BECK index

American Philosophy & Religion 1869-97

by Sanderson Beck

Evolution & Social Darwinism
Fiske & Cosmic Evolution|
Ward & Sociology
Royce on Idealistic Moral Insight
William James & The Principles of Psychology
American Religion 1869-97
Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science

Evolution & Social Darwinism

      In 1869 the American Philosophical Society made Charles Darwin an honorary member. The British Darwin had published On the Origin of Species in 1859 and The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex in 1871. The English philosopher Herbert Spencer applied Darwin’s theory of the “survival of the fittest” to sociology, and in the 1870s and 1880s his ideas became popular in the United States. The wealthy John D. Rockefeller in a Sunday-school talk said,

   The growth of a large business is
merely a survival of the fittest….
The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor
and fragrance which bring cheer to its beholder only
by sacrificing the early buds which grow up around it.
This is not an evil tendency in business.
It is merely the working-out
of a law of nature and a law of God.1

The rich Andrew Carnegie had a more idealistic view and wrote in his Autobiography,

   I remember that light came as in a flood and all was clear.
Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural,
but I had found the truth of evolution.
“All is well since all grows better,”
became my motto, my true source of comfort.
Man was not created with an instinct
for his own degradation,
but from the lower he had risen to the higher forms.
Nor is there any conceivable end to his march to perfection.
His face is turned to the light;
he stands in the sun and looks upward.2

Spencer visited the United States in 1882 and was honored by a banquet at Delmonico’s. His most active and influential defender was William Graham Sumner who expounded on social Darwinism. He had graduated from Yale and became a tutor there in 1868 and then a professor of Political and Social Science. In 1883 Sumner published What Social Classes Owe to Each Other in which he wrote that a man who has capital has a strong advantage over one who has none in the struggle for existence. In a lecture he gave in 1879 Sumner said,

   Many of them are frightened at liberty,
especially under the form of competition,
which they elevate into a bugbear.
They think it bears harshly on the weak.
They do not perceive that here “the strong” and “the weak”
are terms which admit of no definition
unless they are made equivalent to the industrious
and the idle, the frugal and the extravagant.
They do not perceive, furthermore, that
if we do not like the survival of the fittest,
we have only one possible alternative,
and that is the survival of the unfittest.
The former is the law of civilization;
the latter is the law of anti-civilization.
We have our choice between the two, or we can go on,
as in the past, vacillating between the two,
but a third plan—the socialist desideratum—
a plan for nourishing the unfittest
and yet advancing in civilization, no man will ever find.3

In my view this is an animalistic and simplest philosophy. He claimed that the wealthy are frugal while the poor are extravagant when the truth is the opposite. The rich are greedy and extravagant while the poor must be frugal to survive in a capitalistic system. Sumner also stated that millionaires are the product of natural selection when they are rather the result of exploitation.
      In 1887 William Sumner wrote a series of essays for the Independent in which he denigrated current reform efforts as fabrications by rampant pressure groups.
      Ethical culture societies were formed in 1886 at Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis modeled after the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Cornell University professor Felix Adler organized the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Fiske & Cosmic Evolution

      John Fiske (1842-1901) was born on 30 March 1842 in Connecticut. After his father’s death in 1852 and his mother’s remarriage in 1855, John took the name of his maternal great-grandfather. He moved to Boston in 1860 and graduated from Harvard College in 1863. He attended its law school and passed the bar. He lectured on philosophy at Harvard 1869-71, on history in 1870, and was assistant librarian 1872-79 while he was writing books. He was interested in linguistics and studied several languages. Fiske read Henry T. Buckle’s History of Civilization in England, and he was especially influenced by the science of Alexander von Humboldt who wrote Kosmos which was published in five volumes from 1845 to 1862. Fiske read John Stuart Mill, and he liked the Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. He was also drawn to Theodore Parker and his absolute truths of religion. After reading History of the Intellectual Development of Europe by John W. Draper in 1863 Fiske read the Koran and then studied Arab philosophers. His review of John Stuart Mill’s Political Economy was published in the North American Review in January 1864. He became an expert on the works of Herbert Spencer and wrote to him in February sending him his essays on Buckle and language. Fiske expanded Spencer’s “Synthetic Philosophy” into a “Cosmic Philosophy.” In 1865 Fiske reviewed Max Müller’s Lectures on the Science of Language in his “Problems of Language and Mythology.” Fiske wrote long reviews of Spencer’s Principles of Biology and Ernest Renan’s Lives of the Apostles. In 1867 many of Fiske’s reviews were published in the World and the Nation. Fortnightly published his first part of “The Laws of History” in September 1868. Harvard appointed Fiske to lecture on history in the spring 1871.
      In October 1874 Fiske published his 2-volume Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy: Based on the Doctrine of Evolution, with Criticisms on the Positive Philosophy. Josiah Royce would write an introduction to the 4-volume edition that was published in 1902 with 20 other volumes of his works. Fiske described the ideas of Herbert Spencer. He considered evolution as universal as gravitation and began by explaining the relativity of knowledge. Fiske’s books were read by many, and he was considered a popularizer. He explained the ideas on evolution by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace so well that even Darwin praised his work. Fiske summarized Spencer’s law of evolution this way:

   The progress of society is a continuous establishment
of psychical relations within the community, in conformity to
physical and psychical relations arising in the environment,
during which both the community and the environment
pass from a state of incoherent homogeneity
to a state of coherent heterogeneity,
during which the constituent units of the community
become ever more distinctly individuated.4

Fisk applied positive principles to his cosmic philosophy that considered all knowledge relative, that rejected unverified propositions, that held philosophical evolution is a process of deanthropomorphization, that philosophy should synthesize ideas with scientific ideas and methods, and that critical philosophy should be positive and constructive. Fiske believed that God is much more than a person and that pain and death are part of the learning process and thus are not cruel. Yet he considered his cosmic theism compatible with the essence of Christianity. Octavius Brooks Frothingham and Francis E. Abbot had founded the Free Religious Association in 1867, and they liked Fiske’s ideas.
      Fiske lectured on the law of progress that governs all social evolution. He agreed with Wallace that the human brain changed natural selection from bodily factors to selection for intelligence. Fiske developed the idea that a long period of infancy explains the development of family, society, culture, progress, morals, and religion. He observed a correlation between a longer period of infancy and the intelligence of various animals.
      Fiske in Part II of Cosmic Philosophy discussed Spencerian and Darwinian evolution and suggested his own view that social evolution is the origin of morals. Fiske had met Thomas Henry Huxley at a dinner party held by Spencer in 1873.
      In the spring of 1879 Fiske lectured on “America’s Place in World History.” He accepted the theory of human evolution and suggested that social and political evolution has advanced with American federalism, and he predicted that peace could be developed by organizing world federation with international law to settle disputes between nations. In 1884 in The Destiny of Man Viewed in the Light of His Origin the chapter “Methods of Political Development, and Elimination of Warfare” concludes:

   The final extinction of warfare is only a question of time.
Sooner or later it must come to an end,
and the pacific principle of federalism,
whereby questions between states are settled,
like questions between individuals, by due process of law,
must reign supreme over all the earth.6

      In March 1885 in his essay “Manifest Destiny” in the Harper’s New Monthly he wrote,

   We have seen how desirable it is that
self-governing groups of men should be enabled to work
together in permanent harmony and on a great scale.
In this kind of political integration
the work of civilization very largely consists.
We have seen how in its most primitive form political society
is made up of small self-governing groups
that are perpetually at war with one another.
Now the process of change which we call civilization
means quite a number of things, but there is no doubt that
it means primarily the gradual substitution
of a state of peace for a state of war.
This change is the condition precedent
for all the other kinds of improvement
that are connoted by such a term as “civilization.”
   Manifestly the development of industry is
largely dependent upon the cessation or restriction of warfare;
and furthermore as the industrial phase of civilization
slowly supplants the military phase, men’s characters undergo,
though very slowly, a corresponding change.
Men become less inclined to destroy life or to inflict pain;
or, to use the popular terminology, which happens
to coincide precisely with that of the doctrine of evolution,
they become less brutal and more humane.
Obviously, then, the primary phase of the process
called civilization is the general diminution of warfare.
But we have seen that a general diminution of warfare
is rendered possible only by the union of small political groups
into larger groups that are kept together by community
of interests, and that can adjust their mutual relations
by legal discussion, without coming to blows….
   In contrast with such a system as that of the Roman Empire,
the skillfully elaborated American system of federalism
appears as one of the most important contributions that
the English race has made to the general work of civilization….
For obviously the principle of federalism,
as thus broadly stated, contains within itself the seeds of a
permanent peace between nations, and to this glorious end
I believe it will come in the fullness of time….
The economic competition will become so keen that
European armies will have to be disbanded,
the swords will have to be turned into plowshares,
and thus the victory of the industrial over the military
type of civilization will at last become complete….
   As this process goes on, it may,
after many more ages of political experience,
become apparent that there is really no reason,
in the nature of things, why the whole of mankind
should not constitute politically one huge federation,
each little group managing its local affairs
in entire independence,
but relegating all questions of international interest
to the decision of one central tribunal
supported by the public opinion of the entire human race.
I believe that the time will come
when such a state of things will exist upon the earth,
when it will be possible
(with our friend of the Paris dinner party)
to speak of the United States as stretching from pole to pole,
or with Tennyson to celebrate
the “parliament of man and the federation of the world.”
   Indeed, only when such a state of things
has begun to be realized can civilization,
as sharply demarcated from barbarism,
be said to have fairly begun.
Only then can the world be said
to have become truly Christian.7

