The Project Gutenberg EBook of Society, by Henry Kalloch Rowe

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Title: Society
       Its Origin and Development

Author: Henry Kalloch Rowe

Release Date: May 25, 2007 [EBook #21609]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Jeannie Howse and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at







Copyright, 1916, by



In studying biology it is convenient to make cross-sections of laboratory specimens in order to determine structure, and to watch plants and animals grow in order to determine function. There seems to be no good reason why social life should not be studied in the same way. To take a child in the home and watch it grow in the midst of the life of the family, the community, and the larger world, and to cut across group life so as to see its characteristics, its interests, and its organization, is to study sociology in the most natural way and to obtain the necessary data for generalization. To attempt to study sociological principles without this preliminary investigation is to confuse the student and leave him in a sea of vague abstractions.

It is not because of a lack of appreciation of the abstract that the emphasis of this book is on the concrete. It is written as an introduction to the study of the principles of sociology, and it may well be used as a prelude to the various social sciences. It is natural that trained sociologists should prefer to discuss the profound problems of their science, and should plunge their pupils into material for study where they are soon beyond their depth; much of current life seems so obvious and so simple that it is easy to forget that the college man or woman has never looked upon it with a discriminating eye or with any attempt to understand its meaning. If this is true of the college student, it is unquestionably true of the men and women of the world. The writer believes that there is need of a simple, untechnical treatment of human society, and offers this book as a contribution to the practical side of social science. He writes with the undergraduate continually in mind, trying to see through his eyes and to think with his mind, and the references are to books that will best meet [iv]his needs and that are most readily accessible. It is expected that the pupil will read widely, and that the instructor will show how principles and laws are formulated from the multitude of observations of social phenomena. The last section of the book sums up briefly some of the scientific conclusions that are drawn from the concrete data, and prepares the way for a more detailed and technical study.

If sociology is to have its rightful place in the world it must become a science for the people. It must not be permitted to remain the possession of an aristocracy of intellect. The heart of thousands of social workers who are trying to reform society and cure its ills is throbbing with sympathy and hope, but there is much waste of energy and misdirection of zeal because of a lack of understanding of the social life that they try to cure. They and the people to whom they minister need an interpretation of life in social terms that they can understand. Professional persons of all kinds need it. A world that is on the verge of despair because of the breakdown of harmonious human relations needs it to reassure itself of the value and the possibility of normal human relations. Doubtless the presentation of the subject is imperfect, but if it meets the need of those who find difficulty in using more technical discussions and opens up a new field of interest to many who hitherto have not known the difference between sociology and socialism, the effort at interpretation will have been worth while.

Henry K. Rowe

Newton Centre, Massachusetts.



I. Characteristics of Social Life 1
II. Unorganized Group Life 16
III. Foundations of the Family 24
IV. The History of the Family 29
V. The Making of the Home 37
VI. Children in the Home 42
VII. Work, Play, and Education 51
VIII. Home Economics 60
IX. Changes in the Family 67
X. Divorce 74
XI. The Social Evil 81
XII. Characteristics and Principles 88
XIII. The Community and Its History 91
XIV. The Land and the People 99
XV. Occupations 104
XVI. Recreation 108
XVII. Rural Institutions 115
XVIII. Rural Education 120
XIX. The New Rural School 127
XX. Rural Government 136[vi]
XXI. Health and Beauty 144
XXII. Morals in the Rural Community 151
XXIII. The Rural Church 156
XXIV. A New Type of Rural Institution 162
XXV. From Country To City 169
XXVI. The Manufacturing Enterprise 180
XXVII. The Industrial Problem 186
XXVIII. Exchange and Transportation 201
XXIX. The People Who Work 212
XXX. The Immigrant 221
XXXI. How the Working People Live 230
XXXII. The Diversions of the Working People 238
XXXIII. Crime and Its Cure 248
XXXIV. Agencies of Control 256
XXXV. Difficulties of the People Who Work 263
XXXVI. Charity and the Settlements 271
XXXVII. Educational Agencies 280
XXXVIII. The Church 287
XXXIX. The City in the Making 294
XL. The Building of a Nation 300
XLI. Economic and Social Functions of the People as a Nation 305
XLII. The State 313
XLIII. Problems of the Nation 324
XLIV. Internationalism 333
XLV. Physical and Personal Factors in the Life of Society 340[vii]
XLVI. Social Psychic Factors 348
XLVII. Social Theories 357
XLVIII. The Science of Sociology 364
  Index 373






1. Man and His Social Relations.—A study of society starts with the obvious fact that human beings live together. The hermit is abnormal. However far back we go in the process of human evolution we find the existence of social relations, and sociability seems a quality ingrained in human nature. Every individual has his own personality that belongs to him apart from every other individual, but the perpetuation and development of that personality is dependent on relations with other personalities and with the physical environment which limits his activity.

As an individual his primary interest is in self, but he finds by experience that he cannot be independent of others. His impulses, his feelings, and his ideas are due to the relations that he has with that which is outside of himself. He may exercise choice, but it is within the limits set by these outside relations. He may make use of what they can do for him or he may antagonize them, at least he cannot ignore them. Experience determines how the individual may best adapt himself to his environment and adapt the environment to his own needs, and he thus establishes certain definite relationships. Any group of individuals, who have thus consciously established relationships with one another and with their social environment is a society. The relations through whose channels the interplay of social forces is constantly going [2]on make up the social organization. The readjustments of these relations for the better adaptation of one individual to another, or of either to their environment, make up the process of social development. A society which remains in equilibrium is termed static, that which is changing is called dynamic.

2. The Field and the Purpose of Sociology.—Life in society is the subject matter of sociological study. Sociology is concerned with the origin and development of that life, with its present forms and activities, and with their future development. It finds its material in the every-day experiences of men, women, and children in whatever stage of progress they may be; but for practical purposes its chief interest is in the normal life of civilized communities, together with the past developments and future prospects of that life. The purpose of sociological study is to discover the active workings and controlling principles of life, its essential meaning, and its ultimate goal; then to apply the principles, laws, and ideals discovered to the imperfect social process that is now going on in the hope of social betterment.

3. Source Material for Study.—The source material of social life lies all about us. For its past history we must explore the primitive conduct of human beings as we learn it from anthropology and archæology, or as we infer it from the lowest human races or from animal groups that bear the nearest physical and mental resemblance to mankind. For present phenomena we have only to look about us, and having seen to attempt their interpretation. Life is mirrored in the daily press. Pick up any newspaper and examine its contents. It reveals social characteristics both local and wide-spread.

4. Social Characteristics—Activity.—The first fact that stands out clearly as a characteristic of social life is activity. Everybody seems to be doing something. There are a few among the population, like vagrants and the idle rich, who are parasites, but even they sustain relations to others that require a certain sort of effort. Activity seems fundamental. It needs but a hasty survey to [3]show how general it is. Farmers are cultivating their broad acres, woodsmen are chopping and hewing in the forest, miners are drilling in underground chambers, and the products of farm, forest, and mine are finding their way by river, road, and rail to the great distributing centres. In the town the machinery of mill and factory keeps busy thousands of operatives, and turns out manufactured products to compete with the products of the soil for right of way to the cities of the New World and the Old. Busiest of all are the throngs that thread the streets of the great centres, and pour in and out of stores and offices. Men rush from one person to another, and interview one after another the business houses with which they maintain connection; women swarm about the counters of the department stores and find at the same time social satisfaction and pecuniary reward; children in hundreds pour into the intellectual hopper of the schoolroom and from there to the playground. Everybody is busy, and everybody is seeking personal profit and satisfaction.

5. Mental Activity.—There is another kind of activity of which these economic and social phases are only the outward expression, an activity of the mind which is busy continually adjusting the needs of the individual or social organism and the environment to each other. Some acts are so instinctive or habitual that they do not require conscious mental effort; others are the result of reasoning as to this or that course of action. The impulse of the farmer may be to remain inactive, or the schoolboy may feel like going fishing; the call of nature stimulates the desire; but reason reaches out and takes control and directs outward activity into proper channels. On the other hand, reason fortifies worthy inclinations. The youth feels an inclination to stretch his muscles or to use his brains, and reason re-enforces feeling. The physical need of food, clothing, and shelter acts as a goad to drive a man to work, and reason sanctions his natural response. This mental activity guides not only individual human conduct but also that of the group. Instinct impels the man to defend his family from hardship or his clan from defeat, and reason confirms the [4]impulse. His sociable disposition urges him to co-operate in industry, and reason sanctions his inclination. The history of society reveals an increasing influence of the intellect in thus directing instinct and feeling. It is a law of social activity that it tends to become more rational with the increase of education and experience. But it is never possible to determine the quantitative influence of the various factors that enter into a decision, or to estimate the relative pressure of the forces that urge to activity. Alike in mental and in physical activity there is a union of all the causative factors. In an act of the will impulse, feeling, and reflection all have their part; in physical activity it is difficult to determine how compelling is any one of the various forces, such as heredity and environment, that enter into the decision.

6. The Valuation of Social Activities.—The importance to society of all these activities is not to be measured by their scope or by their vigor or volume, but by the efficiency with which they perform their function, and the value of the end they serve. Domestic activities, such as the care of children, may be restricted to the home, and a woman's career may seem to be blighted thereby, but no more important work can be accomplished than the proper training of the child. Political activity may be national in scope, but if it is vitiated by corrupt practices its value is greatly diminished. Certain activities carry with them no important results, because they have no definite function, but are sporadic and temporary, like the coming together of groups in the city streets, mingling in momentary excitement and dissolving as quickly.

The true valuation of activities is to be determined by their social utility. The employment of working men in the brewing of beer or the manufacture of chewing-gum may give large returns to an individual or a corporation, but the social utility of such activity is small. Business enterprise is naturally self-centred; the first interest of every individual or group is self-preservation, and business must pay for itself and produce a surplus for its owner or it is not worth continuing from the economic standpoint; [5]but a business enterprise has no right selfishly to disregard the interests of its employees and of the public. Its social value must be reckoned as small or great, not by the amount of business carried on, but by its contribution to human welfare.

Take a department store as an illustration. It may be highly profitable to its owners, giving large returns on the investment, while distributing cheap and defective goods and paying its employees less than a decent living wage. Its value is to be determined as small because its social utility is of little worth. When the value of activity is estimated on this basis, it will be seen that among the noblest activities are those of the philanthropist who gives his time and interest without stint to the welfare of other folk; of the minister who lends himself to spiritual ministry, and the physician who gives up his own comfort and sometimes his own life to save those who are physically ill; of the housewife who bears and rears children and keeps the home as her willing contribution to the life of the world; and of the nurses, companions, and teachers who are mothers, sisters, and wives to those who need their help.

7. Results of Activity.—The product of activity is achievement. The workers of the world are continually transforming energy into material products. To clear away a forest, to raise a thousand bushels of grain, to market a herd of cattle or a car-load of shoes, to build a sky-scraper or an ocean liner, is an achievement. But it is a greater achievement to take a child mind and educate it until it learns how to cultivate the soil profitably, how to make a machine or a building of practical value, and how to save and enrich life.

The history of human folk shows that achievement has been gradual, and much of it without conscious planning, but the great inventors, the great architects, the great statesmen have been men of vision, and definite purpose is sure to fill a larger place in the story of achievement. Purposive progress rather than unconscious, telic rather than genetic, is the order of the evolution of society.

The highest achievement of the race is its moral uplift. [6]The man or woman who has a noble or kindly thought, who has consecrated life to unselfish ends and has spent constructive effort for the common good, is the true prince among men. He may be a leader upon whom the common people rely in time of stress, or only a private in the ranks—he is a hero, for his achievement is spiritual, and his mastery of the inner life is his supreme victory.

8. Association.—A second characteristic of social life is that activity is not the activity of isolated individuals, but it is activity in association. Human beings work together, play together, talk together, worship together, fight together. If they happen to act alone, they are still closely related to one another. Examine the daily newspaper record and see how few items have to do with individuals acting in isolation. Even if a person sits down alone to think, his mind is working along the line on which it received the push of another mind shortly before. A large part of the work of the world is done in concert. The ship and the train have their crew, the factory its hands, the city police and fire departments their force. Men shout together on the ball field, and sing folk-songs in chorus. As an audience they listen to the play or the sermon, as a mob they rush the jail to lynch a prisoner, or as a crowd they riot in high carnival on Mardi Gras. The normal individual belongs to a family, a community, a political party, a nation; he may belong, besides, to a church, a few learned societies, a trade-union, or any number of clubs or fraternities.

Human beings associate because they possess common interests and means of intercourse. They are affected by the same needs. They have the power to think in the same grooves and to feel a common sympathy. Members of the same race or community have a common fund of custom or tradition; they are conscious of like-mindedness in morals and religion; they are subject to the same kind of mental suggestion; they have their own peculiar language and literature. As communication between different parts of the world improves and ability to speak in different languages increases, there comes a better understanding among the world's peoples and an increase of mutual sympathy.

