In 1894, in his The Natural Storage of Energy, Ward theorized, based on the law of the conservation of energy, that the evolution of the universe is the result of the storage of energy in increasingly complex forms; according to which he divided evolution into what seem to be three emergent stages: chemic (chemical), biotic (biological), and telic (teleological)
. The chemic stage involves the evolution of increasingly complex elements and chemical compounds, culminating in the creation of organic molecules and rudimentary protoplasm. The biotic stage begins with the development of life. The telic stage is marked by the appearance of intelligent life, of which mankind is the highest known example.
"The unalterable inherent motion
of all the elements
of the universe
is the fundamental source of all effects, the primal cause of all things — it is the true causa sui
, causa immanens
, or self-
activity of the philosophers.... Primarily there is seen the tendency to concentration due to a principle of attraction
among the elements. This may be designated the gravitant force
. There is, however, at the same time
an opposite tendency to dissolution due to a principle of repulsion
among the elements. This may be designated as the radiant force. These two primary forces interact, and wherever suitably balanced they result in the formation of symmetrical bodies preserved by equilibrating forces. It is this that constitutes true evolution, best exemplified in the celestial systems — cosmic evolution — and in organised beings — organic evolution. But looked at from another standpoint, the process may be regarded as one of organisation, which is chemical up to a certain point, beyond which it becomes biotic. In the former the activities are molecular, in the latter they are molar. The products of the former are chemical substances, those of the latter are organic forms."
"In order that sensibility accomplish its purpose, the preservation of the organism, sensations must be either agreeable or disagreeable; hence pleasure and pain. The instability of protoplasm renders every part ephemeral. The entire organism is in a state of constant and rapid change of substance (metabolism), and fresh supplies must be momentarily introduced to prevent destruction by waste. The biological principle of advantage is adequate to secure this end. The supply of tissue is attended with pleasure and the actions necessary thereto follow naturally. The same is true of reproduction, which a study of the lowest organisms shows to be theoretically only a form of nutrition. The origin of pain is even simpler. The destruction of tissues results in pain and the actions necessary to prevent it also follow naturally."
The main difference between life in general and intelligent life involves using indirect methods to obtain goals:
"The direction of progress was seen at the outset to be toward the greater concentration of cosmic energy, toward making the universal force, whose quantity cannot change, perform more work. This law continues in operation to the last. Telic causation is only another way of accomplishing this end. Just as biotic organisation was called in where chemical organisation could go no farther, so teleology is resorted to at the point where genesis ceases to be effective. In the last stages before this point is reached the chief agent in nature is will, but, as already stated, its action is direct, the same as mere force in any other form. The new agent differs primarily from all others in being indirect....The telic power differs essentially from the conative power in being directed not to the end but to some means to the end. Intelligence works exclusively through means, and only in so far as it does this does it employ the final cause. Instead of seeking the thing desired it seeks some other thing, unimportant in itself, whose attainment it perceives will secure the thing desired" At the end of the article Ward notes that there are limits to science's ability to predict human behavior:
System of sociology | Winiarski In Glimpses of the Cosmos: Volume 6, a compilation of of Ward’s collected works, of the period 1897-1912, a post humorous outline of Ward’s system of sociology, planned and largely executed, is given, the aim of which was to reduce sociology to an exact science, consisting of social mechanics (social statics and social dynamics), viewed through the guise of the formation and transformation of cosmic, organic, and social structures. The parts Ward’s ‘system of sociology’ are summarized to be representative of (a) formative principles or synergy, based on the work of Auguste Comte and Jean Lamarck; (b) creative synthesis, based on the work of Wilhelm Wundt; (c) transformative principles, based on the work of, primarily, Leon Winiarski, as is said to be summarized by the following quote:
"Great indeed is man's power of prevision under science. The motions of the planets can be foreknown for an indefinite future, physical and chemical effects are accurately deduced from the known laws of these sciences, the rate of growth and multiplication of plants and animals can be approximately arrived at, the psychic activities of animals can be counted upon with sufficient definiteness to be of great value to man, even the feelings, emotions, and propensities of human beings, with their resulting actions, can be rudely presaged, and the will itself reduced to very general laws; but when an attempt is made to bring the intellect
under the dominion of law, to calculate the orbit of the reason, to determine the path of a thought, all rules of the calculus fail. It is here and not in the will that the nearest approach to freedom is to be found. In all other departments there is some limit to the causational influence, but in the department of the higher mind, where all other forces in nature are brought under subjection, the possibilities are practically unlimited."
Through the application of the branches of mathematical physics to sociology, such as found in the above quote, Winiarski, according to Ward, was the world's first mathematical sociologist.  Social energyIn 1903, Ward, in his Pure Sociology, devotes an entire chapter to "Social Mechanics", with section on ‘social energy’, discussing the conservation of energy and how energy and force are nearly equivalent, citing the work of James Joule and Hermann Helmholtz, in terms of ‘social forces’.  Ward also defines the popular term ‘spiritual energy’ to purely functions of psychological energy and social energy: 
|“The forces of work, system kinetic energy will be equal to the differences of the potential energies. To ensure the transformation of the active forces of the biological energies, unrealised potential processing takes place, it must be between comprizing breeds in a social aggregate, where there is a difference in potential. All the differences in these potential energies go into energy kinetic—but the total energy remains unchanging during processing; there is only a change in form.”|
— Leon Winiarski (date)
“I am always very chary about using such expressions as ‘spiritual phenomena’, because the word spiritual has almost become a synonym of supernatural. Yet the word is a perfectly proper one and ought to be redeemed and freely used, more nearly as a synonym of psychic in its widest sense, and I shall not hesitate so to use it. The last three chapters have been devoted to showing that spiritual phenomena are as much natural phenomena as physical phenomena, that spiritual forces are true natural forces, and that there is a spiritual energy, i.e., a psychic and social energy, that is as capable of doing work as any other form of kinetic energy. In fact it is the highest and most effective form of energy or vis viva.”
See: terminology reform
for more on this.Social mechanics | ThermodynamicsLikewise, as found in the 1907 edition of his Pure Sociology, on the use of thermodynamics in social mechanics, Ward cites Winiarski as being the initiator and justifier of this application, as follows: 
“There is therefore a true science of social mechanics, and as social energy is only a special mode of manifestation of the universal energy, social mechanics is only a kind of mechanics which deals with this form of energy. The fundamental classification of mechanics, as we saw, is into statics and dynamics, and social statics and social dynamics are as legitimate branches of mechanics as are hydrostatics and hydrodynamics, the principles of which are commonly included in text-books of mechanics. In fact, Winiarsky has made a direct application of thermodynamics to social mechanics as essential to its full treatment. I shall deal with social statics and social dynamics in that order, which is the same as that in which mechanics is always treated, the advantage of which is even greater here than in other departments, as will be clearly apparent as we proceed.”To note, although Ward advocates the use of thermodynamics as being essential to the development of sociology, he may have not had the mathematical skills to carry out this development, as Winiarski did in part.EducationThe Ward family was not wealthy so there was no extra money with which to send Lester to school for a formal education. Instead, Ward was self-educated in his youth. Some reports indicate that Ward taught himself many languages including Latin, Greek, and German, and could read Russian, Japanese and Hebrew. His studies also included mathematics and geology.  By day Ward joined his brother Cyrenus in the family wagon wheel shop, in Myersburg, Pennsylvania. By night he devoured books and developed a craving for knowledge and study. In the early 1860's Ward attended classes at the Susquehana Collegiate Institute in Towanada. From 1865 to 1881 Ward was employed by the United States Treasury Department. During this period he studied at Columbian College (now George Washington University) from which he received the A.B. degree in 1869, the LL.B. degree in 1871, and the A.M. degree in 1872. Ward became the first president of the American Sociology Society (1906-07). In 1907, he was professor of sociology at Brown University.
Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Ward:
“Ward's psychological interpretation of social phenomena was based upon a conscious direction of social forces. Desires or feelings furnish the dynamic energy of society and are, therefore, the fundamental social forces. But the social process is not left to blind chance as is the natural process, since these social forces can be directed as society desires. The human intellect is the agency or "condition" which guides but does not propel the desires; and ways and means are thus derived. As society advances, this function of intellect increases, and man's social adaptation becomes more and more artificial, but with universal happiness the ultimate aim.”Quotes | By
— Howard W. Odum (1929), An Introduction to Social Research (pg. 139)
The following are noted quotes:
“The truth is that no profession of faith or lack of faith has anything to do with a man’s morals. Away with the bugbear that to be good we must be pious.”
