History of Human Society
279 Pages
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History of Human Society

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of History of Human Society, by Frank W. Blackmar
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: History of Human Society
Author: Frank W. Blackmar
Release Date: December 6, 2009 [EBook #30610]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HISTORY OF HUMAN SOCIETY ***
Produced by Al Haines
[Transcriber's note: Extensive research found no evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]
HISTORY OF HUMAN SOCIETY
BY
FRANK W. BLACKMAR
PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
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CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS NEW YORK —— CHICAGO —— BOSTON ATLANTA —— SAN FRANCISCO
Copyright, 1926, by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Printed in the United States of America
PREFACE
This book tells what we know of man, how he first lived, how he worked with other men, what kinds of houses he built, what tools he made, and how he formed a government under which to live. So we learn of the activities of men in the past and what they have passed on to us. In this way we may become acquainted with the different stages in the process which we call civilization.
The present trend of specialization in study and research has brought about widely differentiated courses of study in schools and a large number of books devoted to special subjects. Each course of study and each book must necessarily represent but a fragment of the subject. This method of intensified study is to be commended; indeed, it is essential to the development of scientific truth. Those persons who can read only a limited number of books and those students who can take only a limited number of courses of study need books which present a connected survey of the movement of social progress as a whole, and which blaze a trail through the accumulation of learning, and give an adequate perspective of human achievement.
It is hoped, then, that this book will form the basis of a course of reading or study that will give the picture in small compass of this most fascinating subject. If it serves its purpose well, it will be the introduction to more special study in particular fields or periods.
That the story of this book may be always related more closely with the knowledge and experience of the individual reader, questions and problems have been added at the conclusion of each chapter, which may be used as subjects for discussion or topics for themes. For those who wish to pursue some particular phase of the subject a brief list of books has been selected which may profitably be read more intensively.
F. W. B.
CHAPTER
CONTENTS
PART I
CIVILIZATION AND PROGRESS
I.WHAT IS CIVILIZATION?
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The human trail. Civilization may be defined. The material evidences of civilization are all around us. Primitive man faced an unknown world. Civilization is expressed in a variety of ways. Modern civilization includes some fundamentals. Progress an essential characteristic of civilization. Diversity is necessary to progress. What is the goal of civilized man? Possibilities of civilization. Civilization can be estimated.
II.THE ESSENTIALS OF PROGRESS
How mankind goes forward on the trail. Change is not necessarily progress. Progress expresses itself in a variety of ideals and aims. Progress of the part and progress of the whole. Social progress involves individual development. Progress is enhanced by the interaction of groups and races. The study of uncultured races of to-day. The study of prehistoric types. Progress is indicated by early cultures. Industrial and social life of primitive man. Cultures indicate the mental development of the race. Men of genius cause mutations which permit progress. The data of progress.
III.METHODS OF RECOUNTING HUMAN PROGRESS
Difficulty of measuring progress. Progress may be measured by the implements used. The development of art. Progress is estimated by economic stages. Progress is through the food-supply. Progress estimated by the different forms of social order. Development of family life. The growth of political life. Religion important in civilization. Progress through moral ev o lu tio n . Intellectual development of man. Change from savagery to barbarism. Civilization includes all kinds of human progress. Table showing methods of recounting human progress.
PART II
FIRST STEPS OF PROGRESS
IV.PREHISTORIC MAN
The origin of man has not yet been determined. Methods of recounting prehistoric time: (1) geologic method, (2) paleontology, (3) anatomy, (4) cultures. Prehistoric types of the human race. The unity of the human race. The primitive home of man may be determined in a general way. The antiquity of man is shown in racial differentiation. The evidences of man's ancient life in different localities: (1) caves, (2) shell mounds, (3) river and glacial drifts, (4) burial-mounds, (5) battle-fields and village sites, (6) lake-dwellings. Knowledge
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of man's antiquity influences reflective thinking.
V.THE ECONOMIC FACTORS OF PROGRESS
The efforts of man to satisfy physical needs. The attempt to satisfy hunger and protect from cold. The methods of procuring food in primitive times. The variety of food was constantly increased. The food-supply was increased by inventions. The discovery and use of fire. Cooking added to the economy of the food-supply. The domestication of animals. The beginnings of agriculture were very meagre. The manufacture of clothing. Primitive shelters and houses. Discovery and use of metals. Transportation as a means of economic development. Trade, or exchange of goods. The struggle for existence develops the individual and the race.