[7]Experience has taught the value of association. By it the individual makes friends, gains in knowledge, enlarges interests. Knowing this, he seeks acquaintances, friends, and companions. He finds the world richer because of family, community, and national life, and if necessary he is willing to sacrifice something of his own comfort and peace for the advantages that these associations will bring.

9. Causes of Association.—It is the nature of human beings to enjoy company, to be curious about what they see and hear, to talk together, and to imitate one another. These traits appear in savages and even in animals, and they are not outgrown with advance in civilization. These inborn instincts are modified or re-enforced by the conscious workings of the mind, and are aided or restricted by external circumstances. It is a natural instinct for men to seek associates. They feel a liking for one and a dislike for another, and select their friends accordingly. But the choice of most men is within a restricted field, for their acquaintance is narrow. College men are thrown with a certain set or join a certain fraternity. They play on the same team or belong to the same class. They may have chosen their college, but within that institution their environment is limited. It is similar in the world at large. Individuals do not choose the environment in which at first they find themselves, and the majority cannot readily change their environment. Within its natural limits and the barriers which caste or custom have fixed, children form their play groups according to their liking for each other, and adults organize their societies according to their mutual interests or common beliefs. With increasing acquaintance and ease of communication and transportation there comes a wider range of choice, and environment is less controlling. The will of the individual becomes freer to choose friends and associates wherever he finds them. He may have widely scattered business and political connections. He may be a member of an international association. He may even take a wife from another city or a distant nation. Mental interaction flows in international channels.

[8]10. Forms of Association.—It is possible to classify all forms of association in two groups as natural, like a gang of boys, or artificial, like a political party. Or it is possible to arrange them according to the interests they serve, as economic, scientific, and the like. Again they may be classified according to thoroughness of organization, ranging from the crowd to the closely knit corporation. But whatever the form may be, the value of the association is to be judged according to the degree of social worth, as in the case of activities. On that basis a company of gladiators or a pugilist's club ranks below a village improvement society; that in turn yields in importance to a learned association of physicians discussing the best means of relieving human suffering. In the slow process of social evolution those forms that do not contribute to the welfare of the race will lose their place in society.

11. Results of Association.—The results of association are among the permanent assets of the race. Man has become what he is because of his social relations, and further progress is dependent upon them. The arts that distinguish man from his inferiors are the products of inter-communication and co-operation. The art of conversation and the accompanying interchange of ideas and thought stimulus are to be numbered among the benefits. The art of conciliation that calms ruffled tempers and softens conflict belongs here. The art of co-operation, that great engine of achievement, depends on learning through social contact how to think and feel sympathetically. Finally, there is the product of social organization. Chance meetings and temporary assemblies are of small value, though they must be noted as phenomena of association. More important are the fixed institutions that have grown out of relations continually tested by experience until they have become sanctioned by society as indispensable. Such are the organized forms of business, education, government, and religion. But all groups require organization of a sort. The gang has its recognized leader, the club its officers and by-laws. Even such antisocial persons as outlaws frequently move in bands and have their chiefs. [9]Organization goes far to determine success in war or politics, in work or play. Like achievement, organization is the result of a gradual growth in collective experience, and must be continually adapted to the changing requirements of successive periods by the wisdom of master minds. It must also gradually include larger groups within its scope until, like the International Young Men's Christian Association or the Universal Postal Union, it reaches out to the ends of the earth.

12. Control.—The public mirror of the press reveals a third characteristic of social life. Activity and association are both under control. Activity would result in exploitation of the weak by the strong, and finally in anarchy, if there were no exercise of control. Under control activities are co-ordinated, individuals and classes are brought to work in co-operation and not in antagonism, and under an enlightened and sanctioned authority life becomes richer, fuller, and more truly free.

Social control begins in the individual mind. Instincts and feelings are held in the leash of rational thought. Intelligence is the guide to action. Control is exerted externally upon the individual from early childhood. Parental authority checks the independence of the child and compels conformity to the will of his elders. Family tradition makes its power felt in many homes, and family pride is a compelling reason for moral rectitude. Every member of the family is restrained by the rights of the others, and often yields his own preferences for the common good. When the child goes out from the home he is still under restraint, and rigid regulations become even more pronounced. The rules of the schoolroom permit little freedom. The teacher's authority is absolute during the hours when school is in session. In the city when school hours are over there are municipal regulations enforced by watchful police that restrict the activity of a boy in the streets, and if he visits the playground he is still under the reign of law. Similarly the adult is hedged about by social control. Custom decrees that he must dress appropriately for the street, that he must pass to the right when he meets [10]another person, and that he must raise his hat to an acquaintance of the opposite sex. The college youth finds it necessary to acquaint himself with the customs and traditions that have been handed down from class to class, and these must be observed under pain of ostracism. Faculty and trustees stand in the way of his unlimited enjoyment. His moral standards are affected by the atmosphere of the chapter house, the athletic field, and the examination hall. In business and civil relations men find themselves compelled to recognize laws that have been formulated for the public good. State and national governments have been able to assert successfully their right to control corporate action, however large and powerful the corporation might be. But government itself is subject to the will of the people in a democratic nation, and public opinion sways officials and determines local and national policies. Religious beliefs have the force of law upon whole peoples like the Mohammedans.

Social control is exercised in large measure without the mailed fist. Moral suasion tends to supersede the birch stick and the policeman's billy. Within limits there is freedom of action, and the tacit appeal of society is to a man's self-control. But the newspaper with its sensation and police-court gossip never lets us forget that back of self-control is the court of judicial authority and the bar of public opinion.

The result of the constant exercise of control is the existence of order. The normal individual becomes accustomed to restraint from his earliest years, and it is only the few who are disorderly in the schoolroom, on the streets, or in the broader relations of life. Criminals make up a small part of the population; anarchy never has appealed to many as a social philosophy; unconventional people are rare enough to attract special attention.

13. Change.—A fourth characteristic of social life is change. Control tends to keep society static, but there are powerful dynamic forces that are continually upsetting the equilibrium. In spite of the natural conservatism of institutions and agencies of control, group life is as [11]continually changing as the physical elements in nature. Continued observation recorded over a considerable period of time reveals changing habits, changing occupations, changing interests, even changing laws and governments. Inside the group individuals are continually readjusting their modes of thought and activity to one another, and between groups there is a similar adjustment of social habits. Without such change there can be no progress. War or other catastrophe suddenly alters wide human relations. External influences are constantly making their impression upon us, stimulating us to higher attainment or dragging us down to individual and group degeneration.

14. Causes of Change.—The factors that enter into social life to produce change are numerous. Conflict of ideas among individuals and groups compels frequent readjustment of thought. The free expression of opinion in public debate and through the press is a powerful factor. Travel alters modes of conduct, and wholesale migration changes the characteristics of large groups of population. Family habits change with accumulation of wealth or removal from the farm to the city. The introduction of the telephone and the free mail delivery with its magazines and daily newspapers has altered currents of thought in the country. Summer visitors have introduced country and city to each other; the automobile has enlarged the horizon of thousands. New modes of agriculture have been adopted through the influence of a state agricultural college, new methods of education through a normal school, new methods of church work through a theological seminary. Whole peoples, as in China and Turkey, have been profoundly affected by forces that compelled change. Growth in population beyond comfortable means of subsistence has set tribes in motion; the need of wider markets has compelled nations to try forcible expansion into disputed areas. The desire for larger opportunities has sent millions of emigrants from Europe to America, and has been changing rapidly the complexion of the crowds that walk the city streets and enter the polling booths. Certain outstanding personalities have moulded life and thought [12]through the centuries, and have profoundly changed whole regions of country. Mohammed and Confucius put their personal stamp upon the Orient; Cæsar and Napoleon made and remade western Europe; Adam Smith and Darwin swayed economic and scientific England; Washington and Lincoln were makers of America.

Through such social processes as these—through unconscious suggestion, through communication and discussion that mould public opinion, through changes in environment and the influence of new leaders of thought and action—the evolution of folk life has carried whole races, sometimes to oblivion, but generally out of savagery and barbarism into a material and cultural civilization.

15. Results of the Process.—The results of the process of social change are so far-reaching as to be almost incalculable. Particularly marked are the changes of the last hundred years. The best way to appreciate them is by a comparison of periods. Take college life in America as an example. Scores of colleges now large and prosperous were not then in existence, and even in the older colleges conditions were far inferior to what they are in the newer and smaller colleges to-day. There were few preparatory schools, and the young man—of course there were no college women—fitted himself as best he could by private instruction. To reach the college it was necessary to drive by stage or private conveyance to the college town, to find rooms in an ill-equipped dormitory or private house, to be content with plain food for the body and a narrow course of study for the mind. The method of instruction was tedious and uninspiring; text-books were unattractive and dull. There were no libraries worthy of the name, no laboratories or observatories for research. Scientific instruction was conspicuous by its absence; the social sciences were unknown. Gymnasiums had not been evolved from the college wood-pile; intercollegiate sports were unknown. Glee clubs, dramatic societies, college journalism, and the other arts and pastimes that give color and variety to modern university life were unknown.

In the same period modes of thinking have changed. [13]Scientific discoveries and the principles that have been based on them have wrought a revolution. Evolution has become a word to conjure with. Scholars think in terms of process. Biological investigation has opened wide the whole realm of life and emphasized the place of development in the physical organism. Psychological study has changed the basis of philosophy. Sociology has come with new interpretations of human life. Rapid changes are taking place at the present time in education, in religion, and in social adjustments. The rate of progress varies in different parts of the world; there are handicaps in the form of race conservatism, local and individual self-satisfaction and independence, maladjustments and isolation; sometimes the process leads along a downward path. On the whole, however, the history is a story of progress.

16. Weaknesses.—In the thinking of not a few persons the handicaps that lie in the path of social development bulk larger than the engines of progress. They are pessimistic over the weaknesses that constitute a fifth characteristic of social life. These are certainly not to be overlooked, but they are an inevitable result of incomplete adaptations during a constant process of change. There are numerous illustrations of weakness. Social activity is not always wisely directed. Association frequently develops antagonism instead of co-operation. In trade and industry individuals do not "play fair." Corporations are sometimes unjust. Politics are liable to become corrupt. In the various associations of home and community life indifference, cruelty, unchastity, and crime add to the burdens of poverty, disease, and wretchedness. A yellow press mirrors a scandalous amount of intrigue, immorality, and misdemeanor. Government abuses its power; public opinion is intolerant and unjust; fashion is tyrannical; law is uncompromising. In times like our own economic interests frequently overshadow cultural interests. In college estimation athletics appear to bulk larger than the curriculum. In the public mind prejudice and hasty judgments take precedence over carefully weighed opinions and judicial decisions. Conservatism blocks the wheels of progress, or [14]radicalism, in its unbalanced enthusiasm, destroys by injudiciousness the good that has been gradually accumulating. The social machinery gets out of gear, or proves inefficient for the new burdens that frequently are imposed upon it. The social order is not perfect and needs occasional amendment.

17. Resultant Problems.—These weaknesses precipitate specific social problems. Some of them are bound up in the family relationships, like the better regulation of marriage and divorce, the prevention of desertion, and the rights of women and children. Others are questions that relate to industry, such as the rights of employees with reference to wages and hours of labor, or the unhealthy conditions in which working people live and toil. Certain matters are issues in every community. It is not easy to decide what shall be done with the poor, the unfortunate, and the weak-willed members of society. Some problems are peculiar to the country, the city, or the nation, like the need of rural co-operation, the improvement of municipal efficiency, or the regulation of immigration. A few are international, like the scourge of war. Besides such specific problems there are always general issues demanding the attention of social thinkers and reformers, such as the adjustment of individual rights to social duties, and the improvement of moral and religious efficiency.

18. The Social Groups.—A broad survey of the current life of society leads naturally to the questions: How is this social life organized? and How did it come to be? The answers to these questions appear in certain social groupings, each of which has a history and life of its own, but is only a segment of the whole circle of active association. These groupings include the family, the rural community, the city, and the nation. In the natural environment of the home social life finds its apprenticeship. When the child has become in a measure socialized, he enters into the larger relations of the neighborhood. Half the people of the United States live in country communities, but an increasing proportion of the population is found in the midst of the associations and activities of the larger civic [15]community. All are citizens or wards of the nation, and have a part in the social life of America. Consciously or not they have still wider relations in a world life that is continually growing in social content. Each of these groups reveals the same fundamental characteristics, but each has its peculiar forms and its dominant energies; each has its perplexing problems and each its possibilities of greater good. Through the environment the forces of the mind are moulding a life that is gradually becoming more nearly like the social ideal.


Giddings: Principles of Sociology, pages 363-399.

Small and Vincent: Introduction to the Study of Society, pages 237-240.

Dealey: Sociology, pages 58-73.

Ross: Social Control, pages 49-61.

Ross: Foundations of Sociology, pages 182-255.

Blackmar and Gillin: Outlines of Sociology, pages 271-282.




19. Temporary Groups.—A study of the organization and development of social life is mainly a study of the mental and physical activities of individuals associated in permanent groups. Conditions change and there is a continual shifting of contacts as in a kaleidoscope, but the group is a fixed institution in the life of society. But besides the permanent groups there are temporary unorganized associations that have a place in social life too important to be overlooked. They vary in size from a chance meeting of two or three friends who stop on the street corner and separate after a few minutes of conversation, to the great mass-meeting, that is called for a special purpose and interests a whole neighborhood, but adjourns sine die. Such groups are subject to the same physical and psychic forces that affect the family, the community, and the nation, but they tend to act more on impulse, because there is no habitual subordination to an established rule or order. A simple illustration will show the influences that work to produce these temporary groupings and that govern conduct.

20. How the Group Forms.—Imagine a working man on the morning of a holiday. Without a fixed purpose how he will spend the day, his mind works along the line of least resistance, inviting physical or mental stimulus, and sensitive to respond. He is not accustomed to remain at home, nor does he wish to be alone. He is used to the companionship of the factory, and instinctively he longs for the association of his kind. He is most likely to meet his acquaintances on the street, and he feels the pull of the out-of-doors. The influences of instinct and habit impel him to activity, and he makes a definite choice to leave the house. Once on the street he feels the zest of motion and the anticipation [17]of the pleasure that he will find in the companionship of his fellows. Reason assures him from past experience that he has made a good choice, and on general principles asserts that exercise is good for him, whatever may be the social result of his stroll. Thus the various factors that produce individual activity are at work in him. They are similarly at work in others of his kind. Presently these factors will bring them together.

Unconsciously the working man and his friend are moving toward each other. The attention and discrimination of each man is brought into play with every person that he meets, but there is no recognition of acquaintance until each comes within the range of vision of the other. They greet each other with a hail of good-fellowship and a cordial hand-shake and stop for conversation. An analysis of the psychological elements that enter into such an incident would make plain the part of sense-perception and memory, of feeling and volition in the act of each, but the significant fact in the incident is that these mental factors are set to work because of the contact of one mind upon the other. It is the mental interaction arising from the moment's association that produces the social phenomenon. What are the social phenomena of this particular occasion? They are the acts that have taken place because of association. The individual would not greet himself or shake hands with himself, or stop to talk with himself. They are dependent upon the presence of more than one person; they are phenomena of the group. Why do they shake hands and talk? First, because they feel alike and think alike, and sympathy and like-mindedness seek expression in gesture and language, and, secondly, because their mode of action is under the control of a social custom that directs specific acts. If the meeting was on the continent of Europe the men might embrace, if it was in the jungle of Africa they might raise a yell at sight of each other, but American custom limits the greeting to a hand-clasp, supplemented on occasion by a slap on the shoulder. In Italy the language used is peculiar to the race and is helped out by many gestures; in New England of the Puritans the [18]language used would be of a type peculiar to itself, and would hardly have the assistance of a changing facial expression. To-day two men have formed a temporary group, group action has taken place, and the action, while impulsive, is under the constraint of present custom. What happens next?

21. The Working of the Social Mind.—Conversation in the group develops a common purpose. The two men are conscious of common desires and interests, or through a conflict of ideas the will of one subordinates the will of the other, and under the control of the joint purpose, which is now the social mind, they move toward one goal. This goal soon appears to be the objective point of a larger social mind, for other men and boys are converging in the same direction. At the corner of another street the two companions meet other friends, and after a mutual greeting the augmented party finds its way to the entrance of a ball park. The same instincts and habits and the same feelings and thoughts have stirred in every member of the group; they have felt the pull of the same desires and interests; they have put themselves in motion toward the same goal; they have greeted one another in similar fashion, and they find satisfaction in talking together on a common topic; but they do not constitute a permanent or organized group, and once separated they may never repeat this chance meeting.

22. The Impulse of the Crowd.—Once within the ball park and seated on the long benches they are part of a far larger group of like-minded human beings, and they feel a common thrill in anticipation of the pleasure of the sport. They feel the stimulus that comes from obedience to a common impulse. A shout or a joke arouses a sympathetic outburst from hundreds. When they came together at first most of them were strangers, but common interests and emotions have produced a group consciousness. The game is called, and hundreds in unison fix their attention on the men in action. A hit is made, in breathless suspense the crowd watches to see the result, and with a common impulse cries out simultaneously in approbation or disgust [19]over the play. As the game proceeds primitive passions play over the crowd and emotions find free expression in the language that habit and custom provide. The crowd is in a state of high suggestibility; it responds to the stimulus of a chance remark, the misplay of a player, or the misjudgment of an umpire; one moment it is thrown into panic by the prospect of defeat, and the next into paroxysms of delight as the tide of victory turns. On sufficient provocation the crowd gets into motion, impelled by a common excitement to unreasoning action; it pours upon the field, and, unless prevented, wreaks its anger upon team or umpire that has aroused it to fury, but met with superior force the crowd melts away, dissolving into its smaller groups and then into its individual elements. A crowd of the sort described constitutes one type of the incomplete group. It is a chance assembly, moved by a common purpose but coalescing only temporarily, guided by elemental impulses, and readily breaking up without permanent achievement other than obtaining the recreation sought.

23. The Mass-Meeting.—Another and more orderly type appears in a meeting of American residents in a foreign city to protest against an outrage to their flag or an injustice to one of their number. Those who assemble are not members of a definite organization with a regular machinery for action. They are, however, moved by common emotion and purpose, because they are conscious of a permanent bond that creates mutual sympathy. They are citizens of the same country. They are mindful of a national history that is their common heritage. They are proud of the position of eminence that belongs to the Western republic. There is a peculiar quality to the patriotism that they all feel and that calls out a unanimous expression. Their minds work alike, and they come together to give expression to their feelings and convictions. They are under the direction of a presiding officer and the procedure of the meeting is according to the parliamentary rules that guide civilized assemblies. However urgent of purpose, the speakers hold themselves in leash, and the listeners [20]content themselves with conventional applause when their enthusiasm is aroused. After a reasonable amount of discussion has taken place, the assembly crystallizes its opinions in the form of resolutions couched in earnest but dignified language and disperses to await the action of those in authority.

24. International Association.—Still another type is the incomplete group that is composed of men and women of similar moral or religious convictions who never assemble in one place, but constitute a certain kind of association. Kipling could sing,

"The East is East and the West is West
And never the twain shall meet,"

yet through missionary efforts people of very different races and habits of living and thinking have been brought to cherish the same beliefs and to adopt similar customs. Thousands of such people in all parts of the world constitute a unified group because of their mental interaction, though they may never meet and are not organized in common. The only medium through which one section has influenced another may be a single missionary or book, but the electric current of sympathy passes from one to another as effectively as the wireless carries a message across leagues of space. In the same way sentiment and opinion spread and reproduce themselves, even through long periods of time. Before the middle of the nineteenth century Chinese sentiment was so strong against the importation of opium from India that war broke out with England, with the result that the curse was fastened upon the Orient. The evil increased, spreading through many countries. Meantime international fortunes brought the United States to the Philippines and trade carried opium to the United States. Foreigners in China combated the evil. The nation took a determined stand, and finally, through international agreement under American leadership, the trade and the consumption of opium were checked. Similarly slavery was put under the opprobrium of [21]Christendom, public opinion in one nation after another was formed against it, laws were passed condemning it, and at last it received an international ban. At the present time, through agitation and conference, a world sentiment against war is increasing, and pacifists in every land constitute an expanding group of like-minded men and women who are determined that wars shall cease in the future. These are all examples of unorganized associations or incomplete groups.

25. Experiments in Association.—In the history of human kind numerous experiments in association have been made; those which have served well in the competition between groups have survived, and have tended to become permanent types of association, receiving the sanction of society, and so to be reckoned as social institutions; others have been thrown on the rubbish heap as worthless. It is generally believed, for example, that many related families in primitive times associated in a loosely connected horde, but the horde could not compete successfully with an organized state and gave way before it. The local community in New England once carried on its affairs satisfactorily in yearly mass-meeting, where every citizen had an equal privilege of speaking and voting directly upon a proposed measure, but there proved to be a limit to the efficiency of such government when the population increased, so that a meeting of all the citizens was impossible, and a constitutional assembly of representative citizens was devised. Similarly national governments have been organized for greater efficiency and machinery is being invented frequently to increase their value.

26. Kinds of Unorganized Groups.—Unorganized groups are of three kinds: There are first the normal groups that are continually being formed and dissolved, but that perform a useful function while they exist. Such are the chance meetings and conversations of friends in all walks of life, and the crowds that gather occasionally to help forward a good cause. They promote general intelligence, provide a free exchange of ideas, and help to form a body of public opinion for social guidance. There is often an [22]open-mindedness among the common people that is not vitiated by the grip of vested interests upon their unwarped judgments, and the people can be trusted in the long run to make good. Democracy is based upon the reliability of public opinion.

The second kind of unorganized group is one that is on the way to becoming a permanent group sanctioned by society. A group of this type is the boy's gang. By most persons the spontaneous association of a dozen boys who live near together and range over a certain district has been condemned as a social evil; recently it has become recognized as a normal group, forming naturally at a certain period of boy life and falling to pieces of its own accord a few years later. The tendency of boy leaders is not only to give it recognition as legitimate, but to use the gang instinct to promote definite organizations of greater value to their members and to the community. Another group of the same type is a so-called "movement," composed of a few individuals who associate themselves in a loose way to further a definite purpose, like the promotion of temperance, hold mass-meetings, and create public opinion, but do not at once proceed to a permanent organization. Eventually, when the movement has gathered sufficient headway or has shown that it is permanently valuable, a fixed organization may be accomplished.

The third kind of unorganized group is an abnormality in the midst of civilization, a relic of the primitive days when impulse rather than reason swayed the mind of a group. Such is the crowd that gathers in a moment of excitement and yields to a momentary passion to lynch a prisoner, or a revolutionary mob that loots and burns out of a sheer desire for destruction. Such a group has not even the value of a safety-valve, for its passion gathers momentum as it goes, and, like a conflagration, it cannot be stopped until it has burned itself out or met a solid wall of military authority.

27. The Popular Crowd vs. the Organized Group.—In the routine life of a disciplined society there is always to be found at least one of these types. Even the abnormal [23]type of the passionate crowd is not unusual in its milder form. Any unusual event like a fire or a circus will draw scores and hundreds together, and the crowd is always liable to fall into disorder unless officers of the law are in attendance. This is so well understood that the police are always in evidence where there are large congregations of people at church or theatre, where a prominent man is to be seen or a procession is to pass. But the popular mass is a volatile thing, and in proportion to its size it expends little useful energy. It is never to be reckoned as equal in importance to the organized company, however small it may be, that has a definite purpose guiding its regular action, and that persists in its purpose for years together. It is the fixed group, the social institution, that does the work of the world and carries society forward from lower to higher levels of civilization. Social efficiency belongs to the organized type.


Cooley: Social Organization, pages 149-156.

Giddings: Elements of Sociology, pages 129-140.

Ross: Foundations of Sociology, pages 120-138.

Ross: Social Psychology, pages 43-82.

Münsterberg: Psychology, General and Applied, pages 269-273.

Davenport: Primitive Traits in Religious Revivals, pages 25-31.





28. The Fundamental Importance of the Family.—Social life can be understood best by taking the simplest organized group of human beings and analyzing its activities, its organization, and its development. The family is such a group and is, therefore, a natural basis for study. It illustrates most of the phases of social activity, it is simple in its organization, its history goes back to primitive times, and it is rapidly changing in the present. Family life is made up of the interactions of individual life, and, therefore, the individual in his social relations and not the family is the unit of sociological investigation, but until recent years the family group has been regarded as of greater importance than the individual, and in the Orient the family still occupies the place of importance. Out of the family have developed such institutions as property, law, and government, and on the maintenance of the family rests the future welfare of society. It has been claimed that "the study of the single family on its homestead would yield richer scientific knowledge and more practical results in the great social sciences than almost any other single object in the social world. Pursued historically, the student would find himself at the roots of property, separate ownership of land, inheritance, taxation, free trade and tariff, and discover the germs of international law and the state. The great questions of the day, as we call them, are little more than incidents to the working out of the great social institutions, and these are the expansions and modified forms of the family amid its unceasing support and activity."

[25]29. The Family on the Farm.—The best environment in which to study the family is the farm. There the relations and activities of the larger world appear in miniature, but with a greater simplicity and unity than elsewhere. There the family gets closer to the soil, and its members feel their relation to nature and the restrictions that nature imposes upon human activity. There appear the occupations of the successive stages of history—hunting, the care of domesticated animals, agriculture, and manufacturing; there are the activities of production, distribution, and consumption of economic goods. There a consciousness of mutual dependence is developed, and the value of co-operation is illustrated. There the mind ranges less fettered than in the town, yet is less inclined toward radical changes. There the family preserves and hands down from one generation to another the heritage of the past, and stimulates its members to further progress. In the family on the farm children learn how to live in association with their kin and with hired employees; there much of the mental, moral, and religious training is begun; and there is found most of the sympathy and encouragement that nerves the boy to go out from home for the struggle of life in the larger community and the world.

