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Anthropology As a Science and as a Branch of University Education in the United States   By: (1837-1899)

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Transcriber's Note

Two typographical errors were identified but not corrected in this e book. They are marked with [TN 1] and [TN 2], which refer to notes at the end of the text.


As a Science and As a Branch of University Education in the United States.



Professor of American Archæology and Linguistics in the University of Pennsylvania, and of General Ethnology at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia; Corresponding Member of the Anthropological Societies of Washington, New York, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Munich, Florence, Etc.

Philadelphia: 1892.


This very brief presentation of the claims of Anthropology for a recognized place in institutions of the higher education in the United States will, I hope, receive the thoughtful consideration of the officers and patrons of our Universities and Post Graduate Departments.

The need of such a presentation was urged upon me not long since by the distinguished president of a New England University. Impressed with the force of his words, I make an earnest appeal to our seats of advanced learning to establish a branch of Anthropology on the broad lines herein suggested. It may be but one chair in their Faculties of Philosophy; but the rightful claims of this science will be recognized only when it is organized as a department by itself, with a competent corps of professors and docents, with well appointed laboratories and museums, and with fellowships for deserving students.

Who is the enlightened and liberal citizen ready to found such a department, and endow it with the means necessary to carry out both instruction and original research?

I do not plead for any one institution, or locality, or individual; but simply for the creation in the United States of the opportunity of studying this highest of the sciences in a manner befitting its importance.

ANTHROPOLOGY, AS A SCIENCE, AND As a Branch of University Education.

What Anthropology Is.

Man himself is the only final measure of his own activities. To his own force and faculties all other tests are in the end referred. All sciences and arts, all pleasures and pursuits, are assigned their respective rank in his interest by reference to those physical powers and mental processes which are peculiarly the property of his own species.

Hence, the Study of Man, pursued under the guidance of accurate observation and experimental research, embracing all his nature and all the manifestations of his activity, in the past as well as in the present, the whole co ordinated in accordance with the inductive methods of the natural sciences this study must in the future unfailingly come to be regarded as the crown and completion of all others and this is Anthropology .

The Value of Anthropology.

The value of the applications of this science can scarcely be overestimated.

In government and law, in education and religion, men have hitherto been dealt with according to traditional beliefs or a priori theories of what they may or ought to be. When we learn through scientific research what they really are, we shall then, and then only, have a solid foundation on which to build the social, ethical and political structures of the future. It is the appreciation of this which has given the extraordinary impetus to the study of Sociology a branch of Anthropology within the last decade.

Anthropology alone furnishes the key and clue to History. This also is meeting recognition. No longer are the best histories mainly chronicles of kings and wars, but records of the development and the decline of peoples; and what constitutes a "people," and shapes its destiny, is the very business of Ethnology to explain... Continue reading book >>

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