History of Human Society
by Frank W. Blackmar
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[Transcriber's note: Extensive research found no evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]









Copyright, 1926, by


Printed in the United States of America



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 {vi} 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.






I. WHAT IS CIVILIZATION? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

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.


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 evolution. Intellectual development of man. Change from savagery to barbarism. Civilization includes all kinds of human progress. Table showing methods of recounting human progress.



IV. PREHISTORIC MAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

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 of man's antiquity influences reflective thinking.


V. THE ECONOMIC FACTORS OF PROGRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

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.



VII. LANGUAGE AND ART AS A MEANS OF CULTURE AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

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.


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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152

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.

X. THE ORIENTAL TYPE OF CIVILIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . 170

The governments of the early Oriental civilizations. War existed for conquest and plunder. Religious belief was an important factor in despotic {ix} 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.


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?



XII. THE OLD GREEK LIFE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250

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.

XVI. THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268

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.



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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304

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 . . . . . . . . . . . 319

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328

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.


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.


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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375

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.


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.



XXVI. PROGRESS OF POLITICAL LIBERTY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 429

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 458

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.



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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486

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.


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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 504

INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509







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 called civilization.

Civilization May Be Defined.—To know what civilization is by study and observation is better than to rely upon a formal {4} 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 his Ancient 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 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 {5} 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, {6} 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 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, {7} 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; {8} 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 special discovery, which places it in the ascendancy and gives it power over others. It has obtained a favorable location for protection against oppressors or a fertile soil, a good hunting ground or a superior climate. It survives all opposing factors for a time, and, obtaining some idea of progress, it goes on adding strength unto strength, or is crowded from its favorable position by its warlike neighbors to perish from the earth, or to live a {9} stationary or even a deteriorating life. A strong tribe, through internal development and the domination of other groups, finally becomes a great nation in an advanced state of civilization. It passes through the course of infancy, youth, maturity, old age, and death. But the products of its civilization are handed on to other nations. Another rises and, when about to enter an advanced state of progress, perishes on account of internal maladies. It is overshadowed with despotism, oppressed by priestcraft, or lacking industrial vitality to such a degree that it is forced to surrender the beginnings of civilization to other nations and other lives.

The dominance of a group is dependent in part on the natural or inherent qualities of mind and body of its members, which give it power to achieve by adapting itself to conditions of nature and in mastering and utilizing natural resources. Thus the tribe that makes new devices for procuring food or new weapons for defense, or learns how to sow seeds and till the soil, adds to its means of survival and progress and thus forges ahead of those tribes lacking in these means. Also the social heritage or the inheritance of all of the products of industry and arts of life which are passed on from generation to generation, is essential to the rapid development of civilization.

Civilization Is Expressed in a Variety of Ways.—Different ideals and the adaptation to different environment cause different types of life. The ideals of the Persian, the Greek, the Roman, and the Teuton varied. Still greater is the contrast between these and the Chinese and the Egyptian ideals. China boasts of an ancient civilization that had its origin long before the faint beginnings of Western nations, and the Chinese are firm believers in their own culture and superior advancement. The silent grandeur of the pyramids and temples of the Nile valley bespeak a civilization of great maturity, that did much for the world in general, but little for the Egyptian people. Yet these types of civilization are far different from that of Western nations. Their ideas of culture are in great contrast to our own. But even the Western nations are not uniform in {10} ideals of civil life nor in their practice of social order. They are not identical in religious life, and their ideals of art and social progress vary.

Moreover, the racial type varies somewhat and with it the national life and thought. Compare England, Germany, France, and Spain as to the variability in characteristics of literature and art, in moral ideals, in ethical practice, in religious motive, and in social order. Their differences are evident, but they tend to disappear under the influence of rapid transit and close intercommunication, which draw all modern nations nearer together. Yet, granting the variability of ideals and of practice, there is a general consensus of opinion as to what constitutes civilization and what are the elements of progress. Modern writers differ somewhat in opinion as to elements of civilization, but these differences are more apparent than real, as all true civilization must rest upon a solid foundation of common human traits. The fundamental principles and chief characteristics are quite uniform for all nations and for all times, and writers who disagree as to general characteristics may not be classified by national boundaries; they represent the differences of philosophers.

Modern Civilization Includes Some Fundamentals.—As applied at different periods of the world's progress and as a representation of different phases of life, civilization means more to-day than ever before; its ideal is higher, its conception broader. In the modern, accepted sense it includes (1) a definite knowledge of man and nature. The classified knowledge of science and philosophy and all phases of the history of man socially and individually are important in estimating his true progress. All forms of thought and life are to be estimated in considering the full meaning of the term. It also includes (2) progress in art. While science deals with principles, art deals with rules of action. Science gives classified knowledge, while art directs to a practical end. Art provides definite plans how to operate. If these plans are carried out, the field of practice is entered. In its broadest conception art includes the making {11} and the doing, as well as the plan. The fine arts and the industrial or practical arts, in all of their varied interests, are included in art as a factor in civilization. This category should include the highest forms of painting, poetry, sculpture, and music, as well as the lowest forms of industrial implements.

Civilization includes (3) a well-developed ethical code quite universally observed by a community or nation. The rule of conduct of man toward himself and toward his fellows is one of the essential points of discrimination between barbarism and civilization. While ethical practice began at a very early period in the progress of man, it was a long time before any distinct ethical code became established. But the completed civilization does not exist until a high order of moral practice obtains; no civilization can long prevail without it. Of less importance, but of no less binding force, is (4) the social code, which represents the forms and conventionalities of society, built, it is true, largely upon the caprices of fashion, and varying greatly in different communities, yet more arbitrary, if possible, than the moral code. It considers fitness and consistency in conduct, and as such is an important consideration in social usage and social progress. In Europe it has its extreme in the court etiquette; in America, in the punctiliousness of the higher social classes of our large cities. But it affects all communities, and its observance may be noted in rural districts as well as in the city population.

