Sociology is the study of how human beings live together in various kinds of environments and groups. The science of sociology is important, considering that the progress of civilization is dependent on the cooperation of people, in spite of cultural differences. Regardless of wars and persecutions that are described in history, most of the time, people of every race and nationality help one another for the betterment of life and the enrichment of knowledge. Students of sociology learn how people lived in the past and are living now in all parts of the world. The science of sociology is related to ethics (what are considered right and wrong); criminology (what crime is and why people commit crimes); psychology (the study of how the human mind works and how people think); political organizations (the study of the state and how people govern themselves, as well as other aspects of human group behavior. Students of sociology make use of their knowledge and training to help those that are unfortunate or need help in getting along with others.
There are many branches of sociology. It is closely related to anthropology which is the general study of man. Generally, sociologists are involved in the work of analyzing and explaining the social life of people of diverse cultures, as they learn the customs and institutions of different groups.
The term, “sociology” was used for the first time in 1817 by the French philosopher, Auguste Comte. He designated certain principles that he held to scientific thought, philosophy and history. His conclusions emanated from a study of developments in these fields, based on what he had gathered from facts that were chronicled in preceding years. Prior to Comte, the study of the origin, basis, structure, functions and development of society had already been generally attributed to the study of philosophy. What Compte achieved was to make the study a separate branch under different classifications. He paved the way for scholars to become preoccupied with social changes that resulted from his innovation
The development of sociology brought about various schools of thought, interpreting social phenomena from varying standpoints. It gave birth to societies and associations engaged in promoting science, literature and art in general, such as The American Philosophical Society that was founded through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Antiquarian Society, the American Peace Society. labor unions, and various political and religious groups and organizations.