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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/159

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EXACT METHODS IN SOCIOLOGY.

of the present century. When Quetelet, in 1835, published his great work, Sur l'Homme et le Développement de ses Facultés, he laid the foundation for a thorough statistical investigation of psychological and sociological no less than of anatomical phenomena. And after the publication, in 1846, of his work, Sur la Théorie des Probabilités appliquées aux Sciences morales et politiques, followed, in 1848, by Du Système social et des Lois qui le régissent, there was a rapid development of statistical methods in precision, and of attempts to extend the statistical method to groups of facts which had until then been studied only from a purely qualitative or, at best, a vaguely comparative point of view. At the present time every subdivision of descriptive sociology draws data from rich collections of statistical materials, and employs statistical methods for the further extension of knowledge.

Thus, in the study of the social population, statistical methods are employed not only to give the total number of inhabitants dwelling within a given territory and the degree of density of population per square mile, but also to show to what extent population increases by births in excess of deaths, to what extent by immigration in excess of emigration, and to what extent the composition of the population is rendered complex by the intermingling of many nationalities. The character of a population, also, and its social capacities are in a large measure statistically investigated. General intelligence is studied by means of statistics of literacy and illiteracy; industrial preferences by statistics of occupation; habits of industry by statistics of the number in every thousand of the total population who regularly follow gainful occupations; frugality by statistics of savings, insurance, and home ownership; and the amount of communication, whereby assimilation and cooperation are rendered possible, by statistics of travel, mail, and telegraphic service.

Passing to that study of concerted feeling, thought, and purpose which may be called a study of the social mind, and which constitutes the second great division of descriptive sociology, we find that it can be carried on, and that to a great extent it is prosecuted, by means of statistical research. We have statistics incomplete, but admitting of perfection, of those impulsive, emotional disturbances of masses of men which take the form of strikes, insurrections, lynchings, and revivals. The report of the United States Department of Labor on strikes, published in 1894, and a recently published monograph by Dr. Frederick S. Hall on Sympathetic Strikes, show the possibilities of this method whenever it shall be exhaustively applied. It could be successfully applied to the other phenomena mentioned. By painstaking effort and a sufficient ex-