The mores, or customs, of man began at a very early time and have been a persistent ruling power in human conduct. Through tradition they are handed down from generation to generation, to be observed with more or less fidelity as a guide to the art of living. Every community, whether primitive or developed, is controlled to a great extent by the prevailing custom. It is common for individuals and families to do as their ancestors did. This habit is frequently carried to such an extent that the deeds of the fathers are held sacred from which no one dare to depart. Isolated communities continue year after year to do things because they had always done so, {12} holding strictly to the ruling custom founded on tradition, even when some better way was at hand. A rare example of this human trait is given by Captain Donald MacMillan, who recently returned from Arctic Greenland. He said: "We took two ultra-modern developments, motion pictures and radio, direct to a people who live and think as their ancestors did two thousand years ago." He was asked: "What did they think?" He replied: "I do not know." Probably it was a case of wonder without thought. While this is a dominant force which makes for the unity and perpetuity of the group, it is only by departure from established tradition that progress is made possible.

Civilization involves (5) government and law. The tribes and nations in a state of barbarism lived under the binding influence of custom. In this period people were born under status, or condition, not under law. Gradually the old family life expanded into the state, and government became more formal. Law appeared as the expression of the will of the people directly or indirectly through their representatives. True, it may have been the arbitrary ruling of a king, but he represented the unity of the race and spoke with the authority of the nation. Law found no expression until there was formed an organic community capable of having a will respecting the control of those who composed it. It implies a governing body and a body governed; it implies an orderly movement of society according to a rule of action called law. While social order is generally obtained through law and government, such is the practice in modern life that the orderly association of men in trade and commerce and in daily contact appears to stand alone and to rise above the control of the law. Indeed, in a true civilization, the civil code, though an essential factor, seems to be outclassed by the higher social instincts based on the practice of social order.

(6) Religion must take a large place as a factor in the development of civilization. The character of the religious belief of man is, to a certain extent, the true test of his progressive {13} nature. His faith may prove a source of inspiration to reason and progressive life; it may prove the opposite, and lead to stagnation and retrogression. Upon the whole, it must be insisted that religious belief has subserved a large purpose in the economy of human progress. It has been universal to all tribes, for even the lowest have some form of religious belief—at least, a belief in spiritual beings. Religious belief thus became the primary source of abstract ideas, and it has always been conducive to social order. It has, in modern times especially, furnished the foundation of morality. By surrounding marriage with ceremonies it has purified the home life, upheld the authority of the family, and thus strengthened social order. It has developed the individual by furnishing an ideal before science and positive knowledge made it possible. It strengthened patriotic feeling on account of service rendered in supporting local government, and subjectively religion improved man by teaching him to obey a superior. Again, by its tradition it frequently stifled thought and retarded progress.

Among other elements of civilization must be mentioned (7) social well-being. The preceding conditions would be almost certain to insure social well-being and prosperity. Yet it might be possible, through lack of harmony of these forces, on account of their improper distribution in a community, that the group might lack in general social prosperity. Unless there is general contentment and happiness there cannot be said to be an ideal state of civilization. And this social well-being is closely allied to (8) material prosperity, the most apparent element to be mentioned in the present analysis. The amount of the accumulation of the wealth of a nation, its distribution among the people, and the manner in which it is obtained and expended, determine the state of civilization. This material prosperity makes the better phases of civilization possible. It is essential to modern progress, and our civilization should seek to render it possible for all classes to earn their bread and to have leisure and opportunity for self-culture.

The mastery of the forces of nature is the basis for man's {14} material prosperity. Touching nature here and there, by discovery, invention, and toil, causing her to yield her treasures for his service, is the key to all progress. In this, it is not so much conflict with nature as co-operation with her, that yields utility and eventually mastery. The discovery and use of new food products, the coal and other minerals of the earth, the forests, the water power and electric power, coupled with invention and adaptability to continually greater use, are the qualifying opportunity for advancement. Without these the fine theories of the philosopher, exalted religious belief, and high ideals of life are of no avail.

From the foregoing it may be said that civilization in its fulness means all of the acquired capabilities of man as evidenced by his conduct and the material products arising from his physical and mental exertion. It is evident that at first the structure called civilization began to develop very slowly and very feebly; just when it began it is difficult to state. The creation of the first utility, the first substantial movement to increase the food supply, the first home for protection, the first religious ceremony, or the first organized household, represents the beginnings of civilization, and these are the landmarks along the trail of man's ascendency.

Progress Is an Essential Characteristic of Civilization.—The goal is never reached, the victory is never finally achieved. Man must move on, ever on. Intellect must develop, morals improve, liberty increase, social order be perfected, and social growth continue. There must be no halting on the road; the nation that hesitates is lost. Progress in general is marked by the development of the individual, on the one hand, and that of society, on the other. In well-ordered society these two ideas are balanced; they seek an equilibrium. Excessive individualism leads to anarchy and destruction; excessive socialism blights and stagnates individual activity and independence and retards progress. It must be admitted here as elsewhere that the individual culture and the individual life are, after all, the highest aims. But how can these be obtained in {15} modern life without social progress? How can there be freedom of action for the development of the individual powers without social expansion? Truly, the social and the individual life are complementary elements of progress.

Diversity Is Necessary to Progress.—If progress is an essential characteristic of modern civilization, it may be said that diversity is essential to progress. There is much said about equality and fraternity. It depends on what is meant by the terms as to whether these are good sayings or not. If equality means uniformity, by it man is easily reduced to a state of stagnation. Diversity of life exists everywhere in progressive nature, where plants or animals move forward in the scale of existence. Man is not an exception to the rule, notwithstanding his strong will force. Men differ in strength, in moral and intellectual capacity, and in co-operating ability. Hence they must occupy different stations in life. And the quality and quantity of progress are to be estimated in different nations according to the diversity of life to be observed among individuals and groups.

