The strength and well being of a society is largely determined by the capacity of its members to work cooperatively together towards common goals (a common good). The most significant disruption of this strength is related to the integrity of human character with regard to how we relate to and work with one another. Socrates spent most of his life in the context of Athenian democracy. In Socrates' Athens, the role of the citizen was much more central to the functioning of Athenian democracy than it is in the democratic republic of the .. Male citizens were required to participate in their government through mandatory military service and through their participation (randomly chosen) on the council. The ability of all citizens to relate to one another with integrity was of the utmost importance because acquiring a high position in the government was possible for any male citizen who was at least 30 years old. When Socrates asked questions such as "What is justice?" or "What is virtue?", he was not interested in academic abstractions. Socrates' goal was to learn what it meant to live as a just and virtuous citizen. This was of the utmost importance to Socrates because he knew that the good character of individuals contributed directly to the survival and well being of his whole society. When the learning and thinking habits of the people become slack, that is, when the masses do not live examined lives, democracy becomes a fast road to tyranny. When the justice and skillful virtue of the human character of individual citizens is harmed, society is harmed. This reality underlays Socrates' comment in Plato's Republic (564a) that, "tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy...the greatest and most savage slavery out of the extreme of freedom."
In March 1903, Burroughs submitted a scathing essay to The Atlantic Monthly entitled "Real and Sham Natural History"; the editor, Bliss Perry, reportedly found the piece so "ill-natured" and "peevish" that he sent it back to Burroughs for revisions.  Burroughs began his article with praise for authors such as Ingersoll, Frank M. Chapman and Florence Merriam Bailey , all of whom he believed exemplified good nature writing. Championing his own strict adherence to observed fact, Burroughs singled out four books for criticism: Seton's Wild Animals I have Known , Roberts' The Kindred of the Wild , William Davenport Hulbert 's Forest Neighbours , and Long's School of the Woods .  In particular he blamed Seton's collection of stories for founding the sentimental animal story genre; he even amended the title of the collection to Wild Animals I Alone Have Known .  Further denouncing Seton's claims that his stories featured events and behaviors he had personally witnessed, Burroughs wrote: