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1. Preliminary Notions of Social Contact

The fundamental social process is that of interaction. This interaction is (a) of persons with persons, and (b) of groups with groups. The simplest aspect of interaction, or its primary phase, is contact. Contact may be considered as the initial stage of interaction, and preparatory to the later stages. The phenomena of social contact require analysis before proceeding to the more difficult study of the mechanism of social interaction.

“With whom am I in contact?” Common sense has in stock ready answers to this question.

There is, first of all, the immediate circle of contact through the senses. Touch is the most intimate kind of contact. Face-to-face relations include, in addition to touch, visual and auditory sensations. Speech and hearing by their very nature establish a bond of contact between persons.

Even in common usage, the expression “social contact” is employed beyond the limits fixed by the immediate responses of touch, sight, and hearing. Its area has expanded to include connection through all the forms of communication, i.e., language, letters, and the printed page; connection through the medium of the telephone, telegraph, radio, moving picture, etc. The evolution of the devices for communication has taken place in the fields of two senses alone, those of hearing and seeing. Touch remains limited to the field of primary association. But the newspaper with its elaborate mechanism of communication gives publicity to events in London, Moscow, and Tokio, and the motion picture unreels to our gaze scenes from distant lands and foreign peoples with all the illusion of reality.

The frontiers of social contact are farther extended to the widest horizons, by commerce. The economists, for example, include in their conception of society the intricate and complex maze of relations created by the competition and co-operation of individuals and societies within the limits of a world-wide economy. This inclusion of unconscious as well as conscious reciprocal influences in the concept of social relations brings into “contact” the members of a village missionary society with the savages of the equatorial regions of Africa; or the pale-faced drug addict, with the dark-skinned Hindu laborers upon the opium fields of Benares; or the man gulping down coffee at the breakfast table, with the Java planter; the crew of the Pacific freighter and its cargo of spices with the American wholesaler and retailer in food products. In short, everyone is in a real, though concealed and devious, way in contact with every other person in the world. Contacts of this type, remote from the familiar experiences of everyday life, have reality to the intellectual and the mystic and are appreciated by the masses only when co-operation breaks down, or competition becomes conscious and passes into conflict.

These three popular meanings of contacts emphasize (1) the intimacy of sensory responses, (2) the extension of contact through devices of communication based upon sight and hearing, and (3) the solidarity and interdependence created and maintained by the fabric of social life, woven as it is from the intricate and invisible strands of human interests in the process of a world-wide competition and co-operation.

2. The Sociological Concept of Contact

The use of the term “contact” in sociology is not a departure from, but a development of, its customary significance. In the preceding chapter the point was made that the distinction between isolation and contact is not absolute but relative. Members of a society spatially separate, but socially in contact through sense perception and through communication of ideas, may be thereby mobilized to collective behavior. Sociological interest in this situation lies in the fact that the various kinds of social contacts between persons and groups determine behavior. The student of problems of American society, for example, realizes the necessity of understanding the mutual reactions involved in the contacts of the foreign and the native-born, of the white and the negro, and of employers and employees. In other words, contact, as the first stage of social interaction, conditions and controls the later stages of the process.

It is convenient, for certain purposes, to conceive of contact in terms of space. The contacts of persons and of groups may then be plotted in units of social distance. This permits graphic representation of relations of sequence and of coexistence in terms both of units of separation and of contact. This spatial conception may now be applied to the explanation of the readings in social contacts.

3. Classification of the Materials

In sociological literature there have grown up certain distinctions between types of social contacts. Physical contacts are distinguished from social contacts; relations within the “in-group” are perceived to be different from relations with the “out-group”; contacts of historical continuity are compared with contacts of mobility; primary contacts are set off from secondary contacts. How far and with what advantage may these distinctions be stated in spatial terms?

a) Land as a basis for social contacts. The position of persons and peoples on the earth gives us a literal picture of the spatial conception of social contact. The cluster of homes in the Italian agricultural community suggests the difference in social life in comparison with the isolated homesteads of rural America. A gigantic spot map of the United States upon which every family would be indicated by a dot would represent schematically certain different conditions influencing group behavior in arid areas, the open country, hamlets, villages, towns, and cities. The movements of persons charted with detail sufficient to bring out variations in the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly routine, would undoubtedly reveal interesting identities and differences in the intimacy and intensity of social contacts. It would be possible and profitable to classify people with reference to the routine of their daily lives.

b) Touch as the physiological basis of social contact. According to the spatial conception the closest contacts possible are those of touch. The physical proximity involved in tactile sensations is, however, but the symbol of the intensity of the reactions to contact. Desire and aversion for contacts, as Crawley shows in his selection, arise in the most intimate relations of human life. Love and hate, longing and disgust, sympathy and hostility increase in intensity with intimacy of association. It is a current sociological fallacy that closeness of contact results only in the growth of good will. The fact is, that with increasing contact either attraction or repulsion may be the outcome, depending upon the situation and upon factors not yet fully analyzed. Peculiar conditions of contact, as its prolonged duration, its frequent repetition, just as in the case of isolation from normal association, may lead to the inversion of the original impulses and sentiments of affection and antipathy.

c) Contacts with the “in-group” and with the “out-group." The conception of the we-group in terms of distance is that of a group in which the solidarity of units is so complete that the movements and sentiments of all are completely regulated with reference to their interests and behavior as a group. This control by the in-group over its members makes for solidity and impenetrability in its relations with the out-group. Sumner in his Folkways indicates how internal sympathetic contacts and group egotism result in double standards of behavior: good-will and co-operation within the members of the in-group, hostility and suspicion toward the out-group and its members. The essential point is perhaps best brought out by Shaler in his distinction between sympathetic and categoric contacts. He describes the transition from contacts of the out-group to those of the in-group, or from remote to intimate relations. From a distance, a person has the characteristics of his group, upon close acquaintance he reveals his individuality.

d) Historical continuity and mobility. Historical continuity, which maintains the identity of the present with the past, implies the existence of a body of tradition which is transmitted from the older to the younger generations. Through the medium of tradition, including in that term all the learning, science, literature, and practical arts, not to speak of the great body of oral tradition which is after all a larger part of life than we imagine, the historical and cultural life is maintained. This is the meaning of the long period of childhood in man during which the younger generation is living under the care and protection of the older. When, for any reason, this contact of the younger with the older generation is interrupted as is true in the case of immigrants a very definite cultural deterioration frequently ensues.

Contacts of mobility are those of a changing present, and measure the number and variety of the stimulations which the social life and movements the discovery of the hour, the book of the moment, the passing fads and fashions afford. Contacts of mobility give us novelty and news. It is through contacts of this sort that change takes place.

Mobility, accordingly, measures not merely the social contacts that one gains from travel and exploration, but the stimulation and suggestions that come to us through the medium of communication, by which sentiments and ideas are put in social circulation. Through the newspaper, the common man of today participates in the social movements of his time. His illiterate forbear of yesterday, on the other hand, lived unmoved by the current of world-events outside his hamlet. The tempo of modern societies may be measured comparatively by the relative perfection of devices of communication and the rapidity of the circulation of sentiments, opinions, and facts. Indeed, the efficiency of any society or of any group is to be measured not alone in terms of numbers or of material resources, but also in terms of mobility and access through communication and publicity to the common fund of tradition and culture.

e) Primary and secondary contacts. Primary contacts are those of “intimate face-to-face association”; secondary contacts are those of externality and greater distance. A study of primary association indicates that this sphere of contact falls into two areas: one of intimacy and the other of acquaintance. In the diagram which follows, the field of primary contacts has been subdivided so that it includes (x) a circle of greater intimacy, (y) a wider circle of acquaintanceship. The completed chart would appear as shown on page 285.

Primary contacts of the greatest intimacy are (a) those represented by the affections that ordinarily spring up within the family, particularly between parents and children, husband and wife; and (b) those of fellowship and affection outside the family as between lovers, bosom friends, and boon companions. These relations are all manifestations of a craving for response. These personal relationships are the nursery for the development of human nature and personality. John Watson, who studied several hundred new-born infants in the psychological laboratory, concludes that “the first few years are the all-important ones, for shaping the emotional life of the child." The primary virtues and ideals of which Cooley writes so sympathetically are, for the most part, projections from family life. Certainly in these most intimate relations of life in the contacts of the family circle, in the closest friendships, personality is most severely tried, realizes its most characteristic expressions, or is most completely disorganized.

A, primary contacts; x, greater intimacy; y, acquaintanceship;
B, secondary contacts]

Just as the life of the family represents the contacts of touch and response, the neighborhood or the village is the natural area of primary contacts and the city the social environment of secondary contacts. In primary association individuals are in contact with each other at practically all points of their lives. In the village “everyone knows everything about everyone else.” Canons of conduct are absolute, social control is omnipotent, the status of the family and the individual is fixed. In secondary association individuals are in contact with each other at only one or two points in their lives. In the city, the individual becomes anonymous; at best he is generally known in only one or two aspects of his life. Standards of behavior are relative; the old primary controls have disappeared; the new secondary instruments of discipline, necessarily formal, are for the most part crude and inefficient; the standing of the family and of the individual is uncertain and subject to abrupt changes upward or downward in the social scale.

Simmel has made a brilliant contribution in his analysis of the sociological significance of “the stranger.” “The stranger” in the sociological sense is the individual who unites in his social relations primary and secondary contacts. Simmel himself employs the conception of social distance in his statement of the stranger as the combination of the near and the far. It is interesting and significant to determine the different types of the union of intimacy and externality in the relations of teacher and student, physician and patient, minister and layman, lawyer and client, social worker and applicant for relief.

A complete analysis of the bearing upon personal and cultural life of changes from a society based upon contacts of continuity and of primary relations to a society of increasing mobility organized around secondary contacts cannot be given here. Certain of the most obvious contrasts of the transition may, however, be stated. Increasing mobility of persons in society almost inevitably leads to change and therefore to loss of continuity. In primary groups, where social life moves slowly, there is a greater sense of continuity than in secondary groups where it moves rapidly.

There is a further contrast if not conflict between direct and intimate contacts and contacts based upon communication of ideas. All sense of values, as Windelband has pointed out, rests upon concrete experience, that is to say upon sense contacts. Society, to the extent that it is organized about secondary contacts, is based upon abstractions, upon science and technique. Secondary contacts of this type have only secondary values because they represent means rather than ends. Just as all behavior arises in sense impressions it must also terminate in sense impressions to realize its ends and attain its values. The effect of life in a society based on secondary contacts is to build up between the impulse and its end a world of means, to project values into the future, and to direct life toward the realization of distant hopes.

The ultimate effect upon the individual as he becomes accommodated to secondary society is to find a substitute expression for his primary response in the artificial physical environment of the city. The detachment of the person from intimate, direct, and spontaneous contacts with social reality is in large measure responsible for the intricate maze of problems of urban life.

