The Theory of Social Revolutions



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Dec 31, 1913
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Brooks Adams
An attempt to deal, by inductive methods, with the consolidation and dissolution of those administrative masses which we call empires. Includes bibliographical references and index. In 1866, being asked by his publisher to write a short history of Massachusetts, Brooks Adams (1848-1927) broke upon the literary world with The Emancipation of Massachusetts in which he demolished and rewrote the history of the colony and province of Massachusetts Bay, originally chronicled by the priestly oligarchy against which the book was launched, and in later times principally by eminent members of the Congregational clergy. It made a great stir, especially in religious circles, and brought severe criticism and even denunciation upon the author, but he lived to see it pass to a second edition as accepted history. He then turned to a study of trade-routes and their influence upon the history of peoples and nations and in 1896 published The Law of Civilization and Decay: An Essay on History, a work of a high order as history which laid down the principle that human societies differed among themselves in proportion as they were endowed by nature with energy, a principle later developed by Henry Adams. He regarded this as his most significant work. Beginning in 1907 he successfully filled the chair of constitutional law in Boston University. ôPursuing a line of argument already worked out in his Law of Civilization and Decay, Mr. Adams offers an explanation, a theory it may be called, of the rise and decline of successive "empires" from the dawn of history to the present. The objective point of the argument is to account for the present, or imminent, supremacy of America as an imperial power.ö Thorstein Veblen
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