Lester Frank Ward Quotes

Why should I know Lester Frank Ward?

Lester Frank Ward was an American botanist, paleontologist, and sociologist who served as the first president of the American Sociological Association.

Ward promoted the introduction of sociology courses into American higher education. His belief that society could be scientifically controlled was especially attractive to intellectuals during the Progressive Era.

Born June 18, 1841
Died April 18, 1913

Books by Lester Frank Ward


Best 14 Quotes by Lester Frank Ward

“An entirely new dispensation has been given to the world. All the materials and forces of nature have been thus placed completely under the control of one of the otherwise least powerful of the creatures inhabiting the earth. Nature has thus been made the servant of man.”

Lester Frank Ward

“It is the misfortune of all truly great minds to be wedded to errors as well as to truths.”

Lester Frank Ward

“Nothing is more obvious today than the signal inability of capital and private enterprise to take care of themselves unaided by the state; and while they are incessantly denouncing "paternalism," by which they mean the claim of the defenseless laborer and artisan to a share in this lavish state protection, they are all the while besieging legislatures for relief from their own incompetency, and "pleading the baby act" through a trained body of lawyers and lobbyists. The dispensing of national pap to this class should rather be called "maternalism," to which a square, open, and dignified paternalism would be infinitely preferable.”

Lester Frank Ward

“Pessimism is the product of a hostile social state. Its answer is the substitution of a friendly social state. If this can be done it will disappear.”

Lester Frank Ward

“The charge of paternalism is chiefly made by the class that enjoys the largest share of government protection. Those who denounce it are those who most frequently and successfully invoke it.”

Lester Frank Ward

“The school will fill the place now occupied by the church.”

Lester Frank Ward

“The secret of the superiority of state over private education lies in the fact
that in the former the teacher is responsible to society.”

Lester Frank Ward

"Dynamic Sociology" Quotes

“The result desired by the state is a wholly different one from that desired by parents, guardians, and pupils.”

Lester Frank Ward
Dynamic Sociology

"Pure Sociology" Quotes

“It is common to regard pleasure and pain as opposites, the former as positive and the latter negative, but this is only a convenient conception and is not physiologically true. When we consider their origin and purpose we see that they were both positive attributes created for specific ends.”

Lester Frank Ward
Pure Sociology

“The conscious creature is conscious only of its own states. It is not conscious of the
functional effect of its actions in response to those states.”

Lester Frank Ward
Pure Sociology

“The same force that pushed life into existence tends to perpetuate and increase it. This is the chief function of organic life, and nothing can be genetically created that does not assist in the performance of it. Such assistance is the test of advantageousness, and nothing is advantageous that does not so assist.”

Lester Frank Ward
Pure Sociology

“There is no doubt that even in man thousands of pleasures and pains are experienced that are never referred to the brain and of which the man himself as such knows nothing. ”

Lester Frank Ward
Pure Sociology

“There is pleasure in activity, provided the activity be spontaneous and consist in this normal exercise of the faculties. The so-called play instinct is nothing but this, and is not an instinct in the proper sense of the word. The idea that pleasure results from ease and inactivity is doubtless derived from the fact that man has been long enslaved and compelled to make laborious and painful exertions not demanded by his faculties.”

Lester Frank Ward
Pure Sociology

“There was a time when every bishop was a pope, and it took several centuries to invest the bishop of Rome with the supreme power.”

Lester Frank Ward
Pure Sociology