The change from concrete and personal to abstract and impersonal relations in economic and social life began with the Industrial Revolution. The machine is the symbol of the monotonous routine of impersonal, unskilled, large-scale production just as the hand tool is the token of the interesting activity of personal, skilled, handicraft work. The so-called “instinct of workmanship” no longer finds expression in the anonymous standardized production of modern industry.

It is not in industry alone that the natural impulses of the person for response, recognition, and self-expression are balked. In social work, politics, religion, art, and sport the individual is represented now by proxies where formerly he participated in person. All the forms of communal activity in which all persons formerly shared have been taken over by professionals. The great mass of men in most of the social activities of modern life are no longer actors, but spectators. The average man of the present time has been relegated by the influence of the professional politician to the rôle of taxpayer. In social work organized charity has come between the giver and the needy.

In these and other manifold ways the artificial conditions of city life have deprived the person of most of the natural outlets for the expression of his interests and his energies. To this fact is to be attributed in large part the restlessness, the thirst for novelty and excitement so characteristic of modern life. This emotional unrest has been capitalized by the newspapers, commercialized recreations, fashion, and agitation in their appeal to the sensations, the emotions, and the instincts loosened from the satisfying fixations of primary-group life. The raison d’etre of social work, as well as the fundamental problem of all social institutions in city life must be understood in its relation to this background.



1. The Frontiers of Social Contact

Sociology deals especially with the phenomena of contact. The reactions which result from voluntary or involuntary contact of human beings with other human beings are the phenomena peculiarly “social,” as distinguished from the phenomena that belong properly to biology and psychology.

In the first place, we want to indicate, not the essence of the social, but the location, the sphere, the extent, of the social. If we can agree where it is, we may then proceed to discover what it is. The social, then, is the term next beyond the individual. Assuming, for the sake of analysis, that our optical illusion, “the individual,” is an isolated and self-sufficient fact, there are many sorts of scientific problems that do not need to go beyond this fact to satisfy their particular terms. Whether the individual can ever be abstracted from his conditions and remain himself is not a question that we need here discuss. At all events, the individual known to our experience is not isolated. He is connected in various ways with one or more individuals. The different ways in which individuals are connected with each other are indicated by the inclusive term “contact.” Starting, then, from the individual, to measure him in all his dimensions and to represent him in all his phases, we find that each person is what he is by virtue of the existence of other persons, and by virtue of an alternating current of influence between each person and all the other persons previously or at the same time in existence. The last native of Central Africa around whom we throw the dragnet of civilization, and whom we inoculate with a desire for whiskey, adds an increment to the demand for our distillery products, and affects the internal revenue of the United States, and so the life-conditions of every member of our population. This is what we mean by “contact.” So long as that African tribe is unknown to the outside world, and the world to it, so far as the European world is concerned, the tribe might as well not exist. The moment the tribe comes within touch of the rest of the world, the aggregate of the world’s contacts is by so much enlarged; the social world is by so much extended. In other words, the realm of the social is the realm of circuits of reciprocal influence between individuals and the groups which individuals compose. The general term “contact” is proposed to stand for this realm, because it is a colorless word that may mark boundaries without prejudging contents. Wherever there is physical or spiritual contact between persons, there is inevitably a circuit of exchange of influence. The realm of the social is the realm constituted by such exchange. It extends from the producing of the baby by the mother, and the simultaneous producing of the mother by the baby, to the producing of merchant and soldier by the world-powers, and the producing of the world-powers by merchant and soldier.

The most general and inclusive way in which to designate all the phenomena that sociology proper considers, without importing into the term premature hypotheses by way of explanation, is to assert that they are the phenomena of “contact” between persons.

In accordance with what was said about the division of labor between psychology and sociology, it seems best to leave to the psychologist all that goes on inside the individual and to say that the work of the sociologist begins with the things that take place between individuals. This principle of division is not one that can be maintained absolutely, any more than we can hold absolutely to any other abstract classification of real actions. It serves, however, certain rough uses. Our work as students of society begins in earnest when the individual has become equipped with his individuality. This stage of human growth is both cause and effect of the life of human beings side by side in greater or lesser numbers. Under those circumstances individuals are produced; they act as individuals; by their action as individuals they produce a certain type of society; that type reacts on the individuals and helps to transform them into different types of individuals, who in turn produce a modified type of society; and so the rhythm goes on forever. Now the medium through which all this occurs is the fact of contacts, either physical or spiritual. In either case, contacts are collisions of interests in the individuals.

2. The Land and the People

Every clan, tribe, state, or nation includes two ideas, a people and its land, the first unthinkable without the other. History, sociology, ethnology, touch only the inhabited areas of the earth. These areas gain their final significance because of the people who occupy them; their local conditions of climate, soil, natural resources, physical features, and geographic situation are important primarily as factors in the development of actual or possible inhabitants. A land is fully comprehended only when studied in the light of its influence upon its people, and a people cannot be understood apart from the field of its activities. More than this, human activities are fully intelligible only in relation to the various geographic conditions which have stimulated them in different parts of the world. The principles of the evolution of navigation, of agriculture, of trade, as also the theory of population, can never reach their correct and final statement, unless the data for the conclusions are drawn from every part of the world and each fact interpreted in the light of the local conditions whence it sprang. Therefore anthropology, sociology, and history should be permeated by geography.

Most systems of sociology treat man as if he were in some way detached from the earth’s surface; they ignore the land basis of society. The anthropogeographer recognizes the various social forces, economic and psychologic, which sociologists regard as the cement of societies; but he has something to add. He sees in the land occupied by a primitive tribe or a highly organized state the underlying material bond holding society together, the ultimate basis of their fundamental social activities, which are therefore derivatives from the land. He sees the common territory exercising an integrating force weak in primitive communities where the group has established only a few slight and temporary relations with its soil, so that this low social complex breaks up readily like its organic counterpart, the low animal organism found in an amoeba; he sees it growing stronger with every advance in civilization involving more complex relations to the land with settled habitations, with increased density of population, with a discriminating and highly differentiated use of the soil, with the exploitation of mineral resources, and, finally, with that far-reaching exchange of commodities and ideas which means the establishment of varied extra-territorial relations. Finally, the modern society or state has grown into every foot of its own soil, exploited its every geographic advantage, utilized its geographic location to enrich itself by international trade, and, when possible, to absorb outlying territories by means of colonies. The broader this geographic base, the richer, more varied, its resources, and the more favorable its climate to their exploitation, the more numerous and complex are the connections which the members of a social group can establish with it, and through it with each other; or, in other words, the greater may be its ultimate historical significance.

3. Touch and Social Contact

General ideas concerning human relations are the medium through which sexual taboo works, and these must now be examined. If we compare the facts of social taboo generally, or of its subdivision, sexual taboo, we find that the ultimate test of human relations, in both genus and species, is contact. An investigation of primitive ideas concerning the relations of man with man, when guided by this clue, will lay bare the principles which underlie the theory and practice of sexual taboo. Arising, as we have seen, from sexual differentiation, and forced into permanence by difference of occupation and sexual solidarity, this segregation receives the continuous support of religious conceptions as to human relations. These conceptions center upon contact, and ideas of contact are at the root of all conceptions of human relations at any stage of culture; contact is the one universal test, as it is the most elementary form, of mutual relations. Psychology bears this out, and the point is psychological rather than ethnological.

As I have pointed out before and shall have occasion to do so again, a comparative examination, assisted by psychology, of the emotions and ideas of average modern humanity is a most valuable aid to ethnological inquiry. In this connection, we find that desire or willingness for physical contact is an animal emotion, more or less subconscious, which is characteristic of similarity, harmony, friendship, or love. Throughout the world, the greeting of a friend is expressed by contact, whether it be nose-rubbing, or the kiss, the embrace, or the clasp of hands; so the ordinary expression of friendship by a boy, that eternal savage, is contact of arm and shoulder. More interesting still for our purpose is the universal expression by contact of the emotion of love. To touch his mistress is the ever-present desire of the lover, and in this impulse, even if we do not trace it back, as we may without being fanciful, to polar or sexual attraction inherent in the atoms, the [Greek: philia] of Empedocles, yet we may place the beginning and ending of love. When analyzed, the emotion always comes back to contact.

Further, mere willingness for contact is found universally when the person to be touched is healthy, if not clean, or where he is of the same age or class or caste, and, we may add, for ordinary humanity the same sex.

On the other hand, the avoidance of contact, whether consciously or subconsciously presented, is no less the universal characteristic of human relations where similarity, harmony, friendship, or love is absent. This appears in the attitude of men to the sick, to strangers, distant acquaintances, enemies, and in cases of difference of age, position, sympathies or aims, and even of sex. Popular language is full of phrases which illustrate this feeling.

Again, the pathology of the emotions supplies many curious cases where the whole being seems concentrated upon the sense of touch, with abnormal desire or disgust for contact; and in the evolution of the emotions from physiological pleasure and pain, contact plays an important part in connection with functional satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the environment.

In the next place, there are the facts, first, that an element of thought inheres in all sensation, while sensation conditions thought; and secondly, that there is a close connection of all the senses, both in origin each of them being a modification of the one primary sense of touch and in subsequent development, where the specialized organs are still co-ordinated through tactile sensation, in the sensitive surface of organism. Again, and here we see the genesis of ideas of contact, it is by means of the tactile sensibility of the skin and membranes of sense-organs, forming a sensitized as well as a protecting surface, that the nervous system conveys to the brain information about the external world, and this information is in its original aspect the response to impact. Primitive physics, no less than modern, recognizes that contact is a modified form of a blow. These considerations show that contact not only plays an important part in the life of the soul but must have had a profound influence on the development of ideas, and it may now be assumed that ideas of contact have been a universal and original constant factor in human relations and that they are so still. The latter assumption is to be stressed, because we find that the ideas which lie beneath primitive taboo are still a vital part of human nature, though mostly emptied of their religious content; and also because, as I hold, ceremonies and etiquette, such as still obtain, could not possess such vitality as they do unless there were a living psychological force behind them, such as we find in elementary ideas which come straight from functional processes.

These ideas of contact are primitive in each sense of the word, at whatever stage of culture they appear. They seem to go back in origin and in character to that highly developed sensibility of all animal and even organized life, which forms at once a biological monitor and a safeguard for the whole organism in relation to its environment. From this sensibility there arise subjective ideas concerning the safety or danger of the environment, and in man we may suppose these subjective ideas as to his environment, and especially as to his fellow-men, to be the origin of his various expressions of avoidance or desire for contact.

Lastly, it is to be observed that avoidance of contact is the most conspicuous phenomenon attaching to cases of taboo when its dangerous character is prominent. In taboo the connotation of “not to be touched” is the salient point all over the world, even in cases of permanent taboo such as belongs to Samoan and Maori chiefs, with whom no one dared come in contact; and so we may infer the same aversion to be potential in all such relations.