30. Physical Conditions of Farm Life.—Every group, like every individual, is dependent in a measure on its physical environment. The prosperity of the family on the farm and the daily activities of its members wait often upon the quality of climate and soil and the temper of the weather. The rocky hillsides of mountain lands like Switzerland breed a hardy, self-reliant people, who make the most of small opportunities for agriculture. A well-watered, rolling country pours its riches into the lap of the husbandman; in such surroundings he is likely to be more cheerful but less gritty than the Scottish highlander. The pioneer settlers of America, in their trek into the ulterior, faced the forest and its terrors, and every member of the family who was old enough added his ounce of effort to the struggle to subdue it. Their descendants enjoy the fruits of the earlier victory. The well-trimmed woodland and [26]fertile field are attractive to him; nature in varying moods interests him. Even on the edge of the Western desert the farmer is the master of a process of dry farming or irrigation, so that he can smile at nature's effort to drive him out. Science and education have helped to make man more independent of natural forces and natural moods, but still it is nature that provides the raw materials, that supplies the energy of wind and water and sunshine, and that hastens prosperity if man learns to co-operate with it. Success in the economic struggle of the family has always been conditioned upon the physical environment, and it will always remain one of the factors that shape human destiny.

31. Inheritance of Family Traits.—Another factor that enters into family life is the physical nature of its members, the quality of the stock from which the family is descended. Heredity is as important in sociological study as environment. It is well known that a child inherits racial and family traits from his ancestors, and these he cannot shake off altogether as he grows older. Families have their peculiarities that continue from one generation to another. The family endowment is often the foundation of individual success. Without physical sturdiness the man and woman on the farm are seriously handicapped and are liable to succumb in the struggle for existence; without mental ability and moral stamina members of the family fail to make a broad mark on the community, and the family influence declines. Mere acquisition or transmission of wealth does not constitute good fortune. This fact of heredity must therefore be reckoned with in all the activities of the family, and cannot be overlooked in a study of the psychic factors which are the real social forces.

32. The Domestic Function of the Family.—The farm family for the purpose of study may be thought of as composed of husband and wife, children and servants, but the makers of the family are of first importance for its understanding. The family has a long history, but it exists, not because it is a long-established institution, but because it satisfies present human needs, as all institutions must if [27]they are to survive. The family serves many ends, but as the primary social instincts are to mate and to eat, so the principal functions of the family are the domestic and the economic. The normal adult desires to mate, to have and rear children, and to make a home. To this his sexual and parental instincts impel him; they are nature's provision for the perpetuation of the race. The sex instinct attracts the man and the woman to each other, and marriage is the sanction of society to their union; the parental instinct gives birth to children and leads the father and mother to protect the child through the long years of dependence. Marriage and parenthood are twin obligations that the individual owes to the race. Celibacy makes no contribution to the perpetuation of the race, and unregulated sexual intercourse is a blight upon society. Marriage lays the foundation of the home and makes possible the values that belong to that institution. Children hold the family together; separation and divorce are most common in childless homes. Personal service and sacrifice are engendered in the care of children; therefore it is that the family without children is not a perfect family, but an abnormality as a social institution. For these reasons custom and law protect the home, and religion declares marriage a sacred bond and reproduction a sacred function.

It is the long experience of the race that has made plain the fundamental importance of the marriage relation, and history shows how step by step man and woman have struggled toward higher standards of mutual appreciation and co-operation. From past history and present tendencies it is possible to determine values and weaknesses and to point out dangers and possibilities. As the family group is fundamental to an understanding of the community, so the relation of man and woman are essential to a comprehension of the complete family, and investigation of their relations must precede a study of the social development of the child in the home, or of the economic relations of the farmer and his assistants. Nothing more clearly illustrates the factors that enter into all human relations than the story of how the family came to be.



Henderson: Social Elements, pages 62-70.

Ellwood: Sociology and Modern Social Problems, 1913 edition, pages 74-82.

Bosanquet: The Family, pages 241-259.

Dealey: The Family in Its Sociological Aspects, pages 1-11.

Butterfield: "Rural Life and the Family," American Journal of Sociology, vol. 14, pages 721-725.

Henderson: "Are Modern Industry and City Life Unfavorable to the Family?" American Journal of Sociology, vol. 14, pages 668-675.




33. How the Family Came to Be.—The modern family among civilized peoples is based almost universally on the union of one man and one woman. There is good reason to believe that this practice of monogamy was in vogue among primitive human beings, but marriage was unstable and it was only through long experimentation that monogamy proved itself best fitted to survive. At first conjugal affection, which has become intelligent and moral, was merely a sexual desire that led the man to seek a mate and the maid to choose among her suitors. Unbound by long-continued custom or legal and ceremonial restriction, the primitive couple were free to separate if they pleased, but the instinctive feeling that they belonged to each other, the habits of association, adaptation, and co-operation, and jealousy at any attention shown by another tended to preserve the relationship. The presence of offspring sealed the bond as long as the children were dependent, and strengthened the sense of mutual responsibility. The children were peculiarly the mother's children since she gave them birth, but the father instinctively protected the family that was growing up around him, and procured food and shelter for its members, though it is doubtful if he had any realization of his part in giving life to a new generation.

During this period of social development, when the mother's presence constituted the home and the children were regarded as belonging primarily to her, descent was reckoned in the female line, the children were attached to the maternal clan of blood relatives, and such relatives began to move in bands, for the same reason that animals move in packs and herds. Some writers speak of it as a [30]matriarchal period, but it does not appear that women governed; it is more proper to speak of the family as metronymic, for the children bore the mother's name and maternity outweighed paternity in social estimate.

34. The Patriarchal Household.—When population increased and food consequently became more difficult to obtain, the domestication of animals was achieved, and nomadic habits carried the family from pasture to pasture; rival clans wanted the same regions, wars broke out, and physical superiority asserted its claims. The man supplanted the woman as the important member of the household, reduced the others to submission, added to his wives and servants by capture or purchase, and established the patriarchal system. Descent henceforth was reckoned in the paternal line, and society had become patronymic instead of metronymic. It must not be supposed that this change occurred very suddenly. It may have taken many centuries to bring it about, but as the man learned his part in procreation and his power in society, he delighted in his self-importance to lord it over the woman and her children. The marriage relation ceased to be free and reciprocal. The wife no longer had a choice in marriage. Bought or captured, she was no longer wooed for a companion, but was valued according to her economic worth. As population pressed, the domestication of plants followed the taming of animals, but the agricultural settlement of the family only made the woman's lot harder, for she was the burden bearer on the farm.

35. Polygyny.—a better term than polygamy—was the inevitable result of the patriarchal system. Man made the law and the law recognized no restraint upon his sexual and parental instincts. Improvements in living added to the resources of the family and made it possible to maintain large households of wives, children, and slaves. Polygyny had some social utility, because it increased the number of children, and this gave added prestige and power to the family, as slavery had utility because it provided a labor force; but both were weaknesses in ancient society, because they did not tend in the long run to human welfare. [31]Polygyny brutalized men, degraded women, and destroyed that affection and comradeship between parents and their offspring that are the proper heritage of children. Wherever it has survived as a system, polygyny has hindered progress, and wherever it exists in the midst of monogamy it tends to break down civilization.

Another variety of marriage that has been less common than polygyny is polyandry. It is a term that signifies the marriage of one woman to several husbands, and seems to have occurred, as in the interior of Asia, only where subsistence was especially difficult or women comparatively few. Neither polygyny nor polyandry were universal, even where they were a frequent practice. Only the few could afford the indulgence, much the largest percentage of the people remained monogamous.

36. Conflict and Social Selection.—The supreme business of the social group is to adapt itself to the conditions that affect its life. It must learn to get on with its physical environment and with other social groups with which it comes into relation. The methods of adaptation are conflict and co-operation. The primitive savage and his wife learned to work together, and his family and hers very likely kept the peace, until through the increase of population they felt the pinch of hunger when the supply did not equal the demand. Then came conflict. Conflict is an essential element in all progress. There is conflict between the lower and higher impulses in the human mind, conflict between selfish ambition and the welfare of the group, conflict among individuals and races for a place in the sun. It is conceivable that the baser impulses that provoke much social conflict may give way to more rational and altruistic purpose, but it is difficult to see how all friction can be avoided in social relations. It is certainly to be reckoned with in the history of group life.

The story of human progress shows that in the social conflict those groups survive which have become best adapted to life conditions and so are fitted to cope with their enemies. In the story of the family male leadership proved most useful and was perpetuated, but the practice [32]of polygyny and polyandry proved in the long run to be hurtful to success in the sturdy struggle for existence.

37. Ancestor-Worship.—When a practice or institution is seen to work well it soon becomes indorsed by social custom, law, or religion. The patriarchal system became fortified by ancestor-worship, which helped to keep the family subordinate to its male head. Even the dead hand of the patriarch ruled. The paternal ancestors of the family were believed to have the power to bless or curse their descendants, and they were faithfully placated with gifts and veneration, as has continued to be the custom in China. Among the Romans the household gods were cherished at the hearth long before Jupiter became king of heaven; Æneas must save his ancestral-images if he lost all else in the fall of Troy. At Rome the worship of a common ancestor was the strongest family bond. The marriage ceremony consisted of a solemn transfer of the bride from her duties to her own ancestors over to the adoption of her husband's gods. This transfer of allegiance helped to perpetuate the patriarchal system, and the sanction of religion greatly strengthened the wedded relation, so that divorce and polygyny were unknown in the old Roman period. But the absolute patriarchal control of wife and children made the man selfish and arbitrary and weakened the bond of affection and mutual interests, while Roman political conquest strengthened the pride and power of the imperial masters. Religion lost its prestige and the family bond loosened, until from being one of the purest of social institutions in the early days of the republic, the Roman family became one of the most degenerate. This boded ill for the future of the race and empire.

38. The Mediæval Family.—The Roman family seemed in danger of disintegrating, for the matron claimed rights that ran counter to the rights of the man, when two new forces entered Roman society and checked this tendency toward disintegration. The first was Christianity, the second was Teutonic conquest. Christianity taught consideration for women and children, but it taught submission to the man in the home, and so was a constructive [33]force in the conservation of the family. Teutonic custom was similar to the early Roman. When Teutonic enterprise pushed a new race over the goal of race conflict and took in charge the administration of affairs in Roman society, there was a restoration of the rule of force and so of masculine supremacy. In the lord's castle and the peasant's hut the authority of the man continued unquestioned through the Middle Ages, and the church made monogamous marriage a binding sacrament; but sexual infidelity was common, especially of the husband, and divorce was not unknown. In the civilized lands of Christendom monogamy was the only form of marriage recognized by civil law, and with the slow growth toward higher standards of civilization the harshness of patriarchal custom has become softened and the rights of women and children have been increased by law, though not without endangering the solidarity of the family. Similarly, the standards of sex conduct have improved.

39. Advantages of Monogamy.—The advantages of monogamy are so many that in spite of the present restiveness under restraint it seems certain to become the permanent and universal type as reason asserts its right and controls impulse. Nature seems to have predetermined it by maintaining approximately an equal number of the sexes, and nature frowns upon promiscuity by penalizing it with sterility and neglect of the few children that are born, so that in the struggle for existence the fittest survive by a process of natural selection. A study of biology and anthropology gives added evidence that nature favors monogamy, for in the highest grade of animals below man the monogamic relation holds almost without exception, and low-grade human races follow the same practice.

There are moral advantages in monogamy that alone are sufficient to insure its permanence. It is to the advantage of society that altruistic and kindly feelings should outweigh jealousy, anger, and selfishness. Monogamy encourages affection and mutual consideration, and in that atmosphere children learn the graces and virtues that make social life wholesome and attractive. Welcomed in the [34]home, they receive the care and instruction of both parents and become socialized for the larger and later responsibilities of the social order. In the altruism thus developed lie the roots of morals and religion. It is well agreed that the essence of each is the right motive to conduct. Love to men and to God is an accepted definition of religion, and ethics is grounded on that principle. Love is the ruling principle of the monogamic family; from the narrower domestic circle it extends to the community and to all mankind.

40. Marriage Laws.—In spite of the general practice of monogamy as a form of marriage and the noble principles that underlie the monogamic type of family, sex relations need the restraint of law. Human desires are selfish and ideals too often give way before them unless there is some kind of external control. There have been times when the church had such control, and in certain countries individual rulers have determined the law; but since the eighteenth century there has been a steady trend in the direction of popular control of all social relations. This tendency has been carried farthest in the United States, where public opinion voices its convictions and compels legislative action. It is natural that the people of certain States should be more progressive or radical than others, and therefore in the absence of a national law, there is considerable variety in the marriage and divorce laws, but no other country has higher ideals of the married relation and at the same time as large a measure of freedom.

At present marriage laws in the United States agree generally on the following provisions:

(1) Every marriage must be licensed by the State and the act of marriage must be reported to the State and registered.

(2) Marriage is not legal below a certain age, and consent of parents must be obtained usually until the man is twenty-one and the woman eighteen.

(3) Certain persons are forbidden marriage because of near relationship or personal defect. Such marriage if performed may be annulled.

