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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2112
Linda Hunter

CH. 11 – Zeitlin Calsi-Lynn Grigsby Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)  Was a member of the distinguished literary circle which included such luminaries as John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle, and Harriet Taylor who profoundly influenced Mill’s views  First English woman journalist writing for a living under her own name  Best known to social philosophers ad scientists for her suberb translation and abridgement of Auguste Comte’s Cour de Philosophie Positive which appeared in English as The Positive Philosophy  Come to believe that the study of society ought to become a methodologically rigorous discipline in its own right  Concern with method is evident from the fact that on her way to America in 1834, she produced on shipboard the first draft of How to Observe Manners and Morals, a volume instructing travelers how to student foreign cultures.  The fruit of her studies was a major treatise called Society in America in which Martineau largely succeeded in gaining some reliable glimpses of the first new nation  Strong desire to witness first hand the actual working of democratic institutions  Impressions were based on an extraordinarily wide range of experiences and encounter with all elements of American society of the time Politics  The American republic had demonstrated that a people can govern itself  Humanity is capable, in the right circumstances or self-government  Martineau argued that the Declaration of Independence embodies the great and timeless principles of universal justice, she also recognized that those principles were blatantly contradicted by the institution of slavery  Notwithstanding the commitment to equality, the new republic was not a classless society  Two Classes:  Those who had gained considerable wealth, whose hopes were largely fulfilled and who feared the loss of their fortunes through political change (aristocratic class)  Larger class consisting of the hopeful and rising but not yes risen. Gained their knowledge from actual life, not from book. Supported Democratic Party  Class divisions of the new republic bore no real resemblance to the class division of the old countries  Central political issues in Jacksonian America were so often framed as a struggle between aristocracy and democracy  Grand Question of the time: whether the people should be encouraged to govern themselves, or whether the rich, who were presumably also the wise, should save the people from themselves  Democracy implied a gov’t by the people, aristocracy implied a gov’t of the rich  Political issue – whether the people or the large property holder should govern  It was the destiny of their Northern Fellow citizens to be subject to an unending struggle between pauperism and property  Perpetual struggle between pauperism and property exists everywhere  In the old countries, property succeeds  In America, both the people and the wealthy succeed  Neither revolution nor despotism were real potential threats to the American republic  In the free states, Martineau foresaw no fundamental political crisis  Discern a disparity between the theory and practice of republican gov’t in one important respect: majority not only wills the best measure but also chooses the best men to represent it – far from true in practice  From the time of the Revolution to the time of her stay in America, it was the Federal party that had furnished a far superior set of men to the public service than the Democratic party  Shortage of honest and able friends of people willing to serve them  They had to take either a somewhat better sort of men whose politics they disapproved, or a somewhat worse sort of men whose politics were approved  People treated politicians as temporary and disposable tools  Used the tool and then threw it away as the politicians lack of ability or corrupt practices became known  Not too serious problem – American democracy had a self-correction capability  If the people were dec
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