Culture epoch theory holds that the civil and religious history of a people is characterized by a succession of ever more complex and sophisticated periods that are distinguishable from one another and that the study of children reveals a parallel development. The theory essentially holds that history is a record of progress from the primitive to the civilized state and that individual abilities, mental as well as physical, also progress from the simple to the complex.

Adherents of this theory believed that, as children grow, their interests and abilities are analogous to those periods their people have passed through as they progressed from early savagery to their present highly civilized state. The relationship between the historical periods and the developmental stages of the individual thus called ...

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