William Graham Sumner Quotes

Who the Hell is William Graham Sumner?

William Graham Sumner was a classical liberal American social scientist at Yale University.

Born October 30, 1840
Died April 12, 1910

Books by William Graham Sumner


Best 23 Quotes by William Graham Sumner

“A drunkard in the gutter is just where he ought to be... The law of survival of the fittest was not made by man, and it cannot be abrogated by man. We can only, by interfering with it, produce the survival of the unfittest.”

William Graham Sumner

“Any one who believes that any great enterprise of an industrial character can be started without labor must have little experience of life.”

William Graham Sumner

“If you live in a country run by committee, be on the committee.”

William Graham Sumner

“Quit day trading, and donate your money to charity instead. Same financial result for you, and a better outcome for society.”

William Graham Sumner

“There is no boon in nature. All the blessings we enjoy are the fruits of labor, toil, self-denial, and study.”

William Graham Sumner

"Folkways" Quotes

“If we put together all that we have learned from anthropology and ethnography about primitive men and primitive society, we perceive that the first task of life is to live. Men begin with acts, not with thoughts.”

William Graham Sumner
Folkways

"Social Darwinism" Quotes

“A wiser rule would be to make up your mind soberly what you want, peace or war, and then to get ready for what you want; for what we prepare for is what we shall get.”

William Graham Sumner
Social Darwinism

"Speech to the Yale socialists club" Quotes

“Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want the government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes I am an Anarchist.”

William Graham Sumner
Speech to the Yale socialists club

"The Forgotten Man" Quotes

“All history is only one long story to this effect: men have struggled for power over their fellow-men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others.”

William Graham Sumner
The Forgotten Man

“If I want to be free from any other man's dictation, I must understand that I can have no other man under my control.”

William Graham Sumner
The Forgotten Man

“The Forgotten Man is delving away in patient industry, supporting his family, paying his taxes, casting his vote, supporting the church and the school, reading his newspaper, and cheering for the politician of his admiration, but he is the only one for whom there is no provision in the great scramble and the big divide. Such is the Forgotten Man. He works, he votes, generally he prays — but he always pays — yes, above all, he pays.”

William Graham Sumner
The Forgotten Man

“There is no such thing on this earth as something for nothing.”

William Graham Sumner
The Forgotten Man

“What man ever blamed himself for his misfortune?”

William Graham Sumner
The Forgotten Man

"What Social Classes Owe to Each Other" Quotes

“A drunkard in the gutter is just where he ought to be, according to the fitness and tendency of things. Nature has set upon him the process of decline and dissolution by which she removes things which have survived their usefulness.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“Every man and woman in society has one big duty. That is, to take care of his or her own self. This is a social duty. For, fortunately, the matter stands so that the duty of making the best of one's self individually is not a separate thing from the duty of filling one's place in society, but the two are one, and the latter is accomplished when the former is done.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“He who would be well taken care of must take care of himself.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“History is only a tiresome repetition of one story. Persons and classes have sought to win possession of the power of the State in order to live luxuriously out of the earnings of others.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“In England pensions used to be given to aristocrats, because aristocrats had political influence, in order to corrupt them. Here pensions are given to the great democratic mass, because they have political power, to corrupt them.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“It is not the function of the State to make men happy. They must make themselves happy in their own way, and at their own risk. The functions of the State lie entirely in the conditions or chances under which the pursuit of happiness is carried on.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“The real danger of democracy is, that the classes which have the power under it will assume all the rights and reject all the duties-that is, that they will use the political power to plunder those-who-have.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“The State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

Products by William Graham Sumner

“The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D...
I call C the Forgotten Man.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other

“We shall find that every effort to realize equality necessitates a sacrifice of liberty.”

William Graham Sumner
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other