What Is the Goal of Civilized Man?—And it may be well to ask, as civilization is progressive: What is our aim in life from our own standpoint? For what do men strive? What is the ultimate of life? What is the best for which humanity can live? If it were merely to obtain food and clothes and nothing more, the question could be easily answered. If it were merely to train a man to be a monk, that he might spend his time in prayer and supplication for a better future life, the question would be simple enough. If to pore over books to find out the knowledge of the past and to spend the life in investigation of truth were the chief aims, it would be easy to determine the object of life. But frequently that which we call success in life is merely a means to an end.

And viewed in the complex activity of society, it is difficult to say what is the true end of life; it is difficult to determine the true end of civilization. Some have said it is found in administering the "greatest good to the greatest number," {16} and if we consider in this the generations yet unborn, it reveals the actual tendency of modern civilization. If the perfection of the individual is the highest ideal of civilization, it stops not with one individual, but includes all. And this asserts that social well-being must be included in the final aim, for full and free individual development cannot appear without it. The enlarged capacity for living correctly, enjoying the best of this life righteously, and for associating harmoniously and justly with his fellows, is the highest aim of the individual. Happiness of the greatest number through utility is the formula for modern civilization.

Possibilities of Civilization.—The possibilities of reaching a still higher state of civilization are indeed great. The future is not full of foreboding, but bright and happy with promise of individual culture and social progress. If opportunities are but wisely used, the twentieth century will witness an advancement beyond our highest dreams. Yet the whole problem hinges on the right use of knowledge. If the knowledge of chemistry is to be used to destroy nations and races with gases and high explosives, such knowledge turns civilization to destruction. If all of the powers of nature under man's control should be turned against him, civilization would be turned back upon itself. Let us have "the will to believe" that we have entered an era of vital progress, of social improvement, of political reforms, which will lead to the protection of those who need protection and the elevation of those who desire it. The rapid progress in art and architecture, in invention and industry, the building of libraries and the diffusion of knowledge, the improvement of our educational system, all being entered upon, will force the world forward at a rapid pace, and on such a rational basis that the delight of living will be greatly enhanced for all classes.

Civilization Can Be Estimated.—This brief presentation of the meaning of civilization reveals the fact that civilization can be recounted; that it is a question of fact and philosophy that can be measured. It is the story of human progress and {17} the causes which made it. It presents the generalizations of all that is valuable in the life of the race. It is the epitome of the history of humanity in its onward sweep. In its critical sense it cannot be called history, for it neglects details for general statements. Nor is it the philosophy of history, for it covers a broader field. It is not speculation, for it deals with fact. It is the philosophy of man's life as to the results of his activity. It shows alike the unfolding of the individual and of society, and it represents these in every phase embraced in the word "progress." To recount this progress and to measure civilization is the purpose of the following pages, so far as it may be done in the limited space assigned.


1. Are people of civilized races happier now than are the uncivilized races?

2. Would the American Indians in time have developed a high state of civilization?

3. Why do we not find a high state of civilization among the African negroes?

4. What are the material evidences of civilization in the neighborhood in which you live?

5. Does increased knowledge alone insure an advanced civilization?

6. Choose an important public building in your neighborhood and trace the sources of architecture of the different parts.




How Mankind Goes Forward on the Trail.—Although civilization cannot exist without it, progress is something different from the sum-total of the products of civilization. It may be said to be the process through which civilization is obtained, or, perhaps more fittingly, it is the log of the course that marks civilization. There can be no conception of progress without ideals, which are standards set up toward which humanity travels. And as humanity never rises above its ideals, the possibilities of progress are limited by them. If ideals are high, there are possibilities of a high state of culture; if they are low, the possibilities are lessened, and, indeed, frequently are barren of results. But having established ideals as beacon lights for humanity to follow, the final test is whether there is sufficient knowledge, sufficient ability, and sufficient will-power to approximate them. In other words, shall humanity complete the trail of life, go on higher and higher grounds where are set the standards or goals to be reached; or will humanity rest easily and contentedly on a low level with no attempt to reach a higher level, or, indeed, will humanity, failing in desires for betterment, initiative, and will-power, drift to lower levels?

Groups, either tribes, races, or nations, may advance along given lines and be stationary or even retarded along other lines of development. If the accumulation of wealth is the dominant ideal, it may be so strenuously followed as to destroy opportunity for other phases of life. If the flow of energy is all toward a religious belief that absorbs the time and energy of people in the building of pyramids, mausoleums, cathedrals, and mosques, and taboos the inquiry into nature {19} which might yield a large improvement in the race, religion would be developed at the expense of race improvement.

Change Is Not Necessarily Progress.—It is quite common in a popular sense for people to identify change with progress, or indeed to accept the wonderful changes which take place as causes of progress, when in reality they should have taken more care to search out the elements of progress of the great moving panorama of changing life. Changes are frequently violent, sudden, tremendous in their immediate effect. They move rapidly and involve many complexes, but progress is a slow-going old tortoise that plods along irrespective of storm or sunshine, life or death, of the cataclysms of war or the catastrophes of earthquakes or volcanoes. Progress moves slowly along through political and social revolutions, gaining a little here and a little there, and registering the things that are really worth while out of the ceaseless, changing humanity.

Achievement may take place without betterment, but all progress must make a record of betterment with achievement. A man may write a book or invent a machine at great labor. So far as he is concerned it is an achievement, but unless it is a good book, a good invention, better than others, so that they may be used for the advancement of the race, they will not form a betterment. Many of the changes of life represent the results of trial and error. "There is a way that seemeth right" to a nation which may end in destruction. The evil aroused is sometimes greater than the good. The prosperity of the Roman Empire was destroyed because of luxury and corrupt administration. The German Empire developed great powers in government, education, in the arts and sciences, but her military purpose nearly destroyed her. The Spanish Empire that once controlled a good part of the American continent failed because laborers were driven out of Spain and the wealth gained by exploitation was used to support the nobility and royalty in luxury. Whether the United States will continue to carry out her high purposes will depend upon the right use of her immense wealth and power. Likewise the {20} radio, the movie, and the automobile are making tremendous changes. Will the opportunities they furnish improve the moral and intellectual character of the people—a necessary condition to real progress?