1. The In-Group and the Out-Group

The conception of “primitive society” which we ought to form is that of small groups scattered over a territory. The size of the groups is determined by the conditions of the struggle for existence. The internal organization of each group corresponds to its size. A group of groups may have some relation to each other (kin, neighborhood, alliance, connubium, and commercium) which draws them together and differentiates them from others. Thus a differentiation arises between ourselves, the we-group, or in-group, and everybody else, or the others-groups, out-groups. The insiders in a we-group are in a relation of peace, order, law, government, and industry, to each other. Their relation to all outsiders, or others-groups, is one of war and plunder, except so far as agreements have modified it. If a group is exogamic, the women in it were born abroad somewhere. Other foreigners who might be found in it are adopted persons, guest-friends, and slaves.

The relation of comradeship and peace in the we-group and that of hostility and war toward others-groups are correlative to each other. The exigencies of war with outsiders are what make peace inside, lest internal discord should weaken the we-group for war. These exigencies also make government and law in the in-group, in order to prevent quarrels and enforce discipline. Thus war and peace have reacted on each other and developed each other, one within the group, the other in the intergroup relation. The closer the neighbors, and the stronger they are, the intenser is the warfare, and then the intenser is the internal organization and discipline of each. Sentiments are produced to correspond. Loyalty to the group, sacrifice for it, hatred and contempt for outsiders, brotherhood within, warlikeness without all grow together, common products of the same situation.

Ethnocentrism is the technical name for this view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it. Folkways correspond to it to cover both the inner and the outer relation. Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities, and looks with contempt on outsiders. Each group thinks its own folkways the only right ones, and if it observes that other groups have other folkways, these excite its scorn. Opprobrious epithets are derived from these differences. “Pig-eater,” “cow-eater,” “uncircumcised,” “jabberers,” are epithets of contempt and abomination.

2. Sympathetic Contacts versus Categoric Contacts

Let us now consider what takes place when two men, mere strangers to one another, come together. The motive of classification, which I have considered in another chapter, leads each of them at once to recognize the approaching object first as living, then as human. The shape and dress carry the categorizing process yet farther, so that they are placed in groups, as of this or that tribe or social class, and as these determinations are made they arouse the appropriate sympathies or hatreds such as by experience have become associated with the several categories. Be it observed that these judgments are spontaneous, instinctive, and unnoticed. They are made so by immemorial education in the art of contact which man has inherited from the life of the ancestral beasts and men; they have most likely been in some measure affirmed by selection, for these determinations as to the nature of the neighbor were in the lower stages of existence in brute and man of critical importance, the creatures lived or died according as they determined well or ill, swiftly or slowly. If we observe what takes place in our own minds at such meetings we will see that the action in its immediateness is like that of the eyelids when the eye is threatened. As we say, it is done before we know it.

With this view as to the conditions of human contact, particularly of what occurs when men first meet one another, let us glance at what takes place in near intercourse. We have seen that at the beginning of any acquaintance the fellow-being is inevitably dealt with in the categoric way. He is taken as a member of a group, which group is denoted to us by a few convenient signs; as our acquaintance with a particular person advances, this category tends to become qualified. Its bounds are pushed this way and that until they break down. It is to be noted in this process that the category fights for itself, or we for it, so that the result of the battle between the immediate truth and the prejudice is always doubtful. It is here that knowledge, especially that gained by individual experience, is most helpful. The uninformed man, who begins to find, on the nearer view of an Israelite, that the fellow is like himself, holds by his category in the primitive way. The creature is a Jew, therefore the evidence of kinship must not count. He who is better informed is, or should be, accustomed to amend his categories. He may, indeed, remember that he is dealing with a neighbor of the race which gave us not only Christ, but all the accepted prophets who have shaped our own course, and his understanding helps to cast down the barriers of instinctive prejudice.

At the stage of advancing acquaintance where friendship is attained, the category begins to disappear from our minds. We may, indeed, measure the advance in this relation by the extent to which it has been broken down. Looking attentively at our mental situation as regards those whom we know pretty well, we see that most of them are still, though rather faintly, classified into groups. While a few of the nearer stand forth by themselves, all of the nearest to our hearts are absolutely individualized, so that our judgments of them are made on the basis of our own motives and what we of ourselves discern. We may use categoric terms concerning our lovers, spouses, or children, but they have no real meaning; these persons are to us purely individual, all trace of the inclusive category has disappeared; they are, in the full sense of the word, our neighbors, being so near that when we look upon them we see nothing else, not even ourselves.

Summing up these considerations concerning human contact, it may be said that the world works by a system of individualities rising in scale as we advance from the inorganic through the organic series until we find the summit in man. The condition of all these individuals is that of isolation; each is necessarily parted from all the others in the realm, each receiving influences, and, in turn, sending forth its peculiar tide of influences to those of its own and other kinds. This isolation in the case of man is singularly great for the reason that he is the only creature we know in the realm who is so far endowed with consciousness that he can appreciate his position and know the measure of his solitude. In the case of all individuals the discernible is only a small part of what exists. In man the measure of this presentation is, even to himself, very small, and that which he can readily make evident to his neighbor is an exceedingly limited part of the real whole. Yet it is on this slender basis that we must rest our relations with the fellow man if we are to found them upon knowledge. The imperfection of this method of ascertaining the fellow-man is well shown by the trifling contents of the category discriminations we apply to him. While, as has been suggested, much can be done by those who have gained in knowledge of our kind by importing understandings into our relations with men, the only effective way to the betterment of those relations is through the sympathies.

What can be done by knowledge in helping us to a comprehension of the fellow-man is at best merely explanatory of his place in the phenomenal world; of itself it has only scientific value. The advantage of the sympathetic way of approach is that in this method the neighbor is accounted for on the supposition that he is ourself in another form, so we feel for and with him on the instinctive hypothesis that he is essentially ourself. There can be no question that this method of looking upon other individualities is likely to lead to many errors. We see examples of these blunders in all the many grades of the personifying process, from the savage’s worship of a tree or stone to the civilized man’s conception of a human-like god. We see them also in the attribution to the lower animals of thoughts and feelings which are necessarily limited to our own kind, but in the case of man the conception of identity gives a minimum of error and a maximum of truth. It, indeed, gives a truer result than could possibly be attained by any scientific inquiries that we could make, or could conceive of being effectively made, and this for the following reasons.

When, as in the sympathetic state, we feel that the neighbor of our species is essentially ourself, the tacit assumption is that his needs and feelings are as like our own as our own states of mind at diverse times are like one another, so that we might exchange motives with him without experiencing any great sense of strangeness. What we have in mind is not the measure of instruction or education, not the class or station or other adventitious circumstances, but the essential traits of his being. Now this supposition is entirely valid. All we know of mankind justifies the statement that, as regards all the qualities and motives with which the primal sympathies deal, men are remarkably alike. Their loves, hates, fears, and sorrows are alike in their essentials; so that the postulate of sympathy that the other man is essentially like one’s self is no idle fancy but an established truth. It not only embodies the judgment of all men in thought and action but has its warrant from all the science we can apply to it.

It is easy to see how by means of sympathy we can at once pass the gulf which separates man from man. All the devices of the ages in the way of dumb or spoken language fail to win across the void, and leave the two beings apart; but with a step the sympathetic spirit passes the gulf. In this strange feature we have the completion of the series of differences between the inorganic and the organic groups of individualities. In the lower or non-living isolations there is no reason why the units should do more than mechanically interact. All their service in the realm can be best effected by their remaining forever completely apart. But when we come to the organic series, the units begin to have need of understanding their neighbors, in order that they may form those beginnings of the moral order which we find developing among the members even of the lowliest species. Out of this sympathetic accord arises the community, which we see in its simple beginnings in the earlier stages of life; it grows with the advance in the scale of being, and has its supreme success in man. Human society, the largest of all organic associations, requires that its units be knit together in certain common purposes and understandings, and the union can only be made effective by the ways of sympathy by the instinctive conviction of essential kinship.

3. Historical Continuity and Civilization

In matters connected with political and economical institutions we notice among the natural races very great differences in the sum of their civilization. Accordingly we have to look among them, not only for the beginnings of civilization, but for a very great part of its evolution, and it is equally certain that these differences are to be referred less to variations in endowment than to great differences in the conditions of their development. Exchange has also played its part, and unprejudiced observers have often been more struck in the presence of facts by agreement than by difference. “It is astonishing,” exclaims Chapman, when considering the customs of the Damaras, “what a similarity there is in the manners and practices of the human family throughout the world. Even here, the two different classes of Damaras practice rites in common with the New Zealanders, such as that of chipping out the front teeth and cutting off the little finger.” It is less astonishing if, as the same traveler remarks, their agreement with the Bechuanas goes even farther. Now, since the essence of civilization lies first in the amassing of experiences, then in the fixity with which these are retained, and lastly in the capacity to carry them farther or to increase them, our first question must be, how is it possible to realize the first fundamental condition of civilization, namely, the amassing a stock of culture in the form of handiness, knowledge, power, capital? It has long been agreed that the first step thereto is the transition from complete dependence upon what Nature freely offers to a conscious exploitation through man’s own labor, especially in agriculture or cattle-breeding, of such of her fruits as are most important to him. This transition opens at one stroke all the most remote possibilities of Nature, but we must always remember at the same time that it is still a long way from the first step to the height which has now been attained.

The intellect of man and also the intellect of whole races shows a wide discrepancy in regard to differences of endowment as well as in regard to the different effects which external circumstances produce upon it. Especially are there variations in the degree of inward coherence and therewith of the fixity or duration of the stock of intellect. The want of coherence, the breaking up of this stock, characterizes the lower stages of civilization no less than its coherence, its inalienability, and its power of growth do the higher. We find in low stages a poverty of tradition which allows these races neither to maintain a consciousness of their earlier fortunes for any appreciable period nor to fortify and increase their stock of intelligence either through the acquisitions of individual prominent minds or through the adoption and fostering of any stimulus. Here, if we are not entirely mistaken, is the basis of the deepest-seated differences between races. The opposition of historic and non-historic races seems to border closely upon it.

There is a distinction between the quickly ripening immaturity of the child and the limited maturity of the adult who has come to a stop in many respects. What we mean by “natural” races is something much more like the latter than the former. We call them races deficient in civilization, because internal and external conditions have hindered them from attaining to such permanent developments in the domain of culture as form the mark of the true civilized races and the guaranties of progress. Yet we should not venture to call any of them cultureless, so long as none of them is devoid of the primitive means by which the ascent to higher stages can be made language, religion, fire, weapons, implements; while the very possession of these means, and many others, such as domestic animals and cultivated plants, testifies to varied and numerous dealings with those races which are completely civilized.

