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William Graham Sumner’s “The Forgotten Man”

  • We are offering William Graham Sumner’s essay “The Forgotten Man” as a free download because it is the most important essay of the 19th century.
  • It is the most important essay of the 19th century because it is the first essay to distinguish so-called “justice” from, what is so-called, “social justice.”
  • Sumner first presented his lectures on “The Forgotten Man” at Yale in 1883.
  • These lectures were first published in the book What Social Classes Owe to Each Other in 1883.
  • They appeared as chapters IX and X and were entitled, respectively, as “On The Case of a Certain Man Who Is Never Thought Of” and “The Case of the Forgotten Man Further Considered” in the 1884 edition of What Social Classes Owe Each Other.
  • These two chapters, which are reproduced here, were scanned from the 1884 publication; and we are working to acquire the original 1883 publication.
  • We have now acquired all the works of Sumner, including the 1883 edition mentioned above, and we will be issuing digital editions in the very near future.


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