In considering modern progress, too frequently it is estimated by the greatness of things, by the stupendous changes, or by the marvellous achievements of the age, and we pause and wonder at what has been accomplished; but if we think long enough and clearly enough, we may get a vision of real progress, and we may find it difficult to determine the outcome of it all, so far as the real betterment of the race is concerned. Is the millionaire of to-day any happier, necessarily, and any more moral or of a higher religious standard than the primitive man or the savage of the plains or forest of to-day? True, he has power to achieve in many directions, but is he any happier or better? It may be said that his millions may accomplish great good. This is true if they are properly applied. It is also true that they are capable of great harm if improperly used.

As we stand and gaze at the movements of the airplane, or contemplate its rapid flight from ocean to ocean and from land to land around the world, we are impressed with this great wonder of the age, the great achievement of the inventive power of man. But what of the gain to humanity? If it is possible to transport the mails from New York to San Francisco in sixteen hours instead of in five days, is there advantage in that except the quickening process of transportation and life? Is it not worth while to inquire what the man at the other end of the line is going to do by having his mail four days ahead? He will hurry up somebody else and somebody else will hurry the next one, and we only increase the rapidity of motion. Does it really give us more time for leisure, and if so, are we using that leisure time in the development of our reflective intellectual powers or our spiritual life? It is easier to see improvement in the case of the radio, whereby songs and lectures can be broadcast all over the earth, and the {21} community of life and the community of interest are developed thereby, and, also, the leisure hours are devoted to a contemplation of high ideals, of beautiful music, of noble thoughts. We do recognize a modicum of progress out of the great whirring, rapid changes in transportation and creative industry; but let us not be deceived by substituting change for progress, or making the two identical.

Thus human progress is something more than achievement, and it is something more than the exhibition of tools. It is determined by the use of the tools and involves betterment of the human race. Hence, all the products of social heredity, of language, of science, of religion, of art, and of government are progressive in proportion as they are successfully used for individual and social betterment. For if government is used to enslave people, or science to destroy them, or religion to stifle them, there can be no progress.

Progress Expresses Itself in a Variety of Ideals and Aims.—Progress involves many lines of development. It may include biological development of the human race, the development of man, especially his growth of brain power. It may consider man's adaptation to environment under different phases of life. It may consider the efficiency of bodily structure. In a cultural sense, progress may refer to the products of the industrial arts, or to the development of fine arts, or the advancement of religious life and belief—in fact, to the mastery of the resources of nature and their service to mankind in whatever form they may appear or in whatever phase of life they may be expressed. Progress may also be indicated in the improvement in social order and in government, and also the increased opportunity of the individual to receive culture through the process of mutual aid. In fact, progress must be sought for in all phases of human activity. Whatever phase of progress is considered, its line of demarcation is carefully drawn in the process of change from the old to the new, but the results of these changes will be the indices of either progress or retardation.


Progress of the Part and Progress of the Whole.—An individual might through hereditary qualities have superior mental traits or physical powers. These also may receive specific development under favorable educational environment, but the inertia of the group or the race might render ineffective a salutary use of his powers. A man is sometimes elected mayor of a town and devotes his energies to municipal betterment. But he may be surrounded by corrupt politicians and promoters of enterprises who hedge his way at every turn. Also, in a similar way, a group or tribe may go forward, and yet the products of its endeavor be lost to the world. Thus a productiveness of the part may be exhibited without the progress of the race. The former moves with concrete limitations, the latter in sweeping, cycling changes; but the latter cannot exist without the former, because it is from the parts that the whole is created, and it is the generalization of the accumulated knowledge or activities of the parts that makes it possible for the whole to develop.

The evolution of the human race includes the idea of differentiation of parts and a generalization that makes the whole of progress. So it is not easy to determine the result of a local activity as progressive until its relation to other parts is determined, nor until other activities and the whole of life are determined. Local colorings of life may be so provincial in their view-point as to be practically valueless in the estimation of the degree and quality of progress. Certain towns, especially in rural districts not acquainted with better things, boast that they have the best school, the best court-house, the best climate—in fact, everything best. When they finally awaken from their local dream, they discover their own deficiencies.

The great development of art, literature, philosophy, and politics among the ancient Greeks was inefficient in raising the great masses of the people to a higher plane of living, but the fruits of the lives of these superiors were handed on to other groups to utilize, and they are not without influence {23} over the whole human group of to-day. So, too, the religious mystic philosophy and literature of India represented a high state of mental development, but the products of its existence left the races of India in darkness because the mystic philosophy was not adaptable to the practical affairs of life. The Indian philosophers may have handed on ideas which caused admiration and wonder, but they have had very little influence of a practical nature on Western civilization. So society may make progress in either art, religion, or government for a time, and then, for the want of adaptation to the conditions imposed by progress, the effects may disappear. Yet not all is lost, for some achievements in the form of tools are passed on through social heredity and utilized by other races. In the long run it is the total of the progress of the race, the progress of the whole, that is the final test.

Social Progress Involves Individual Development.—If we trace progress backward over the trail which it has followed, there are two lines of development more or less clearly defined. One is the improvement of the racial stock through the hereditary traits of individuals. The brain is enlarged, the body developed in character and efficiency, and the entire physical system has changed through variation in accordance with the laws of heredity. What we observe is development in the individual, which is its primary function. Progress in this line must furnish individuals of a higher type in the procession of the generations. The other line is through social heredity, that is the accumulated products of civilization handed down from generation to generation. This gives each succeeding generation a new, improved kit of tools, it brings each new generation into a better environment and surrounds it with ready-made means to carry on the improvement and add something for the use of the next generation. Knowledge of the arts and industries, language and books, are thus products of social heredity. Also buildings, machinery, roads, educational systems, and school buildings are inherited.

