Society in America

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Harriet Martineau brought to her observations the convictions of a vehement English liberal and an astonishingly modern sociological approach. In 1834 she wrote the first draft of How to Observe Manners and Morals--perhaps the earliest book on the methodology of social research. In abridging the 800-page original for the modern reader, Lipset has concentrated on Martineau's brilliant discussion of religious practices, social status, and childrearing; political apathy and the position of women, blacks, and immigrants; and the American's casual approach to indebtedness and his speculative wealth-or-ruin schemes.