Extract from Britannica and other sources: WARD, LESTER FRANK: b. June 18, 1841, Joliet, Ill., U.S. - d. April 18, 1913, Washington, D.C.
Sociologist who was instrumental in establishing sociology as an academic discipline in the United States. An optimist who believed that the social sciences had already given mankind the information basic to happiness, he advocated a planned, or "telic," society ("sociocracy") in which education, nationally organized, would be the dynamic factor. Social scientists, assembled into a legislative advisory academy in Washington, D.C., would occupy in his system much the same role as did the sociologist-priests in the utopian plan of the French sociologist Auguste Comte.
After fighting for the Union in the American Civil War, he obtained degrees in botany and law. For most of his life he worked for the federal government, mainly in the fields of geology, paleontology, botany, and paleobotany; he made some significant contributions to botanical theory. In 1906 ... he was appointed professor of sociology at Brown University, Providence, R.I., and held that position until his death. In 1905 he became the editor of the American Journal of Sociology, and in 1907 he served as the first President of the American Sociological Society (now the American Sociological Association). Ward followed Comte in conceiving of sociology as the fundamental social science, the primary responsibility of which is to teach methods of achieving a better society. Ward's emphasis on social function and planning, rather than social structure, had considerable effect on Thorstein Veblen and the institutional economists.
Ward's most important contribution to sociology was his insistence that social laws, once identified, can be harnessed and controlled. He also supported the idea of equality of women as well as the equality of all classes and races in society and believed in universal education as a means of achieving this equality.
| LESTER F. WARD'S SOCIOLOGICAL SYSTEM: PRIMARY SOURCES
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The collection “Glimpses of the Cosmos” forms an amazing symposia of knowledge: It contains thousands of letters, essays, lectures, and articles which spread over half a century on topics as these: Kant's Antinomies in the Light of Modern Science; Eugenics, Euthenics, and Eudemics; The Use and Abuse of Wealth; Spencer's Sociology; The Immortality that Science Teaches; Evolution of Chemical Elements; The Nature of Religion; What Shall the Public Schools Teach?; The Course of Biological Evolution; The Natural Storage of Energy; Ethical Aspects of Social Science; Genius and Woman's Intuition.
LESTER F. WARD: SELECTED SECONDARY RESOURCES.
For further information see the indexes of the few books mentioned before.
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