Connected with these two methods of development must {24} be the discovery of the use of the human mind evidenced by the beginning of reflective thought. It is said by some writers that we are still largely in the age of instincts and emotions and have just recently entered the age of reason. Such positive statements should be considered with a wider vision of life, for one cannot conceive of civilization at all without the beginning of reflective mental processes. Simple inventions, like the use of fire, the bow-and-arrow, or the flint knife, may have come about primarily through the desire to accomplish something by subjecting means to an end, but in the perfection of the use of these things, which occurred very early in primitive life, there must have been reflective thinking in order to shape the knife for its purpose, make the bow-and-arrow more effective, and utilize fire for cooking, heating, and smelting. All of these must have come primarily through the individual initiative.

Frequent advocates of social achievement would lead one to suppose that the tribe in need of some method of cutting should assemble and pass the resolution that a flint knife be made, when any one knows it was the reflective process of the individual mind which sought adaptation to environment or means to accomplish a purpose. Of course the philosopher may read many generalizations into this which may confuse one in trying to observe the simple fact, for it is to be deplored that much of the philosophy of to-day is a smoke screen which obscures the simple truth.

The difference of races in achievement and in culture is traced primarily to hereditary traits developed through variation, through intrinsic stimuli, or those originating through so-called inborn traits. These traits enable some races to achieve and adapt themselves to their environment, and cause others to fail. Thus, some groups or races have perished because of living near a swamp infested with malaria-carrying mosquitoes or in countries where the food supply was insufficient. They lacked initiative to move to a more healthful region or one more bountiful in food products, or else they {25} lacked knowledge and skill to protect themselves against mosquitoes or to increase the food supply. Moreover, they had no power within them to seek the better environment or to change the environment for their own advancement. This does not ignore the tremendous influence of environment in the production of race culture. Its influence is tremendous, especially because environmental conditions are more under the direction of intelligence than is the development of hereditary traits.

Some writers have maintained that there is no difference in the dynamic, mental, or physical power of races, and that the difference of races which we observe to-day is based upon the fact that some have been retarded by poor environment, and others have advanced because of fortunate environment. This argument is good as far as it goes, but it does not tell the whole story. It does not show why some races under good environment have not succeeded, while others under poor environment have succeeded well. It does not show why some races have the wit to change to a better environment or transform the old environment.

There seems to be a great persistency of individual traits, of family traits, and, in a still larger generalization, of racial traits which culture fails to obliterate. As these differences of traits seem to be universal, it appears that the particular combination which gives motor power may also be a differentiation. At least, as all races have had the same earth, why, if they are so equal in the beginning, would they not achieve? Had they no inventive power? Also, when these so-called retarded races came in contact with the more advanced races who were superior in arts and industries, why did they not borrow, adapt, and utilize these productions? There must have been something vitally lacking which neither the qualities of the individual nor the stimulus of his surroundings could overcome. Some have deteriorated, others have perished; some have reached a stationary existence, while others have advanced. Through hereditary changes, nature played the {26} game in her own way with the leading cards in her own hand, and some races lost. Hence so with races, so with individuals.

Progress Is Enhanced by the Interaction of Groups and Races.—The accumulation of civilization and the state of progress may be much determined by the interaction of races and groups. Just as individual personality is developed by contact with others, so the actions and reactions of tribes and races in contact bring into play the utility of discoveries and inventions. Thus, knowledge of any kind may by diffusion become a heritage of all races. If one tribe should acquire the art of making implements by chipping flint in a certain way, other tribes with which it comes in contact might borrow the idea and extend it, and thus it becomes spread over a wide area. However, if the original discoverer used the chipped flint for skinning animals, the one who would borrow the idea might use it to make implements of warfare.

Thus, through borrowing, progress may be a co-operative process. The reference to people in any community reveals the fact that there are few that lead and many that follow; that there is but one Edison, but there are millions that follow Edison. Even in the educational world there are few inventors and many followers. This is evidence of the large power of imitation and adaptation and of the universal habit of borrowing. On the other hand, if one chemical laboratory should discover a high explosive which may be used in blasting rock for making the foundations for buildings, a nation might borrow the idea and use it in warfare for the destruction of man.

Mr. Clark Wissler has shown in his book on Man and Culture that there are culture areas originating from culture centres. From these culture centres the bow-and-arrow is used over a wide area. The domestication of the horse, which occurred in central Asia, has spread over the whole world. So stone implements of culture centres have been borrowed and exchanged more or less throughout the world. The theory is that one tribe or race invented one thing because of the {27} adaptability to good environment. The dominant necessity of a race stimulated man's inventive power, while another tribe would invent or discover some other new thing for similar reasons. But once created, not only could the products be swapped or traded, but, where this was impossible, ideas could be borrowed and adapted through imitation.

However, one should be careful not to make too hasty generalizations regarding the similar products in different parts of the world, for there is such universality of the traits of the human mind that, with similar stages of advancement and similar environments, man's adaptive power would cause him to do the same thing in very much the same way. Thus, it is possible for two races that have had no contact for a hundred thousand years to develop indigenous products of art which are very similar. To illustrate from a point of contact nearer home, it is possible for a person living in Wisconsin and one in Massachusetts, having the same general environment—physical, educational, ethnic, religious—and having the same general traits of mind, through disconnected lines of differentiation, to write two books very much alike or two magazine articles very much alike. In the question of fundamental human traits subject to the same environmental stimuli, in a general way we expect similar results.

With all this differentiation, progress as a whole represents a continuous change from primitive conditions to the present complex life, even though its line of travel leads it through the byways of differentiation. Just as the development of races has been through the process of differentiation from an early parent stock, cultural changes have followed the same law of progressive change. Just as there is a unity of the human race, there is a unity of progress that involves all mankind.

The Study of the Uncultured Races of To-Day.—It is difficult to determine the beginnings of culture and to trace its slow development. In accomplishing this, there are two main methods of procedure; the first, to find the products or {28} remains of culture left by races now extinct, that is, of nations and peoples that have lived and flourished and passed away, leaving evidence of what they brought to the world; also, by considering what they did with the tools with which they worked, and by determining the conditions under which they lived, a general idea of their state of progress may be obtained. The second method is to determine the state of culture of living races of to-day who have been retarded or whose progress shows a case of arrested development and compare their civilization statistically observed with that of the prehistoric peoples whose state of progress exhibits in a measure similar characteristics to those of the living races.