      Fiske taught American history for many years, and he published 22 volumes on the history of North American colonies and the United States. He used Washington Irving’s Life of George Washington for his lectures on the American Revolution, and he published a condensed version of the multi-volume work. In 1899 Fiske wrote,

   The doctrine of evolution
destroys the conception of the world as a machine.
It makes God our constant refuge and support,
and Nature his true revelation;
and when all its religious implications shall have been
set forth, it will be seen to be the most potent ally
that Christianity has ever had in elevating mankind.8

Fiske ended his book The Destiny of Man with this inspiring conclusion:

   I feel the omnipresence of mystery in such wise as
to make it far easier for me to adopt the view of Euripides,
that what we call death may be but the dawning
of true knowledge and of true life.
The greatest philosopher of modern times,
the master and teacher of all who shall study
the process of evolution for many a day to come,
holds that the conscious soul is not the product
of a collocation of material particles,
but is in the deepest sense a divine effluence.
According to Mr. Spencer, the divine energy which is
manifested throughout the knowable universe
is the same energy that wells up in us as consciousness.
Speaking for myself, I can see no insuperable difficulty
in the notion that at some period in the evolution of Humanity
this divine spark may have acquired sufficient concentration
and steadiness to survive the wreck of material forms
and endure forever.
Such a crowning wonder seems to me no more than
the fit climax to a creative work that has been
ineffably beautiful and marvelous in all its myriad stages.
   Only on some such view can the reasonableness
of the universe, which still remains far above
our finite power of comprehension, maintain its ground.
There are some minds inaccessible to the class
of considerations here alleged,
and perhaps there always will be.
But on such grounds, if on no other, the faith in immortality
is likely to be shared by all who look upon the genesis
of the highest spiritual qualities in Man
as the goal of Nature’s creative work.
This view has survived the Copernican revolution in science,
and it has survived the Darwinian revolution.
Nay, if the foregoing exposition be sound,
it is Darwinism which has placed Humanity
upon a higher pinnacle than ever.
The future is lighted for us with the radiant colours of hope.
Strife and sorrow shall disappear.
Peace and love shall reign supreme.
The dream of poets, the lesson of priest and prophet,
the inspiration of the great musician,
is confirmed in the light of modern knowledge;
and as we gird ourselves up for the work of life,
we may look forward to the time
when in the truest sense the kingdoms of this world
shall become the kingdom of Christ,
and he shall reign for ever and ever,
king of kings and lord or lords.8

Ward & Sociology

      The pioneering sociologist Lester Frank Ward was born on 18 June 1841 in Illinois. He studied botany, paleontology, and became a founder of sociology. He criticized those conservative interpretations of Darwin’s theory of survival and Spencer’s ideas. After being wounded at Chancellorsville in 1863 he became a clerk in the US Treasury Department. He became a lawyer by 1873. During the 1870s he edited The Iconoclast. In 1877 he wrote articles for the Washington National Union suggesting the use of government statistics as a guide for legislation. In 1881 he published “The Scientific Basis of Positive Political Economy” that opposed natural law as a social theory. That year he read a paper to the Anthropological Society of Washington that criticized the current laissez-faire philosophy, and he reported how Europeans were developing positive social programs to improve people’s lives. He held that legislation could provide more opportunities for those in need. He noted that competition produces large corporations that gain dangerous powers. The solution is governmental regulation in the interest of the whole society.
      Ward was appointed the geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in 1883, and he worked with John Wesley Powell. That year Ward published his 2-volume Dynamic Sociology: Or Applied Social Science as Based Upon Statistical Sociology and the Less Complex Sciences. In that book he wrote,

   The knowledge of experience is, so to speak,
a genetic product; that of education is a teleological product.
The origination and distribution of knowledge
can no longer be left to chance and to nature.
They are to be systematized and erected into true arts.
Knowledge artificially acquired is still real knowledge,
and the stock of all men
must always consist chiefly of such knowledge.
The artificial supply of knowledge is as much more copious
than the natural as is the artificial supply of food
more abundant than the natural supply.9

Ward contrasted natural genesis to human freedom that consciously uses teleology or purpose to educate and improve humanity. He considered social Darwinism offensive to democratic principles. He encouraged experiments using scientific methods in order to benefit mankind. He believed that poverty could be reduced or even eliminated by the mental power of conscious evolution. He criticized capitalistic theories that emphasized laissez-faire economics and the survival of the fittest. He advocated equal rights for women and even suggested that women may be superior to men. In his article “Mind as a Social Factor” in the October 1884 issue of Mind: A Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy he wrote,

   The truth thus comes forth from a rational study of nature
and human society that social progress has been due
only in very slight degree to natural evolution
as accomplished through the survival of the fittest,
and its chief success has resulted from
the reduction of competition in the struggle for existence
and the protection of the weaker members.
Such competition, insofar as it has been permitted
to operate, has tended to lower the standard
of the fittest and to check advancement….
The inventive arts have been the result.
Vital forces have yielded to some extent
to the influence of mind in bringing about
improved stocks of animals and vegetables,
and even certain social laws have come under
rational control through the establishment of institutions….
   These ends will be secured in proportion
as the true nature of mind is understood.
When nature comes to be regarded as passive
and man as active, instead of the reverse as now,
when human action is recognized
as the most important of all forms of action,
and when the power of the human intellect over vital,
psychic and social phenomena is practically conceded,
then, and then only, can man justly claim to have risen
out of the animal and fully to have entered
the human stage of development.10

In 1893 Ward published The Psychic Factors of Civilization and advocated education and freedom from economic pressures because they contribute to democratic and humanitarian society. He concluded,

   Competition is growing more and more
aggressive, heated, and ephemeral.
Combination is growing more and more
universal, powerful, and permanent.
This is the result of the most complete laissez-faire policy.
The paradox therefore is that
individual freedom can only come through social regulation.
The cooperative effects of the rule of mind
which annihilate competition can only be overcome
by that still higher form of cooperation which shall stay
the lower form and set free the normal faculties of man.11

      Ward published “Plutocracy and Paternalism” in the November 1895 issue of Forum concluding

   The degree to which the citizen is protected
in the secure enjoyment of his possessions
is a fair measure of the state of civilization,
but this protection must apply as rigidly
to the poor man’s possessions as to those of the rich man.
In the present system the latter is not only encouraged,
but actually tempted to exploit the former.
Every trust, every monopoly,
every carelessly granted franchise
has or may have this effect;
and the time has arrived when a part at least
of this paternal solicitude on the part of the government         
should be diverted from the monopolistic element
and bestowed upon the general public.
If we must have paternalism,
there should be no partiality shown in the family.12

Royce on Idealistic Moral Insight

      Josiah Royce was born on 20 November 1855 in Grass Valley, California. He enrolled in a school at San Francisco in 1866, and in September 1871 he was admitted into the University of California at Oakland. He excelled in English, mathematics, and history, and from library books he studied philosophy and theology. He was influenced by John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, and Limits of Religious Thought by Henry L. Mansel. In a dream his morbid fantasies turned to thoughts of serving humanity. He liked the science lectures by Joseph Le Conte. In his third year the campus moved to Berkeley, and Royce studied Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He wrote two reviews of John Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science. He also reviewed writings by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Poe, Tennyson, George Eliot, Hardy, and Turgenev, and he read Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Berkeley. He wrote how Prometheus represented human will values challenging the tyrannical Zeus. At his graduation in June 1875 Royce gave an address on Sophocles’ Antigone. His essay on the theology in Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus gained him a grant to study in Germany for one year. He studied German philosophers under Hermann Lotze at Göttingen and read works by Schelling and Schopenhauer. He also studied Greek philosophy, Sanskrit grammar, and he took anthropology and logic from Wilhelm Wundt.
      The University of California president Daniel Gilman moved to establish a graduate school at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, and he offered Royce a fellowship. Royce lectured on Schopenhauer and Kant, and he completed his doctorate in 1878. At that time a Ph.D. was rare except in Germany. Royce’s thesis was “Of the Interdependence of the Principles of Knowledge.” He returned to Berkeley to teach English literature for $1,200 a year. For 14 months he kept a “Thought-Diary” in which he wrote, “The Will to Live takes the form of a striving after self-development, extension of experience, increase of the quantity and refinement of the quality of consciousness.”13 In November 1879 he gave a talk in San Francisco on “Shelley and the Revolution.” Charles Sanders Pierce asked Royce to write an essay for the Metaphysical Club at John Hopkins, and he sent them “On Purpose in Thought.” Royce suggested that thought transforms uncertainty into confidence. For another group there he wrote “The Nature of Voluntary Progress.” Individual efforts contribute to the community and produce progress for the general good. Instead of a Hegelian dialectic Royce advised harmonious development, and in place of competition and struggle he recommended cooperation. Royce gave private lessons often on Latin so that he could marry Katharine in October 1880. In February 1881 he wrote the essay “George Eliot as a Religious Teacher.” In “Doubting and Working” he advised,

