Please contact us if offered this book. In addition to the description below, it also is housed in a clamshell case.
HUGHES, Henry. Treatise on Sociology, Theoretical and Practical. Philadelphia: Published for the Author,
First edition. Octavo. 292 pp. plus two folding charts. Publisher's sage cloth with large
blind-blocked arabesques on covers, gilt spine lettering. Tips lightly bumped and light
browning to endpapers. A very good copy in the original binding.
This is the first American book on sociology and one of the first books to use that term. "The
very term, "sociology," was introduced into the American lexicon of social science in 1854 by
Henry Hughes, an obscure Mississippi lawyer. His Treatise on Sociology, Theoretical and Practical
is the first book-length work to employ that term in its title... Despite the availability of his
Treatise, Hughes, a southerner, a slavocrat, and the first self-designated American sociologist,
remains an elusive and protean figure in the lyceum of American life and letters"
(Saint-Arnaud, African American Pioneers of Sociology). In the same year, 1854, another
Southerner, Thomas Fitzhugh, also published a book with the word sociology in the title
(Sociology for the South) but his book was merely a thinly disguised racist tract and while
Hughes was also racist in leaning at least he was systematic in his approach and thus fulfilling
a requirement for a serious text. Hughes used his treatise to proclaim the rightness and
necessity of slavery and made continued arguments in his book for its preservation. "The
Treatise, although welcomed in Southern circles as another forthright defense of slavery, had
little impact. Few read it; even fewer considered it on its own terms. Nonetheless, Hughes
became active in Democratic politics as well as the movement to revitalize the South that the
southern commercial conventions of the late 1850s represented. Among the reforms that
Hughes championed was the reopening of the slave trade. Convinced that northern economic
inequity would in the near future provoke class conflict, Hughes in a series of newspaper
articles urged that the South needed to protect itself through an expansion of slavery
(warranteeism) by obtaining new slaves from abroad. Otherwise, the South would be
vulnerable to a growing political power of a North desperate to exploit the South to stave off its
own internal social discontents. In other words, more slaves would mean more representation
in the federal government, which would mean more national power to counteract the North's
dark designs.." (Ambrose, Henry Hughes and Proslavery Thought in the Old South). Ironically,
Hughes studied in Paris with the Father of Sociology, Auguste Comte. This book was reprinted
by Lippincott in the same year and again printed in 1968 by the Negro Universities Press. Only
five copies of this first edition are recorded by OCLC.