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Harvard. Sociology, Final Examination. Anderson, 1914-15.



Benjamin Anderson, Jr. took over the sociology course open to both undergraduate and graduate students from Thomas Nixon Carver at Harvard for 1914-15. The course announcement, enrollment figures, and the final examination questions come from three different sources, all of which are available on-line. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting corresponding material from the twenty economics courses offered during the 1914-15 year for which the final examination questions had been printed and subsequently published.


Course Announcement

Economics 8. Principles of Sociology. Mon., Wed., Fri., at 10. Asst. Professor Anderson and an assistant.

This course undertakes first a cross-section analysis and description of social life, in which the emphasis is chiefly put upon social psychology, and in which a psychological interpretation of social institutions and activities is given, and a theory of social forces is developed. The problems of social evolution are then taken up, and the interplay of race, physical environment and culture in social evolution is studied, illustrated by anthropological data concerning social origins. Various theories of social evolution, as the economic interpretation of history, are considered in this connection. Finally the theory of progress, as distinguished from evolution, is taken up. The course is primarily a course in principles, but practical questions are freely drawn upon to illustrate the principles. [p. 66]

Source: Division of History, Government, and Economics 1914-15. Official Register of Harvard University, Vol. XI, No. 1, Part 14 (May 19, 1914).


Course Enrollment

[Economics] 8. Asst. Professor Anderson, assisted by Dr. H. T. Moore.—Principles of Sociology.

Total 77: 5 Graduates, 28 Seniors, 35 Juniors, 5 Sophomores, 4 Others.

Source: Report of the President of Harvard College, 1914-15, p. 59.


Final Examination (second term)


Answer ten questions. Answer questions in order.

  1. Explain the contract theory of society. What doctrines are commonly associated with the contract theory? Criticize this group of ideas.
  2. Indicate all the applications that occur to you of the principle of “the survival of the fittest” to social phenomena.
  3. Discuss the relation of the horde and the clan.
  4. Describe the Australian initiation ceremony, and indicate its social functions. In what ways are the same functions performed in modern society?
  5. Contrast evolution and progress. What, according to Giddings, are the criteria of progress? State and discuss Professor Carver’s theory of progress.
  6. What did you find to object to in Kidd’s Social Evolution?
  7. What are the causes of the present War?
  8. State and criticize the hedonistic theory of progress.
  9. What psychological differences are there between men and women? To what are these differences due? How far do they justify differences in social policy with references to the sexes?
  10. How disentangle heredity and environment? Illustrate.
  11. To what extent, if at all, and in what connections, does Giddings make use of the doctrine that acquired characters are transmitted? How far, if at all, would his conclusions be modified by the application of Weismann’s doctrine?


Source: Harvard University Examinations. Papers Set for Final Examinations in History, History of Science, Government, Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Ethics, Education, Fine Arts, Music in Harvard College. June 1915, p. 51.

Image Source: Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr. in Harvard Class Album, 1915.



Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier