Sociology originated in the 18th-century philosophy, political, economic and cultural history (Swingwood,1991). It emerged in response to challenges of modernity. Europe experienced social events that needed application of human rationality to understand them. This led to classical social science scholars to engage in the considerable thought process to understand happenings that occurred, this was because the society was changing. Auguste Comte was the first social philosopher to coin and use the term sociology (Hobbs, Hines and Fleming,1998.) Comte was a major figure to assert and prove by deed that a science of the society ,both empirical and theoretical was possible and desirable. The need for scientific study of human society was promoted by the pain op political and social upheavals which were supported by the period of enlightenment.
The French revolution was the first social event that led to the emergence of sociology. In the 1880s France had political disturbances caused by the transitioning from a monarchy to democracy. this event was of two opposing ideas of popular sovereignty and sovereignty of a king. conflict between supporters of the monarchy and supporters of democracy brought chaos and bloodshed, this made the French society unstable and people lived in fear. Other causes of revolution include injustice between commoners and monarchy which benefited only a few elites, economic breakdown, bankruptcy due to the wars, over taxation, and unemployment. The revolution quest for democracy raised problems like poverty, death, suicide, among others for which wanted intellectual explanations and solutions.
The industrial revolution also played a role in the emergency of sociology, it begun in Britain and later spread in Europe. this revolution brought significant changes like social development, it also brought disorders because the competition became stiff due to growing industries. Small business owners who could not afford to establish factories became urban workers. This change had alot of social effects; rural-urban migration, separation of families, and poverty. Rural-urban migration meant mushrooming of shanty compounds and poor sanity, prostitution, high unemployment levels and diseases. The roles of the youth and women changed, the shattering of traditional ways of life wrought by the change resulted in the attempt of thinkers to understand and explain how they had to come about and what consequences were likely to be. The industrial revolution also led to the emergence of political ideas of socialism, nationalism, and capitalism.