With these two methods working together, more light is continually being thrown upon man's ancient culture. To illustrate this, if a certain kind of tool or implement is found in the culture areas of the extinct Neanderthal race and a similar tool is used by a living Australian tribe, it may be conjectured with considerable accuracy that the use of this tool was for similar purposes, and the thoughts and beliefs that clustered around its use were the same in each tribe. Thus may be estimated the degree of progress of the primitive race. Or if an inscription on a cave of an extinct race showed a similarity to an inscription used by a living race, it would seem that they had the same background for such expression, and that similar instincts, emotions, and reflections were directed to a common end. The recent study of anthropologists and archaeologists has brought to light much knowledge of primitive man which may be judged on its own evidence and own merits. The verification of these early cultures by the living races who have reached a similar degree of progress is of great importance.

The Study of Prehistoric Types.[1]—The brain capacity of modern man has changed little since the time of the Cro-Magnon race, which is the earliest ancestral type of present European races and whose existence dates back many {29} thousand years. Possibly the weight of the brain has increased during this period because of its development, and undoubtedly its power is much greater in modern man than in this ancient type. Prior to that there are some evidences of extinct species, such as Pithecanthropus Erectus, the Grimaldi man, the Heidelberg man, and the Neanderthal. Judging from the skeletal remains that have been found of these races, there has been a general progress of cranial capacity. It is not necessary here to attempt to determine whether this has occurred from hereditary combinations or through changing environment. Undoubtedly both of these factors have been potential in increasing the brain power of man, and if we were to go farther back by way of analogy, at least, and consider the Anthropoid ape, the animal most resembling man, we find a vast contrast in his cranial capacity as compared with the lowest of the prehistoric types, or, indeed, of the lowest types of the uncultured living races.

Starting with the Anthropoid ape, who has a register of about 350 c.c., the Pithecanthropus about 900 c.c., and Neanderthal types registering as high as 1,620 c.c. of brain capacity, the best measures of the highest types of modern man show the brain capacity of 1,650 c.c. Specimens of the Cro-Magnon skulls show a brain capacity equal to that of modern man. There is a great variation in the brain capacity of the Neanderthal race as exhibited in specimens found in different centres of culture, ranging all the way from 1,296 c.c. to 1,620 c.c. Size is only one of several traits that determine brain power. Among others are the weight, convolutions, texture, and education. A small, compact brain may have more power than a larger brain relatively lighter. Also much depends upon the centres of development. The development of the frontal area, shown by the full forehead in connection with the distance above the ear (auditory meatus), in contrast with the development of the anterior lobes is indicative of power.

It is interesting to note also that the progress of man as shown in the remnants of arts and industry corresponds in {30} development to the development of brain capacity, showing that the physical power of man kept pace with the mental development as exhibited in his mental power displayed in the arts and industries. The discoveries in recent times of the skeletons of prehistoric man in Europe, Africa, and America, and the increased collection of implements showing cultures are throwing new light on the science of man and indicating a continuous development from very primitive beginnings.

Progress Is Indicated by the Early Cultures.—It is convenient to divide the early culture of man, based upon his development in art into the Paleolithic, or unpolished, and the Neolithic, or polished, Stone Ages.[2] The former is again divided into the Eolithic, Lower Paleolithic, and the Upper Paleolithic. In considering these divisions of relative time cultures, it must be remembered that the only way we have of measuring prehistoric time is through the geological method, based upon the Ice Ages and changes in the physical contour of the earth.

In the strata of the earth, either in the late second inter-glacial period or at the beginning of the third, chipped rocks, or eoliths, are found used by races of which the Piltdown and Heidelberg species are representatives.[3] Originally man used weapons to hammer and to cut already prepared by nature. Sharp-edged flints formed by the crushing of rocks in the descent of the glaciers or by upheavals of earth or by powerful torrents were picked up as needed for the purpose of cutting. Wherever a sharp edge was needed, these natural implements were useful. Gradually man learned to carry the best specimens with him. These he improved by chipping the edges, making them more serviceable, or chipping the eolith, so as to grasp it more easily. This represents the earliest relic of the beginning of civilization through art. Eoliths of this kind are found in Egypt in the hills bordering the Nile Valley, in Asia and America, as well as in southern Europe. Perhaps at the same period of development man selected stones suitable for crushing bones or for other purposes when hammering {31} was necessary. These were gradually fashioned into more serviceable hammers. In the latter part of this period, known as the pre-Chellean, flint implements were considerably improved.

In the Lower Paleolithic in the pre-Neanderthal period, including what is known as the Chellean, new forms of implements are added to the earlier beginnings. Almond-shaped flint implements, followed later by long, pointed implements, indicate the future development of the stone spear, arrowhead, knife, and axe. Also smaller articles of use, such as borers, scrapers, and ploughs, appeared. The edges of all implements were rough and uneven, and the forms very imperfect.

Industrial and Social Life of Primitive Man.—In the industry of the early Neanderthal races (Acheulean) implements were increased in number and variety, being also more perfectly formed, showing the expansive art of man. At this period man was a hunter, having temporary homes in caves and shelters, which gradually became more or less permanent, and used well-fashioned implements of stone. At the close of the third interglacial period the climate was mild and moist, and mankind found the open glades suitable places for assemblages in family groups about the open fires; apparently the cooking of food and the making of implements and clothing on a small scale were the domestic occupations at this time. Hunting was the chief occupation in procuring food. The bison, the horse, the reindeer, the bear, the beaver, the wild boar had taken the place of the rhinoceros, the sabre-tooth tiger, and the elephant.

