On the Uses of Psychology: Conflict and Conciliation in Benjamin Franklin

Document Type



Religion (CGU)

Publication Date



History | Psychology


Historians began to reflect on the applications of psychology when as a formal study it was still young. Mutual interest in the question of motivation made reciprocal borrowing seem natural and inevitable. Time has proven the interest more than a faddish attempt to be scientific or avant-garde. In 1957 William Langer, who had long been known for his meticulous, hard- headed scholarship, gave his blessing in his presidential address to the Amer- ican Historical Association. Earlier, historical applications of psychology had intrigued historians with a psychological bent and psychoanalysts with an historical bent; but the Langer address stimulated practicing historians of all sorts to examine more carefully the possibilities of the younger discipline. Discussion has continued in crescendo ever since.

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© 1966 Wesleyan University