   Doubt not because doubting is a good end,
but because it is a good beginning.
Doubt not for amusement, but as a matter of duty.
Doubt not superficially, but with thoroughness….
Doubt as you would undergo a surgical operation,
because it is necessary to thought-health.
So only can you hope to attain convictions
that are worth having.14

      In 1881 William James took a sabbatical and helped Royce get his teaching position at Harvard. In “How Beliefs Are Made” Royce used the expression “will to believe” before his friend James made it famous. He discussed idealism with James and advised George Santayana on his doctoral work. Royce taught philosophy at Harvard until his death in 1916. During a series of four lectures in March 1882 he described his ethical theory:

   Act as if all the consequences of thy act,
for all beings, were about to be forthwith
realized to thy own consciousness….
Our characters as they grow must tend towards
a final self-surrender to the work of humanity,
so that we become to our own better insight
nothing but drops in an ocean of life,
existing to take our little part
in the common movements of the whole.
We thus must see ourselves as little members
of a vast body, as little fragments of a mighty temple,
as single workers whose work has importance
only by reason of its relations to the whole.15

      In March 1884 the Harvard Philosophical Club sponsored three lectures by Royce on “Certain Ideals of Right Conduct and Their Value for Society.”
      Royce explored his idealistic ethics in The Religious Aspect of Philosophy: A Critique of the Bases of Conduct and of Faith that was published in January 1885. He expanded the teaching of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and described his precept of the higher ideal of Harmony as:

   Act as a being would act who included thy will
and thy neighbor’s will in the unity of one life,
and who had therefore to suffer the consequences
for the aims of both
that will follow from the act of either.16

He suggested developing moral insight by organizing it with life. He wrote,

   Get and keep the moral insight as an experience,
and do all that thou canst
to extend among men this experience….
Act out in each case what the moral insight bids thee do….
Having made thyself, in so far as thou art able,
one with all the conflicting wills before thee,
act out the resulting universal will
as it then arises in thee.17

Royce attempted to explain how moral insight can become universal and bring about the highest good for all humanity. He wrote,

   So long as a man is bound up in his individual will,
he may be instinctively upright,
he cannot be consciously and with clear intent righteous.
So long therefore as this is true of him,
he will be dependent on traditions that are often pernicious,
on conscience that is often brutal prejudice,
on faith that is often bigotry,
on emotion that is the blindest of all guides;
and if he does good or if he does evil, the power responsible
for his deeds will not be a truly moral impulse.
To gain the moral ends of humanity,
the indispensable prerequisite is therefore
the moral insight in its merely formal aspect,
as an human power and as an experience of life.
When a good many more men
have reached the possession of this power,
then more of life will be taken up with concrete duties.
Until that time comes,
the great aim must be this formal and provisional one:
to produce in men the moral mood, and so to prepare
the way for the further knowledge of the highest good.
If we put the matter otherwise we may say:
The moral insight, insisting upon the need
of the harmony of all human wills, shows us that
whatever the highest human good may be,
we can only attain it together, for it involves harmony.
The highest good then is not to be got by any one of us
or by any clique for us separately.
Either the highest good is for humanity unattainable,
or the humanity of the future must get it in common.
Therefore the sense of community,
the power to work together,
with clear insight into our reasons for so working
is the first need of humanity….
   Extend the moral insight among men,
and in thy own life: this is the first commandment.18

Royce suggested that the highest human good can only be attained through harmony with others. He urged his students and readers to organize their life this way:

   Organize all Life. And this means:
Find work for the life of the coming moral humanity
which shall be so comprehensive and definite that
each moment of every man’s life in that perfect state,
however rich and manifold men’s lives may then be,
can be and will be spent in the accomplishment
of that one highest impersonal work.
If such work is found and accepted, the goal of human progress will be in so far reached.19

He noted, “The World is not one process merely, but an eternal repetition of the drama of infinite reason.”20 William James was impressed by Royce’s absolute idealism. He admitted he could not refute it, and he called it “brand-new.”
      Royce accepted the challenge to write a history of California, and he took advantage of the massive research compiled at the Bancroft Library in San Francisco. To resolve a dispute over whether John C. Fremont had been informed of the secret mission by Thomas Larkin from Secretary of State Buchanan to avoid a war Royce met with the retired General Fremont and his wife Bessie. Based on all the evidence he found he had to conclude that Fremont was lying. In 1886 Royce published his history as California from the Conquest of 1846 to the Second Vigilance Committee in San Francisco [1856]: A Study of American Character. He also described the San Francisco vigilance committees and many lynchings. Royce also took time off from philosophy to write The Feud of Oakfield Creek: A Novel of California Life in which the character Alonzo Eldon represented Leland Stanford. The novel contained heroes, heroines, villains, and bloody fights, and he described social, ethical, and religious problems. Frank Norris would publish a similar historical novel The Octopus in 1901.
      Royce visited Australia by sailing east from Boston and passing through the Suez Canal to get to Melbourne and Sydney. He completed his six-month trip returning by way of San Francisco in September 1888. He published “Reflections after a Wandering Life in Australasia” in the Atlantic Monthly. Royce, like William James, was associated with the American Society for Psychical Research, and he supported Felix Adler’s efforts to develop the Ethical Culture Society. In January 1889 he spoke on “The Practical Value of Philosophy” in Philadelphia to support a proposed School of Philosophy and Applied Ethics.
      Royce published The Spirit of Modern Philosophy in early 1892, and the first edition was nearly sold out by March, giving him his first commercial success. Royce begins his discussion of European philosophy in the 17th century. In the introduction he explains his idealism this way:

   This theory is that the whole universe,
including the physical world, also,
is essentially one live thing, a mind, one great Spirit,
infinitely wealthier in his experiences than we are,
but for that very reason to be comprehended by us
only in terms of our own wealthiest experience.21

In discussing Spinoza he wrote,

   But meanwhile (and herein lies the hope
of our mystical religion) this substance, this deity,
possesses and of its nature determines also and equally
an infinite mind, of whose supreme perfection
our minds are fragments.
We are thus not only the sons of God;
so far as we are wise our lives are hid in God,
we are in Him, of Him; we recognize this indwelling,
we lose our finiteness in Him,
we become filled with the peace which the eternal brings;
we calm the thirst of our helpless finite passion by entering
consciously into his eternal self-possession and freedom.22

He wrote about Berkeley’s similar philosophy:

   And as the same is true with regard to
all other finite created spirits, it necessarily follows,
there is an omnipresent eternal mind,
which knows and comprehends all things,
and exhibits them to our view in such a manner,
and according to such rules, as He himself hath ordained,
and are by us termed the laws of nature.23

In discussing Kant’s idealistic philosophy Royce wrote,

   In this show-world of your limitation and ignorance,
you are bound to behave thus reasonably and sublimely,
and there is necessarily associated with your behavior
a determination to trust faithfully and absolutely that
the right, thus acted out, will triumph,
and that there is a God who will see that it triumphs.
You are moved so to trust in God,
because that is simply the wise and honorable thing to do.
And this world of yours, as one sees,
is not a world of absolute insight, but first
of sane and active unification of your personal experience,
and then of honorable doing, a world whose highest wisdom
is the service of the ideal that reason conceives.24

In the chapter of “Reality and Idealism” he wrote,

   Either, as you see, your real world yonder
is through and through a world of ideas,
an outer mind that you are more or less
comprehending through your experience,
or else, in so far as it is real and outer
it is unknowable, an inscrutable x, an absolute mystery.
The dilemma is perfect. There is no third alternative.
Either a mind yonder, or else the unknowable;
that is your choice.25

During the World Fair at Chicago in 1893 Royce was prominent on the Advisory Council for the Philosophical Congress, and his paper on “The Two-fold Nature of Knowledge: Imitative and Reflective” was well received.