[35](4) Remarriage may take place after the death of husband or wife, after disappearance for a period varying from three to seven years, or a certain time after divorce.

In the twenty-year period between 1886 and 1906 covered by the United States Census of Marriage and Divorce slow improvements were made in legislation, but a number of States are far behind others in the enactment of suitable laws, and most of the States do not make the provisions that are desirable for law enforcement. Yet there is a limit of strictness beyond which marriage laws cannot safely go, because they hinder marriage and provoke illicit relations. That limit is fixed by the sanction of public opinion. After all, there is less need of better regulation than of the education of public opinion to the sacredness of marriage and to its importance for human welfare. Without the restraints put upon impulse by the education of the understanding and the will, young people often assume family obligations thoughtlessly and even flippantly, when they are ill-mated and often unacquainted with each other's characteristic qualities. Such marriages usually bring distress and divorce instead of growing affection and unity. Without education in the obligation of marriage many well-qualified persons delay it or avoid it altogether, because they are unwilling to bear the burdens of family support, childbearing, and housekeeping. Society suffers loss in both cases.

41. Reforms and Ideals.—Because of all these deficiencies several remedies have been proposed and certain of them adopted. Because of the economic difficulties, it is urged that as far as possible by legislation, illegitimate ways of heaping up wealth for the few at the expense of the many should be checked, and that by vocational training boys should be fitted for a trade and girls prepared for housekeeping. To meet other difficulties it is proposed that popular instruction be given from press and pulpit, in order that the moral and spiritual plane of married life may be uplifted. The marriage ideal is a well-mated pair, physically and intellectually qualified, who through affection are attracted to marriage and through mutual [36]consideration are ready unselfishly to seek each other's welfare, and who recognize in marriage a divinely ordered provision for human happiness and for the perpetuation of the race. Such a marriage does not plant the seeds of discord and neighborly scandal or compel a speedy resort to the divorce court.


Dealey: The Family in Its Sociological Aspects, pages 12-84.

Howard: History of Matrimonial Institutions, II, pages 388-497.

Goodsell: The Family as a Social and Educational Institution, pages 5-47.

Bosanquet: The Family, part I. "Report on Marriage and Divorce, 1906," Bureau of the Census, I, pages 224-226.

Bliss: Encyclopedia of Social Reform, art. "Family."




42. The Story of the Home.—Marriage is the gateway of the home; the home is the shelter of the family. It is the cradle of children, the nursery of mutual affection, and the training-school for citizenship in the community. The physical comfort of its inmates depends upon the house and its furnishings, but fondness for the home develops only in an atmosphere of good-will and kindness.

The home has a story of its own, as has the family. In primitive days there was little necessity of a dwelling-place, except as a nest for young or a cache for provisions. A cave or a rough shelter of boughs was a makeshift for a home. Thither the hunter brought the game that he had killed, and there slept the glutton's sleep or went supperless to bed. When the hunter became a herdsman and shepherd and moved from place to place in search of pasture, he found it convenient to fashion a tent for his home, as the Hebrew patriarchs did when they roamed over Canaan and as the Bedouin of the desert does still.

A settled life with a measure of civilization demanded a better and a stationary home, the degree of comfort varying with the desire and ambition of the householder and the amount of his wealth. To thousands home was little more than a place to sleep. Even in imperial Rome the proletariat occupied tall, ramshackle tenements, like the submerged poor who exist in the slums of modern cities. In mediæval Europe the peasant lived in a one-room hovel, clustered with others in a squalid hamlet upon the estate of a great landowner. The hut was poorly built, often of no better material than wattled sticks, cemented with mud, covered over with turf or thatch, usually without chimneys or even windows. The place was absolutely without conveniences. Summer and winter the family huddled [38]together in the single room of the hut, faring forth to work in the morning, sleeping at night on bundles of straw, each person in the single garment that he wore through the day, and at convenient intervals breaking fast on black bread, salt meat, and home-brewed beer. There was no inducement for a landless serf to spend care or labor upon houses or surroundings; pigs and babies were permitted to tumble about both indiscriminately.

Peasant homes in the Orient are little if any better now than European homes in the Middle Ages. The houses are rude structures and ill-kept. In the villages of India it is not unusual to occupy one house until it becomes so unsanitary as to be uninhabitable, and then to move elsewhere. Even royal courts in mediæval Europe moved from palace to palace for the same reason. It is a mistake to suppose that the squalid conditions found in the slums are peculiar to them; they are survivals of a lower stage of human existence found in all parts of the world, due to psychical, social, and economic conditions that are not easily changed, but conspicuous in the midst of modern progress.

43. The Ancestral Type.—In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome only the higher classes enjoyed any degree of comfort. Accustomed to inconveniences, few even among them knew such luxuries as are common to middle-class Americans. The castle and manor-house of the mediæval lord were still more comfortless. In America the colonial log cabin and the sod house of the prairie pioneer were primitively incomplete. The struggle for existence and the difficulty of manufacture and transportation allowed few comforts. American homes, even a hundred years ago, knew nothing of furnaces and safety-matches, refrigerators and electric fans, bathtubs and sanitary accommodations, carpet-sweepers and vacuum cleaners, screen doors and double windows, hammocks and verandas. Neither law nor social custom required a good water or drainage system. A healthful or attractive location for the house received little thought; outbuildings were in close proximity to the house, if not attached to it. The furnishings of the house lacked comfort and beauty. Interior decorations of [39]harmonious design were absent. Instruments of music were rare; statuary and paintings were beyond the reach of any but the richest purse.

44. Social Values.—On the other hand, there was in many a dwelling a home atmosphere that made up for the lack of conveniences. There was a bond of unity that was felt by every member of the family, and a spirit of mutual affection and self-sacrifice that stood a hard strain through poverty, sickness, and ill fortune of every sort. Father and mother, boys and girls were not afraid to work, and when the time came for relaxation there was little to attract away from the home circle. People had less to enjoy, but they were better contented with what they had. They had little money to spend, but their frugal tastes and habits of thrift fortified them against want, and there was little need of public or private charity.

The home was frequently a school of moral and religious education. Selfishness in all its forms was discountenanced. There was no room for the idler, no time for laziness. Social hygiene and domestic science were not taught as such, but young people learned their responsibilities and grew up equipped to establish homes of their own. Parents were faithful instructors in the homely virtues of truthfulness, honesty, faithfulness, kindness, and love. Religion in the family was by no means universal, but in hundreds of homes religion was recognized as having legitimate demands upon the individual; religious exercises were observed at the mother's knee, the table, and the family altar; all the family attended church together, and were expected to take upon themselves the responsibilities of church membership.

45. Gains and Losses.—In the making of a modern home there have been both addition and subtraction. Life has gained immeasurably in comfort and convenience for the well-to-do, but the comfortless quarters of the poor drive the man to the saloon and the child to the streets. For the fortunate the home has become enriched with music, art, and literature, but it has lost much of the earlier simplicity, economic thrift, moral sturdiness, and [40]religious principle and practice. For the poor life is so hard that the good qualities, if they ever existed, have tended to disappear without any compensation in culture.

It is well understood that the home environment has most to do with shaping individual character. If the homely virtues are not cultivated there, society will suffer; if cold and cheerlessness are characteristic of its atmosphere, there will be little warmth in the disposition of its inmates toward society. Every home of the right sort is an asset to the community. It is an experiment station for social progress. Every married couple that sets up housekeeping starts a new centre of group life. If they diffuse a helpful atmosphere social virtues will develop and social efficiency increase. On the other hand, many homes are a menace to the community, because an ill-mated pair, poorly equipped for the struggle of existence, create a centre of group life in which the individual is handicapped physically and morally and too often becomes a curse to society at large. When it is remembered that the home is at the same time the power-house that generates the forces that push society forward, and the channel through which are transmitted the ideas and achievements of all the past, it will seem to be the supremely important institution that human experience has devised and sanctioned.

46. The Ideal Home.—The ideal home toward which the average home will be gradually approximating will be housed in a well-built dwelling of approved architecture; erected in a healthy location with room enough around it to give air space, and a bit of out-of-doors to enjoy; tastefully furnished and decorated inside, but without ostentation or extravagance; occupied by a healthy, happy family of parents and children who care more for each other and for their neighbors than for selfish pleasure and display, and who are learning how to play a worthy part in the folk life of their community and nation, and how to appreciate the highest and finest qualities that mind and spirit can develop in themselves or others. If for economic or social reasons any of this is impossible, there is a weakness in society that calls for prompt repair.



Starr: First Steps in Human Progress, pages 149-158.

Jessopp: The Coming of the Friars, pages 87-104.

Gillette: Constructive Rural Sociology, pages 170-178.

Carney: Country Life and the Country School, pages 18-38.

Richards: "The Farm Home," art. in Cyclopedia of Agriculture, IV, pages 280-284.




47. Children Complete the Home.—If the legend of the Pied Piper of Hameln should come true and all the children should run away from home, or if by some strange stroke of fortune no children should be born in a village or town for ten years or more, the tragedy of the childless home would be realized. There are localities and even nations where the birth-rate is so small that population is little more than stationary. In the United States the native birth-rate tends to decline, while the rate of immigrant foreigners greatly exceeds it. The higher the degree of comfort and luxury in the home the smaller the birth-rate seems to be a principle of social experience. There are selfish people who shirk the responsibilities and troubles of parenthood, and there are social diseases that tend to sterility, but the childless home is always an incomplete home. Children are the crown of marriage, the enrichment of the home, the hope of society in the future. The needs of the children stimulate parents to unselfish endeavor. Children are the comfort of the poor and distressed. The wedded life of a human pair may be ideal in every other respect, but one of the main functions of marriage is unaccomplished when the family remains incomplete.

48. The Right to be Well-Born.—The child comes into the home in obedience to the same primary instinct that draws the parents to each other. He calls out the affections of the parents and their intellectual resources, for he is dependent upon them, and often taxes their best judgment in coping with the difficulties that beset child life. But they often fail to realize that the child has certain inalienable rights as an individual and a potential member of society that demand their best gifts.

[43]There is first the right to be well-born. There is so much to contend with when once ushered into the world, that a child needs the best possible bodily inheritance. He needs to be rid of every encumbrance of physical unfitness if he is to live long and become a blessing and not a burden to society. Handicapped at the start, he cannot hope to achieve a high level of attainment. It is little short of criminal for a child to be condemned to lifelong weakness or suffering, because his parents were not fit to give him birth. Yet large numbers of parents make the thought of child welfare subordinate to their own desires. A man's primary concern in choosing a wife is his own personal satisfaction, not the birth and mothering of his children. Many young women regard the attractiveness, social position, or wealth of a young man as of greater consequence than his physical or moral fitness to become the father of her children. There are thousands of persons who are mentally deficient or unmoral, who nevertheless are unrestrained by society from association and even marriage. It is a social misfortune that the unfit should be taken care of by the tender mercies of philanthropists and even permitted to propagate their kind, while no special encouragement is given to those who are supremely fit to give their best to the upbuilding of the race. The principle of brotherly kindness requires that the weak and unfortunate be taken care of, but they should not be permitted to increase. It is a principle of social welfare that those who are incapable of exercising self-control should be placed under the control of the larger group.

49. Eugenics in Legislation.—It is the conviction that the right to be well-born is a valid one, that has given rise to the science of eugenics. As a science it was first discussed by Francis Gallon, and it has interested writers, investigators, and legislators in all progressive countries. Various specific proposals have been made in the interest of posterity, and agitation has resulted in certain experiments in legislation. It is not proposed that any should be required to marry, but it is thought possible to encourage the well qualified and to discourage and restrain the [44]incapable. Some of these proposals, such as the offering of a premium by the State for healthy children, or endowing mothers as public functionaries, are not widely approved, but Great Britain in a National Insurance Act in 1911 included the provision of maternity benefits in recognition of the mother's contribution to the citizenship of the nation. Restrictive laws have been passed by certain of the States in America, which are eugenic experiments. Feeble-mindedness, in so many ways a social evil, is readily reproduced, and the weak-minded are easily controlled by the sex instinct. To prevent this certain State legislatures have forbidden the marriage of any feeble-minded or epileptic woman under the age of forty-five. It is well known that insanity is a family trait, and that criminal insanity is liable to recur if those who are afflicted are permitted to indulge in parenthood. Certain States accordingly annul the marriage of insane persons. Venereal disease is easily transmitted; there has been a beginning of legislation prohibiting persons thus tainted to marry. It is well established that very many persons, while not actually tainted with such diseases as tuberculosis and alcoholism, are predisposed to yield to their attack. For this reason the scope of eugenic legislation is likely to be extended. Some States have gone so far as to sterilize the unfit, that they may not by any chance exercise the powers of parenthood; it is urged in many quarters that clergymen require a medical certificate of good health before sanctioning marriage.

