William Graham Sumner was an American academic and "held the first professorship in sociology" at Yale College. For many years he had a reputation as one of the most influential teachers there. He was a polymath with numerous books and essays on American history, economic history, political theory, sociology, and anthropology. He is credited with introducing the term "ethnocentrism," a term intended to identify imperialists' chief means of justification, in his book Folkways. Sumner is often seen as a proto-libertarian. He was also the first to teach a course entitled "Sociology". Sumner was a critic of natural rights, famously arguing
Ideals are very often formed in the effort to escape from the hard task of dealing with facts, which is the function of science and art. There is no process by which to reach an ideal. There are no tests by which to verify it. It is therefore impossible to frame a proposition about an ideal which can be proved or disproved. It follows that the use of ideals is to be strictly limited to proper cases, and that the attempt to use ideals in social discussion does not deserve serious consideration.