VI.PRIMITIVE SOCIAL LIFE
The character of primitive social life. The family is the most persistent of social origins. Kinship is a strong factor in social organization. The earliest form of social order. The reign of custom. The Greek and Roman family was strongly organized. In primitive society religion occupied a prominent place. Spirit worship. Moral conditions. Warfare and social progress. Mutual aid developed slowly.
PART III
SEATS OF EARLY CIVILIZATION
VII.LANGUAGE AND ART AS A MEANS OF CULTURE AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The origin of language has been a subject of controversy. Language is an important social function. Written language followed speech in order of development. Phonetic writing was a step in advance of the ideograph. The use of manuscripts and books made permanent records. Language is an instrument of culture. Art as a language of aesthetic ideas. Music is a form of language. The dance as a means of dramatic expression. The fine arts follow the development of language. The love of the beautiful slowly develops.
VIII.THE INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL NATURE ON HUMAN PROGRESS
Man is a part of universal nature. Favorable location is necessary for permanent civilization. The nature of the soil an essential condition of progress. The use of land the foundation of social order. Climate has much to do with the possibilities of progress. The general aspects of nature determine the type of civilization. Physical nature influences social order.
IX.CIVILIZATION OF THE ORIENT
The first nations with historical records in Asia and Africa. Civilization in Mesopotamia. Influences coming from the Far East. Egypt becomes a centre of civilization. The coming of the Semites. The Phoenicians became the great navigators. A comparison of the Egyptian and Babylonian empires. The Hebrews made a permanent contribution to world civilization. The civilization of India and China. The coming of the Aryans.
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X.THE ORIENTAL TYPE OF CIVILIZATION
The governments of the early Oriental civilizations. War existed for conquest and plunder. Religious belief was an important factor in despotic government. Social organization was incomplete. Economic influences. Records, writing, and paper. The beginnings of science were strong in Egypt, weak in Babylon. The contribution to civilization.
XI.BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION IN AMERICA
America was peopled from the Old World. The Incas of Peru. Aztec civilization in Mexico. The earliest centres of civilization in Mexico. The Pueblo Indians of the Southwest. The Mound-Builders of the Mississippi Valley. Other types of Indian life. Why did the civilization of America fail?
PART IV
WESTERN CIVILIZATION
XII.THE OLD GREEK LIFE
The old Greek life was the starting-point of Western civilization. The Aegean culture preceded the coming of the Greeks. The Greeks were of Aryan stock. The coming of the Greeks. Character of the primitive Greeks. Influence of old Greek life.
XIII.GREEK PHILOSOPHY
The transition from theology to inquiry. Explanation of the universe by observation and inquiry. The Ionian philosophy turned the mind toward nature. The weakness of Ionian philosophy. The Eleatic philosophers. The Sophists. Socrates the first moral philosopher (b. 469 B. C.). Platonic philosophy develops the ideal. Aristotle the master mind of the Greeks. Other schools. Results obtained in Greek philosophy.
XIV.THE GREEK SOCIAL POLITY
The struggle for Greek equality and liberty. The Greek government an expanded family. Athenian government a type of Grecian democracy. Constitution of Solon seeks a remedy. Cleisthenes continues the reforms of Solon. Athenian democracy failed in obtaining its best and highest development. The Spartan state differs from all others. Greek colonization spreads knowledge. The conquests of Alexander. Contributions of Greece to civilization.
XV.ROMAN CIVILIZATION
The Romans differed in nature from the Greeks. The social structure of early Rome and that of early Greece. Civil organization of Rome. The struggle for liberty. The development of government. The development of law is the most remarkable phase of the Roman civilization. Influence of the Greek life on Rome. Latin literature and language. Development of Roman art. Decline of the Roman Empire. Summary of Roman civilization.
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XVI.THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
Important factors in the foundation of Western civilization. The social contacts of the Christian religion. Social conditions at the beginning of the Christian era. The contact of Christianity with social life. Christianity influenced the legislation of the times. Christians come into conflict with civil authority. The wealth of the church accumulates. Development of the hierarchy. Attempt to dominate the temporal powers. Dogmatism. The church becomes the conservator of knowledge. Service of Christianity.
XVII.TEUTONIC INFLUENCE ON CIVILIZATION
The coming of the barbarians. Importance of Teutonic influence. Teutonic liberty. Tribal life. Classes of society. The home and the home life. Political assemblies. General social customs. The economic life. Contributions to law.
XVIII.FEUDAL SOCIETY
Feudalism a transition of social order. There are two elementary sources of feudalism. The feudal system in its developed state based on land-holding. Other elements of feudalism. The rights of sovereignty. The classification of feudal society. Progress of feudalism. State of society under feudalism. Lack of central authority in feudal society. Individual development in the dominant group.
