Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 87.djvu/200

This page has been validated.

though the distinction between factors, forces, means and methods is not always carefully drawn. Buckle, in his "History of Civilization in England" attributes social changes, hence progress, to climate, food, soil and the general aspect of nature. Buckle, however, regards only the external factors of progress; and inasmuch as he holds that physical agents are the primary and the chief factors in human development, he anticipates the modern advocates of the materialistic conception of history. John Fiske says:

The prime factors in social progress are the community and its environment.

By environment, Fiske means to include not only the climate, soil, flora and fauna, perpendicular elevation, relation to mountain ranges, length of coast-line, character of scenery and geographic position with reference to other countries, but also "the ideas, feelings, experiments and observances of past times, so far as they are preserved by literature, traditions or monuments, as well as foreign contemporary manners and opinions so far as they are known and recorded by the community." He does not attempt to analyze his conception of "community." Professor Carver in compiling his "Hand-Book for Students of Sociology" arranges his material under the following heads: the physical and geological factors, the psychical factors, the social and economic factors and the political and legal factors. In still another classification we find the factors of social evolution divided as follows: physical and geographical, biological, hygienic and eugenic, genetic and economic, political and legal, ethical and religious, esthetic, intellectual and associational.[1]

The literature of the subject aside, however, we need only to glance at the social process to see that the factors at work in the advancement of society are external and internal. The external factors arrange themselves under three heads, namely, the physical, the vital and the societal. The physical factors include soil, climate, topography, etc.; the vital include the regional flora and fauna; and the societal, the surrounding social groups that in one way or another exercise an influence on a given society. The internal factors consist in two things, and two things only: they are men and the things that men have made, or, somewhat less exactly, ideas and the embodied results of ideas in language, literature, the sciences, the arts, law, property, the state, religion, etc. Chief among the internal factors the one indeed from which all others are derived, is the intellect acting as a guide to the will. Professor Ward is practically correct when he declares that it is through the cooperation of the will and the intellect that civilization has been brought about. At all events, these are the great and comprehensive internal factors of civilization and progress.

In presenting these classifications of the factors of social progress, I am not concerned merely with their completeness or accuracy. I wish rather to bring out two significant facts: First, that the factors of prog-

  1. Bogardus, a syllabus entitled "An Introduction to the Social Sciences."