Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/405

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says, "is the self-knowledge of humanity; it is the potential knowledge of the present with reference to its development from the past."[1] Thus, history is not politics, not simply the science of government, and a story of revolutions and conquest, nor simply literature; but is more. It is something which includes the history of culture, of law and custom, the development of the family, justice, the social life as well as the political life. It is an unfolding panorama of the self-conscious development of humanity.

History has become more and more sociological in its character, and perhaps this has caused much of the confusion which surrounds the definition of the comparatively new term "sociology." Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer have shown a disposition to appropriate this scientific conception of history and call it "sociology," giving history a subordinate place under the latter. What the true position of sociology will be in the hierarchy of sciences time alone can settle. Perhaps we shall ultimately call history in the scientific sense "sociology," putting it, as Comte and Spencer do, at the head of all the sciences, or perhaps we may make of it a philosophy of society, dealing with universal laws and universal types, for which history, its chief adjunct, will furnish the data; or we may regard sociology in a way similar to the popular conception of it at present, as the science which deals with social problems.

It is, however, institutional history or historical sociology that is so attracting the attention of scholars at the present time. There is no study, perhaps, so attractive as the study of primitive society, the habits and customs of savage life, the development of culture and of moral and religious ideas; while its chief profit lies in the solution and understanding of our own progress and development in a continuous line from the historic past. If we would understand the development of our modern state, we must study the beginnings of family life and government, the evolution of the state from the family. To deal intelligently with the divorce problem in modern society, one must study the origin and early history of marriage, and approach the solution of the problem from the historical point of view.


In many of our ceremonial institutions, our fashions, habits, dress, ornamentation, opinions, notions of marriage, property, and law we are but the slaves of the customs and traditions of the past. It may be of interest to look at some of these habits and customs of savage life. We might ask the question, "How is the course of civilization traced?" One means is through the aid of survivals. And what do we mean by "survivals?" "Those