Judging from the stage of life existing at this time, and comparing this with that of the lowest living races, we may safely infer that the family associations existed at this time, even though the habitations in caves and shelters were temporary.[4]

"Yet, when at length rude huts they first devised, And fires and garments; and in union sweet Man wedded woman, the pure joys indulged


Of chaste connubial love, and children rose, The rough barbarians softened. The warm hearth Their frames so melted they no more could bear, As erst, th' uncovered skies. The nuptial bed Broke their wild vigor, and the fond caress Of prattling children from the bosom chased Their stern, ferocious manners." —LUCRETIUS, "ON THE NATURE OF THINGS." AFTER OSBORN.

Thus the Lower Paleolithic merged into the Upper; with the appearance of the Mousterian, Augrignacian, Solutrian, Magdalenian, and Azilian cultures followed the most advanced stage of the Neanderthal race before its final disappearance. The list of tools and implements indicates a widening scope of civilization. For war and chase and fishing, for industry and domestic life, for art, sculpture, and engraving, and for ceremonial use, a great variety of implements of stone and bone survived the life of the races.

Spears, daggers, knives, arrowheads, fish-hooks, and harpoons; hand-axes, drills, hammers, scrapers, planes, needles, pins, chisels, wedges, gravers, etchers, mortars, and pilasters; ceremonial staffs and wands—all are expressions of a fulness of industrial and social life not recognized in earlier races. Indications of religious ceremonies represent the changing mind, and the expression of mind in art suggests increased mental power.

Cultures Indicate the Mental Development of the Race.—As the art and industry to-day represent the mental processes of man, so did these primitive cultures show the inventive skill and adaptive power in the beginnings of progress. Perhaps instinct, emotion, and necessity figured more conspicuously in the early period than reflective thought, while in modern times we have more design and more planning, both in invention and construction. Also the primitive social order was more an unconscious development, and lacked purpose and directing power in comparison with present life.


But there must have been inventors and leaders in primitive times, some brains more fertile than others, that made change and progress possible. Who these unknown geniuses were human records do not indicate. In modern times we single out the superiors and call them great. The inventor, the statesman, the warrior, the king, have their achievements heralded and recorded in history. The records of achievement of the great barbarous cultures, of the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the Hebrews, centre around some king whose tomb preserves the only records, while in reality some man unknown to us was the real author of such progress as was made. The reason is that progress was so slow that the changes passed unnoticed, being the products of many minds, each adding its increment of change. Only the king or ruler who could control the mass mind and the mass labor could make sufficient spectacular demonstration worth recording, and could direct others to build a tomb or record inscriptions to perpetuate his name.

Men of Genius Cause the Mutations Which Permit Progress.—The toiling multitudes always use the products of some inventive genius. Some individual with specialized mental traits plans something different from social usages or industrial life which changes tradition and modifies the customs and habits of the mass. Whether he be statesman, inventor, philosopher, scientist, discoverer, or military leader, he usually receives credit for the great progressive mutation which he has originated. There can be little progress without these few fertile brains, just as there could be little progress unless they were supported by the laborers who carry out the plans of the genius. While the "unknown man" is less conspicuous in the progress of the race in modern complex society, he is still a factor in all progress.

The Data of Progress.—Evolution is not necessarily progress; neither is development progress; yet the factors that enter into evolution and development are essential to progress. The laws of differentiation apply to progress as well as to evolution. In the plant and animal life everywhere this law {34} obtains. In man it is subservient to the domination of intelligent direction, yet it is in operation all of the time. Some races are superior in certain lines, other races show superiority in other lines. Likewise, individuals exhibit differences in a similar way. Perhaps the dynamic physical or mental power of the individual or the race will not improve in itself, having reached its maximum. There is little hope that the brain of man will ever be larger or stronger, but it may become more effective through training and increased knowledge. Hence in the future we must look for achievement along co-operative and social lines. It is to social expansion and social perfection that we must look for progress in the future. For here the accumulated power of all may be utilized in providing for the welfare of the individual, who, in turn, will by his inventive power cause humanity to progress.

The industrial, institutional, humanitarian, and educational machinery represents progress in action, but increased knowledge, higher ideals of life, broader concepts of truth, liberty of individual action which is interested in human life in its entirety, are the real indices of progress.


1. Why do some races progress and others deteriorate?

2. Compare different communities to show to what extent environment determines progress.

3. Show how the airplane is an evidence of progress. The radio. The gasoline-engine.

4. Discuss the effects of religious belief on progress.

5. Is the mental capacity of the average American greater than the average of the Greeks at the time of their highest culture?

6. What are the evidences that man will not advance in physical and mental capacity?

7. Show that the improvement of the race will be through social activity.

[1] See Chapter IV.

[2] See Chapter III.

[3] See Chapter IV.

[4] See Chapter VI.




Difficulty of Measuring Progress.—In its larger generalization, progress may move in a straight line, but it has such a variety of expression and so many tributary causes that it is difficult to reduce it to any classification. Owing to the difficulties that attend an attempt to recite all of the details of human progress, philosophers and historians have approached the subject from various sides, each seeking to make, by means of higher generalizations, a clear course of reasoning through the labyrinth of materials. By adopting certain methods of marking off periods of existence and pointing out the landmarks of civilization, they have been able to estimate more truly the development of the race. Civilization cannot be readily measured by time; indeed, the time interval in history is of little value save to mark order and continuity. It has in itself no real significance; it is merely an arbitrary division whose importance is greatly exaggerated. But while civilization is a continuous quantity, and cannot be readily marked off into periods without destroying its movement, it is necessary to make the attempt, especially in the study of ancient or prehistoric society; for any method which groups and classifies facts in logical order is helpful to the study of human progress.

Progress May Be Measured by the Implements Used.—A very common method, based largely upon the researches of archaeologists, is to divide human society into four great periods, or ages, marked by the progress of man in the use of implements. The first of these periods is called the Stone Age, and embraces the time when man used stone for all {36} purposes in the industrial arts so far as they had been developed. For convenience this period has been further divided into the age of ancient or unpolished implements and the age of modern or polished implements. The former includes the period when rude implements were chipped out of flint or other hard stone, without much idea of symmetry and beauty, and with no attempt to perfect or beautify them by smoothing and polishing their rough surface.