William James & The Principles of Psychology

      William James was born in New York City on 11 January 1842. His father Henry James Sr. was born into a large and wealthy family. When he was 13 he was badly burned in a fire, and had a leg amputated. He was influenced by Swedenborg, and Henry published The Secret of Swedenborg in 1869. His major work Substance and Shadow or Morality and Religion in their Relation to Life: An Essay Upon the Physics of Creation was published in 1863. His son William edited his father’s work and published it in 1885 as The Literary Remains of Henry James.
      On 18 March 1842 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his diary that he had become acquainted with Henry James who had heard Emerson’s lecture on March 3 and wrote to him that night,

I chiefly value that erect attitude of mind about which
in God’s universe undauntedly
seeks the worthiest tidings of God,
and calmly defies every mumbling phantom
which would herein challenge its freedom.26

The senior James and Emerson became good friends and exchanged many letters. On 6 May 1843 Emerson wrote to him,

I should like both for Mr. Thoreau’s and for your own sake
that you would meet and see what you have for each other.
Thoreau is a profound mind
and a person of true magnanimity.27

On 1 November 1849 Henry James gave the lecture “Socialism and Civilization in Relation to the Development of the Individual Life” to a club in Boston, and he talked about Saint-Simon, Owen, and Fourier. In 1850 Henry James published Moralism and Christianity; or Man's Experience and Destiny. After his father’s death in 1882 William James wrote,

For me, the humor, the good spirits, the humanity,
the faith in the divine, and the sense of his right
to have a say about the deepest reasons of the universe,
are what will stay with me.28

      William James spent time in Europe as a child and as a young man, and he became fluent in German and French. From 1855 to 1858 he studied in England and at a Fourier school in France, and in 1859-60 he went to school and had tutors in Switzerland and Germany. His father was afraid that American schools would corrupt his son, and he enrolled him at Bonn and then left. William read several books by Goethe. He studied painting at Newport, Rhode Island before enrolling at Harvard in 1861.
      William James suffered from neurasthenia and depression. During the Civil War he refused to serve in the military. In 1862-63 he attended lectures by Louis Agassiz on “Geology and the Structure and Classification of the Animal Kingdom.” He read Charles S. Pierce, Max Müller’s History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, and Frederic Farrar’s Origins of Language. In 1863 James left the Chemistry Department to study Comparative Anatomy and Physiology under Jeffries Wyman. In 1864 the James family moved to Boston, and William entered Harvard’s Medical School. In 1865-66 he accompanied the biologist Louis Agassiz on a scientific expedition up the Amazon River in Brazil for eight months.
      At Berlin in the fall of 1867 James read his father’s articles on “Faith and Science” and “Swedenborg’s Ontology.” He praised Tolstoy’s War and Peace for its “veracity and profundity.” He had read Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, and in 1868 he read Darwin’s Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication which described how they could be bred to enhance specific characteristics. He completed his medical degree in June 1869, but he never charged money for work as a doctor. That year William read his father’s Secret of Swedenborg, and he wrote a review of John Stuart Mill’s On the Subjection of Women.
      On 1 February 1870 William James wrote in his diary,

Today I about touched bottom, and perceive plainly that
I must face the choice with open eyes:
shall I frankly throw the moral business overboard,
as one unsuited to my innate aptitudes, or shall I follow it,
and it alone, making everything else merely stuff for it?
I will give the latter alternative a fair trial.
Who knows but the moral interest may become developed.
Hitherto I have tried to fire myself with the moral interest,
as an aid in the accomplishing of certain utilitarian ends.29

After reading Renouvier’s Essais, James on April 30 wrote in his diary, “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.”30 He had cured his own psychological problems by 1872, and in 1873 he began teaching physiology at Harvard. His younger brother Henry James began publishing his novels in 1875, and he wrote eighteen novels by 1904.
      William James taught “The Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of Vertebrates” for five years. In 1875 he started giving “The Relation between Physiology and Psychology,” and he established the first laboratory for psychological experiments. James in 1876 wrote a review of Emotions and the Will by Alexander Bain. In 1878 William married Alice Gibbens who taught school in Boston.
      In January 1879 James published in Mind his essay “Are We Automata?” He rejected the “Automaton-theory” and suggested a “Common-Sense-theory” that acknowledges the importance of “Consciousness” and the “worth of Feeling.” He taught the “The Philosophy of Evolution” in 1879, and he was appointed an assistant professor of philosophy in 1880. He used First Principles by Herbert Spencer as a text. James made fun of Spencer’s dualistic definition of the law of evolution, and he asked, “If God is perfection, supreme goodness, how did there ever have to come any imperfections? No one has ever got round this.”31 In 1882 James became a Theosophist, and that summer he got a one-year leave to go to Europe. His friends included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Sanders Peirce, Bertrand Russell, Josiah Royce, Ernst Mach, John Dewey, Macedonio Fernández, Walter Lippmann, Mark Twain, Horatio Alger, G. Stanley Hall, Henri Bergson, Carl Jung, Jane Addams, and Sigmund Freud.
      In 1884 James helped found the American Society for Psychical Research, and he published his Harvard lecture on “The Dilemma of Determinism” and used the term “soft determinism” to defend the doctrine of free will.
      In 1876 James used The Principles of Psychology by Herbert Spencer as a text for his course Physiological Psychology. Spencer’s book in 1869 was only 142 pages, and James went far beyond its research. Yet in 1904 James praised that work for “its revolutionary insistence that since mind and its environment have evolved together, they must be studied together.”32
      In 1878 his publisher Henry Holt commissioned James to write The Principles of Psychology, and after working for twelve years he published it in October 1890. The book became a textbook in many colleges and universities, and it was translated into German, French, Italian, and Russian. In a letter to his brother Henry in August he noted that in 1890 William Dean Howells published his novel Hazard of New Fortunes and Henry his novel Tragic Muse, and he wondered if the year would be known “as the great epochal year in American literature.”33
      The Principles of Psychology by William James was included as volume 53 in the Great Books of the Western World, and my notes refer to that text. In the preface James noted that he is excluding the subjects of “pleasure and pain” as well as “moral and aesthetic feelings and judgments.” He outlined the scope of psychology as the phenomena of “feelings, desires, cognitions, reasonings, and the like.” Then he mentions memory, reasoning, volition, imagination, and appetite as faculties of the soul. His quest is to understand the conditions under which the faculties work. He accepts as universally admitted that the brain is the bodily condition for mental operations, and he lays down as a “general law that no mental modification ever occurs which is not accompanied or followed by a bodily change.”34 He asserts as a principle, “No actions but such as are done for an end, and show a choice of means, can be called indubitable expressions of mind.”35
      In his chapter “The Functions of the Brain” James wrote, “The function of the nervous system is to bring each part into harmonious co-operation with every other.”36 He noted that involuntary acts are reflexes. Animals have voluntary acts, and reflexes may be “modified by conscious intelligence.” James reviewed the experiments that had been made in his time on which portions of the brain affect various capabilities. He wrote, “Ideas of sensation, ideas of motion, are … the elementary factors out of which the mind is built up by the associationists in psychology.”37 He discussed the five major senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. He noted that stimuli can work together.

A stimulus which would be inadequate by itself
to excite a nerve-centre to effective discharge may,
by acting with one or more other stimuli
(equally ineffectual by themselves alone)
bring the discharge about.38

He observed that intoxicants such as coffee and tea shorten reaction time while small doses of alcohol first shorten it and then lengthen it.
      James defined instincts as “an innate tendency” that develops habits, and he wrote, “The phenomena of habit in living beings are due to the plasticity of the organic materials of which their bodies are composed.”39 James found,

   Habit simplifies the movements required
to achieve a given result,
makes them more accurate and diminishes fatigue.…
   Habit diminishes the conscious attention
with which our acts are performed….
   They are sensations to which we are usually inattentive,
but which immediately call our attention if they go wrong.40

James accepted two maxims of moral habits from Professor Bain and added two more.

   We must take care to launch ourselves
with as strong and decided an initiative as possible….
   Never suffer an exception to occur
till the new habit is securely rooted in your life….
   Seize the very first possible opportunity
to act on every resolution you make,
and on every emotional prompting you may experience
in the direction of the habits you aspire to gain….
   Keep the faculty of effort alive in you
by a little gratuitous exercise every day.41

      James described five characteristics of thought: that it tends to be part of a personal consciousness, is always changing, is sensibly continuous, always appears to deal with objects independent of itself, and is interested in some parts of these objects to the exclusion of others and welcomes or rejects—chooses from among them. A “train of thought” may reach a conclusion. Human thought can be independent of itself and possess “the function of knowing.” Even a complex object may be a part of undivided consciousness.
      In the long chapter “The Consciousness of Self” James described the three constituents of the self as the material self, the social self, and the spiritual self. The physical body is the most important part of the material self which also includes a person’s possessions. The Social Self is how others see one, and a person can have as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him or her. He described the spiritual self as an “inner or subjective being” that includes psychic faculties. He sets apart the personal unity of the “pure” Ego which some may call the “soul.” Emotions arouse self-feelings such as “self-love” or “self-complacency,” and “self-dissatisfaction.” Self-seeking may be for the body and its preservation. Social self-seeking is for friends, to please, for admiration, emulation, jealousy, glory, influence, power, etc. Spiritual self-seeking is for psychic progress intellectually, morally, or spiritually. Thus James found a hierarchy with the body at the bottom and the spiritual self at the top with the social and material selves in between. Individuals may move from concerns of the body to friends and then to “spiritual dispositions.”
      James wrote, “My experience is what I agree to attend to.”42 He found that attention can be to sense objects or ideal objects. They are immediate when the thing is interesting or derived when it is associated with something interesting. Attention can be passive and effortless or active and voluntary. Attention helps us perceive, conceive, distinguish, remember better, and it shortens our reaction time.
      On memory he wrote, “For a state of mind to survive in memory it must have endured for a certain length of time.”43 It is knowledge of something we have thought of or experienced before. Retention and recall can be improved by using the association of ideas. He wrote, “The one who thinks over his experiences most, and weaves them into systematic relations with each other, will be the one with the best memory.”44 Perception combines sensation with reproductive processes in the brain, and he noted, “Whilst part of what we perceive comes through the senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own head.45
      In the chapter “The Perception of Reality” he wrote,

