This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
All that was said in Chapter V (Primary Groups And Congenial Groups) about the assimilating and unifying agencies that work in any group applies with multiplied force to an institution. This is because an institution, having duration, gives the social mind a longer time to act on the members of the group, while outside or conflicting agencies are to some extent excluded. Customs become solidified and harmonized with one another; inconsistent usages die out; bygone experiences leave their deposit of public sentiment; traditions acquire prestige. These effects in turn become cause: an institution must have time to grow; no impromptu effort can construct one offhand. Once well started, however, an institution has a relatively permanent character, even in such shifting things as ideals and etiquette.
Since an institution is a psychical organism, its continued existence depends on its uninterrupted activity. An old institution, once overthrown, can hardly be restored; the old name and some superficial forms may be, but the old spirit, never. After a vacation the club that does not promptly resume its regular functions has gone far toward extinction.
. . . Are the particular male adults in a given year who have got the given qualifications the only people whose interests are concerned? Those adult males are, in the first place, the heirs, and, in the second place, trustees of many centuries; and it is preposterous to say that we should so frame our Constitution that the holders of power for the moment should be regarded as in every respect the irresponsible managers, not only of their own affairs for the moment, but of the affairs of their country for all time. Because, remember, there are many things which can be done which are irreversible when you are dealing with great growths in the region of politics; just as when you are dealing with them in the region of nature you cannot replace that which you destroy.
You may pull down a building and erect another exactly like it; you cannot cut down a tree and say, "To-morrow I will have another tree in its place." So it is with an institution. You are absolutely bound to see that no hasty decision shall upset in one reckless hour interests which have been slowly and painfully built up by our predecessors, and which our successors never can replace. - Hayes, British Social Politics, p. 451, speech by A. J. Balfour.
The "best disciplined" school that the writer has ever seen was in charge of a principal who had worked for six years to make the collective will of the pupil-body give its sanctions to good order, courteous behavior, and aggressive effort. Interest in school work and cooperation with the teachers had become distinct fashions. So powerful was the force thus generated and directed that the superintendent not infrequently transferred to this school pupils who had got beyond control in other schools of the city. Recalcitrant elsewhere, these pupils often settled at once into the dominant fashion of order and industry. The spirit of the social group seized them irresistibly. The social rewards which in other schools sanctioned disobedience, willful disorder, and idleness, went in this school to more laudable types of conduct; and the normal boy, craving the good will and the admiration of his fellows, sought these prizes through the only means that could procure them. To this school, also, teachers who had failed elsewhere were sometimes sent in order that they might regain their self-confidence and find themselves anew under the favorable conditions there existing. Not all of the recalcitrant pupils, of course, succumbed to the powerful group influence; and not all of the teachers were able to undo the mischief of their earlier failures: but the mortality in both cases was surprisingly low. - Bagley, School Discipline, pp. 5, 6.