- Pub. Date:
- University of Arizona Press
"This book, first published in 1877, is believed to be the first modern inquiry into social evolution. Receiving much attention from Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Ancient Society made a great impact on historians of the last century and influenced general anthropology."--Lore and Language (England)
About the Author
Lewis Henry Morgan (November 21, 1818 - December 17, 1881) was a pioneering American anthropologist and social theorist who worked as a railroad lawyer. He is best known for his work on kinship and social structure, his theories of social evolution, and his ethnography of the Iroquois. Interested in what holds societies together, he proposed the concept that the earliest human domestic institution was the matrilineal clan, not the patriarchal family.
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Ancient Society based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Lewis Henry Morgan could be considered an enlightened anthropologist. Most important in this work is the theoretical concept of cultural evolution. LHM attributed evolution to the progress of family type development, which in turn influenced political structure, religion and cultural advancement. Most of his theory stems for his long involvement with the Iroquois (he was an adopted member of one of the tribes) Confederacy. Although he did not speak in terms of modes of production or population pressures, the implications are clearly seen in his descriptions of the growth and development of concentrated areas of population and accompanying advancement of production techniques. This work should be revisited and LHM be given the credit as the father of American Anthropology. LHM's influence down to this day has been considerable. Unfortunately he fell from grace because of the use of this volume by Marx and Engles in their theories on pre-capitalistic economic evolution. The largest problem is LHM's over emphasis on religious (divine) influences and the impossibility of full modern cultural status without conversion to Christianity. If you can put aside the religious bias and 19th Century misconcepts of intelligence and cranial evolution being linked to cultural advancement, his general theories and systemic approach to the study of anthropology should continue to be a foundation for all graduate anthropologists today.