In this wide-ranging book, Stefan Collini deals with the relationship between Liberalism and sociology in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. He discusses in particular the crucial contributions of L. T. Hobhouse, the leading Liberal political theorist of the period who is also generally regarded as the 'Founding Father' of British sociology. Based upon extensive original research, the book draws together themes from three fields which are normally pursued in historiographical isolation. It examines the moral and intellectual inspiration of the New Liberalism which came to dominate Edwardian politics; explores the nature of the systematic political philosophy in this period; and shows how the contemporary understanding of sociology was bound up with attempts to provide a theoretical and historical grounding for the belief in Progress, especially in opposition to Social Darwinist and other biological social theories. Throughout, the intellectual context necessary to a properly historical understanding of these ideas is reconstructed in detail and particular attention if paid to the structure of the moral and political discourse of the time.