present and the Future [1909]
ISBN 9780865971011
Publisher Liberty Fund
Publication Date 1992
Binding PB
Page Length 466
Dimensions 6" x 9"