Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/134
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
of the seven greatest living educationists classed in the order of importance. A great number of lists were sent in, and the prize was awarded to "X. Y. Z." for the following list: 1, Spencer; 2, Huxley; 3, Wilson; 4, Thring; 5, Miss Buss; 6, Laurie; 7, Quick. Besides this premium list, in which the name of Spencer was first in importance, his name also appeared in seventy-two other lists, while Bain appeared in fifty; Huxley, thirty-eight; Thring, thirty-six; Miss Beale, thirty-four; Miss Buss, thirty-three; B. H. Quick, thirty-two; E. A. Abbott, thirty-one; A. J. Mundella and J. G. Fitch, twenty-nine; J. Buskin and M. Arnold, twenty-eight.
It has been said in deprecation of Spencer that "only the Seven Sages can understand him"; but it seems that practical teachers can sufficiently understand him to be able to form a very appreciative estimate of his position in the field where they are the most competent judges.
American Political Ideas: Viewed from the Standpoint of Universal History. Three Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, in May, 1880. By John Fiske. New York: Harper & Brothers. Pp. 158. Price, $1.00.
As many will be gratified to learn, Mr. Fiske has at length published the brief course of lectures upon "American Political Ideas" which attracted so much attention at the time of their delivery in England, and subsequently in this country. They afford an excellent popular illustration of the scientific method in politics, and as an original statement of the place of American political institutions in the progress of civilization they will be read with deep interest and patriotic pride by multitudes of our thoughtful citizens. Under the three titles of "The Town-Meeting," "The Federal Union," and "Manifest Destiny," the author gives us a pregnant discussion of the ideas that are at the foundation of true political development, of their historic growth, and the vast consequences to the world of their present success and their future ascendency.
Mr. Fiske takes the "town-meeting," the idea of which is so thoroughly familiar in this country, as the elemental basis of our political system. He devotes his first lecture to the consideration of it as involving the principle of local self-government. The present or absence, in various degrees, of institutions corresponding to this, in different countries, is shown to be intimately connected with the progress of free government, and to have exerted a powerful control over the character and destiny of nations.
Having treated of the corporate units of society, the township, the village, the parish, or whatever grouping becomes the seat and center of local self-control, Mr. Fiske passes in his second lecture to the important problem of their combination or aggregation into coherent extended political organizations. In communities of despotic type this is done by conquest and centralized military power. But wherever and to the degree in which civilization or civil agencies have replaced militancy, the principle of representation arises, and the freer mode of government takes the form of federal union. Mr. Fiske illustrates the progress and vicissitudes of the federal principle very impressively from Greek, Roman, and modern history, and in the United States, where representation and federal unity have received their largest application.
The third lecture, on "Manifest Destiny," is a brilliant and powerful exposition of the vast scale and comprehensive interaction of the political forces that are now so potent in civilization, and that are destined to work out grand results in the future. He shows that civilization is to conquer through peace; that the militant countries will have to disband their armies under the irresistible influence of the industrial competition of nations; and that the pacific federation of great communities is as certain to replace brute force in the politics of the civilized world as civil processes have replaced arbitrary violence in the private relations of men. The real significance of the American civil war is shown to consist in the vindicated strength and supremacy of the great pacific and constructive federative principle which is to dominate in the political future