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James Mickel Williams

This is the first attempt, as far as I know, of an American sociologist to deal with the chief problems of political science. Hitherto they have been left to practical statesmen . .: or to writers of a legalistic bent. Professor Williams attacks some of the fundamentals from the point of view of social psychology; but he does not use that term in the vague way that such writers usually do. He stays as near to the ground as James Madison does in the tenth number of The Federalist, and nobody can read his book without learning something important. Those who will disagree most violently can learn the most, if they will.

-Charles A. Beard This is one of the two or three substantial books that get written in a generation. By this I mean that it not only contains ideas (a score or more of books written in every generation contain ideas) but that it consists of ideas. There is not a paragraph in it without an idea more or less challenging; and all of this intellectual stuff is coherent. It constitutes an argument and arrives at conclusions. It is more, too, than a work of logic. Professor Williams is not only a thoughtful man, he is also an educated man. He knew what his predecessors in the fields of social science thought and wrote before he tried to reconsider the problems upon which they reflected. He knows history, also, and letters. Best of all, his Maker gave him imagination and humor. He is always judicious and sane. His pages abound in abstractions but they are rich also in concrete fact and felicitous phrase. They are not, however, easy reading. They are not written to amuse. They demand attention and alertness.

Professor Williams' thesis is that all of the social sciences make assumptions which, when examined, turn out to be propositions in social psychology. Therefore, he contends, social psychology is the foundation of all social sciences including politics, jurisprudence and economics, and all students who would make contributions to them, or even hope to understand them, must first know their social psychology. The reader presumably will not be mistaken if he infers that the volume is a farranging, as it is a profound, introduction to a system of social psychology.

The author's method is straightforward. He never indulges in fine writing and never tries to arrest attention by circuitous approach. . .

On every page . . . the reader finds evidence that Professor Williams has mastered the literature of psychology to date. He knows the expositions and the arguments of the functionalists, the behaviorists and the Freudians, and yet he never talks their jargon. He lives up to his declaration that he has "attempted to bring to a focus the human nature basis of the different fields of knowledge” within the scope of social science.

-Franklin H. Giddings, in Columbia Law Review

8vo, cloth, 500 pages


As Developed in a Study of Economic and Social Conflict



New York



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