Lester Ward’s Contributions to American Sociology
Lester Frank Ward was a man of science. Sometimes dubbed as the “Father of American Sociology” or the “Social Darwin” Lester Ward was first a botanist and paleontologist. He understood the power of science. Ward wrote Dynamic Sociology and a few other works with the hopes to reinstate the importance of experimentation and the scientific method to sociology. He served as president of the American Sociological Society in 1906 and appointed assistant geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey, a position he held for two years. Born to Justus and Silence on June 18, 1941, young Lester came from very humble beginnings. His parents were very poor and could not afford to send him to school. So, Ward taught himself at home. Even at a young age, Ward displayed exceptional intelligence. He taught himself how to speak different languages, Latin and Greek to name a few. His studies also included mathematics, botany, and geology. Although, he was not at the intellectual level as Comte or Voltaire, he made many contributions to all things social and founded sociology in America. He went on to join the fight against the Rebels in 1862. He was sent home after the Battle of Chancellorsville after being shot three times. While healing from his wounds, he also saw the reality of war which is legalized murder. He realized that the real enemy was ignorance, superstition, and oppression. In college, he felt that if he was a recognized for his work in the natural sciences, then most would listen to him in the field of sociology. He believed that the natural sciences should be the base for social sciences. Ward’s style of writing was known to be brilliant and crystal clear. One might think this stems from his uncanny talent for language. His writings are plain and comprehensible, which is a breath of fresh air for a reader who might not comprehend wordy and difficult styles of writing. Dynamic Sociology is one of Ward’s well known works....
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