The reasons why they do not make use of these gifts are of many kinds. Lower intellectual endowment is often placed in the first rank. That is a convenient but not quite fair explanation. Among the savage races of today we find great differences in endowments. We need not dispute that in the course of development races of even slightly higher endowments have got possession of more and more means of culture, and gained steadiness and security for their progress, while the less endowed remained behind. But external conditions, in respect to their furthering or hindering effects, can be more clearly recognized and estimated; and it is juster and more logical to name them first. We can conceive why the habitations of the savage races are principally to be found on the extreme borders of the inhabited world, in the cold and hot regions, in remote islands, in secluded mountains, in deserts. We understand their backward condition in parts of the earth which offer so few facilities for agriculture and cattle-breeding as Australia, the Arctic regions, or the extreme north and south of America. In the insecurity of incompletely developed resources we can see the chain which hangs heavily on their feet and confines their movements within a narrow space. As a consequence their numbers are small, and from this again results the small total amount of intellectual and physical accomplishment, the rarity of eminent men, the absence of the salutary pressure exercised by surrounding masses on the activity and forethought of the individual, which operates in the division of society into classes, and the promotion of a wholesome division of labor. A partial consequence of this insecurity of resources is the instability of natural races. A nomadic strain runs through them all, rendering easier to them the utter incompleteness of their unstable political and economical institutions, even when an indolent agriculture seems to tie them to the soil. Thus it often comes about that, in spite of abundantly provided and well-tended means of culture, their life is desultory, wasteful of power, unfruitful. This life has no inward consistency, no secure growth; it is not the life in which the germs of civilization first grew up to the grandeur in which we frequently find them at the beginnings of what we call history. It is full rather of fallings-away from civilization and dim memories from civilized spheres which in many cases must have existed long before the commencement of history as we have it.

By the word “civilization” or “culture” we denote usually the sum of all the acquirements at a given time of the human intelligence. When we speak of stages, of higher and lower, of semi-civilization, of civilized and “natural” races, we apply to the various civilizations of the earth a standard which we take from the degree that we have ourselves attained. Civilization means our civilization.

The confinement, in space as in time, which isolates huts, villages, races, no less than successive generations, involves the negation of culture; in its opposite, the intercourse of contemporaries and the interdependence of ancestors and successors, lies the possibility of development. The union of contemporaries secures the retention of culture, the linking of generations its unfolding. The development of civilization is a process of hoarding. The hoards grow of themselves so soon as a retaining power watches over them. In all domains of human creation and operation we shall see the basis of all higher development in intercourse. Only through co-operation and mutual help, whether between contemporaries, whether from one generation to another, has mankind succeeded in climbing to the stage of civilization on which its highest members now stand. On the nature and extent of this intercourse the growth depends. Thus the numerous small assemblages of equal importance, formed by the family stocks, in which the individual had no freedom, were less favorable to it than the larger communities and states of the modern world, with their encouragement to individual competition.

4. Mobility and the Movement of Peoples

Every country whose history we examine proves the recipient of successive streams of humanity. Even sea-girt England has received various intruding peoples, from the Roman occupation to the recent influx of Russian Jews. In prehistoric times it combined several elements in its population, as the discovery of the “long barrow” men and “round barrow” men by archaeologists and the identification of a surviving Iberian or Mediterranean strain by ethnologists go to prove. Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India tell the same story, whether in their recorded or unrecorded history. Tropical Africa lacks a history; but all that has been pieced together by ethnologists and anthropologists, in an effort to reconstruct its past, shows incessant movement growth, expansion, and short-lived conquest, followed by shrinkage, expulsion, or absorption by another invader. To this constant shifting of races and peoples the name of historical movement has been given, because it underlies most of written history and constitutes the major part of unwritten history, especially that of savage and nomadic tribes.

Among primitive peoples this movement is simple and monotonous. It involves all members of the tribe, either in pursuit of game or following the herd over the tribal territory, or in migrations seeking more and better land. Among civilized peoples it assumes various forms and especially is differentiated for different members of the social group. The civilized state develops specialized frontiers men, armies, explorers, maritime traders, colonists, and missionaries, who keep a part of the people constantly moving and directing external expansion, while the mass of the population converts the force once expended in the migrant food-quest into internal activity. Here we come upon a paradox. The nation as a whole, with the development of sedentary life, increases its population and therewith its need for external movements; it widens its national area and its circle of contact with other lands, enlarges its geographical horizon, and improves its internal communication over a growing territory; it evolves a greater mobility within and without, which attaches, however, to certain classes of society, not to the entire social group. This mobility becomes the outward expression of a whole complex of economic wants, intellectual needs, and political ambitions. It is embodied in the conquests which build up empires, in the colonization which develops new lands, in the world-wide exchange of commodities and ideas which lifts the level of civilization till this movement of peoples becomes a fundamental fact of history.

Otis Mason finds that the life of a social group involves a variety of movements characterized by different ranges or scopes: (1) The daily round from bed to bed. (2) The annual round from year to year, like that of the Tunguse Orochon of Siberia who, in pursuit of various fish and game, change their residence within their territory from month to month, or the pastoral nomads who move with the seasons from pasture to pasture. (3) Less systematic outside movements covering the tribal sphere of influence, such as journeys or voyages to remote hunting or fishing grounds, forays or piratical descents upon neighboring lands, eventuating usually in conquest, expansion into border regions for occasional occupation, or colonization. (4) Participation in streams of barter or commerce. (5) And, at a higher stage, in the great currents of human intercourse, experience, and ideas, which finally compass the world. In all this series the narrower movement prepares for the broader, of which it constitutes at once an impulse and a part.

Civilized man is at once more and less mobile than his primitive brother. Every advance in civilization multiplies and tightens the bonds uniting him with his soil, makes him a sedentary instead of a migratory being. On the other hand, every advance in civilization is attended by the rapid clearing of the forests, by the construction of bridges and interlacing roads, the invention of more effective vehicles for transportation whereby intercourse increases, and the improvement of navigation to the same end. Civilized man progressively modifies the land which he occupies, removes or reduces obstacles to intercourse, and thereby approximates it to the open plain. Thus far he facilitates movements. But while doing this he also places upon the land a dense population, closely attached to the soil, strong to resist incursion, and for economic reasons inhospitable to any marked accession of population from without. Herein lies the great difference between migration in empty or sparsely inhabited regions, such as predominated when the world was young, and in the densely populated countries of our era. As the earth grew old and humanity multiplied, peoples themselves became the greatest barriers to any massive migrations, till in certain countries of Europe and Asia the historical movement has been reduced to a continual pressure, resulting in compression of population here, repression there. Hence, though political boundaries may shift, ethnic boundaries scarcely budge. The greatest wars of modern Europe have hardly left a trace upon the distribution of its peoples. Only in the Balkan Peninsula, as the frontiers of the Turkish Empire have been forced back from the Danube, the alien Turks have withdrawn to the shrinking territory of the Sultan and especially to Asia Minor.

Where a population too great to be dislodged occupies the land, conquest results in the eventual absorption of the victors and their civilization by the native folk, as happened to the Lombards in Italy, the Vandals in Africa, and the Normans in England. Where the invaders are markedly superior in culture, though numerically weak, conquest results in the gradual permeation of the conquered with the religion, economic methods, language, and customs of the newcomers. The latter process, too, is always attended by some intermixture of blood, where no race repulsion exists, but this is small in comparison to the diffusion of civilization. This was the method by which Greek traders and colonists Hellenized the countries about the eastern Mediterranean and spread their culture far back from the shores which their settlements had appropriated. In this way Saracen armies, soon after the death of Mohammed, Arabized the whole eastern and southern sides of the Mediterranean from Syria to Spain, and Arab merchants set the stamp of their language and religion on the coasts of East Africa as far as Mozambique. The handful of Spanish adventurers who came upon the relatively dense populations of Mexico and Peru left among them a civilization essentially European, but only a thin strain of Castilian blood. Thus the immigration of small bands of people sufficed to influence the culture of that big territory known as Latin America.

Throughout the life of any people, from its fetal period in some small locality to its well-rounded adult era marked by the occupation and organization of a wide national territory, gradations in area mark gradations of development. And this is true, whether we consider the compass of their commercial exchanges, the scope of their maritime ventures, the extent of their linguistic area, the measure of their territorial ambitions, or the range of their intellectual interests and human sympathies. From land to ethics, the rule holds good. Peoples in the lower stages of civilization have contracted spatial ideas, desire and need at a given time only a limited territory, though they may change that territory often; they think in small linear terms, have a small horizon, a small circle of contact with others, a small range of influence, only tribal sympathies; they have an exaggerated conception of their own size and importance, because their basis of comparison is fatally limited. With a mature, widespread people like the English or French, all this is different; they have made the earth their own, so far as possible.

Just because of this universal tendency toward the occupation of ever larger areas and the formation of vaster political aggregates, in making a sociological or political estimate of different peoples, we should never lose sight of the fact that all racial and national characteristics which operate toward the absorption of more land and impel to political expansion are of fundamental value. A ship of state manned by such a crew has its sails set to catch the winds of the world.

Territorial expansion is always preceded by an extension of the circle of influence which a people exerts through its traders, its deep-sea fishermen, its picturesque marauders and more respectable missionaries, and earlier still by a widening of its mere geographical horizon through fortuitous or systematic exploration.


1. Village Life in America (from the Diary of a Young Girl)

November 21, 1852. I am ten years old today, and I think I will write a journal and tell who I am and what I am doing. I have lived with my Grandfather and Grandmother Beals ever since I was seven years old, and Anna, too, since she was four. Our brothers, James and John, came too, but they are at East Bloomfield at Mr. Stephen Clark’s Academy. Miss Laura Clark of Naples is their teacher.

Anna and I go to school at District N. Mr. James C. Cross is our teacher, and some of the scholars say he is cross by name and cross by nature, but I like him. He gave me a book by the name of Noble Deeds of American Women, for reward of merit, in my reading class.

Friday. Grandmother says I will have a great deal to answer for, because Anna looks up to me so and tries to do everything that I do and thinks whatever I say is “gospel truth.” The other day the girls at school were disputing with her about something and she said, “It is so, if it ain’t so, for Calline said so.” I shall have to “toe the mark,” as Grandfather says, if she keeps watch of me all the time and walks in my footsteps.

April 1, 1853. Before I go to school every morning I read three chapters in the Bible. I read three every day and five on Sunday and that takes me through the Bible in a year. Those I read this morning were the first, second, and third chapters of Job. The first was about Eliphaz reproveth Job; second, benefit of God’s correction; third, Job justifieth his complaint. I then learned a text to say at school. I went to school at quarter to nine and recited my text and we had prayers and then proceeded with the business of the day. Just before school was out, we recited in Science of Things Familiar, and in Dictionary, and then we had calisthenics.

July. Hiram Goodrich, who lives at Mr. Myron H. Clark’s, and George and Wirt Wheeler ran away on Sunday to seek their fortunes. When they did not come back everyone was frightened and started out to find them. They set out right after Sunday school, taking their pennies which had been given them for the contribution, and were gone several days. They were finally found at Palmyra. When asked why they had run away, one replied that he thought it was about time they saw something of the world. We heard that Mr. Clark had a few moments’ private conversation with Hiram in the barn and Mr. Wheeler the same with his boys and we do not think they will go traveling on their own hook again right off. Miss Upham lives right across the street from them and she was telling little Morris Bates that he must fight the good fight of faith and he asked her if that was the fight that Wirt Wheeler fit. She probably had to make her instructions plainer after that.