50. Family Degeneracy.—Several impressive illustrations have been published of degenerate families that show the far-reaching effects of heredity. In contrast to these pictures, has been set the life story of families who have won renown in successive generations because of unusual ability. Nothing so effective is presented by any argument as that of concrete cases. Perhaps the best known of these stories is that of the Jukes family. About the middle of the eighteenth century a normal man with a coarse, lazy vein in his nature built himself a hut in the woods of central New York. In five generations he had several hundred descendants. A study of twelve hundred persons [45]who belonged to the family by kinship or marriage was made carefully, with the following findings. Nearly all of the family were lazy, ignorant, and coarse. Four hundred were physically diseased by their own fault. Two hundred were criminals; seven of them murderers. Fifty of the women were notoriously immoral. Three hundred of the children died from inherited weakness or neglect. More than three hundred members of the family were chronic paupers. It is estimated that they cost the State a thousand dollars apiece for pauperism and crime.

Another family called the Kallikak family, which has been made the subject of investigation, is a still better example of heredity. The family was descended from a Revolutionary soldier, who had an illegitimate feeble-minded son by an imbecile young woman. The line continued by feeble-minded descent and marriage until four hundred and eighty descendants have been traced. Of these one hundred and forty-three were positively defective, thirty-six were illegitimate, thirty-three sexually immoral, mostly prostitutes, eight kept houses of ill repute, three were criminal, twenty-four were confirmed drunkards, and eighty-two died in infancy.

On the other hand, there are striking examples of what good birth and breeding can do. It happened that the ancestor of the Kallikak family, after he had sown his wild oats, married well and had about five hundred descendants. All of them were normal, only two were alcoholic, and one sexually loose. The family has been prominent socially and in every way creditable in its history. In contrast to the Jukes family, the history of the Edwards family has been written. Its members married well, were well-bred, and gave much attention to education. Out of fourteen hundred individuals more than one hundred and twenty were Yale graduates, and one hundred and sixty-five more completed their education at other colleges; thirteen were college presidents, and more than a hundred college professors; they were founders of schools of all grades; more than one hundred were clergymen, missionaries, and theological professors; seventy-five were officers [46]in the army and navy; more than eighty have been elected to public office; more than one hundred were lawyers, thirty judges, sixty physicians, and sixty prominent in literature. Not a few of them have been active in philanthropy, and many have been successful in business. It is impossible to escape from the conviction that whatever may be the physical and social environment, heredity perpetuates physical and mental worth or defectiveness and tends to produce social good or evil, and that the right to a worthy parentage belongs with the other rights to which individuals lay claim. It is as important as the right to a living, to an education, to a good home, or to the franchise. Without it society is incalculably poorer and the ultimate effects of failure are startling to consider.

51. Marriage and Education.—Some enthusiasts have demanded that to make sure of a good bodily inheritance, individuals be permitted to produce children without the trammels of marriage if they are well fitted for parenthood, but such persons seem ignorant or forgetful that free love has never proved otherwise than disastrous in the history of the race, and that physical perfection is not the sole good with which the child needs to be endowed, but that it must be supplemented with moral, mental, and spiritual endowment, and with the permanent affection and care of both parents in the home. Galton himself acknowledges marriage as a prerequisite in eugenics by saying: "Marriage, as now sanctified by religion and safeguarded by law in the more highly civilized nations, may not be ideally perfect, nor may it be universally accepted in future times, but it is the best that has hitherto been devised for the parties primarily concerned, for their children, for home life, and for society."

The greatest hope of eugenics lies in social education. Sex hygiene must in some way become a part of the child's stock of information, but knowledge alone does not fortify action. More important is it to deal with the springs of action, to teach the equal standard of purity for men and women, and the moral responsibility of parenthood to adolescent youth, and at the same time to impress upon [47]the whole community its responsibility of oversight of morals for the good of the next generation. Conviction of personal and social responsibility as superior to individual preferences is the only safety of society in all its relations, from eugenics through economics to ethics and religion.

52. Euthenics.—Euthenics is the science of controlled environment, as eugenics is the science of controlled heredity. The health and good fortune of the child depend on his surroundings as well as on his inheritance, and the gift of a perfect physique may be vitiated by an unwholesome environment. Environment acts directly upon the physical system of the individual through climate, home conditions, and occupation; it acts indirectly by affecting the personal desires, idiosyncrasies, and possible conduct. When the child of an early settler was carried away from home on an Indian raid, and brought up in the wigwam of the savage, he forgot his civilized heritage, and love for his foster-parents sometimes proved stronger than his natural affections. The child of the Russian Jew in Europe has little ambition and rises to no high level, but in America he gains distinction in school and success in business. A natural environment of forest or plain may determine the occupation of a whole community; a fickle climate vitally affects its prosperity. Whole races have entered upon a new future by migration.

It is necessary to be cautious and not to ascribe to environment, as some do, the sole influence. Every individual is the creature of heredity plus environment plus his own will. But it is not possible to overlook environment as some do, and expect by a miracle to make or preserve character in the midst of conditions of spiritual asphyxiation. If social life is to be pure and strong, communities and families, through the official care of overseers of health and industry and through the loving care of parents in the homes, must see that children grow up with the advantages of nourishing food, pure air, proper clothing, and means for cleanliness; that at the proper age they be given mental and moral instruction and fitted for a worthy vocation; that wholesome social relations be [48]established by means of playgrounds, clubs, and societies; that industrial conditions be properly supervised, and young people be able to earn not alone a living but a marriageable wage; and that some means of social insurance be provided sufficient to prevent suffering and want in sickness and old age. In such an environment there is opportunity to realize the value that will accrue from a good inheritance, and there is incentive to make the most of life's possibilities as they come and go.

Ever since the importance of environment was made plain in the nineteenth century, social physicians have been trying all sorts of experiments in community therapeutics. Many of the remedies will be discussed in various connections. It is enough to remark here that social education, social regulation, and social idealism are all necessary, and that a social Utopia cannot be obtained in a day.

53. The Right to Proper Care.—Granted the right of the child to be well-born and the right to a favorable environment, there follows the right to be taken care of. This may be involved in the subject of a proper environment, but it deserves consideration by itself. There is more danger to the race from neglect than from race suicide. It is better that a child should not be born at all, than that he should be condemned to the hard knocks of a loveless home or a callous neighborhood. There is first the case of the child born out of wedlock, often a foundling with parentage unacknowledged. Then there is the child who is legitimately born as far as the law is concerned, but whose parents had no legitimate right to bring him into the world, because they had no reasonable expectation that they could provide properly for his wants. The wretched pauper recks nothing of the future of his offspring. Since the family group can never remain independent of the community, it may well be debated whether society is not under obligation to interfere and either by prohibition of excessive parenthood or by social provision for the care of such children, to secure to the young this right of proper care.

Cruelty is a twin evil of neglect. The history of [49]childhood deserves careful study side by side with the history of womanhood. In primitive times not even the right to existence was recognized. Abortion and infanticide, especially in the case of females, were practices used at will to dispose of unwelcome children, and these practices persisted among the backward peoples of Asia and Africa, until they were compelled to recognize the law of the white master when he extended his dominion over them. In the patriarchal household of classic lands, the child was under the absolute control of his father. Religious regulations might demand that he be instructed in the history and obligations of the race, as in the case of the Hebrew child, or the interests of the state might require physical training for its own defense, as in the case of Sparta, but there was no consideration of child rights in the home. Until the eighteenth century European children shared the hardships of poverty and discomfort common to the age, and often the cruelty of brutal and degraded parents; they were often condemned to long hours of industry in factories after the new industrial order caught them in its toils. In the mine and the mill and on the farm children have been bound down to labor for long and weary hours, until modern legislation has interfered.

There are a number of reasons why child labor has been common. Hereditary custom has decreed it. Children have been looked upon by many races as a care and a burden rather than a responsibility and a blessing. Their economic value was their one claim to be regarded as a family asset. Even the religious teaching of Jews and Christians about the value and responsibility of children has not been influential enough to compel a recognition of their worth, though their innocence and purity, their faith and optimism are qualities indispensable to the race of mankind if social relations are to approach the ideal.

54. The Value of Work.—Labor is a social blessing rather than a curse. There can be no doubt that habits of industry are desirable for the child as well as for the adult. Idleness is the forerunner of ignorance, laziness, and general incapacity. It is no kindness to a child to permit him to [50]spend all his time out of school in play. It gives him skill, a new respect for labor, and a new conception of the value of money, if he has a paper route, mows a lawn, shovels snow, or hoes potatoes. Especially is it desirable that a boy should have some sort of an occupation for a few hours a day during the long summer vacation. The child on the farm has no lack of opportunity, but for the boy of the city streets there is little that is practicable, outside of selling papers or serving as messenger boy or bootblack; for the girl there is little but housework or department-store service. Both need steady employment out of doors, and he who devises a method by which boys and girls can be taught such an occupation as gardening on vacant lots or in the city outskirts, and at the same time can be given a love for work and for the growing things of the country, will help to solve the problem of child labor and, incidentally, may contribute to the solution of poverty, incipient crime, and even of the rural problem and the high cost of living.


Bosanquet: The Family, pages 299-314.

Goddard: The Kallikak Family.

Eames: Principles of Eugenics.

Saleeby: Parenthood and Race Culture, pages 213-236.

McKeever: Farm Boys and Girls, pages 171-196.

Galton: Inquiries into Human Faculty.




55. Child Labor and Its Effects.—Excessive child labor away from home is one of the evils that has called for reform more than the lack of employment. The child has a right to the home life. It is injurious for him to be kept at a monotonous task under physical or mental strain for long hours in a manufacturing establishment, or to be deprived of time to study and to play. Yet there are nearly two million children in the United States under sixteen years of age who are denied the rights of childhood through excessive labor.

This evil began with the adoption of the factory system in modern industry. The introduction of light machinery into the textile mills of England made it possible to employ children at low wages, and it was profitable for the keepers of almshouses to apprentice pauper children to the manufacturers. Some of them were not more than five or six years old, but were kept in bondage more than twelve hours a day. Children were compelled to hard labor in the coal-mines, and to the dirty work of chimney sweeping. In the United States factory labor for children did not begin so soon, but by 1880 children eight years old were being employed in Massachusetts for more than twelve hours a day, and in parts of the country children are still employed at long hours in such occupations as the manufacture of cotton, glass, silk, and candy, in coal-mines and canning factories. Besides these are the newsboys, bootblacks, and messengers of the cities, children in domestic and personal service, and the child laborers on the farms.

The causes of child labor lie in the poverty and greed of parents, the demands of employers, and often the desire of the children to escape from school and earn money. In spite of agitation and legislation, the indifference of the [52]public permits it to continue and in some sections to increase.

The harmful effects of child employment are numerous. It is true that two-thirds of the boys and nearly one-half of the girls employed in the United States are occupied with agriculture, most of them with their own parents, an occupation that is much healthier than indoor labor, yet agriculture demands long hours and wearisome toil. In the cities there is much night-work and employment in dangerous or unhealthy occupations. The sweating system has carried its bad effects into the homes of the very poor, for the younger members of the family can help to manufacture clothing, paper boxes, embroidery, and artificial flowers, and in spite of the law, such labor goes on far into the night in congested, ill-ventilated tenements. Children cannot work in this way day after day for long hours without serious physical deterioration. Some of them drop by the way and die as victims of an economic system and the social neglect that permits it. Others lose the opportunity of an education, and so are mentally less trained than the normal American child, and ultimately prove less efficient as industrial units. For the time they may add to the family income, but they react upon adult labor by lowering the wage of the head of the family, and they make it impossible for the child when grown to earn a high wage, because of inefficiency. The associations and influences of the street are morally degrading, and in the associations of the workroom and the factory yard the whole tone of the life of individuals is frequently lowered.

56. Child-Labor Legislation.—Friends of the children have tried to stop abuses. Trade-unions, consumers' leagues, and State bureaus have taken the initiative. Voluntary organizations, like the National Child Labor Committee, make the regulation of child labor their special object. They have succeeded in the establishment of a Federal Children's Bureau in Washington, and have encouraged State and national legislation. Most of the States forbid the employment of children under a certain age, usually twelve or fourteen years, and require attention [53]to healthful conditions and moderate hours. They insist also that children shall not be deprived of education, but there is often inadequate provision made for inspection and proper enforcement of laws.

The friends of the children are desirous of a uniform child-labor law which, if adopted and enforced by competent inspectors, would prevent factory work for all under fourteen years of age, and for weak children under sixteen would prescribe a limited number of hours and allow no night-work, would require certain certificates of age and health before employment is given, and would compel school attendance and the attainment of a limited education before permission is granted to go into the factory. Without doubt, it is a hardship to families in poverty that strong, growing children should not be permitted to go to work and help support those in need, but it is better for the social body to take care of its weak members in some other way, and for its own sake, as well as for the sake of the child, to make sure that he is physically and mentally equipped before he takes a regular place in the ranks of the wage-earners.