   In its inner nature, belief, or the sense of reality, is a sort
of feeling more allied to the emotions than to anything else….
What characterizes both consent and belief
is the cessation of theoretic agitation, through the advent
of an idea which is inwardly stable, and fills the mind solidly
to the exclusion of contradictory ideas….
   The true opposites of belief, psychologically considered,
are doubt and inquiry, not disbelief.
   Any object which remains uncontradicted is
ipso facto believed and posited as absolute reality….
   The whole distinction of real and unreal,
the whole psychology of belief, disbelief, and doubt,
is thus grounded on two mental facts—
first, that we are liable to think differently of the same;
and second, that when we have done so, we can choose
which way of thinking to adhere to and which to disregard….
   Each thinker, however, has dominant habits of attention;
and these practically elect from among the various worlds
some one to be for him the world of ultimate realities.
From this world’s objects he does not appeal.
Whatever positively contradicts them
must get into another world or die….
   As bare logical thinkers, without emotional reaction,
we give reality to whatever objects we think of,
for they are really phenomena,
or objects of our passing thought, if nothing more.
But, as thinkers with emotional reaction,
we give what seems to us a still higher degree of reality
to whatever things we select and emphasize
and turn to with a will.
These are our living realities;
and not only these, but all the other things
which are intimately connected with these….
   Whatever things have intimate and continuous connection
with my life are things of whose reality I cannot doubt….
   If we survey the field of history and ask what feature
all great periods of revival, of expansion of the human mind,
display in common, we shall find, I think, simply this:
that each and all of them have said to the human being,
“The inmost nature of the reality
is congenial to powers which you possess….”
   The perfect object of belief would be
a God or “Soul of the World,”
represented both optimistically and moralistically
(if such a combination could be), and withal
so definitely conceived as to show us why
our phenomenal experiences should be sent to us by Him
in just the very way in which they come.46

      For James reasoning contains analysis and abstraction. He described the following human instincts: sucking, biting, clasping, carrying to the mouth, crying, smiling, turning the head aside, holding head erect, sitting up, standing, locomotion, vocalization, imitation, emulation or rivalry, pugnacity; anger; resentment, the hunting instinct, fear, appropriation or acquisitiveness, kleptomania, constructiveness, play, curiosity, sociability and shyness, secretiveness, cleanliness, modesty, shame, love, jealousy, and parental love.
      James began his chapter on “The Emotions” with the basic premise: “Instinctive reactions and emotional expressions thus shade imperceptibly into each other. Every object that excites an instinct excites an emotion as well.”47 He provides a long quote from the Danish physiologist C. Lange. Thus the James theory of emotion has been labeled the James-Lange theory, and it has been summarized as bodily changes causing emotional reactions. On fear James quoted extensively from The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin which he referred to as The Origin of Emotions. James explained his own theory,

   Our natural way of thinking about these coarser emotions
is that the mental perception of some fact
excites the mental affection called the emotion,
and that this latter state of mind
gives rise to the bodily expression.
My theory, on the contrary, is that the bodily changes
follow directly the perception of the exciting fact,
and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur
is the emotion.
Common-sense says,
we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep;
we meet a bear, are frightened and run;
we are insulted by a rival, are angry and strike.
The hypothesis here to be defended says that
this order of sequence is incorrect, that the one mental state
is not immediately induced by the other, that
the bodily manifestations must first be interposed between,
and that the more rational statement is that
we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike,
afraid because we tremble,
and not that we cry, strike, or tremble,
because we are sorry, angry, or fearful,
as the case may be….
   Objects do excite bodily changes
by a preorganized mechanism, or the farther fact that
the changes are so indefinitely numerous and subtle
that the entire organism may be called a sounding-board,
which every change of consciousness, however slight,
may make reverberate….
   The next thing to be noticed is this,
that every one of the bodily changes, whatsoever it be,
is felt, acutely or obscurely, the moment it occurs….
   If we fancy some strong emotion,
and then try to abstract from our consciousness of it
all the feelings of its bodily symptoms,
we find we have nothing left behind,
no “mind-stuff” out of which the emotion can be constituted,
and that a cold and neutral state of intellectual perception
is all that remains….
   Now the moment the genesis of an emotion
is accounted for, as the arousal by an object
of a lot of reflex acts which forthwith felt,
we immediately see why there is no limit to the number
of possible different emotions which may exist,
and why the emotions of different individuals
may vary indefinitely, both as to their constitution
and as to objects which call them forth.
For there is nothing sacramental
or eternally fixed in reflex action.
Any sort of reflex effect is possible,
and reflexes actually vary indefinitely, as we know.48

James answered objections to his theory and then described subtler emotions.

   These are the moral, intellectual, and aesthetic feelings.
Concords of sounds, of colors, of lines, logical consistencies,
teleological fitnesses, affect us with a pleasure that
seems ingrained in the very form of the representation itself,
and to borrow nothing from any reverberation
surging up from the parts below the brain….
   These secondary emotions themselves are assuredly
for the most part constituted of other incoming sensations
aroused by the diffusive wave of reflex effects
which the beautiful object sets up.49

      James noted how imagination can enhance emotional feelings, writing,

   An emotional temperament on the one hand,
and a lively imagination for objects and circumstances
on the other, are thus the conditions,
necessary and sufficient, for an abundant emotional life….
   One final generality about the emotions remains
to be noted: They blunt themselves by repetition
more rapidly than any other sort of feeling.
This is due not only to the general law
of “accommodation” to their stimulus which
we saw to obtain of all feelings whatever,
but to the peculiar fact that the “diffusive wave”
of reflex effects tends always to become more narrow.50

      James begins the “Will” chapter with these words:

   Desire, wish, will, are states of mind which everyone knows,
and which no definition can make plainer.
We desire to feel, to have, to do, all sorts of things
which at the moment are not felt, had, or done.
If with the desire there goes a sense that
attainment is not possible, we simply wish;
but if we believe that the end is in our power,
we will that the desired feeling, having, or doing shall be real;
and real it presently becomes,
either immediately upon the willing
or after certain preliminaries have been fulfilled.51

James goes on,

   A supply of ideas of the various movements
that are possible, left in the memory
by experiences of their involuntary performance,
is thus the first prerequisite of the voluntary life….
   Whether or no there be anything else in the mind
at the moment when we consciously will a certain act,
a mental conception made up of memory-images
of these sensations, defining which special act it is,
must be there….
   An anticipatory image, then, of the sensorial consequences
of a movement, plus (on certain occasions) the fiat that
these consequences shall become actual,
is the only psychic state which introspection lets us discern
as the forerunner of our voluntary acts….
   Movement is the natural immediate effect of feeling,
irrespective of what the quality of the feeling may be.
It is so in reflex action, it is so in emotional expression,
it is so in the voluntary life….
   In action as in reasoning then,
the great thing is the quest of the right conception.52

James described what the feeling of effort can help accomplish.

   There is a certain normal ratio in the impulsive power
of different sorts of motive, which characterizes
what may be called ordinary healthiness of will,
and which is departed from only at exceptional times
or by exceptional individuals.
The states of mind which normally possess
the most impulsive quality are either those which represent
objects of passion, appetite, or emotion—
objects of instinctive reaction, in short;
or they are feelings or ideas of pleasure or pain;
or ideas which for any reason we have grown accustomed
to obey so that the habit of reacting on them is ingrained;
or finally, in comparison with ideas of remoter objects,
they are ideas of objects present or near in space and time.
Compared with these various objects,
all far-off considerations, all highly abstract conceptions,
unaccustomed reasons, and motives foreign to the instinctive
history of the race, have little or no impulsive power.
They prevail, when they ever do prevail, with effort;
and the normal, as distinguished from the pathological,
sphere of effort is thus found wherever
non-instinctive motives of behavior are to rule the day….
   The essential achievement of the will, in short,
when it is most “voluntary,” is to attend
to a difficult object and hold it fast before the mind….
   Effort of attention is thus
the essential phenomenon of will.53

      James wrote this about free-will:

   The question of fact in the free-will controversy
is thus extremely simple.
It relates solely to the amount of effort of attention
or consent which we can at any time put forth.
Are the duration and intensity of this effort
fixed functions of the object, or are they not?
Now, as I just said, it seems as if the effort
were an independent variable,
as if we might exert more or less of it in any given case….
   It is a moral postulate about the Universe,
the postulate that what ought to be can be,
and that bad acts cannot be fated,
but that good ones must be possible in their place,
which would lead one to espouse the contrary view.
But when scientific and moral postulates war thus
with each other and objective proof is not to be had,
the only course is voluntary choice,
for skepticism itself, if systematic, is also voluntary choice.
If meanwhile, the will be undetermined, it would seem
only fitting that the belief in its indetermination should be
voluntarily chosen from amongst other possible beliefs.
Freedom’s first deed should be to affirm itself….
   Inhibition is therefore not an occasional accident;
it is an essential and unremitting element of our cerebral life….
   The psychic side of the phenomenon thus seems,
somewhat like the applause or hissing at a spectacle,
to be an encouraging or adverse comment on
what the machinery brings forth.
The soul presents nothing herself; creates nothing;
is at the mercy of the material forces for all possibilities;
but amongst these possibilities she selects;
and by reinforcing one and checking others,
she figures not as an “epiphenomenon,”
but as something from which the play gets moral support.
I shall therefore never hesitate to invoke
the efficacy of the conscious comment,
where no strictly mechanical reason appears
why a current escaping from a cell
should take one path rather than another.54

American Religion 1869-97

      In 1863 President Lincoln sent the abolitionist Congregationalist Henry Ward Beecher to Europe to speak for the Union’s war effort, and he became the most famous preacher in the United States. In 1869 Beecher was unanimously elected the first president of the American Woman Suffrage Association. He opposed Woodhull’s free love, and in 1870 his adultery with Theodore Tilton’s wife was exposed. Tilton sued Beecher in January 1872, and the divided jury was dismissed in July. Beecher spoke against the striking workers during the great railroad strike in 1877. He was influenced by Herbert Spencer, and Beecher became a Christian evolutionist. His opposition to the Chinese Exclusion Act helped delay it becoming law until 1882. He wrote Evolution and Religion in 1885.

      Octavius Brooks Frothingham (1822-95) opposed slavery and became a Unitarian and then preached at the Independent Liberal Church in New York City. In 1867 he co-founded and was the first president of the Free Religious Association in Boston. In 1872 he published The Religion of Humanity: An Essay which concludes,

   With mingled pride and humility,
earnest minds will address themselves
to their task of enlightening themselves and mankind;
pride, as they look back and see how nobly
intelligence has faced the terrible problems of being;
humility, as they look forward
and see how feeble their own efforts are.
The great prayer will be for the Spirit of Truth,
that shall lead them a little way further towards all truth.55

In his sermon “The Dogma of Hell” which was published in The Rising and Setting Faith in 1878 he said,

   The only rational alternative is,
the omission of the word “punishment,”
from the vocabulary of religion.
Speak of actions and their consequences;
of conduct and its issues; of character and its laws;
speak of moral cause and effect,
and trace the connection between deeds and destinies,
a vital, organic connection that
cannot be broken or interrupted;
but let the thought of retaliation be dropped.
Then will life be ordered on rational principles;
then will hopes and fears be reasonable;
and then will our conceptions of providence and deity
be worthy of intelligent beings.56

      Washington Gladden spoke out for labor unions and on social issues, and he has been considered the father of the Protestant Social Gospel movement. He began relating social and economic ideas to the Christianity in his Working People and their Employers in 1876. Although nominated by President Hayes, Gladden was rejected for the position of president of Ohio State University because of his liberal theology. He was the religious editor for the New York Independent,and he wrote and published 36 books between 1868 and 1918 including Applied Christianity in 1887 and Who Wrote the Bible: A Book for the People in 1891.
      Unitarian and Universalist churches had women preachers by 1877, but on March 5 the Syracuse Sunday Morning Courier reported that the Methodists refused to ordain or license female ministers.
      The Unitarian Minister Jonathan Baxter Harrison in October published “Certain Dangerous Tendencies in American Life” in The Atlantic Monthly. In that magazine he also contributed “The Nationals, their Origin and their Aims” in November, “Three Typical Workingmen” in December, “Workingmen's Wives” in January 1879, and “The Career of a Capitalist” in February.
      The independent minister Charles T. Russell in Pittsburgh was persuaded that Christ had returned in October 1874, and he began publishing Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence in July 1878. He preached that the millennial age had begun and would be ended in 1914 by revolution, chaos, and resurrection which would begin Armageddon. Russell and William Henry Conley began Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881.
      James Freeman Clarke was a theologian who pioneered the study of comparative religion. In 1871 he published Ten Great Religions that included chapters on Chinese Confucianism and Daoism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Zoroaster and the Zend Avesta, Egyptian religion, Greek religion, Roman religion, Teutonic and Scandinavian religion, Judaism, Mohammed and Islam, and Christianity. He wrote, “The work of Comparative Theology is to do equal justice to all the religious tendencies of mankind.” In 1878 he gave six lectures in Boston and published them as Essentials and Non-Essentials in Religion.
      On 7 September 1877 Edwin R. Meade addressed the Social Science Association of America on “Chinese Immigration to the United States.” He noted that California had about 175,000 Chinese; but only about 4,000 of them were women who were mostly prostitutes, and in 1875 the US Page Act had banned the importation of such women for immoral purposes. In 1876 only 259 female Chinese had arrived. China was believed to have more than 500 million people, about one-third of all mankind. Meade concluded,

   A Chinese embassy, soon to be permanently established
here, and a Chinese consulship in San Francisco will tend
to a better understanding of the character of their country,
while a professorship of Chinese literature,
just established by one of our leading colleges,
will explain the mysteries of its philosophy, science, and art;
but the dignity of American labor and citizenship,
and the welfare and renown of the white race,
and an elevated and Christian civilization, alike,
demand the exclusion of coolie immigrants.57

      In May 1879 after 26 years of work St. Patrick’s Cathedral opened in New York City.
      In 1880 Henry Turner became the first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South. He urged blacks to emigrate to Liberia.
      On 29 March 1882 the Catholic priest Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut and incorporated it as a charitable organization to help the working class and Catholic immigrants.
      On 28 April 1882 John Fox Slater incorporated the John F. Slater Fund and donated $1 million to educate emancipated Negroes. This would benefit Hampton Institute, Tuskegee Institute, Spelman College, Claflin University, and Fisk University.
      On 25 April 1885 for the first time a person who was known to be black, August Tolton, born to enslaved parents in Missouri, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Rome and was assigned to the diocese in Springfield, Illinois.
      That year the popular evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody became wealthy by manufacturing shoes in Chicago, and he began teaching Sunday School. At the International Sunday School Convention in Indianapolis in June 1871 he met the gospel singer Ira Sankey, and they published books of Christian hymns. At the Sunday School Union convention in 1872 Moody provided lesson plans that were adopted. He became a successful evangelist and also preached at revivals in Europe. He founded the Moody Bible Institute at Chicago in 1886.
      The Episcopalian Bishop of New York, Frederic Dan Huntington, held that Christianity must be relevant to the conflicts between capitalists and workers because they are pressing problems. The Church must take the side of those powerless and oppressed. In July 1886 The Church Review Huntington wrote,

   What is wanted most of all in these social distractions
and industrial confusions is that any two parties in opposition
should take pains to look at the issue
from one another’s point of view.
This requires some breadth of mind as well as
a benevolent regard to the common good;
but neither of these, in a land of general education
and Christian traditions, is entirely impracticable.
It is only necessary to use the faculty of thinking patiently,
to quiet anger, to dismiss jealousy
to go out of the petty sphere of immediate occupations,
and to examine the facts.
Let intelligent workmen who work for wages
make a candid study of the actual methods, aims,
and condition of the masters of the particular industry
in which they are engaged.
Let the employer, on the other hand,
give an equally candid hearing to half a dozen
of the best operatives in his employ,
while both are in good temper and at leisure.
Each party will learn a great deal,
and very likely be somewhat surprised.58

      On 20 February 1887 Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore presented a memorial for Pope Leo XIII explaining that he had met with the bishops of America to relieve them of the concern that the Knights of Labor’s constitution had unacceptable secret rituals adapted from the Masonic Order. This led to an end of the Catholic ban on the Knights of Labor in Canada. Gibbons also spoke on the progress of the Catholic Church in America while in Italy on March 25. He advocated a Catholic University of America which was established in Washington DC on April 10, and he became its first chancellor. He advised the Pope that Catholic workers should be allowed to form a union, and he wrote,

   That there exist among us, as in all other countries
of the world, grave and threatening social evils,
public injustices which call for strong resistance
and legal remedy, is a fact which no one dares to deny—
a fact already acknowledged by the Congress
and the President of the United States.
Without entering into the sad details of these evils,
whose full discussion is not necessary,
I will only mention that monopolies,
on the part of both individuals and of corporations,
have everywhere called forth
not only the complaints of our working classes,
but also the opposition of our public men and legislators;
that the efforts of monopolists, not always without success,
to control legislation to their own profit,
cause serious apprehensions
among the disinterested friends of liberty;
that the heartless avarice which, through greed of gain,
pitilessly grinds not only the men,
but even the women and children in various employments,
make it clear to all who love humanity and justice that
it is not only the right of the laboring classes
to protect themselves, but the duty of the whole people
to aid them in finding a remedy against the dangers
with which both civilization and social order
are menaced by avarice, oppression and corruption.59