1854, Sunday. Mr. Daggett’s text this morning was the twenty-second chapter of Revelation, sixteenth verse, “I am the root and offspring of David and the bright and morning star.” Mrs. Judge Taylor taught our Sunday-school class today and she said we ought not to read our Sunday-school books on Sunday. I always do. Mine today was entitled, Cheap Repository Tracts by Hannah More, and it did not seem unreligious at all.

Tuesday. Mrs. Judge Taylor sent for me to come over to see her today. I didn’t know what she wanted, but when I got there she said she wanted to talk and pray with me on the subject of religion. She took me into one of the wings. I never had been in there before and was frightened at first, but it was nice after I got used to it. After she prayed, she asked me to, but I couldn’t think of anything but “Now I lay me down to sleep,” and I was afraid she would not like that, so I didn’t say anything. When I got home and told Anna, she said, “Caroline, I presume probably Mrs. Taylor wants you to be a missionary, but I shan’t let you go.” I told her she needn’t worry for I would have to stay at home and look after her. After school tonight I went out into Abbie Clark’s garden with her and she taught me how to play “mumble te peg.” It is fun, but rather dangerous. I am afraid Grandmother won’t give me a knife to play with. Abbie Clark has beautiful pansies in her garden and gave me some roots.

Sunday. I almost forgot that it was Sunday this morning and talked and laughed just as I do week days. Grandmother told me to write down this verse before I went to church so I would remember it: “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to offer the sacrifice of fools.” I will remember it now, sure. My feet are all right anyway with my new patten leather shoes on, but I shall have to look out for my head. Mr. Thomas Howell read a sermon today as Mr. Daggett is out of town. Grandmother always comes upstairs to get the candle and tuck us in before she goes to bed herself, and some nights we are sound asleep and do not hear her, but last night we only pretended to be asleep. She kneeled down by the bed and prayed aloud for us, that we might be good children and that she might have strength given her from on high to guide us in the straight and narrow path which leads to life eternal. Those were her very words. After she had gone downstairs we sat up in bed and talked about it and promised each other to be good, and crossed our hearts and “hoped to die,” if we broke our promise. Then Anna was afraid we would die, but I told her I didn’t believe we would be as good as that, so we kissed each other and went to sleep.

Sunday. Rev. Mr. Tousley preached today to the children and told us how many steps it took to be bad. I think he said lying was first, then disobedience to parents, breaking the Sabbath, swearing, stealing, drunkenness. I don’t remember just the order they came. It was very interesting, for he told lots of stories and we sang a great many times. I should think Eddy Tousley would be an awful good boy with his father in the house with him all the while, but probably he has to be away part of the time preaching to other children.

December 20, 1855. Susan B. Anthony is in town and spoke in Bemis Hall this afternoon. She made a special request that all the seminary girls should come to hear her as well as all the women and girls in town. She had a large audience and she talked very plainly about our rights and how we ought to stand up for them, and said the world would never go right until the women had just as much right to vote and rule as the men. She asked us all to come up and sign our names who would promise to do all in our power to bring about that glad day when equal rights would be the law of the land. A whole lot of us went up and signed the paper. When I told Grandmother about it she said she guessed Susan B. Anthony had forgotten that St. Paul said the women should keep silence. I told her no, she didn’t, for she spoke particularly about St. Paul and said if he had lived in these times, instead of eighteen hundred years ago, he would have been as anxious to have the women at the head of the government as she was. I could not make Grandmother agree with her at all and she said we might better all of us stayed at home. We went to prayer meeting this evening and a woman got up and talked. Her name was Mrs. Sands. We hurried home and told Grandmother and she said she probably meant all right and she hoped we did not laugh.

February 21, 1856. We had a very nice time at Fannie Gaylord’s party and a splendid supper. Lucilla Field laughed herself almost to pieces when she found on going home that she had worn her leggins all the evening. We had a pleasant walk home but did not stay till it was out. Someone asked me if I danced every set and I told them no, I set every dance. I told Grandmother and she was very much pleased. Some one told us that Grandfather and Grandmother first met at a ball in the early settlement of Canandaigua. I asked her if it was so and she said she never danced since she became a professing Christian and that was more than fifty years ago.

May, 1856. We were invited to Bessie Seymour’s party last night and Grandmother said we could go. The girls all told us at school that they were going to wear low neck and short sleeves. We have caps on the sleeves of our best dresses and we tried to get the sleeves out, so we could go bare arms, but we couldn’t get them out. We had a very nice time, though, at the party. Some of the Academy boys were there and they asked us to dance but of course we couldn’t do that. We promenaded around the rooms and went out to supper with them. Eugene Stone and Tom Eddy asked to go home with us but Grandmother sent our two girls for us, Bridget Flynn and Hannah White, so they couldn’t. We were quite disappointed, but perhaps she won’t send for us next time.

Thursday, 1857. We have four sperm candles in four silver candlesticks and when we have company we light them. Johnnie Thompson, son of the minister, Rev. M. L. R. P., has come to the academy to school and he is very full of fun and got acquainted with all the girls very quick. He told us this afternoon to have “the other candle lit” for he was coming down to see us this evening. Will Schley heard him say it and he said he was coming too. Later. The boys came and we had a very pleasant evening but when the 9 o’clock bell rang we heard Grandfather winding up the clock and scraping up the ashes on the hearth to cover the fire so it would last till morning and we all understood the signal and they bade us good night. “We won’t go home till morning” is a song that will never be sung in this house.

September, 1857. Grandmother let Anna have six little girls here to supper to-night: Louisa Field, Hattie Paddock, Helen Coy, Martha Densmore, Emma Wheeler, and Alice Jewett. We had a splendid supper and then we played cards. I do not mean regular cards, mercy no! Grandfather thinks those kinds are contageous or outrageous or something dreadful and never keeps them in the house. Grandmother said they found a pack once, when the hired man’s room was cleaned, and they went into the fire pretty quick. The kind we played was just “Dr. Busby,” and another “The Old Soldier and His Dog.” There are counters with them, and if you don’t have the card called for you have to pay one into the pool. It is real fun. They all said they had a very nice time, indeed, when they bade Grandmother good night, and said: “Mrs. Beals, you must let Carrie and Anna come and see us some time,” and she said she would. I think it is nice to have company.

August 30, 1858. Some one told us that when Bob and Henry Antes were small boys they thought they would like to try, just for once, to see how it would seem to be bad, so in spite of all of Mr. Tousley’s sermons they went out behind the barn one day and in a whisper Bob said, “I swear,” and Henry said, “So do I.” Then they came into the house looking guilty and quite surprised, I suppose, that they were not struck dead just as Ananias and Sapphira were for lying.

February, 1859. Mary Wheeler came over and pierced my ears today, so I can wear my new earrings that Uncle Edward sent me. She pinched my ear until it was numb and then pulled a needle through, threaded with silk. Anna would not stay in the room. She wants hers done but does not dare. It is all the fashion for girls to cut off their hair and friz it. Anna and I have cut off ours and Bessie Seymour got me to cut off her lovely long hair today. It won’t be very comfortable for us to sleep with curl papers all over our heads, but we must do it now. I wanted my new dress waist which Miss Rosewarne is making to hook up in front, but Grandmother said I would have to wear it that way all the rest of my life so I had better be content to hook it in the back a little longer. She said when Aunt Glorianna was married, in 1848, it was the fashion for grown-up women to have their waists fastened in the back, so the bride had hers made that way but she thought it was a very foolish and inconvenient fashion. It is nice, though, to dress in style and look like other people. I have a Garibaldi waist and a Zouave jacket and a balmoral skirt.

1860, Sunday. Frankie Richardson asked me to go with her to teach a class in the colored Sunday School on Chapel Street this afternoon. I asked Grandmother if I could go and she said she never noticed that I was particularly interested in the colored race and she said she thought I only wanted an excuse to get out for a walk Sunday afternoon. However, she said I could go just this once. When we got up as far as the Academy, Mr. Noah T. Clarke’s brother, who is one of the teachers, came out and Frank said he led the singing at the Sunday school and she said she would give me an introduction to him, so he walked up with us and home again. Grandmother said that when she saw him opening the gate for me, she understood my zeal in missionary work. “The dear little lady,” as we often call her, has always been noted for her keen discernment and wonderful sagacity and loses none of it as she advances in years. Some one asked Anna the other day if her Grandmother retained all her faculties and Anna said, “Yes, indeed, to an alarming degree.” Grandmother knows that we think she is a perfect angel even if she does seem rather strict sometimes. Whether we are seven or seventeen we are children to her just the same, and the Bible says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” We are glad that we never will seem old to her. I had the same company home from church in the evening. His home is in Naples.

Christmas, 1860. I asked Grandmother if Mr. Clarke could take Sunday night supper with us and she said she was afraid he did not know the catechism. I asked him Friday night and he said he would learn it on Saturday so that he could answer every third question anyway. So he did and got along very well. I think he deserves a pretty good supper.

2. Secondary Contacts and City Life

Modern methods of urban transportation and communication the electric railway, the automobile, and the telephone have silently and rapidly changed in recent years the social and industrial organization of the modern city. They have been the means of concentrating traffic in the business districts; have changed the whole character of retail trade, multiplying the residence suburbs and making the department store possible. These changes in the industrial organization and in the distribution of population have been accompanied by corresponding changes in the habits, sentiments, and character of the urban population.

The general nature of these changes is indicated by the fact that the growth of cities has been accompanied by the substitution of indirect, “secondary,” for direct, face-to-face, “primary” relations in the associations of individuals in the community.

By primary groups I mean those characterized by intimate face-to-face association and co-operation. They are primary in several senses, but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual. The result of intimate association, psychologically, is a certain fusion of individualities in a common whole, so that one’s very self, for many purposes at least, is the common life and purpose of the group. Perhaps the simplest way of describing this wholeness is by saying that it is a “we”; it involves the sort of sympathy and mutual identification for which “we” is the natural expression. One lives in the feeling of the whole and finds the chief aims of his will in that feeling.

Touch and sight, physical contact, are the basis for the first and most elementary human relationships. Mother and child, husband and wife, father and son, master and servant, kinsman and neighbor, minister, physician, and teacher these are the most intimate and real relationships of life and in the small community they are practically inclusive.

The interactions which take place among the members of a community so constituted are immediate and unreflecting. Intercourse is carried on largely within the region of instinct and feeling. Social control arises, for the most part spontaneously, in direct response to personal influences and public sentiment. It is the result of a personal accommodation rather than the formulation of a rational and abstract principle.

