Edward Alsworth Ross
Edward A. Ross was born in Virden, Illinois. His father was a farmer. He attended Coe College and graduated in 1887. After two years as an instructor at a business school, the Fort Dodge Commercial Institute, he went to Germany for graduate study at the University of Berlin. He returned to the U.S., and in 1891 he received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in political economy, with minors in philosophy and ethics.
Ross was a professor at Indiana University (1891–1892), secretary of the American Economic Association (1892), professor at Cornell University (1892–1893), and professor at Stanford University (1893–1900).
In "one of the most celebrated academic freedom cases in United States history", Ross was fired from Stanford because of his political views. He objected to Chinese immigrant labor (on both economic and racial grounds - he was an early supporter of the "Race Suicide" doctrine, and expressed his hatred of other races in strong and crude language in public speeches). This position was at odds with the university's founding family, the Stanfords, who had made their fortune in Western rail construction - a major employer of Chinese laborers. Ross had also made critical remarks about the railroad industry in his classes, saying "A railroad deal is a railroad steal." This was too much for Leland Stanford's widow, who was on the board of trustees of the university. Numerous professors at Stanford resigned after protests of his dismissal, sparking "a national debate ... concerning the freedom of expression and control of universities by private interests." The American Association of University Professors was founded largely in response to this incident.
Ross left for the University of Nebraska, where he taught until 1905. In 1906, he moved to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he became Professor of Sociology, and eventually chairman of the department. He retired in 1937.
Ross' understanding of Americanization and assimilation bore a striking resemblance to that of another Wisconsin professor, Frederick Jackson Turner. Like Turner, Ross believed that American identity was forged in the crucible of the wilderness. The 1890 census' proclamation that the frontier had disappeared, then, posed a significant threat to America's ability to assimilate the mass of immigrants who were arriving from southern and eastern Europe. In 1897, just four years after Turner had presented his frontier thesis to the American Historical Association, Ross, then at Stanford, argued that the loss of the frontier destroyed the machinery of the melting pot process.
Ross visited Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. He endorsed the revolution, even as he acknowledged its bloody origins. He was subsequently a leading advocate of U.S. recognition of the Soviet Union. However, he served on the Dewey Commission, which cleared Trotsky of the charges made against him by the Soviet government during the Moscow Trials.
From 1900 to the 1920s, Ross supported the alcohol Prohibition movement as well as eugenics and immigration restriction. By 1930, he had moved away from these views, however. In the 1930s, he was a supporter of the New Deal programs of President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1940, he became national chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union, serving unti 1950.
He died in 1951.
- Social Control: A Survey of the Foundations of Order, The Macmillan Company, 1901. Last reprint 2009 by Transaction Publishers; with a new introduction by Matthias Gross.
- Foundations of Sociology, The Macmillan Company, 1905.
- Sin and Society: An Analysis of Latter-Day Iniquity (with a letter from President Roosevelt), Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 1907.
- Social Psychology: An Outline and Source Book, The Macmillan Company, 1908.
- Latter Day Sinners and Saints, B. W. Huebsch, 1910.
- The Changing Chinese: The Conflict of Oriental and Western Cultures in China, The Century Co., 1911.
- Changing America: Studies in Contemporary Society, The Century Co., 1912.
- The Old World in the New: The Significance of Past and Present Immigration to the American People, The Century Co., 1914.
- South of Panama, The Century Co., 1915.
- Russia in Upheaval, The Century Co., 1918.
- What is America?, The Century Co., 1919.
- The Principles of Sociology, The Century Co., 1920.
- The Russian Bolshevik Revolution, The Century Co., 1921.
- The Social Trend, The Century Co., 1922.
- The Russian Soviet Republic, The Century Co., 1923.
- The Social Revolution in Mexico, The Century Co., 1923.
- Roads to Social Peace, The University of North Carolina Press, 1924.
- Civic Sociology: A Textbook in Social and Civic Problems for Young Americans, World Book Company, 1926 [1st Pub. 1925].
- Standing Room Only?, The Century Co., 1927.
- World Drift, The Century Co., 1928.
- Seventy Years of It: An Autobiography, D. Appleton-Century Company, 1936.
- Schweinitz Brunner, Edmund de. Churches of Distinction in Town and Country, with a Foreword by Edward Alsworth Ross, George H. Doran Company, 1923.
- Gillin, John Lewis. "The Personality of Edward Alsworth Ross," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 42, No. 4, Jan., 1937.
- Gross, Matthias. "Sociologists of the Unexpected: Edward A. Ross and Georg Simmel on the Unintended Consequences of Modernity," The American Sociologist, Vol. 34, No. 4, Winter, 2003.
- Spellman, William E. "The Economics of Edward Alsworth Ross," The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 38, No. 2, Apr., 1979.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Baltzell, E. Digby The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America. Random House, 1964. P. 105: The findings of the eugenicists quite naturally gave support to the opponents of further immigration. One of the most widely read books on this controversial issue was The Old World in the New, by Edward A. Ross [...] he believed in the conventional myth of Nordic supremacy and the need for a program of positive eugenics in order to preserve our Anglo-Saxon Americanism against pollution through immigration [...] [ending] with a chapter showing how "Immigrant Blood" was slowly polluting the purer "American Blood", as "beaten members of the beaten breeds" swarmed over the beloved land of his own pioneer ancestors. Somewhat obsessed with race, Ross was of course convinced that "the blood being injected into the veins of our people was sub-human"; the newer immigrants were "morally below the races of northern Europe"; and that it all would end in "Race Suicide".
- Encyclopedia of World Biography on Edward Alsworth Ross
- "Edward A. Ross, President 1914-1915".
- Casper, Gerhard. Die Luft der Freiheit weht - On and Off. Stanford University, Office of the President. http://www.stanford.edu/dept/pres-provost/president/speeches/951005dieluft.html
- Riley, Naomi Schaefer . The Faculty Lounges and Other Reasons Why You Won't Get the College Education You Paid For, Lanham, Maryland: Ivan R. Dee, 2011, p. 34
- Dewey Commission Report
Albion Woodbury Small
|President of the American Sociological Association
George E. Vincent