In the second period man learned to fashion more perfectly the implements, and in some instances to polish them to a high degree. Although the divisions are very general and very imperfect, they map out the great prehistoric era of man; but they must be considered as irregular, on account of the fact that the Stone Era of man occurred at different times in different tribes. Thus the inhabitants of North America were in the Stone Age less than two centuries ago, while some of the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands are in the Stone Age during the present century. It is quite remarkable that the use of stone implements was universal to all tribes and nations at some period of their existence.

After the long use of stone, man gradually became acquainted with some of the metals, and subsequently discovered the method of combining copper with tin and other alloys to form bronze, which material, to a large extent, added to the implements already in use. The Bronze Age is the most hypothetical of all these divisions, as it does not appear to have been as universal as the Stone, on account of the difficulty of obtaining metals. The use of copper by the Indians of the Lake Superior region was a very marked epoch in their development, and corresponds to the Bronze Age of other nations, although their advancement in other particulars appears to be less than that of other tribes of European origin which used bronze freely. Bronze implements have been found in great plenty in Scandinavia and Peru, and to a limited extent in North America. They certainly mark a stage of progress in advance of that of the inhabitants of the Stone Age. Bronze {37} was the chief metal for implements throughout the early civilization of Europe.

Following the age of bronze is the Iron Age, in which the advancement of man is especially marked. The bronze implements were at first supplemented in their use by those of iron. But gradually iron implements superseded the bronze. The Iron Age still is with us. Possibly it has not yet reached its highest point. Considering the great structures built of iron, and the excessive use of iron in machinery, implements, and furniture, it is easy to realize that we are yet in this great period. Though we continue to use stone more than the ancients and more bronze for decoration and ornament than they, yet both are subordinate to the use of iron. General as the above classification is, it helps in an indefinite way to give us a central idea of progress and to mark off, somewhat indefinitely, periods of development.

The Development of Art.—Utility was the great purpose underlying the foundation of the industrial arts. The stone axe, or celt, was first made for a distinct service, but, in order to perfect its usefulness, its lines became more perfect and its surface more highly polished. So we might say for the spear-head, the knife, or the olla. Artistic lines and decorative beauty always followed the purpose of use. This could be applied to all of the products of man's invention to transform parts of nature to his use. On account of the durability of form, the attempt to trace the course of civilization by means of the development of the fine arts has met with much success. Though the idea of beauty is not essential to the preservation of man or to the making of the state, it has exerted a great influence in individual-building and in society-building. In our higher emotional natures aesthetic ideas have ruled with imperial sway.

But primitive ideas of beauty appear to us very crude, and even repulsive. The adornment of person with bright though rudely colored garments, the free use of paint on the person, and the promiscuous use of jewelry, as {38} practised by the primitive peoples, present a great contrast to modern usage. Yet it is easy to trace the changes in custom and, moreover, to determine the origin of present customs. So also in representative art, the rude sketch of an elephant or a buffalo on ivory or stone and the finished picture by a Raphael are widely separated in genius and execution, but there is a logical connection between the two found in the slowly evolving human activities. The rude figure of a god moulded roughly from clay and the lifelike model by an Angelo have the same relations to man in his different states. The same comparison may be made between the low, monotonous moaning of the savage and the rapturous music of a Patti, or between the beating of the tom-tom and the lofty strains of a Mozart.

Progress Is Estimated by Economic Stages.—The progress of man is more clearly represented by the successive economic stages of his life. Thus we have first the primal nomadic period, in which man was a wanderer, subsisting on roots and berries, and with no definite social organization. This period, like all primary periods, is largely hypothetical. Having learned to capture game and fish, he entered what might be called the fisher-hunter stage, although he was still a nomad, and rapidly spread over a large part of the earth's surface, wandering from forest to forest and from stream to stream, searching for the means of subsistence and clothing.

When man learned to domesticate animals he made a great step forward and entered what is known as the pastoral period, in which his chief occupation was the care of flocks and herds. This contributed much to his material support and quickened his social and intellectual movement. After a time, when he remained in one place a sufficient time to harvest a short crop, he began agriculture in a tentative way, while his chief concern was yet with flocks and herds. He soon became permanently settled, and learned more fully the art of agriculture, and then entered the permanent agricultural stage. It was during this period that he made the most rapid advances in {39} the industrial arts and in social order. This led to more densely populated communities, with permanent homes and the necessary development of law and government.

As the products of industry increased men began to exchange "the relatively superfluous for the relatively necessary," and trade in the form of barter became a permanent custom. This led to the use of money and a more extended system of exchange, and man entered the commercial era. This gave him a wider intercourse with surrounding tribes and nations, and brought about a greater diversity of ideas. The excessive demand for exchangeable goods, the accumulation of wealth, and the enlarged capacity for enjoyment centred the activities of life in industry, and man entered the industrial stage. At first he employed hand power for manufacturing goods, but soon he changed to power manufacture, brought about by discovery and invention. Water and steam were now applied to turn machinery, and the new conditions of production changed the whole industrial life. A revolution in industrial society caused an immediate shifting of social life. Classes of laborers in the great industrial army became prominent, and production was carried on in a gigantic way. We are still in this industrial world, and as electricity comes to the aid of steam we may be prepared for even greater changes in the future than we have witnessed in the past.[1]

In thus presenting the course of civilization by the different periods of economic life, we must keep the mind free from conventional ideas. For, while the general course of economic progress is well indicated, there was a slow blending of each period into the succeeding one. There is no formal procedure in the progress of man. Yet we might infer from the way in which some writers present this matter that society moved forward in regular order, column after column. From the formal and forcible way in which they have presented the history of early society, one might imagine that a certain tribe, having become weary of tending cattle and goats, resolved one {40} fine morning to change from the pastoral life to agriculture, and that all of the tribes on earth immediately concluded to do the same, when, in truth, the change was slow and gradual, while the centuries passed away.

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