57. The Right to Play.—The play group is the first social training-ground for the child outside of the home, and it continues to be a desirable form of association, even into adult life, but it is only in recent years that adults have recognized the legitimacy of such a claim as the right to play. It was thought desirable that a boy should work off his restlessness, but the wood-pile provided the usual safety-valve for surplus energy. Play was a waste of time. Now it is more clearly understood that play has a distinct value. It is physically beneficial, expanding the lungs, strengthening muscle and nerve, and giving poise and elasticity to the whole body. It is mentally educational in developing qualities of quickness, skill, and leadership. It is socially valuable, for it requires honesty, fair play, mutual consideration, and self-control. Co-operation of effort is developed as well in team-play as in team-work, and the child becomes accustomed to act with thought of the group. The play group is a temporary form of [54]association, varying in size and content as the whim of the child or the attraction of the moment moves its members. It is an example of primitive groupings swayed by instinctive impulses. Children turn quickly from one game to another, but for the time are absorbed in the particular play that is going on. No achievement results from the activity, no organization from the association. The rapid shifting of the scenes and the frequent disputes that arise indicate lack of control. Yet it is out of such association that the social mind develops and organized action becomes possible.

If these are the advantages of play, the right to play may properly demand an opportunity for games and sports in the home and the yard, and the necessary equipment of gymnasium and field. It may call for freedom from the school and home occupations sufficient to give the recreative impulse due scope. As its importance becomes universally recognized, there will be no neighborhood, however congested, that lacks its playground for the children, and no industry, however insistent, that will deprive the boy or girl of its right to enjoy a certain part of every day for play.

58. The Right to Liberty.—The present tendency is to give large liberty to the child. Not only is there freedom on the playground; but social control in the home also has been giving place during the last generation to a recognition of the right of the individual child to develop his own personality in his own way, without much interference from authority. It is true that there is a nominal control in the home, in the school, and in the State, but in an increasing degree that control is held in abeyance while parent, teacher, and constable leniently indulge the child. This is a natural reaction from the discipline of an earlier time, and is a welcome indication that children's rights are to find recognition. Like most reactions, there is danger of its going too far. An inexperienced and headstrong child needs wise counsel and occasional restraint, and within the limits of kindness is helped rather than harmed by a deep respect for authority. Lawlessness is one of the dangers of the current period. It appears in countless minor [55]misdemeanors, in the riotous acts of gangs and mobs, in the recklessness of corporations and labor unions, and in national disregard for international law; and its destructive tendency is disastrous for the future of civilized society unless a new restraint from earliest childhood keeps liberty from degenerating into license.

59. The Right to Learn.—There is one more right that belongs to children—the right of an opportunity to learn. Approximately three million children are born annually in the United States. Each one deserves to be well-born and well-reared. He needs the affectionate care of parents who will see that he learns how to live. This instruction need not be long delayed, and should not be relegated altogether to the school. There is first of all physical education. It is the mother's task to teach the child the principles of health, to inculcate proper habits of eating, drinking, and bathing. It is for her to see that he learns how to play with pleasure and profit, and is permitted to give expression to his natural energies. It is her privilege to make him acquainted with nature, and in a natural way with the illustration of flower and bird and squirrel she can give the child first lessons in sex hygiene. It is the function of the mother in the child's younger years and of the father in adolescent boyhood to open the mind of the child to understand the life processes. The lack of knowledge brings sorrow and sin to the family and injures society. Seeking information elsewhere, the boy and girl fall into bad habits and lay the foundation of permanent ills. The adolescent boy should be taught to avoid self-abuse, to practise healthful habits, and to keep from contact with physical and moral impurity; the adolescent girl should be given ample instruction in taking care of herself and in preparing for the responsibility of adult life.

60. Mental and Moral Education.—Mental education in the home is no less important. It is there that the child's instinctive impulses first find expression and he learns to imitate the words and actions of other members of the home. The things he sees and handles make their impressions upon him. He feels and thinks and wills a thousand times a day. The channels of habit are being [56]grooved in the brain. It is the function of the home to protect him from that which is evil, to stimulate in him that which is good. Mental and moral education are inseparably interwoven. The first stories told by the mother's lips not only produce answering thoughts in the child mind, but answering modes of conduct also. The chief function of the intellect is to guide to right choice.

Character building is the supreme object of life. It begins early. Learning to obey the parent is the first step toward self-control. Learning to know the beautiful from the ugly, the true from the false, the good from the evil is the foundation of a whole system of ethics. Learning to judge others according to character and attainment rather than according to wealth or social position cultivates the naturally democratic spirit of the child, and makes him a true American. Sharing in the responsibility of the home begets self-reliance and dependableness in later life.

The supreme lesson of life is to learn to be unselfish. The child in the home is often obliged to yield his own wishes, and finds that he gets greater satisfaction than if he had contended successfully for his own claims. In the home the compelling motive of his life may be consecrated to the highest ideals, long before childhood has merged into manhood. Such consecration of motive is best secured through a knowledge of the concrete lives of noble men and women. The noble characters of history and literature are portraits of abstract excellences. It is the task of moral education in the home to make the ideal actual in life, to show that it is possible and worth while to be noble-minded, and that the highest ambition that a person can cherish is to be a social builder among his fellows.

61. Child Dependents.—Many children are not given the rights that belong to them in the home. They come into the world sickly or crippled, inheriting a weak constitution or a tendency toward that which is ill. They have little help from environment. One of a numerous family on a dilapidated farm or in an unhealthy tenement, the child struggles for an existence. Poverty, drunkenness, crime, illegitimacy stamp themselves upon the home life. [57]Neglect and cruelty take the place of care and education. The death of one or both parents robs the children of home altogether. The child becomes dependent on society. The number of such children in the United States approximates one hundred and fifty thousand.

In the absence of proper home care and training, society for its own protection and for the welfare of the child must assume charge. The State becomes a foster-parent, and as far as possible provides a substitute for the home. The earlier method was to place the individual child, with many other similar unfortunates, in a public or private philanthropic institution. In such an environment it was possible to maintain discipline, to secure instruction and a wholesome atmosphere for social development, and to have the advantage of economical management. But experience proved that a large institution of that kind can never be a true home or provide the proper opportunity for the development of individuality. The placing-out system, therefore, grew in favor. Results were better when a child was adopted into a real home, and received a measure of family affection and individual care. Even where a public institution must continue to care for dependent children, it is plainly preferable to distribute them in cottages instead of herding them in one large building. The principle of child relief is that life shall be made as nearly normal as possible.

It is an accepted principle, also, that children shall be kept in their own home whenever possible, and if removal is necessary that they be restored to home associations at the earliest possible moment. In case of poverty, a charity organization society will help a needy family rather than allow it to disintegrate; in case of cruelty or neglect such an organization as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children will investigate, and if necessary find a better guardian; but the case must be an aggravated one before the society takes that last step, so important does the function of the home seem to be.

62. Special Institutions.—It is, of course, inevitable that some children should be misplaced and that some should be neglected by the civil authorities, but public interest [58]should not allow such conditions to persist. Social sensitiveness to the hard lot of the child is a product of the modern conscience. Time was when the State remanded all chronic dependents to the doubtful care of the almshouse, and children were herded indiscriminately with their elders, as child delinquents were herded in the prisons with hardened criminals. Idiots, epileptics, and deformed and crippled children were given no special consideration. A kindlier public policy has provided special institutions for those special cases where under State officials they may receive adequate and permanent attention, and for normal dependent children there is a variety of agencies. The most approved form is the State school. This is virtually a temporary home where the needy child is placed by investigation and order of the court, is given a training in elementary subjects, manual arts, and domestic science, and after three or four years is placed in a home, preferably on a farm, where he can fill a worthy place in society.

63. Children's Aid Societies.—Another aid society is the private aid society supervised and sometimes subsidized by the State. This is a philanthropic organization supported by private gifts, making public reports, managed by a board of directors, with a secretary or superintendent as executive officer, and often with a temporary home for the homeless. With these private agencies the placing-out principle obtains, and children are soon removed to permanent homes. The work of the aid societies is by no means confined to finding homes. It aids parents to find truant children, it gives outings in the summer season, it shelters homeless mothers with their children, it administers aid in time of sickness. In industrial schools it teaches children to help themselves by training them in such practical arts as carpentry, caning chairs, printing, cooking, dressmaking, and millinery.

Efficient oversight and management, together with co-operation among child-saving agencies, is a present need. A national welfare bureau is a decided step in advance. Prevention of neglect and cruelty in the homes of the [59]children themselves is the immediate goal of all constructive effort. The education of public opinion to demand universal consideration for child life is the ultimate aim.


Mangold: Problems of Child Welfare, pages 166-184, 271-341.

Clopper: Child Labor in the City Street.

McKeever: Training the Boy, pages 203-213.

McKeever: Farm Boys and Girls, pages 26-36.

Lee: Constructive and Preventive Philanthropy, pages 123-184.

Folks: Care of Destitute and Neglected Children.




64. The Economic Function of the Home.—Up to this point the domestic function of the family has been under consideration. Marriage and parenthood must hold first place, because they are fundamental to the family and to the welfare of the race. But the family has an economic as well as a domestic function. The primitive instinct of hunger finds satisfaction in the home, and economic needs are supplied in clothing, shelter, and bodily comforts. Production, distribution, and consumption are all a part of the life of the farm. Domestic economy is the foundation of all economics, and the family on the farm presents the fundamental principles and phenomena that belong to the science of economics as it presents the fundamentals of sociology. The hunger for food demands satisfaction even more insistently than the mating instinct. Birds must eat while they woo each other and build their nests, and when the nest is full of helpless young both parents find their time occupied in foraging for food. Similarly, when human mating is over and the family hearth is built, and especially when children have entered into the home life, the main occupation of man and wife is to provide maintenance for the family. The need of food, clothing, and shelter is common to the race. The requirements of the family determine largely both the amount and the kind of work that is done to meet them. However broad and elevated may be the interests of the modern gentleman and his cultured wife, they cannot forget that the physical needs of their family are as insistent as those of the unrefined day laborer.

65. Primitive Economics.—In primitive times the family provided everything for itself. In forest and field man and [61]woman foraged for food, cooked it at the camp-fire that they made, and rested under a temporary shelter. If they required clothing they robbed the wild beasts of their hide and fur or wove an apron of vegetable fibre. Physical wants were few and required comparatively little labor. In the pastoral stage the flocks and herds provided food and clothing. Under the patriarchal system the woman was the economic slave. She was goatherd and milkmaid, fire-tender and cook, tailor and tent-maker. It was she who coaxed the grains to grow in the first cultivated field, and experimented with the first kitchen garden. She was the dependable field-hand for the sowing and reaping, when agriculture became the principal means of subsistence. But woman's position has steadily improved. She is no longer the slave but the helper. The peasant woman of Europe still works in the fields, but American women long ago confined themselves to indoor tasks, except in the gathering of special crops like cotton and cranberries. Home economics have taught the advantage of division of labor and co-operation.

66. Division of Labor.—Because of greater fitness for the heavy labor of the field and barn, the man and his sons naturally became the agriculturists and stock-breeders as civilization improved. It was man's function to produce the raw material for home manufacture. He ploughed and fertilized the soil, planted the various seeds, cultivated the growing crops, and gathered in the harvest. It was his task to perform the rougher part of preparing the raw material for use. He threshed the wheat and barley on the threshing-floor and ground the corn at the mill, and then turned over the product to his wife. He bred animals for dairy or market, milked his cows, sheared his sheep, and butchered his hogs and beeves; it was her task to turn then to the household's use. She learned how to take the wheat and corn, the beef and pork, and to prepare healthful and appetizing meals for the household; she practised making butter and cheese for home use and exchange. She took the flax and wool and spun and wove them into cloth, and with her needle fashioned garments for every member [62]of the household and furnishings for the common home. She kept clean and tidy the home and its manufacturing tools.

When field labor was slack the man improved the opportunity to fashion the plough and the horseshoe at the forge, to build the boat or the cart in the shop, to hew store or cut timber for building or firewood, to erect a mill for sawing lumber or grinding grain. Similarly the woman used her spare time in knitting and mending, and if time and strength permitted added to her duties the care of the poultry-house.

67. The Servant of the Household.—Long before civilization had advanced the household included servants. When wars broke out the victor found himself possessed of human spoil. With passion unrestrained, he killed the man or woman who had come under his power, but when reason had a chance to modify emotion he decided that it was more sensible to save his captives alive and to work them as his slaves. The men could satisfy his economic interest, the women his sex desire. The men were useful in the field, the women in the house. Ancient material prosperity was built on the slave system of industry. The remarkable culture of Athens was possible because the citizens, free from the necessity of labor, enjoyed ample leisure. Lords and ladies could live in their mediæval castles and practise chivalry with each other, because peasants slaved for them in the fields without pay. Slowly the servant class improved its status. Slaves became serfs and serfs became free peasants, but the relation of master and servant based on mutual service lasted for many centuries.

The time came when it was profitable for both parties to deal on a money basis, and the workman began to know the meaning of independence. The actual relation of master and servant remained about the same, for the workman was still dependent upon his employer. It took him a long time to learn to think much for himself, and he did not know how to find employment outside of the community or even the household where he had grown up. In the growing democracy of England, and more fully in [63]America, the workman learned to negotiate for himself as a free man, and even to become himself a freeholder of land.

