From the author:
I believe that a service may be rendered by going back of various theories to certain fundamental facts of human nature and human development, and thus learning what may and what may not be taken for granted. Before social and political theories are constructed, primal truths concerning the constitution, inheritance, and differentiation of men should be recognized. It is often said that the historic sense should be cultivated by the leaders and reformers of society; that they should first understand the development of the nations through the centuries of history. It might also be said that the ethnologic and anthropologic sense should be cultivated. As knowledge of history, going back for a perspective, gives broader views which moderate expectation of sudden changes, so knowledge of the laws of human selection and inheritance, which lie beneath the movements of history, corrects theories through adjustment of facts.
The reader need not, however, be alarmed with apprehension of technical investigation and tiresome research, nor with threats of an excursion into prehistoric times. This small volume is not a scientific, a philosophical, nor an economic essay. The facts to be considered are patent to the observation of all. The method is empirical, not philosophical; illustrative, not theoretical. Science and philosophy are drawn upon so far as they serve the purposes of the discussion. Social changes which have occurred, and social programmes which are proposed, are frequently mentioned. But the book is no more nor less than a series of observations and reflections which, from various points of view, exhibit the variety and the unity of men.
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