In a great city, where the population is unstable, where parents and children are employed out of the house and often in distant parts of the city, where thousands of people live side by side for years without so much as a bowing acquaintance, these intimate relationships of the primary group are weakened and the moral order which rested upon them is gradually dissolved.

Under the disintegrating influences of city life most of our traditional institutions, the church, the school, and the family, have been greatly modified. The school, for example, has taken over some of the functions of the family. It is around the public school and its solicitude for the moral and physical welfare of the children that something like a new neighborhood and community spirit tends to get itself organized.

The church, on the other hand, which has lost much of its influence since the printed page has so largely taken the place of the pulpit in the interpretation of life, seems at present to be in process of readjustment to the new conditions.

It is probably the breaking down of local attachments and the weakening of the restraints and inhibitions of the primary group, under the influence of the urban environment, which are largely responsible for the increase of vice and crime in great cities. It would be interesting in this connection to determine by investigation how far the increase in crime keeps pace with the increasing mobility of the population. It is from this point of view that we should seek to interpret all those statistics which register the disintegration of the moral order, for example, the statistics of divorce, of truancy, and of crime.

Great cities have always been the melting-pots of races and of cultures. Out of the vivid and subtle interactions of which they have been the centers, there have come the newer breeds and the newer social types. The great cities of the United States, for example, have drawn from the isolation of their native villages great masses of the rural populations of Europe and America. Under the shock of the new contacts the latent energies of these primitive peoples have been released, and the subtler processes of interaction have brought into existence not merely vocational but temperamental types.

Transportation and communication have effected, among many other silent but far-reaching changes, what I have called the “mobilization of the individual man.” They have multiplied the opportunities of the individual man for contact and for association with his fellows, but they have made these contacts and associations more transitory and less stable. A very large part of the populations of great cities, including those who make their homes in tenements and apartment houses, live much as people do in some great hotel, meeting but not knowing one another. The effect of this is to substitute fortuitous and casual relationship for the more intimate and permanent associations of the smaller community.

Under these circumstances the individual’s status is determined to a considerable degree by conventional signs by fashion and “front” and the art of life is largely reduced to skating on thin surfaces and a scrupulous study of style and manners.

Not only transportation and communication, but the segregation of the urban population, tends to facilitate the mobility of the individual man. The processes of segregation establish moral distances which make the city a mosaic of little worlds which touch but do not interpenetrate. This makes it possible for individuals to pass quickly and easily from one moral milieu to another and encourages the fascinating but dangerous experiment of living at the same time in several different contiguous, perhaps, but widely separated worlds. All this tends to give to city life a superficial and adventitious character; it tends to complicate social relationships and to produce new and divergent individual types. It introduces, at the same time, an element of chance and adventure, which adds to the stimulus of city life and gives it for young and fresh nerves a peculiar attractiveness. The lure of great cities is perhaps a consequence of stimulations which act directly upon the reflexes. As a type of human behavior it may be explained, like the attraction of the flame for the moth, as a sort of tropism.

The attraction of the metropolis is due in part, however, to the fact that in the long run every individual finds somewhere among the varied manifestations of city life the sort of environment in which he expands and feels at ease; finds, in short, the moral climate in which his peculiar nature obtains the stimulations that bring his innate qualities to full and free expression. It is, I suspect, motives of this kind which have their basis, not in interest nor even in sentiment, but in something more fundamental and primitive which draw many, if not most, of the young men and young women from the security of their homes in the country into the big, booming confusion and excitement of city life. In a small community it is the normal man, the man without eccentricity or genius, who seems most likely to succeed. The small community often tolerates eccentricity. The city, on the contrary, rewards it. Neither the criminal, the defective, nor the genius has the same opportunity to develop his innate disposition in a small town that he invariably finds in a great city.

Fifty years ago every village had one or two eccentric characters who were treated ordinarily with a benevolent toleration, but who were regarded meanwhile as impracticable and queer. These exceptional individuals lived an isolated existence, cut off by their very eccentricities, whether of genius or of defect, from genuinely intimate intercourse with their fellows. If they had the making of criminals, the restraints and inhibitions of the small community rendered them harmless. If they had the stuff of genius in them, they remained sterile for lack of appreciation or opportunity. Mark Twain’s story of Pudd’n Head Wilson is a description of one such obscure and unappreciated genius. It is not so true as it was that

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
And waste its fragrance on the desert air.

Gray wrote the “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” before the existence of the modern city.

In the city many of these divergent types now find a milieu in which for good or for ill their dispositions and talents parturiate and bear fruit.

3. Publicity as a Form of Secondary Contact

In contrast with the political machine, which has founded its organized action on the local, personal, and immediate interests represented by the different neighborhoods and localities, the good-government organizations, the bureaus of municipal research, and the like have sought to represent the interests of the city as a whole and have appealed to a sentiment and opinion neither local nor personal. These agencies have sought to secure efficiency and good government by the education of the voter, that is to say, by investigating and publishing the facts regarding the government.

In this way publicity has come to be a recognized form of social control, and advertising “social advertising” has become a profession with an elaborate technique supported by a body of special knowledge.

It is one of the characteristic phenomena of city life and of society founded on secondary relationships that advertising should have come to occupy so important a place in its economy.

In recent years every individual and organization which has had to deal with the public, that is to say, the public outside the smaller and more intimate communities of the village and small town, has come to have its press agent, who is often less an advertising man than a diplomatic man accredited to the newspapers, and through them to the world at large. Institutions like the Russell Sage Foundation, and to a less extent the General Education Board, have sought to influence public opinion directly through the medium of publicity. The Carnegie Report upon Medical Education, the Pittsburgh Survey, the Russell Sage Foundation Report on Comparative Costs of Public-School Education in the Several States, are something more than scientific reports. They are rather a high form of journalism, dealing with existing conditions critically, and seeking through the agency of publicity to bring about radical reforms. The work of the Bureau of Municipal Research in New York has had a similar practical purpose. To these must be added the work accomplished by the child-welfare exhibits, by the social surveys undertaken in different parts of the country, and by similar propaganda in favor of public health.

As a source of social control public opinion becomes important in societies founded on secondary relationships of which great cities are a type. In the city every social group tends to create its own milieu, and, as these conditions become fixed, the mores tend to accommodate themselves to the conditions thus created. In secondary groups and in the city, fashion tends to take the place of custom, and public opinion rather than the mores becomes the dominant force in social control.

In any attempt to understand the nature of public opinion and its relation to social control, it is important to investigate, first of all, the agencies and devices which have come into practical use in the effort to control, enlighten, and exploit it.

The first and the most important of these is the press, that is, the daily newspaper and other forms of current literature, including books classed as current.

After the newspaper, the bureaus of research which are now springing up in all the large cities are the most interesting and the most promising devices for using publicity as a means of control.

The fruits of these investigations do not reach the public directly, but are disseminated through the medium of the press, the pulpit and other sources of popular enlightenment.

In addition to these, there are the educational campaigns in the interest of better health conditions, the child-welfare exhibits, and the numerous “social advertising” devices which are now employed, sometimes upon the initiative of private societies, sometimes upon that of popular magazines or newspapers, in order to educate the public and enlist the masses of the people in the movement for the improvement of conditions of community life.

The newspaper is the great medium of communication within the city, and it is on the basis of the information which it supplies that public opinion rests. The first function which a newspaper supplies is that which was formerly performed by the village gossip.

In spite, however, of the industry with which newspapers pursue facts of personal intelligence and human interest, they cannot compete with the village gossips as a means of social control. For one thing, the newspaper maintains some reservations not recognized by gossip, in the matters of personal intelligence. For example, until they run for office or commit some other overt act that brings them before the public conspicuously, the private life of individual men or women is a subject that is for the newspaper taboo. It is not so with gossip, partly because in a small community no individual is so obscure that his private affairs escape observation and discussion; partly because the field is smaller. In small communities there is a perfectly amazing amount of personal information afloat among the individuals who compose them.

The absence of this in the city is what, in large part, makes the city what it is.

4. From Sentimental to Rational Attitudes

I can imagine it to be of exceeding great interest to write the history of mankind from the point of view of the stranger and his influence on the trend of events. From the earliest dawn of history we may observe how communities developed in special directions, no less in important than in insignificant things, because of influences from without. Be it religion or technical inventions, good form in conduct or fashions in dress, political revolutions or stock-exchange machinery, the impetus always or, at least, in many cases came from strangers. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the history of the intellectual and religious growth of the bourgeois the stranger should play no small part. Throughout the whole of the Middle Ages in Europe, and to a large extent in the centuries that followed, families left their homes to set up their hearths anew in other lands. The wanderers were in the majority of cases economic agents with a strongly marked tendency toward capitalism, and they originated capitalist methods and cultivated them. Accordingly, it will be helpful to trace the interaction of migrations and the history of the capitalist spirit.

First, as to the facts themselves. Two sorts of migrations may be distinguished those of single individuals and those of groups. In the first category must be placed the removal, of their own free will, of a family, or it may even be of a few families, from one district or country to another. Such cases were universal. But we are chiefly concerned with those instances in which the capitalist spirit manifested itself, as we must assume it did where the immigrants were acquainted with a more complex economic system or were the founders of new industries. Take as an instance the Lombards and other Italian merchants, who in the early Middle Ages carried on business in England, France, and elsewhere. Or recall how in the Middle Ages many an industry, more especially silk weaving, that was established in any district was introduced by foreigners, and very often on a capitalist basis. “A new phase in the development of the Venetian silk industry began with the arrival of traders and silk-workers from Lucca, whereby the industry reached its zenith. The commercial element came more and more to the fore; the merchants became the organizers of production, providing the master craftsman with raw materials which he worked up.” So we read in Broglio d’Ajano. We are told a similar tale about the silk industry in Genoa, which received an enormous impetus when the Berolerii began to employ craftsmen from Lucca. In 1341 what was probably the first factory for silk manufacture was erected by one Bolognino di Barghesano, of Lucca. Even in Lyons tradition asserts that Italians introduced the making of silk, and, when in the sixteenth century the industry was placed on a capitalist basis, the initiative thereto came once more from aliens. It was the same in Switzerland, where the silk industry was introduced by the Pelligari in 1685. In Austria likewise we hear the same tale.

Silk-making in these instances is but one example; there were very many others. Here one industry was introduced, there another; here it was by Frenchmen or Germans, there by Italians or Dutchmen. And always the new establishments came at the moment when the industries in question were about to become capitalistic in their organization.

Individual migrations, then, were not without influence on the economic development of society. But much more powerful was the effect of the wanderings of large groups from one land to another. From the sixteenth century onward migrations of this sort may be distinguished under three heads: (1) Jewish migrations; (2) the migration of persecuted Christians, more especially of Protestants; and (3) the colonizing movement, particularly the settlement in America.

