William Graham Sumner – A Conservative Liberal. Introduction

Cezary Błaszczyk

William Graham Sumner (1840–1910) is considered as one of the greatest conservative liberals and the father of American sociology. As an epigone of 19th-century laissez-faire, individualism and political freedom, he influenced both American conservatism and libertarianism. The author of The Forgotten Man highly valued ideals of voluntarism. Among other arguments, he strongly condemned organized publicaid, in particular benefits for unemployed but fit to work. Humanity, he believed, is expressed fully in an independent and responsible person. Although it is a subject of some controversy in American literature, Sumner is generally regarded as a social Darwinist.


Keywords: Sumner · conservative liberalism · American liberalism · social Darwinism

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