      In 1889 Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise founded the Central Conference of American Rabbis for Reform rabbis from the United States and Canada.
      Benjamin R. Tucker was raised by a Unitarian, educated at the Friends Academy, and became a philosophical anarchist. He published the periodical Liberty from 1881 to 1908. On 14 October 1890 he spoke on “The Relation of the State to the Individual.” He argued that government is aggression or invasion. He wrote,

   The history of humanity has been largely one long
and gradual discovery of the fact that the individual is
the gainer by society exactly in proportion as society is free,
and of the law that the condition of a permanent
and harmonious society is the greatest amount
of individual liberty compatible with equality of liberty.60

      The Christian Recorder in Philadelphia on 24 March 1892 printed an appeal by Rev. E. Malcolm Argyle about black suffering in Arkansas including the lynching of eight colored persons in the previous 30 days and 500 people on wharves at Pine Bluff waiting for steamers to take them to Oklahoma.
      In 1892 the Congregationalist Lyman Abbott published The Evolution of Christianity writing “In the spiritual, as in the physical, God is the secret and source of light.”
      That year Rev. Walter Rauschenbusch and Baptists founded the Brotherhood of the Kingdom with the following aims:

   Every member shall lay stress
on the social aims of Christianity,
and shall endeavor to make Christ’s teaching
concerning wealth operative in the church.
   On the other hand, each member shall take pains
to keep in contact with the common people,
and to infuse the religious spirit
into the efforts for social amelioration.61

      The Universalist minister and scholar Orello Cone (1835-1905) published Gospel-Criticism and Historical Christianity in 1891 and Gospel Criticism and Its Earliest Interpreters in 1893.
      The Mormon Temple was completed in Salt Lake City, Utah, and on 6 April 1893 it was opened only to obedient Mormons.
      In 1892 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church tried Charles Briggs for heresy, and he was acquitted; but in 1893 they defrocked and excommunicated him for his scholarly and liberal interpretation of the Bible.
      George D. Herron became a Congregationalist minister in 1883, and in 1892 he joined the Socialist Labor Party of America. In 1895 he published the Christian State: A Political Vision of Christ writing,

There is but one deliverance from the rule of the people
by property, and that is the rule of property by the people.
If much of what has been considered private property
is to be absorbed in great monopolistic ownership,
as seems to be the inevitable outcome
of the competitive struggle,
then the people should become the monopolists.
The whole movement of modern industrial organization
has been toward monopoly,
and the movement will become more rapid, comprehensive,
and powerful as present social tendencies increase.
The only hope of the people for either industrial
or political freedom lies in their taking lawful possession
of the machinery, forces, and production
of great industrial monopolies.
Through the instrumentality of the state the people,
constituted in the realized democracy
of a social commonwealth,
could organize their social economy in justice,
that would insure work and bread for all who would work,
as well as make common to all many social benefits
now exclusively enjoyed by the privileged few;
and would find some service that would give
a measure of profit and hope to even the weakest.
So organized, the state as the social organ of the people
would furnish and compel work that would be redemptive
to many now given over as worthless by our unsocial order
of selfish and competitive individualism….
   The Christian collectivist would take away no liberty
from the individual that would not be returned to him
a hundred-fold in the liberty which association would give.
The Christian economic state would take away the liberty
to oppress and defraud, but give the liberty to work,
to have faith, and to do justice.
The real property rights of the people, the preservation
of the home, and the perpetuity of the family,
have their future dependence in the association of rights
under the guardianship of the state
as the social organ of a Christian democracy.
Such a mutual surrender and investiture of rights,
instead of endangering the individual and the family,
would be the freedom of the individual to develop
the highest personal life, and the security of the family
from the invasion of want and oppression.
The collection of rights and interests in the state
as the organ of the Christian economy of the people,
would remove life from the sphere of chance
to that of a moral social certainty,
and give opportunity for that free individual development
which is the true end of civilization.62

      Another Congregationalist minister Charles M. Sheldon, who was a leader in the Social Gospel movement, in 1896 published the novel, In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?

Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science

      Mary Baker Eddy was born on 16 July 1821 near Concord, New Hampshire. Her father was a very religious Congregationalist, and he urged her to read the Bible. He had a temper, and his ideas of predestination and eternal damnation made her feel ill. She often suffered from indigestion, and she searched for cures from “allopathy, homeopathy, hydropathy, electricity, and from various humbugs,—but without receiving satisfaction.”63 She studied hundreds of remedies and found that the less the medicine was based on materials, the more the mind was used, and the better were the results. She turned to “the Science of Mind and the All-in-all of Spirit in which matter is obsolete.” She was impelled “to seek diligently for the knowledge of God as the one great and ever-present relief from human woe.”64
      She married George Washington Glover in December 1843, and he died in June 1844. Her child George was born in September at her father’s home. In June 1853 she married the dentist Daniel Patterson. After a water cure failed to help her, Mary went to the Mentalist Phineas Quimby. He used no medicine, and she got better. From 1862-65 she debated healing methods with him and others. Later she would tell friends that she learned healing from Dr. Quimby who made her promise to teach it to at least two persons before she died.
      On 1 February 1866 Mary slipped on ice in Lynn, Massachusetts and injured her spine. Dr. Alvin Cushing gave her morphine for the pain while she was being moved, and then he treated her with homeopathy. Many believed she would not recover. She had no faith in medicine. Yet she told the doctor that she would walk, and she did on February 4. She believed that the Life of Spirit cured her. She had been working on her own method of spiritual healing, and in 1870 she began publishing pamphlets such as “The Science of Man, or the Principle which Controls all Phenomena.” Mary in January 1872 wrote to the Lynn Transcript,

   All forms of suffering and disease, and even the winds
and waves, obeyed the man, Jesus, through his God-being….
To be able to control our bodies by the soul,
i.e. through God, is to be able
not to let our bodies control us through the senses.65

She began writing Science and Health in February 1872. Her husband Patterson had left her for other women, and she obtained a divorce for desertion in November 1873. She had been writing pamphlets since 1870, but not until October 1875 did she raise enough money to publish 1,000 copies of The Science of Health in 456 pages. In this book she described her discovery.

   In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science
or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love,
and named my discovery Christian Science.
God had been graciously preparing me during many years
for the reception of this final revelation
of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing.
   This apodictical Principle points
to the revelation of Immanuel, “God with us,”—
the sovereign ever-presence, delivering the children of men
from every ill “that flesh is heir to.”
Through Christian Science, religion and medicine
are inspired with a diviner nature and essence;
fresh pinions are given to faith and understanding,
and thoughts acquaint themselves intelligently with God….
   When apparently near the confines of moral existence,
standing already within the shadow of the death-valley,
I learned these truths in divine Science:
that all real being is in God, the divine Mind, and that
Life, Truth, and Love are all-powerful and ever-present;
that the opposite of Truth,—
called error, sin, sickness, disease, death,—is the false
testimony of false material sense, of mind in matter;
that this false sense evolves, in belief,
a subjective state of mortal mind
which this same so-called mind names matter,
thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit.66

      In January 1877 she married Asa Gilbert Eddy. In January 1881 she began the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and she leased a house in Boston in early 1882. She charged students $300 for the elementary course.
      On 12 April 1879 Mary Baker Eddy and nine members of the Christian Scientist Association founded the Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston to promote spiritual healing. From 1880 to 1887 she wrote four pamphlets: Christian Science Healing, The People’s Idea of God, Defense of Christian Science, and A Historical Sketch of Metaphysical Healing. In 1881 the third edition of Science and Health added the chapters on Prayer, Atonement, Footsteps of Truth, Creation, Science of Being, and Recapitulation. She wrote in “Footsteps to Truth,”

   The voice of God in behalf of the African slave
was still echoing in the land, when the voice of the herald of
this new crusade sounded the keynote of universal freedom,
asking a fuller acknowledgement of the rights of man
as a Son of God, demanding that the fetters of sin, sickness,
and death be stricken from the human mind
and that its freedom be won,
not through human warfare, not with bayonet and blood,
but through Christ’s divine Science.
   God has built a higher platform of human rights,
and He has built it on diviner claims.
These claims are not made through code or creed, but in
demonstration of “on earth peace, good-will toward men.”
Human codes, scholastic theology, material medicine
and hygiene, fetter faith and spiritual understanding.
Divine Science rends asunder these fetters, and
man’s birthright of sole allegiance to his Maker asserts itself.
   I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude
to an unreal master in the belief that
the body governed them, rather than Mind.67

      Her husband Gilbert Eddy died in June 1882. In April 1883 she began publishing the Journal of Christian Science which later became the monthly Christian Science Journal. From Thomas Upham’s Absolute Religion, which was published in 1873, she may have read what he wrote,

   God is both Fatherhood and Motherhood.
   To the mind impelled by the laws of its own being,
that intuitionally accepts the great fact of Causation,
and can read the inherent nature of the cause in the facts
that flow from it, this, I think, is the inevitable conclusion.
And from the eternal Fatherhood and Motherhood, furnishing,
in their coexistent and co-operative duality, the only
conceivable basis of such a result, all things proceed.68