We come, then, to the general question, Is it not a fact that the “stranger,” the immigrant, was possessed of a specially developed capitalist spirit, and this quite apart from his environment, and, to a lesser degree, his religion or his nationality? We see it in the old states of Europe no less than in the new settlements beyond; in Jews and Gentiles alike; in Protestants and Catholics (the French in Louisiana were, by the middle of the nineteenth century, not a whit behind the Anglo-Saxons of the New England states in this respect). The assumption therefore forces itself upon us that this particular social condition migration or change of habitat was responsible for the unfolding of the capitalist spirit. Let us attempt to show how.

If we are content to find it in a single cause, it would be the breach with all old ways of life and all old social relationships. Indeed, the psychology of the stranger in a new land may easily be explained by reference to this one supreme fact. His clan, his country, his people, his state, no matter how deeply he was rooted in them, have now ceased to be realities for him. His first aim is to make profit. How could it be otherwise? There is nothing else open to him. In the old country he was excluded from playing his part in public life; in the colony of his choice there is no public life to speak of. Neither can he devote himself to a life of comfortable, slothful ease; the new lands have little comfort. Nor is the newcomer moved by sentiment. His environment means nothing to him. At best he regards it as a means to an end to make a living. All this must surely be of great consequence for the rise of a mental outlook that cares only for gain; and who will deny that colonial activity generates it? “Our rivulets and streams turn mill wheels and bring rafts into the valleys, as they do in Scotland. But not one ballad, not a single song, reminds us that on their banks men and women live who experience the happiness of love and the pangs of separation; that under each roof in the valleys life’s joys and sorrows come and go.” This plaint of an American of the old days expresses my meaning; it has been noted again and again, particularly by those who visited America at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The only relationship between the Yankee and his environment is one of practical usefulness. The soil, as one of them says, is not regarded as “the mother of men, the hearth of the gods, the abiding resting-place of the past generations, but only as a means to get rich.” There is nothing of “the poetry of the place” anywhere to check commercial devastations. The spire of his village is for the American like any other spire; in his eyes the newest and most gaudily painted is the most beautiful. A waterfall for him merely represents so much motive power. “What a mighty volume of water!” is, as we are assured, the usual cry of an American on seeing Niagara for the first time, and his highest praise of it is that it surpasses all other waterfalls in the world in its horse-power.

Nor has the immigrant or colonial settler a sense of the present or the past. He has only a future. Before long the possession of money becomes his one aim and ambition, for it is clear to him that by its means alone will he be able to shape that future. But how can he amass money? Surely by enterprise. His being where he is proves that he has capacities, that he can take risks; is it remarkable, then, that sooner or later his unbridled acquisitiveness will turn him into a restless capitalist undertaker? Here again we have cause and effect. He undervalues the present; he overvalues the future. Hence his activities are such as they are. Is it too much to say that even today American civilization has something of the unfinished about it, something that seems as yet to be in the making, something that turns from the present to the future?

Another characteristic of the newcomer everywhere is that there are no bounds to his enterprise. He is not held in check by personal considerations; in all his dealings he comes into contact only with strangers like himself. As we have already had occasion to point out, the first profitable trade was carried on with strangers; your own kith and kin received assistance from you. You lent out money at interest only to the stranger, as Antonio remarked to Shylock, for from the stranger you could demand more than you lent.

Nor is the stranger held in check by considerations other than personal ones. He has no traditions to respect; he is not bound by the policy of an old business. He begins with a clean slate; he has no local connections that bind him to any one spot. Is not every locality in a new country as good as every other? You therefore decide upon the one that promises most profit. As Poscher says, a man who has risked his all and left his home to cross the ocean in search of his fortune will not be likely to shrink from a small speculation if this means a change of abode. A little traveling more or less can make no difference.

So it comes about that the feverish searching after novelties manifested itself in the American character quite early. “If to live means constant movement and the coming and going of thoughts and feelings in quick succession, then the people here live a hundred lives. All is circulation, movement, and vibrating life. If one attempt fails, another follows on its heels, and before every one undertaking has been completed, the next has already been entered upon” (Chevalier). The enterprising impulse leads to speculation; and here again early observers have noticed the national trait. “Everybody speculates and no commodity escapes from the speculating rage. It is not tulip speculation this time, but speculations in cottons, real estate, banks, and railways.”

One characteristic of the stranger’s activity, be he a settler in a new or an old land, follows of necessity. I refer to the determination to apply the utmost rational effort in the field of economic and technical activity. The stranger must carry through plans with success because of necessity or because he cannot withstand the desire to secure his future. On the other hand, he is able to do it more easily than other folk because he is not hampered by tradition. This explains clearly enough why alien immigrants, as we have seen, furthered commercial and industrial progress wherever they came. Similarly we may thus account for the well-known fact that nowhere are technical inventions so plentiful as in America, that railway construction and the making of machinery proceed much more rapidly there than anywhere else in the world. It all comes from the peculiar conditions of the problem, conditions that have been termed colonial great distances, dear labor, and the will to progress. The state of mind that will have, nay, must have, progress is that of the stranger, untrammeled by the past and gazing toward the future.

Yet results such as these are not achieved by strangers merely because they happen to be strangers. Place a negro in a new environment; will he build railways and invent labor-saving machines? Hardly. There must be a certain fitness; it must be in the blood. In short, other forces beside that of being merely a stranger in a strange land are bound to co-operate before the total result can be fully accounted for. There must be a process of selection, making the best types available, and the ethical and moral factor, too, counts for much. Nevertheless, the migrations themselves were a very powerful element in the growth of capitalism.

5. The Sociological Significance of the “Stranger"

If wandering, considered as the liberation from every given point in space, is the conceptual opposite to fixation at such a point, then surely the sociological form of “the stranger” presents the union of both of these specifications. It discloses, indeed, the fact that relations to space are only, on the one hand, the condition, and, on the other hand, the symbol, of relations to men. The stranger is not taken here, therefore, in the sense frequently employed, of the wanderer who comes today and goes tomorrow, but rather of the man who comes today and stays tomorrow, the potential wanderer, so to speak, who, although he has gone no further, has not quite got over the freedom of coming and going. He is fixed within a certain spatial circle, but his position within it is peculiarly determined by the fact that he does not belong in it from the first, that he brings qualities into it that are not, and cannot be, native to it.

The union of nearness and remoteness, which every relation between men comprehends, has here produced a system of relations or a constellation which may, in the fewest words, be thus formulated: The distance within the relation signifies that the Near is far; the very fact of being alien, however, that the Far is near. For the state of being a stranger is naturally a quite positive relation, a particular form of interaction. The inhabitants of Sirius are not exactly strangers to us, at least not in the sociological sense of the word as we are considering it. In that sense they do not exist for us at all. They are beyond being far and near. The stranger is an element of the group itself, not otherwise than the Poor and the various “inner enemies,” an element whose inherent position and membership involve both an exterior and an opposite. The manner, now, in which mutually repulsive and opposing elements here compose a form of a joint and interacting unity may now be briefly analyzed.

In the whole history of economics the stranger makes his appearance everywhere as the trader, the trader his as the stranger. As long as production for one’s own needs is the general rule, or products are exchanged within a relatively narrow circle, there is no need of any middleman within the group. A trader is only required with those products which are produced entirely outside of the group. Unless there are people who wander out into foreign lands to buy these necessities, in which case they are themselves “strange” merchants in this other region, the trader must be a stranger. No other has a chance for existence.

This position of the stranger is intensified in our consciousness if, instead of leaving the place of his activity, he fixes himself in it. This will be possible for him only if he can live by trade in the rôle of a middleman. Any closed economic group in which the division of the land and of the crafts which satisfy the local demands has been achieved will still grant an existence to the trader. For trade alone makes possible unlimited combinations, in which intelligence finds ever wider extensions and ever newer accessions, a thing rarely possible in the case of the primitive producer with his lesser mobility and his restriction to a circle of customers which could only very gradually be increased. Trade can always absorb more men than primary production, and it is therefore the most favorable province for the stranger, who thrusts himself, so to speak, as a supernumerary into a group in which all the economic positions are already possessed. History offers as the classic illustration the European Jew. The stranger is by his very nature no landowner in saying which, land is taken not merely in a physical sense but also in a metaphorical one of a permanent and a substantial existence, which is fixed, if not in space, then at least in an ideal position within the social order. The special sociological characteristics of the stranger may now be presented.

a) Mobility. In the more intimate relations of man to man, the stranger may disclose all possible attractions and significant characters, but just as long as he is regarded as a stranger, he is in so far no landowner. Now restriction to trade, and frequently to pure finance, as if by a sublimation from the former, gives the stranger the specific character of mobility. With this mobility, when it occurs within a limited group, there occurs that synthesis of nearness and remoteness which constitutes the formal position of the stranger; for the merely mobile comes incidentally into contact with every single element but is not bound up organically, through the established ties of kinship, locality, or profession, with any single one.

b) Objectivity. Another expression for this relation lies in the objectivity of the stranger. Because he is not rooted in the peculiar attitudes and biased tendencies of the group, he stands apart from all these with the peculiar attitude of the “objective,” which does not indicate simply a separation and disinterestedness but is a peculiar composition of nearness and remoteness, concern and indifference. I call attention to the domineering positions of the stranger to the group, as whose archtype appeared that practice of Italian cities of calling their judges from without, because no native was free from the prejudices of family interests and factions.

c) Confidant. With the objectivity of the stranger is connected the phenomenon which indeed belongs chiefly, but not indeed exclusively, to the mobile man: namely, that often the most surprising disclosures and confessions, even to the character of the confessional disclosure, are brought to him, secrets such as one carefully conceals from every intimate. Objectivity is by no means lack of sympathy, for that is something quite outside and beyond either subjective or objective relations. It is rather a positive and particular manner of sympathy. So the objectivity of a theoretical observation certainly does not mean that the spirit is a tabula rasa on which things inscribe their qualities, but it means the full activity of a spirit working according to its own laws, under conditions in which accidental dislocations and accentuations have been excluded, the individual and subjective peculiarities of which would give quite different pictures of the same object.

d) Freedom from convention. One can define objectivity also as freedom. The objective man is bound by no sort of proprieties which can prejudice for him his apprehension, his understanding, his judgment of the given. This freedom which permits the stranger to experience and deal with the relation of nearness as though from a bird’s-eye view, contains indeed all sorts of dangerous possibilities. From the beginnings of things, in revolutions of all sorts, the attacked party has claimed that there has been incitement from without, through foreign emissaries and agitators. As far as that is concerned, it is simply an exaggeration of the specific rôle of the stranger; he is the freer man, practically and theoretically; he examines the relations with less prejudice; he submits them to more general, more objective, standards, and is not confined in his action by custom, piety, or precedents.

e) Abstract relations. Finally, the proportion of nearness and remoteness which gives the stranger the character of objectivity gets another practical expression in the more abstract nature of the relation to him. This is seen in the fact that one has certain more general qualities only in common with the stranger, whereas the relation with those organically allied is based on the similarity of just those specific differences by which the members of an intimate group are distinguished from those who do not share that intimacy. All personal relations whatsoever are determined according to this scheme, however varied the form which they assume. What is decisive is not the fact that certain common characteristics exist side by side with individual differences which may or may not affect them but rather that the influence of this common possession itself upon the personal relation of the individuals involved is determined by certain conditions: Does it exist in and for these individuals and for these only? Does it represent qualities that are general in the group, to be sure, but peculiar to it? Or is it merely felt by the members of the group as something peculiar to individuals themselves whereas, in fact, it is a common possession of a group, or a type, or mankind? In the last case an attenuation of the effect of the common possession enters in, proportional to the size of the group. Common characteristics function, it is true, as a basis for union among the elements, but it does not specifically refer these elements to each other. A similarity so widely shared might serve as a common basis of each with every possible other. This too is evidently one way in which a relation may at the same moment comprehend both nearness and remoteness. To the extent to which the similarities become general, the warmth of the connection which they effect will have an element of coolness, a feeling in it of the adventitiousness of this very connection. The powers which united have lost their specific, centripetal character.