XIX.ARABIAN CONQUEST AND CULTURE
The rise and expansion of the Arabian Empire. The religious zeal of the Arab-Moors. The foundations of science and art. The beginnings of chemistry and medicine. Metaphysics and exact science. Geography and history. Discoveries, inventions, and achievements. Language and literature. Art and architecture. The government of the Arab-Moors was peculiarly centralized. Arabian civilization soon reached its limits.
XX.THE CRUSADES STIR THE EUROPEAN MIND
What brought about the crusades. Specific causes of the crusades. Unification of ideals and the breaking of feudalism. The development of monarchy. The crusades quickened intellectual development. The commercial effects of the crusades. General influence of the crusades on civilization.
XXI.ATTEMPTS AT POPULAR GOVERNMENT
The cost of popular government. The feudal lord and the towns. The rise of free cities. The struggle for independence. The affranchisement of cities developed municipal organization. The Italian cities. Government of Venice. Government of Florence. The Lombard League. The rise of popular assemblies in France. Rural communes arose in France. The municipalities of France. The States-General was the first central organization. Failure of attempts at popular government in Spain. Democracy in the Swiss cantons. The ascendancy of monarchy. Beginning of constitutional liberty in England.
XXII.THE INTELLECTUAL AWAKENING OF EUROPE
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Social evolution is dependent upon variation. The revival of progress throughout Europe. The revival of learning a central idea of progress. Influence of Charlemagne. The attitude of the church was retrogressive. Scholastic philosophy marks a step in progress. Cathedral and monastic schools. The rise of universities. Failure to grasp scientific methods. Inventions and discoveries. The extension of commerce hastened progress.
XXIII.HUMANISM AND THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING
The discovery of manuscripts. Who were the humanists? Relation of humanism to language and literature. Art and architecture. The effect of humanism on social manners. Relation of humanism to science and philosophy. The study of the classics became fundamental in education. General influence of humanism.
XXIV.THE REFORMATION
The character of the Reformation. Signs of the rising storm. Attempts at reform within the church. Immediate causes of the Reformation. Luther was the hero of the Reformation in Germany. Zwingli was the hero of the Reformation in Switzerland. Calvin establishes the Genevan system. The Reformation in England differed from the German. Many phases of reformation in other countries. Results of the Reformation were far-reaching.
XXV.CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Progress of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The struggle of monarchy with democracy. Struggle for constitutional liberty in England. The place of France in modern civilization. The divine right of kings. The power of the nobility. The misery of the people. The church. Influence of the philosophers. The failure of government. France on the eve of the revolution. The revolution. Results of the revolution.
PART V
MODERN PROGRESS
XXVI.PROGRESS OF POLITICAL LIBERTY
Political liberty in the eighteenth century. The progress of popular government found outside of great nations. Reform measures in England. The final triumph of the French republic. Democracy in America. Modern political reforms. Republicanism in other countries. Influence of democracy on monarchy.
XXVII.INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS
Industries radiate from the land as a centre. The early medieval methods of industry. The beginnings of trade. Expansion of trade and transportation. Invention and discoveries. The change from handcraft to power manufacture. The industrial revolution. Modern industrial development. Scientific agriculture. The building of the city. Industry and civilization.
XXVIII.SOCIAL EVOLUTION
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The evolutionary processes of society. The social individual. The ethnic form of society. The territorial group. The national group founded on race expansion. The functions of new groups. Great society and the social order. Great society protects voluntary organizations. The widening influence of the church. Growth of religious toleration. Altruism and democracy. Modern society a machine of great complexity. Interrelation of different parts of society. The progress of the race based on social opportunities. The central idea of modern civilization.
XXIX.THE EVOLUTION OF SCIENCE
Science is an attitude of mind toward life. Scientific methods. Measurement in scientific research. Science develops from centres. Science and democracy. The study of the biological and physical sciences. The evolutionary theory. Science and war. Scientific progress is cumulative. The trend of scientific investigation. Research foundations.
XXX.UNIVERSAL EDUCATION AND DEMOCRACY
Universal public education is a modern institution. The mediaeval university permitted some freedom of choice. The English and German universities. Early education in the United States. The common, or public, schools. Knowledge, intelligence, and training necessary in a democracy. Education has been universalized. Research an educational process. The diffusion of knowledge necessary in a democracy. Educational progress. Importance of state education. The printing-press and its products. Public opinion.
XXXI.WORLD ECONOMICS AND POLITICS
Commerce and communication. Exchange of ideas modifies political organization. Spread of political ideas. The World War breaks down the barriers of thought. Attempt to form a league for permanent peace. International agreement and progress. The mutual aid of nations. Reorganization of international law. The outlook for a world state.
