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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/168

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158
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ied. The increase of population is arithmetically measured, and it stands in relations of direct causation to every social change. The historian, therefore, in forming his judgments of relative increase or decrease should always take the increase or decrease of population per square mile as his term of comparison.

What meaning, finally, shall be attached to the word "great" when the historian wishes to distinguish "great" increase or "great" decrease from "increase" or "decrease" in general, and absolute statistics are not available? There is one, and, as far as I can see, only one, perfectly satisfactory procedure.

Let the investigator subdivide the community which he is studying into enumeration units according to the method suggested above for the descriptive monograph. Let him then make as many tables as there are ten-year periods in the general historical period that he is investigating. That is to say, let him make a table for 1850, for 1860, for 1870, for 1880, and for 1890. Let him then proceed according to the method laid down for the descriptive monograph, entering opposite each Commonwealth the symbol for majority or minority, thus showing by States, for each of the ten-year periods, the prevalence of the trait or activity under investigation. Suppose, for example, that the phenomenon studied is the growth of popular interest in prize fighting since 1850. The historian should begin by asking. In what States, if any, in 1850 were large majorities of the people interested in prize fights to the extent of countenancing them and eagerly following their progress? In what States were only small majorities so interested, in what States only large minorities, and in what ones only small minorities? The best answers that the historian can make to these questions, after examining all the evidence that he can command, he should record by entering the proper symbol against each State, after which he should repeat the procedure for the date 1860, for the date 1870, and so on. When his tables are thus completed, he should count up the number of entries of each symbol in each table. If then he finds that in less than half of his enumeration units—i.e., in less than half of all the States and Territories—small minorities have become large minorities, large minorities have become small majorities, or small majorities have become large, he will be justified in concluding that there has been an increase, but not a "great" increase, in popular interest in prize fighting. If, however, he discovers that these changes have occurred in more than half of his enumeration units, he can say with reason that the increase of interest in prize fighting has been "great."

Cases may arise in which a correction of the judgment thus