She made the concept of Father-Mother God a basic precept of Christian Science.
      Mrs. Eddy did not work the healings directly herself and did not advise on treatment, and she would not accept students who were ailing. Yet through her students and practitioners people were healed of cancer, heart disorders, swelling, lockjaw, kidney disease, tuberculosis, broken bones, scrofula, and other ailments.
      The National Christian Scientist Association was founded in February 1886, and a permanent center was started in New York. About 800 delegates attended the Association’s second annual meeting at Chicago in June 1888. Mrs. Eddy had bought a 20-room house for $40,000 in the fall of 1887. In the summer of 1889 she moved back to Concord, New Hampshire where she was born. In October the Massachusetts Metaphysical College was dissolved. In 1890 their Journal claimed there were 250 healers in the country and 20 incorporated churches.
      In November 1890 Mrs. Eddy published her autobiographical Retrospection and Introspection. In the chapter on “The Great Discovery” she wrote,

   It was in Massachusetts, in February, 1866,
and after the death of the magnetic doctor, Mr. P. P. Quimby,
who spiritualists would associate therewith,
but who was in no wise connected with this event,
that I discovered the Science of divine metaphysical healing
which I afterwards named Christian Science.
The discovery came to pass in this way.
During twenty years prior to my discovery I had been trying
to trace all physical effects to a mental cause;
and in the latter part of 1866 I gained the scientific certainty
that all causation was Mind,
and every effect a mental phenomenon.
   My immediate recovery from the effects
of an injury caused by an accident,
an injury that neither medicine nor surgery could reach,
was the falling apple that led me to the discovery
how to be well myself, and how to make others so.
   Even to the homeopathic physician who attended me,
and rejoiced in my recovery,
I could not then explain the modus of my relief.
I could only assure him that the divine Spirit
had wrought the miracle—a miracle which later
I found to be in perfect scientific accord with divine law.
   I then withdrew from society about three years,—
to ponder my mission, to search the Scriptures,
to find the Science of Mind that should take the things of God
and show them to the creature,
and reveal the great curative Principle,—Deity.
   The Bible was my textbook.
It answered my questions as to how I was healed;
but the Scriptures had to me a new meaning, a new tongue.
Their spiritual signification appeared;
and I apprehended for the first time,
in their spiritual meaning, Jesus’ teaching and demonstration,
and the Principle and rule of spiritual Science
and metaphysical healing,—in a word, Christian Science.
   I named it Christian,
because it is compassionate, helpful, and spiritual.
God I called immortal Mind.
That which sins, suffers, and dies, I named mortal mind.
The physical senses, or sensuous nature,
I called error and shadow.
Soul I denominated substance,
because Soul alone is truly substantial.
God I characterized as individual entity,
but His corporeality I denied.
The real I claimed as eternal;
and its antipodes, or the temporal, I described as unreal.
Spirit I called the reality; and matter, the unreality….
   Jesus of Nazareth was a natural and divine Scientist….
   I wrote also at this period, comments on the Scriptures,
setting forth their spiritual interpretation,
the Science of the Bible, and so laid the foundation
of my work called Science and Health, published in 1875….
   The divine hand led me into a new world of light and Life,
a fresh universe—old to God, but new to His “little one.”
It became evident that the divine Mind alone must answer,
and be found as the Life, or Principle, of all being;
and that one must acquaint himself with God,
if he would be at peace.
He must be ours practically,
guiding our every thought and action;
else we cannot understand the omnipresence of good
sufficiently to demonstrate, even in part,
the Science of the perfect Mind and divine healing.
   I had learned that thought must be spiritualized,
in order to apprehend Spirit.
It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to
have the least understanding of God in divine Science.
The first must become last.
Our reliance upon material things must be transferred
to a perception of and dependence on spiritual things.
For Spirit to be supreme in demonstration,
it must be supreme in our affections,
and we must be clad with divine power.
Purity, self-renunciation, faith, and understanding must
reduce all things real to their own mental denomination,
Mind, which divides, subdivides, increases, diminishes,
constitutes, and sustains, according to the law of God.
   I had learned that Mind reconstructed the body,
and that nothing else could.
How it was done, the spiritual Science of Mind must reveal.
It was a mystery to me then, but I have since understood it.
All Science is a revelation.
Its Principle is divine, not human,
reaching higher than the stars of heaven.69

      In June 1892 Mrs. Eddy moved out of Concord to a farmhouse nearby that she called Pleasant View. She advised Ira Knapp, the chairman of the board of directors that conflicts could be resolved in two ways, either by “a material hard fought battle” or by following the Bible verse “Be still, and know that I am God.”70 She advised him to follow her course which was the second way. On September 23 they formally organized the Mother Church. In Science and Health she defined Church as: “The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from the divine Principle.”71 When she encountered resistance or conflict, she often dismissed it as “malicious animal magnetism” or “M. A. M.” In a letter she wrote, “Healing is the best sermon, healing is the best lecture, and the entire demonstration of C. S. The sinner and the sick healed are our best witnesses.”72
      At the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago on 20 September 1893 Christian Science was invited to hold a congress and to present their teaching. Mrs. Eddy sent instructions to their speakers through Judge Septimius Hanna, and 4,000 Christian Scientists attended. On September 22 Hanna read a speech to a large audience, and Swami Vivekenanda, who shared Hindu teachings, was very attentive.
      In 1895 Mrs. Eddy abolished pastors and retained Christian Science Readers. Her Miscellaneous Writings were published in February 1897.


1. Social Darwinism in American Thought by Richard Hofstadter, p. 45.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid., p. 57.
4. John Fiske: The Evolution of a Popularizer by Milton Berman, p. 94.
5. Studies in Religion Being the Destiny of Man; the Idea of God; Through Nature to God; Life Everlasting by John Fiske, p. 66.
6. The Annals of America, Volume 11 1884-1894 Agrarianism and Urbanization, p. 65-67, 70-71.
7. A Century of Science and Other Essays by John Fiske, p. 60.
8. Studies in Religion Being the Destiny of Man by John Fiske, p. 82-84.
9. Dynamic Sociology by Lester Ward, Volume II, p. 539.
10. The Annals of America, Volume 11 1884-1894, p. 35.
11. The Psychic Factors of Civilization by Lester F. Ward, p. 275.
12. The Annals of America, Volume 12 1895-1904 Populism, Imperialism, and Reform, p. 32.
13. The Life and Thought of Josiah Royce by John Clendenning, p. 78.
14. Ibid., p. 92.
15. Ibid., p. 119.
16. The Religious Aspect of Philosophy: A Critique of the Bases of Conduct and of Faith by Josiah Royce, p. 148.
17. Ibid., p. 172-173.
18. Ibid., p. 174-176.
19. Ibid., p. 211.
20. Ibid., p. 263.
21. The Spirit of Modern Philosophy by Josiah Royce, p. 17.
22. Ibid., p. 65-66.
23. Ibid., p. 91.
24. Ibid., p. 133.
25. Ibid., p. 364.
26. The Thought and Character of William James Volume 1 by Ralph Barton Perry, p. 40.
27. Ibid., p. 45.
28. Ibid., p. 152.
29. Ibid., p. 322.
30. Ibid., p. 323.
31. Ibid., p. 484.
32. William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism by Robert D. Richardson, p. 179.
33. Ibid., p. 415.
34. The Principles of Psychology by William James, p. 3.
35. Ibid., p. 6-7.
36. Ibid., p. 8.
37. Ibid., p. 19.
38. Ibid., p. 53.
39. Ibid., p. 68.
40. Ibid., p. 73-74, 77.
41. Ibid., p. 80-82.
42. Ibid., p. 260.
43. Ibid., p. 421.
44. Ibid., p. 433.
45. Ibid., p. 520.
46. Ibid., p. 636, 640-641, 643, 645, 657-658.
47. Ibid., p. 738.
48. Ibid., p. 743-746.
49. Ibid., p. 755-756.
50. Ibid., p. 759-760.
51. Ibid., p. 767.
52. Ibid., p. 768, 771, 776-777, 793, 796.
53. Ibid., p. 799, 815-816.
54. Ibid., p. 822-823, 829-830.
55. The Religion of Humanity: An Essay by Octavius B. Frothingham, p. 338.
56. American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King Jr., p. 160-161.
57. The Annals of America, Volume 10 1866-1883 Reconstruction and Industrialization, p. 390.
58. Documentary History of History of Religion in America since 1865, A, p. 115-116.
59. Ibid., p. 117.
60. The Annals of America, Volume 11, p. 328.
61. Church and State in the United States by Anson Phelps and Leo Pfeffer, p. 300-301.
62. Documentary History of History of Religion in America since 1865, A, p. 131-132.
63. Retrospection and Introspection, p. 33 in Prose Works other than Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy.
64. Ibid., p. 31.
65. Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery 1821-1875 by Robert Peel, p. 263.
66. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 107, 108.
67. Ibid., p. 226.
68. Absolute Religion by Thomas Upham, p. 49.
69. Retrospection and Introspection p. 24-28 in Prose Works other than Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy.
70. Psalms 46:10.
71. Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 583.
72. The Years of Authority by Robert Peel, p. 98.

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