XXXII.THE TREND OF CIVILIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES
The economic outlook. Economics of labor. Public and corporate industries. The political outlook. Equalization of opportunity. The influence of scientific thought on progress. The relation of material comfort to spiritual progress. The balance of social forces. Restlessness vs. happiness. Summary of progress.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
PART I
CIVILIZATION AND PROGRESS
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HISTORY OF HUMAN SOCIETY
CHAPTER I
WHAT IS CIVILIZATION?
The Human Trail.—The trail of human life beginning in the mists of the past, winding through the ages and stretching away toward an unknown future, is a subject of perennial interest and worthy of profound thought. No other great subject so invites the attention of the mind of man. It is a very long trail, rough and unblazed, wandering over the continents of the earth. Those who have travelled it came in contact with the mysteries of an unknown world. They faced the terrors of the shifting forms of the earth, of volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, storms, and ice fields. They witnessed the extinction of forests and animal groups, and the changing forms of lakes, rivers, and mountains, and, indeed, the boundaries of oceans.
It is the trail of human events and human endeavor on which man developed his physical powers, enlarged his brain capacity, developed and enriched his mind, and became efficient through art and industry. Through inventions and discovery he turned the forces of nature to his use, making them serve his will. In association with his fellows, man learned that mutual aid and co-operation were necessary to the survival of the race. To learn this caused him more trouble than all the terrors and mysteries of the natural world around him. Connected with the trail is a long chain of causes and effects, trial and error, success and failure, out of which has come the advancement of the race. The accumulated results of life on the trail are calledcivilization.
Civilization May Be Defined.—To know what civilization is by study and observation is better than to rely upon a formal definition. For, indeed, the word is used in so many different ways that it admits of a loose interpretation. For instance, it may be used in a narrow sense to indicate the character and quality of the civil relations. Those tribes or nations having a well-developed social order, with government, laws, and other fixed social customs, are said to be civilized, while those peoples without these characters are assumed to be uncivilized. It may also be considered in a somewhat different sense, when the arts, industries, sciences, and habits of life are stimulated —civilization being determined by the degree in which these are developed. Whichever view is accepted, it involves a contrast of present ideals with past ideals, of an undeveloped with a developed state of human progress.
But whatever notion we have of civilization, it is difficult to draw a fixed line between civilized and uncivilized peoples. Mr. Lewis H. Morgan, in hisAncient Society, asserts that civilization began with the phonetic alphabet, and that all human activity prior to this could be classified as savagery or barbarism. But there is a broader conception of civilization which recognizes all phases of human achievement, from the making of a stone axe to the construction of the airplane; from the rude hut to the magnificent palace; from crude moral and religious conditions to the more refined conditions of human association. If we consider that civilization involves the whole process of human achievement, it must admit of a great variety of qualities and degrees of development, hence it appears to be a relative term applied to the variation of human life. Thus, the Japanese are highly civilized along special lines of hand work, hand industry, and hand art, as well as being superior in some phases of family relationships. So we might say of the Chinese, the East Indians, and the American Indians, that they
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each have well-established customs, habits of thought, and standards of life, differing from other nations, expressing different types of civilization.
When a member of a primitive tribe invented the bow-and-arrow, or began to chip a flint nodule in order to make a stone axe, civilization began. As soon as people began to co-operate with one another in obtaining food, building houses, or for protection against wild animals and wild men, that is, when they began to treat each other civilly, they were becoming civilized. We may say then in reality that civilization has been a continuous process from the first beginning of man's conquest of himself and nature to the modern complexities of social life with its multitude of products of industry and cultural arts.
It is very common for one group or race to assume to be highly civilized and call the others barbarians or savages. Thus the Hebrews assumed superiority when they called other people Gentiles, and the Greeks when they called others barbarians. Indeed, it is only within recent years that we are beginning to recognize that the civilizations of China, Japan, and India have qualities worth studying and that they may have something worth while in life that the Western civilization has not. Also there has been a tendency to confuse the terms Christian and heathen with civilized and uncivilized. This idea arose in England, where, in the early history of Christianity, the people of the towns were more cultured than the people of the country.
It happened, too, that the townspeople received Christianity before the people of the country, hence heathens were the people who dwelt out on the heath, away from town. This local idea became a world idea when all non-Christian peoples were called uncivilized. It is a fatal error for an individual, neighborhood, tribe, or nation to assume superiority to the extent that it fails to recognize good qualities in others. One should not look with disdain upon a tribe of American Indians, calling them uncivilized because their material life is simple, when in reality in point of honor, faithfulness, and courage they excel a large proportion of the races assuming a higher civilization.