— Lester Ward (1870), Iconoclast 
“Everything capable of forming a distinct intellectual conception is reducible to a place under some one of the scientific categories. Indeed, science itself, in so far as it is distinguishable from knowledge in a general sense, consists in a co-ordination and subordination of the different kinds of knowledge; in a word, the essential of all science is the classification of knowledge. The classification of the sciences, therefore, is itself strictly a science, and consists in a prolongation of the scientific process, whereby it is extended into higher fields and made to embrace its own grand divisions, objectively regarded as material for science. Mere classification, or "systematization," is, therefore, a less trivial operation than some persons have intimated. It is the essential process of organization, and has for its real object to arrive at the true order which exists in the universe.”
— Lester Ward (1883), Dynamic Sociology
“I wish to lay special emphasis on the word spontaneous in this title, as embodying my conception of pure sociology. Whatever is spontaneous is pure in this sense. Its two other chief synonyms are ‘genetic’ and ‘natural’ as opposed to ‘telic’ and ‘artificial.’ Still, as the telic faculty is itself a genetic product, it cannot be omitted from a treatment of pure sociology, and, as I have shown, its manifestations are in one sense as strictly spontaneous as are those of the dynamic agent.”
— Lester Ward (1903), Pure Sociology: a Treatise on the Origin and Spontaneous Development of Society (pg. x)
“Every independent thinker has his system. It is always based on some one leading idea or unitary principle which binds all its parts together, and this principle is the chief matter with the author. The system constitutes a means of thoroughly illustrating his ruling idea.”
— Lester Ward (1903), Pure Sociology (pg. 8)
“Men perpetually praise the bridge that took them across the river of life, and continue to praise it and cling to it after its timbers have decayed and its abutments begin to crumble.”
— Lester Ward (1903), Pure Sociology: a Treatise on the Origin and Spontaneous Development of Society (pg. 230)
“Social science becomes as much more thorough, intelligible, interesting, and useful when based on physical science as is astronomy, for example, when based on mathematics.”References1. Ward, Frank. (1900). “Social Mechanics”, Read before the Fourth Congress of the Institute International de Sociologie at Paris, Sep, 25, 1900; Reprinted in: Sociology at the Paris Exposition of 1900 (pgs. 1579-93).2. Winiarski, Leon. (1900). “The Teaching of Pure Political Economy and Social Mechanics in Switzerland”, (pgs. 1497-1500), Sociology at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Government Printing Office.3. Ward, Lester F. (1903). Pure Sociology: a Treatise on the Origin and Spontaneous Development of Society (thermodynamics, pgs. 97, 168). MacMillan, 1907.4. Lester Frank Ward Papers, 1883-1919 (biographical section) – George Washington University.5. Ward, Lester F. (1918). Glimpses of the Cosmos: Volume 6, Period, 1897-1912, Age, 56-70 (System of Sociology planned and Largely Executed, pgs. vi-vii). Compiled by Sarah C. Comstock. G.P. Putnam & Sons. 6. Ward, Lester F. (1894). "The Natural Storage of Energy"; Printed in: The Monist Quarterly Magazine, Vol. 5, 1894-95, pg. 247-263.
— Lester Ward (1907), Pure Sociology 
7. (a) Ward, Lester F. (1907). Pure Sociology: a Treatise on the Origin and Spontaneous Development of Society
(based on, pg. 71
(b) Ward, Lester F. (1914). Pure Sociology: a Treatise on the Origin and Spontaneous Development of Society, 2nd edition
(based on, pg. 4). MacMillan.
(c) Russett, Cynthia. (1966). The Concept of Equilibrium in American Social Thought
(pg. 45). Yale College.
8. Russett, Cynthia. (1966). The Concept of Equilibrium in American Social Thought
(pg. 44). Yale College.
9. Dealey, James Q., and Lester, Ward F. (1905). A Textbook of Sociology
(§234: Social Chemistry
, pgs. 191-92). MacMillan.
10. Haught, James A. (1996). 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt
(pgs. 192). Prometheus. Further reading● Ward, Lester. (1883). Dynamic Sociology: or Applied Sociology as Based Upon the Statistical Sociology and the Less Complex Sciences, Volume 1. D. Appleton and Co.
● Ward, Lester. (1883). Dynamic Sociology: or Applied Sociology as Based Upon the Statistical Sociology and the Less Complex Sciences, Volume 2. D. Appleton and Co.
● Ward, Lester. (1896). “Social Forces”, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. II, July, pp. 82-83.
● Chugrman, Samuel. (1939). Lester F. Ward: the American Aristotle.
● Ward, Lester F. (1909). “The Career of Herbert Spencer” (pdf
), Popular Science Monthly
(pgs. 5-18), Jan. External links● Lester Frank Ward – Wikipedia.