This constellation (in which similarities are shared by large numbers) acquires, it seems to me, an extraordinary and fundamental preponderance as against the individual and personal elements we have been discussing in defining our relation to the stranger. The stranger is near to us in so far as we feel between him and ourselves similarities of nationality or social position, of profession or of general human nature. He is far from us in so far as these similarities reach out over him and us, and only ally us both because in fact they ally a great many.

In this sense a trait of this strangeness easily comes into even the most intimate relations. Erotic relations show a very decided aversion, in the stage of first passion, to any disposition to think of them in general terms. A love such as this (so the lover feels) has never existed before, nor is there anything to be compared with our passion for the beloved person. An estrangement is wont, whether as cause or as result it is difficult to decide, to set in at that moment in which the sentiment of uniqueness disappears from the connection. A scepticism of its value in itself and for us fastens itself to the very thought that after all one has only drawn the lot of general humanity, one has experienced a thousand times re-enacted adventure, and that, if one had not accidentally encountered this precise person, any other one would have acquired the same meaning for us. And something of this cannot fail to be present in any relation, be it ever so intimate, because that which is common to the two is perhaps never common only to them but belongs to a general conception, which includes much else, many possibilities of similarities. As little actuality as they may have, often as we may forget them, yet here and there they crowd in like shadows between men, like a mist gliding before every word’s meaning, which must actually congeal into solid corporeality in order to be called rivalry. Perhaps this is in many cases a more general, at least more insurmountable, strangeness than that afforded by differences and incomprehensibilities. There is a feeling, indeed, that these are actually not the peculiar property of just that relation but of a more general one that potentially refers to us and to an uncertain number of others, and therefore the relation experienced has no inner and final necessity.

On the other hand, there is a sort of strangeness, in which this very connection on the basis of a general quality embracing the parties is precluded. The relation of the Greeks to the Barbarians is a typical example; so are all the cases in which the general characteristics which one takes as peculiarly and merely human are disallowed to the other. But here the expression “the stranger” has no longer any positive meaning. The relation with him is a non-relation. He is not a member of the group itself. As such he is much more to be considered as near and far at the same moment, seeing that the foundation of the relation is now laid simply on a general human similarity. Between these two elements there occurs, however, a peculiar tension, since the consciousness of having only the absolutely general in common has exactly the effect of bringing into particular emphasis that which is not common. In the case of strangers according to country, city, or race, the individual characteristics of the person are not perceived; but attention is directed to his alien extraction which he has in common with all the members of his group. Therefore the strangers are perceived, not indeed as individuals, but chiefly as strangers of a certain type. Their remoteness is no less general than their nearness.

With all his inorganic adjacency, the stranger is yet an organic member of the group, whose uniform life is limited by the peculiar dependence upon this element. Only we do not know how to designate the characteristic unity of this position otherwise than by saying that it is put together of certain amounts of nearness and of remoteness, which, characterizing in some measure any sort of relation, determine in a certain proportion and with characteristic mutual tension the specific, formal relation of “the stranger.”


1. Physical Contacts

The literature of the research upon social contacts falls naturally under four heads: physical contacts, sensory contacts, primary contacts, and secondary contacts.

The reaction of the person to contacts with things as contrasted with his contacts with persons is an interesting chapter in social psychology. Observation upon children shows that the individual tends to respond to inanimate objects, particularly if they are unfamiliar, as if they were living and social. The study of animism among primitive peoples indicates that their attitude toward certain animals whom they regarded as superior social beings is a specialization of this response. A survey of the poetry of all times and races discloses that nature to the poet as well as to the mystic is personal. Homesickness and nostalgia are an indication of the personal and intimate nature of the relation of man to the physical world.

It seems to be part of man’s original nature to take the world socially and personally. It is only as things become familiar and controllable that he gains the concept of mechanism. It is natural science and machinery that has made so large a part of the world impersonal for most of us.

The scientific study of the actual reaction of persons and groups to their physical environment is still in the pioneer stage. The anthropogeographers have made many brilliant suggestions and a few careful and critical studies of the direct and indirect effects of the physical environment not merely upon man’s social and political organization but upon his temperament and conduct. Huntington’s suggestive observations upon the effect of climate upon manners and efficiency have opened a wide field for investigation.

Interest is growing in the psychology and sociology of the responses of individuals and groups to the physical conditions of their environment. Communities, large and small in this country, as they become civic conscious, have devised city plans. New York has made an elaborate report on the zoning of the city into business, industrial, and residential areas. A host of housing surveys present realistic pictures of actual conditions of physical existence from the standpoint of the hygienic and social effects of low standards of dwelling, overcrowding, the problem of the roomer. Even historic accounts and impressionistic observations of art and ornament, decoration and dress, indicate the relation of these material trappings to the self-consciousness of the individual in his social milieu.

The reservation must be made that studies of zoning, city planning, and housing have taken account of economic, aesthetic, and hygienic factors rather than those of contacts. Implicit, however, in certain aspects of these studies, certainly present often as an unconscious motive, has been an appreciation of the effects of the urban, artificial physical environment upon the responses and the very nature of plastic human beings, creatures more than creators of the modern leviathan, the Great City.

Glimpses into the nature and process of these subtle effects appear only infrequently in formal research. Occasionally such a book as The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets by Jane Addams throws a flood of light upon the contrasts between the warmth, the sincerity, and the wholesomeness of primary human responses and the sophistication, the coldness, and the moral dangers of the secondary organization of urban life.

A sociological study of the effect of the artificial physical and social environment of the city upon the person will take conscious account of these social factors. The lack of attachment to home in the city tenant as compared with the sentiments and status of home-ownership in the village, the mobility of the urban dweller in his necessary routine of work and his restless quest for pleasure, the sophistication, the front, the self-seeking of the individual emancipated from the controls of the primary group all these represent problems for research.

There are occasional references in literature to what may be called the inversion of the natural attitudes of the city child. His attention, his responses, even his images become fixed by the stimuli of the city streets. To those interested in child welfare and human values this is the supreme tragedy of the city.

2. Touch and the Primary Contacts of Intimacy

The study of the senses in their relations to personal and social behavior had its origins in psychology, in psychoanalysis, in ethnology, and in the study of races and nationalities with reference to the conflict and fusion of cultures. Darwin’s theory of the origin of the species increased interest in the instincts and it was the study of the instincts that led psychologists finally to define all forms of behavior in terms of stimulus and response. A “contact” is simply a stimulation that has significance for the understanding of group behavior.

In psychoanalysis, a rapidly growing literature is accessible to sociologists upon the nature and the effects of the intimate contacts of sex and family life. Indeed, the Freudian concept of the libido may be translated for sociological purposes into the desire for response. The intensity of the sentiments of love and hate that cement and disrupt the family is indicated in the analyses of the so-called “family romance.” Life histories reveal the natural tendencies toward reciprocal affection of mother and son or father and daughter, and the mutual antagonism of father and son or mother and daughter.

In ethnology, attention was early directed to the phenomena of taboo with its injunction against contamination by contacts. The literature of primitive communities is replete with the facts of avoidance of contact, as between the sexes, between mother-in-law and son-in-law, with persons “with the evil eye,” etc. Frazer’s volume on “Taboo and the Perils of the Soul” in his series entitled The Golden Bough, and Crawley, in his book, The Mystic Rose, to mention two outstanding examples, have assembled, classified, and interpreted many types of taboo. In the literature of taboo is found also the ritualistic distinction between “the clean” and “the unclean” and the development of reverence and awe toward “the sacred” and “the holy.”

Recent studies of the conflict of races and nationalities, generally considered as exclusively economic or political in nature, bring out the significance of disgusts and fears based fundamentally upon characteristic racial odors, marked variations in skin color and in physiognomy as well as upon differences in food habits, personal conduct, folkways, mores, and culture.

3. Primary Contacts of Acquaintanceship

Two of the best sociological statements of primary contacts are to be found in Professor Cooley’s analysis of primary groups in his book Social Organization and in Shaler’s exposition of the sympathetic way of approach in his volume The Neighbor. A mass of descriptive material for the further study of the primary contacts is available from many sources. Studies of primitive peoples indicate that early social organizations were based upon ties of kinship and primary group contacts. Village life in all ages and with all races exhibits absolute standards and stringent primary controls of behavior. The Blue Laws of Connecticut are little else than primary-group attitudes written into law. Common law, the traditional code of legal conduct sanctioned by the experience of primary groups, may be compared with statute law, which is an abstract prescription for social life in secondary societies. Here also should be included the consideration of programs and projects for community organization upon the basis of primary contacts, as for example, Ward’s The Social Center.

4. Secondary Contacts

The transition from feudal societies of villages and towns to our modern world-society of great cosmopolitan cities has received more attention from economics and politics than from sociology. Studies of the industrial basis of city life have given us the external pattern of the city: its topographical conditions, the concentration of population as an outcome of large-scale production, division of labor, and specialization of effort. Research in municipal government has proceeded from the muck-raking period, indicated by Lincoln Steffens’ The Shame of the Cities to surveys of public utilities and city administration of the type of those made by the New York Bureau of Municipal Research.

Social interest in the city was first stimulated by the polemics against the political and social disorders of urban life. There were those who would destroy the city in order to remedy its evils and restore the simple life of the country. Sociology sought a surer basis for the solution of the problems from a study of the facts of city life. Statistics of population by governmental departments provide figures upon conditions and tendencies. Community surveys have translated into understandable form a mass of information about the formal aspects of city life.

Naturally enough, sympathetic and arresting pictures of city life have come from residents of settlements as in Jane Addam’s Twenty Years at Hull House, Robert Wood’s The City Wilderness, Lillian Wald’s The House on Henry Street and Mrs. Simkhovitch’s The City Worker’s World. Georg Simmel has made the one outstanding contribution to a sociology or, perhaps better, a social philosophy of the city in his paper “The Great City and Cultural Life.”