The Material Evidences of Civilization Are All Around Us.—Behold this beautiful valley of the West, with its broad, fertile fields, yielding rich harvests of corn and wheat, and brightened by varied forms of fruit and flower. Farmhouses and schoolhouses dot the landscape, while towns and cities, with their marts of trade and busy industries, rise at intervals. Here are churches, colleges, and libraries, indicative of the education of the community; courthouses, prisons, and jails, which speak of government, law, order, and protection. Here are homes for the aged and weak, hospitals and schools for the defective, almshouses for the indigent, and reformatories for the wayward. Railroads bind together all parts of the nation, making exchange possible, and bringing to our doors the products of every clime. The telephone and the radio unite distant people with common knowledge, thought, and sentiment. Factories and mills line the streams or cluster in village and city, marking the busy industrial life. These and more mark the visible products of civilization.
But civilization is something more than form, it is spirit; and its evidence may be more clearly discerned in the co-operation of men in political organization and industrial life, by their united action in religious worship and charitable service, in social order and educational advancement. Observe, too, the happy homes, with all of their sweet and hallowed influences, and the social mingling of the people searching for pleasure or profit in their peaceful, harmonious association. Witness the evidences of accumulated knowledge in newspapers, periodicals, and books, and the culture of painting, poetry, and music. Behold, too, the achievements of the mind in the invention and discovery of the age; steam and electrical appliances that cause the whirl of bright machinery, that turn night into day, and make thought travel swift as the wings of the wind! Consider the influence of chemistry, biology, and medicine on material welfare, and the
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discoveries of the products of the earth that subserve man's purpose! And the central idea of all this is man, who walks upright in the dignity and grace of his own manhood, surrounded by the evidence of his own achievements. His knowledge, his power of thought, his moral character, and his capacity for living a large life, are evidences of the real civilization. For individual culture is, after all, the flower and fruit, the beauty and strength of civilization.
One hundred years ago neither dwelling, church, nor city greeted the eye that gazed over the broad expanse of the unfilled prairies. Here were no accumulations of wealth, no signs of human habitation, except a few Indians wandering in groups or assembled in their wigwam villages. The evidences of art and industry were meagre, and of accumulated knowledge small, because the natives were still the children of nature and had gone but a little way in the mastery of physical forces or in the accumulation of knowledge. The relative difference in their condition and that of those that followed them is the contrast between barbarism and civilization.
Yet how rapid was the change that replaced the latter with the former. Behold great commonwealths built in half a century! What is the secret of this great and marvellous change? It is a transplanted civilization, not an indigenous one. Men came to this fertile valley with the spiritual and material products of modern life, the outcome of centuries of progress. They brought the results of man's struggle, with himself and with nature, for thousands of years. This made it possible to build a commonwealth in half a century. The first settlers brought with them a knowledge of the industrial arts; the theory and practice of social order; individual capacity, and a thirst for education. It was necessary only to set up the machinery already created, and civilization went forward. When they began the life of labor, the accumulated wealth of the whole world was to be had in exchange for the products of the soil.
Primitive Man Faced an Unknown World.—But how different is the picture of primitive man suddenly brought face to face with an unknown world. With no knowledge of nature or art, with no theory or practice of social order, he began to dig and to delve for the preservation of life. Suffering the pangs of hunger, he obtained food; naked, he clothed himself; buffeted by storm and wind and scorched by the penetrating rays of the sun, he built himself a shelter. As he gradually became skilled in the industrial arts, his knowledge increased. He formed a clearer estimate of how nature might serve him, and obtained more implements with which to work
The social order of the family and the state slowly appeared. Man became a co-operating creature, working with his fellows in the satisfaction of material wants and in protecting the rights of individuals. Slow and painful was this process of development, but as he worked his capacity enlarged, his power increased, until he mastered the forces of nature and turned them to serve him; he accumulated knowledge and brought forth culture and learning; he marshalled the social forces in orderly process. Each new mastery of nature or self was a power for the future, for civilization is cumulative in its nature; it works in a geometrical progression. An idea once formed, others follow; one invention leads to another, and each material form of progress furnishes a basis for a more rapid progress and for a larger life. The discovery and use of a new food product increased the power of civilization a hundredfold. One step in social order leads to another, and thus is furnished a means of utilizing without waste all of the individual and social forces.
Yet how irregular and faltering are the first steps of human progress. A step forward, followed by a long period of readjustment of the conditions of life; a movement forward here and a retarding force there. Within this irregular movement we discover the true course of human progress. One tribe, on account of peculiar advantages, makes a