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of treatment for them. In each group “practical” men of wide vision would be an essential factor, as nitrogen in the atmosphere is necessary lest the oxygen, in a fit of academic enthusiasm, burn up the breathing organs. Such a conference would bring together all these specialists and experts, from time to time, and, with the help of a small committee, would seek to systematize and combine all the recommendations into a consistent plan. By repeated discussions and critical tests the economic physical and constitutional tests would be applied. The rudiments of such a process may be found already in the legislative reference bureau in Wisconsin; but legislation is only one method of furthering the general welfare.

Recent decisions of our Supreme Court encourage us to develop our social technology; for that august body, more respected than any other in our land, has distinctly taught that ultimately the Constitution will not be found in antagonism to any proved measure for achieving general welfare. Indeed the Constitution itself was framed for this high purpose and nothing lower. Thus we see the relation of pratical sociology to law and to the teaching of law; it is the discipline which reveals what law ought to become. Courts of final resort are not ruled absolutely by precedents and legal fictions, and legislatures may change law in the direction of improvement. To confine the study of lawyers entirely to decisions and precedents is to render them incapable of keeping pace with the vital process of a noble science. Here also is the test of the pretensions of practical sociology; it must become competent to give proof beyond reasonable ground for doubt that its program will actually promote the common welfare.

Practical sociology offers a method of criticism of any complex of social arrangements. Its standard of judgment is the degree of adaptation of institutions or conduct to the conditions of general welfare. Thus it helps to correct the vision of the Overman who regards other men as his tools; the estimate of the manufacturer who looks upon his employees as only so many “hands”; the philosophy of the exclusive trade unionist who considers bombs as fair in war; the pedantic Brahmin, who has contempt for the

* F. Kelley, Some Ethical Gaines through Legislation; Goodnow, Social Reform.

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unlettered. The "economic interpretation of history” is shown to be partial, and the economic end as only a preliminary means. No doubt all this involves immense intellectual labor; but a view of life less comprehensive cannot be accepted as satisfactory; and so long as any interest or any group of humanity is ignored, so long our judgment of a tradition of social conduct must fall short of being scientific as well as ethical.

It is not an objection to our claim for practical sociology that no one man can master it in all its details and applications. That is true of all the sciences and scientific disciplines. A scientific discipline is justified if it furnish an instrument of analysis and synthesis and disclose the fundamental principles of the subject. Encyclopedias of information and monographs of intensive specialists are also necessary to furnish humanity with the knowledge which has been discovered by myriads of investigators in the republic of letters and of practice. One of the intellectual needs of the world is also a practical need,

Nur im Ganzen, Guten, Schönen

Resolut zu leben. The problem of practical or applied sociology is the rational and just division of the inheritance of civilization. The value of the sciences lies in their service as means of control of all forces and materials for the satisfaction of human needs. The diffusion of knowledge of science is certainly one of the essential methods by which members of the race can come into the enjoyment of what belongs, not to a few men, but to the race. A people intellectually stagnant, stupid, indifferent can have neither the ambition nor the skill to take possession of the vast material and ideal wealth which has come down to us from the past or been achieved in recent times. The general diffusion of knowledge must, therefore, form a part of the program upon which practical sociology is working. It may or may not be inconsistent with

. this statement, but only an application, if we insist that improvement of the race also depends on bringing into the range of interests of the people the objects of art, the works of literature, the expressions of spiritual vision, the interpretations of the values of existence.

*L. F. Ward makes this the fundamental method. See his Applied Sociology. For elaborate analysis of the field of social technology, see A. W.Small, General Sociology.

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THE VARIABILITY OF THE POPULAR VOTE AT

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

F. STUART CHAPIN
Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

The stability of political tradition is a condition of considerable sociological importance. If political traditions are relatively stable they will furnish under ordinary conditions the guaranty of a consistent public policy. If political traditions are rigid and inelastic then public policy will not be likely to show a progressive adaptation to the changing social and economic conditions of national life. From being a source of strength their inertia will become an obstacle to advancement. If they find their only justification in precedent, in use and wont, their approval in mystic sanction and appeal to sentiment alone, then these political traditions will cease to be guaranties of progressive public policies. If, on the other hand, political traditions are unstable and vaporous, if they rest upon wild fancy divorced from fact, and if they depend for their potency upon emotional display or mob action, then the situation is equally unfortunate.

The group of partisans which adheres to a political tradition is a composite aggregate. It is never an unmixed product consisting entirely of those who follow its tenets with blind allegiance. Nor does it consist alone of individuals whose stand is the result of reasoned action. Large numbers have ranged themselves by personal feeling or class prejudice. Professor Giddings voices my idea when he says, “the membership of a political majority exhibits a complete gradation of mental development, from a quick and sensitive intelligence at the margin, where independent voting occurs, to stupid bigotry in the unstimulated interior of the mass."': This description of the composition of a political majority applies equally well to the composition of the tradition-adhering group. Indeed, it would be illuminating to compare political groups with

1 Franklin H. Giddings, Democracy and Empire, p. 183.

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reference to the numbers of individuals constituting this margin. We could say that the group which contained the largest margin of independent voters was, on the whole, a group with more elastic political traditions than the group with a smaller margin of independent voters. If historical analysis showed an increasing diversity in these margins we could safely assume the change as evidence of a decreasing rigidity in political tradition.

It is a statistical fact that the variability of the popular vote for president as between the States of the Union is on the increase. Instead of the popular vote for president as between states becoming standardized as time goes on, it is actually becoming diversified. We have a situation in which the response of large numbers of individuals, geographically grouped, is increasingly variable with reference to a given political stimulus. If the political action of these individuals grouped by states showed increasing numerical agreement, we might say that it was due to the standardizing effect of political tradition. The fact of the matter is that the political action of these individuals grouped by states shows an increasing numerical variability, and it becomes important to determine whether this increasing numerical variability is evidence of independent political action.

The variability of the popular vote for president is shown by the series of standard deviations in Table I, columns II and III. The variability of the Republican vote for the Republican nominee for each presidential election since 1856, is shown by the series, 73-100-98-103-96-111-127-131-147-143–202–194-224-203.

The variability of the popular vote for the Democratic nominee is shown by the series, 51–73-91-95-81-107–114-123–141-143-142–152–130 148. The real significance of these two series is better grasped after an examination of Chart I where the standard deviations are plotted as ordinates over the corresponding presidential year as abscissae.

The essential point to be noted is the rapid increase in the variability of the popular vote since 1856. This increase has been steady with but minor fluctuations and holds for both Republican and Democratic votes in almost equal degree. The apparent divergence since 1892 should not receive too serious consideration. In connection with the increasing variability of the political votes of the two principal parties, it is interesting to note the

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behavior of the variability of the percentages of those of voting age who actually voted these years. This variability series is given in column IV of Table I and the plot for this series is shown

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