Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 1.djvu/339
THE PLACE AND FUNCTIONS OF VOLUNTARY
Introduction to exhibit of concrete institutions—Definition—Principles of classification—Prevalence in the United States—Four normal uses; satisfaction of local and transient needs, criticism, experimentation and supplementary action—A buses—Prospect.
De Tocqueville wrote of a much neglected class of institutions: "Nothing, in my opinion, is more deserving of our attention than the intellectual and moral associations of America. The political and industrial associations of that country strike us forcibly, but the others elude our observation, or, if we discover them, we understand them imperfectly, because we have hardly ever seen anything of the kind. It must, however, be acknowledged that they are as necessary to the American people as the former, and perhaps more so.
"In democratic countries the science of association is the mother of science; the progress of all the rest depends upon the progress it has made.
"Among the laws which rule human societies there is one which seems to be more precise and clear than all others. If men are to remain civilized, or to become so, the art of associating together must grow and improve in the same ratio in which the equality of conditions is increased."
It is a part of the plan of this journal to publish descriptions, estimates and criticisms of many forms of free cooperation for human ends. The theorist and the practical man are alike bewildered by the teeming variety of organizations which solicit attention and funds. It is believed that brief but adequate treatment of various typical agencies of amelioration and satisfaction may prove helpful in fixing the rank of conflicting and clamor-