68. Hired Labor on the Farm.—In the process of production in doors and out it was impossible on a large farm for the independent farmer and his wife to get on alone. There must be help in the cultivation of many acres and in the care of cattle and sheep. There must be assistance in the home when the birth and care of children brought an added burden to the housewife. Later the growing boys and girls could have their chores and thus add their contribution to the co-operative household, but for a time at least success on the farm depended on the hired laborer. Husband and wife became directors of industry as well as laborers themselves. In the busy summer season it was necessary to employ one or more assistants in the field, less often indoors, and the employee became for a time a member of the family. Often a neighbor performed the function of farm assistant, and as such stood on the same level as his employer; there was no servant class or servant problem, except the occasional shortage of laborers. Young men and women were glad of an opportunity to earn a little money and to save it in anticipation of the time when they would set up farming in homes of their own. The spirit and practice of co-operation dignified the employment in which all were engaged.

69. Co-operation.—The control of the manufacturing industry on a large scale by corporations makes hearty co-operation between the employing group and the employees difficult, but on the farm the personal relations of the persons engaged made it easy and natural. The art of working together as well as living together was an achievement of the home, at first beginning unconsciously, but later with a definite purpose. The practice of co-operation is a continual object-lesson to the children, as they become conscious of the mutual dependence of each and all. The farmer has no time to do the small tasks, and so the boy must do the chores. There is a limit to the strength of the mother, and so the daughter or housemaid must supplement her labors. Without the grain and vegetables the [64]housewife cannot provide the meals, but the man is equally dependent upon the woman for the preparation of the food. Without the care and industry of the parents through the helpless years of childhood, the children could not win in the struggle for existence. Nor is it merely an economic matter, but health and happiness depend upon the mutual consideration and helpfulness of every member of the household.

70. Economic Independence of the Farm.—Until well into the nineteenth century the American farm household provided for most of its own economic needs. A country store, helped out if necessary by an occasional visit to town, supplied the few goods that were not produced at home. Economic wants were simple and means of purchase were not abundant. On the other hand, most of the products of the farm were consumed there. In the prevailing extensive agriculture the returns per acre were not great, methods of efficiency were not known or were given little attention, families were large and children and farm-hands enjoyed good appetites, and production and consumption tended to equalize themselves. In the process of the home manufacture of clothing it was difficult to keep the family provided with the necessary comforts; there was no thought of laying by a surplus beyond the anticipated needs of the family and provision for the wedding store of marriageable daughters.

The distribution of any accumulated surplus was effected by the simplest mechanism of exchange. If the supply of young cattle was large or the wood-lot furnished more firewood than was needed, the product was bartered for seed corn or hay. There was swapping of horses by the men or of fruit or vegetable preserves by the women. Eggs and butter disposed of at the store helped to pay for sugar, salt, and spices. New incentives to larger production came with the extension of markets. When wood and hay could be shipped to a distance on the railroad, when a milk route in the neighborhood or a milk-train to the city made dairy products more profitable, or when market gardening became possible on an extensive scale, better methods of [65]distribution were provided to take care of the more numerous products.

71. Social and Economic Changes in the Family.—The fundamental principles that govern the economic activities of the family are the same as they used to be. Industry, thrift, and co-operation are still the watchwords of prosperity. But with the development of civilization and the improvements in manufacture, communication, and transportation, the economic function of the family has changed. Instead of producing all the crops that he may need or the tools of his occupation, the farmer tends to produce the particular crops that he can best cultivate and that will bring him the largest returns. Because of increasing facilities of exchange he can sell his surplus and purchase the goods that will satisfy his other needs. The farmer's wife no longer spins and weaves the family's supply of clothing; the men buy their supply at the store and often even she turns over the task of making up her own gowns to the village dressmaker. Where there is a local creamery she is relieved of the manufacture of butter and cheese, and the cannery lays down its preserves at her door. Household manufacturing is confined almost entirely to the preparation of food, with a varying amount of dressmaking and millinery. In the towns and cities the needs of the family are even more completely supplied from without. Children are relieved of all responsibility, women's care are lightened by the stock of material in the shops, and the bakery and restaurant help to supply the table. Family life loses thereby much of its unity of effort and sympathy. The economic task falls mainly upon the male producer. Even he lives on the land and in the house of another man; he owns not the tools of his industry and does business in another's name. He hires himself to a superior for wage or salary, and thereby loses in a measure his own independence. But there is a gain in social solidarity, for the chain of mutual dependence reached farther and binds more firmly; there is gain in community co-operation, for each family is no longer self-sufficient.



Bosanquet: The Family, pages 221-227, 324-333.

Thomas: Sex and Society, pages 123-146.

Small and Vincent: Introduction to the Study of Society, pages 105-108.

Mason: Woman's Share in Primitive Culture.

Weeden: Economic and Social History of New England, I, pages 324-326.




72. Causes of Changes in the Family.—The family at the present time is in a transition era. Its machinery is not working smoothly. Its environment is undergoing transformation. A hundred years ago the family was strictly rural; not more than three per cent of the people lived in large communities. Now nearly one-half are classified as urban by the United States census of 1910, and those who remain rural feel the influences of the town. There is far less economic independence on the farm than formerly, and in the towns and cities the home is little more than a place in which to sleep and eat for an increasing number of workers, both men and women. The family on the farm is no longer a perfectly representative type of the family in the more populous centres.

These changes are due mainly to the requirements of industry, but partly at least to the desire of all members of the family to share in urban life. The increasing ease of communication and travel extends the mutual acquaintance of city and country people and, as the city is brought nearer, its pull upon the young people of the community strengthens. There is also an increasing tendency of the women folk to enter the various departments of industry outside of the home. It is increasingly difficult for one person to satisfy the needs of a large family. This tends to send the family to the city, where there are wider opportunities, and to drive women and children into socialized industry; at the same time, it tends to restrict the number of children in families that have high ideals for women and children. Family life everywhere is becoming increasingly difficult, and at the same time every member of the family is growing more independent in temper. The result is the breaking up of a large number of homes, because of the [68]departure of the children, the separation of husband and wife, the desertion of parents, or the legal divorce of married persons. The maintenance of the family as a social institution is seriously threatened.

73. Static vs. Dynamic Factors.—There are factors entering into family life that act as bonds to cement the individual members together. Such are the material goods that they enjoy in common, like the home with its comforts and the means of support upon which they all rely. In addition to these there are psychical elements that enter into their relations and strengthen these bonds. The inheritance of the peculiar traits, manners, and customs that differentiate one family from another; the reputation of the family name and pride in its influence; an affection, understanding, and sympathy that come from the intimacy of the home life and the appreciation of one another's best qualities are ties that do not easily rend or loosen.

On the other hand, there are centrifugal forces that are pushing the members of the family apart. At the bottom is selfish desire, which frets at restriction, and which is stimulated by the current emphasis upon personal pleasure and individual independence. The family solidarity which made the sons Democrats because their father voted that party ticket, or the daughters Methodists because their mother's religious preferences were for that denomination, has ceased to be effective. Every member of the family has his daily occupations in diverse localities. The head of the household may find his business duties in the city twenty miles away, or on the road that leads him far afield across the continent. For long hours the children are in school. The housewife is the only member of the family who remains at home and her outside interests and occupations have multiplied so rapidly as to make her, too, a comparative stranger to the home life. Modern industrialism has laid its hand upon the women and children, and thousands of them know the home only at morning and night.

74. The Strain on the Urban Family.—The rapid growth of cities, with the increase of buildings for the joint [69]occupancy of a number of families, tends to disunity in each particular family and to a reduction in the size of families. The privacy and sense of intimate seclusion of the detached home is violated. The modern apartment-house has a common hall and stairway for a dozen families and a common dining-room and kitchen on the model of a hotel. The tenements are human incubators from which children overflow upon the streets, boarders invade the privacy of the family bedroom, and even sanitary conveniences are public. Home life is violated in the tenement by the pressure of an unfavorable environment; it perishes on the avenue because of a compelling desire to gain as much freedom as possible from household care.

The care of a modern household grows in difficulty. Although the housekeeper has been relieved of performing certain economic functions that added to the burden of her grandmother, her responsibilities have been complicated by a number of conditions that are peculiar to the modern life of the town. Social custom demands of the upper classes a far more careful observance of fashion in dress and household furnishings, and in the exchange of social courtesies. The increasing cost of living due to these circumstances, and to a constantly rising standard of living, reacts upon the mind and nerves of the housewife with accelerating force. And not the least of her difficulties is the growing seriousness of the servant problem. Custom, social obligations, and nervous strain combine to make essential the help of a servant in the home. But the American maid is too independent and high-minded to make a household servant, and the American matron in the main has not learned how to be a just and considerate mistress. The result has been an influx of immigrant labor by servants who are untrained and inefficient, yet soon learn to make successful demands upon the employer for larger wages and more privileges because they are so essential to the comfort and even the existence of the family. Family life is increasingly at the mercy of the household employee. It is not strange that many women prefer the comfort and relief of an apartment or hotel, that many [70]more hesitate to assume the responsibility of marriage and children, preferring to undertake their own self-support, and that not a few seek divorce.

75. Family Desertion.—While the burden of housekeeping rests upon the wife, there are corresponding weights and annoyances that fall upon the man. Business pressure and professional responsibility are wearying; he, too, feels the strain upon his nerves. When he returns home at evening he is easily disturbed by a worried wife, tired and fretful children, and the unmistakable atmosphere of gloom and friction that permeates many homes. He contrasts his unenviable position with the freedom and good-fellowship of the club, and chafes under the family bonds. In many cases he breaks them and sets himself free by way of the divorce court. The course of men of the upper class is paralleled by that of the working man or idler who meets similar conditions in a home where the servant does not enter, but where there is a surplus of children. He finds frequent relief in the saloon, and eventually escapes by deserting his family altogether, instead of having recourse to the law. This practice of desertion, which is the poor man's method of divorce, is one of the continual perplexities of organized charity, and constitutes one of the serious problems of family life. There are gradations in the practice of desertion, and it is not confined to men. The social butterfly who neglects her children to flutter here and there is a temporary deserter, little less culpable than the lazy husband who has an attack of wanderlust before the birth of each child, and who returns to enjoy the comforts of home as soon as his wife is again able to assume the function of bread-winner for the growing family. From these it is but a step to the mutual desertion of a man and a woman, who from incompatibility of temper find it advisable to separate and go their own selfish ways, to wait until the law allows a final severance of the marriage bond.

It is indisputable that this breaking up of the home is reacting seriously upon the moral character of the present generation; there is a carelessness in assuming the responsibility of marriage, and too much shirking of responsibility [71]when the burden weighs heavily. There is a weakening of real affection and a consequent lack of mutual forbearance; there is an increasing feeling that marriage is a lottery and not worth while unless it promises increased satisfaction of sexual, economic, or social desires and ambitions.

76. Feminism.—There can be no question that the growing independence of woman has complicated the family situation. In reaction against the long subjection that has fallen to her lot, the modern woman in many cases rebels against the control of custom and the expectations of society, refuses to regard herself as strictly a home-keeper, and in some cases is unwilling to become a mother. She seeks wider associations and a larger range of activities outside of the home, she demands the same rights and privileges that belong to man, and she dreams of the day when her power as well as her influence will help to mould social institutions. The feminist movement is in the large a wholesome reaction against an undeserved subserviency to the masculine will. Undoubtedly it contains great social potencies. It deserves kindly reception in the struggle to reform and reconstruct society where society is weak.

The present situation deserves not abuse, but the most careful consideration from every man. In countless cases woman has not only been repressed from activities outside of the family group, but has been oppressed in her own home also. America prides itself on its consideration for woman in comparison with the general European attitude toward her, but too often chivalry is not exercised in the home. Often the wife has been a slave in the household where she should have been queen. She has been subject to the passion of an hour and the whim of a moment. She has been servant rather than helpmeet. Upon her have fallen the reproaches of the unbridled temper of other members of the family; upon her have rested the burdens that others have shirked. Husband and children have been free to find diversion elsewhere; family responsibilities or broken health have confined her at home. Her husband might even find sex satisfaction away from home, but public opinion would be more lenient with him than with her [72]if she offended. The time has come when it is right that these inequalities and injustices should cease. Society owes to woman not only her right to her own person and property, but the right to bear, also, her fair share of social responsibility in this modern world.

Yet in the process of coming to her own, there is danger that the wife will forget that marriage is the most precious of human relations; that the home has the first claim upon her; that motherhood is the greatest privilege to which any woman, however socially gifted, can aspire; and that social institutions of tried worth are not lightly to be cast upon the rubbish heap. It is by no means certain that society can afford or that women ought to demand individualistic rights that will put in jeopardy the welfare of the remainder of the family. The average woman has not the strength to carry properly the burden of home cares plus large political and social responsibilities, nor has she the money to employ in the home all the modern improvements of labor-saving devices and skilled service that might in a measure take her place. Nor is it at all certain that the granting of individual rights to women would tend to purify sex relations, but it is quite conceivable that the old moral and religious sanctions of marriage may disappear and the State assume the task of caring for all children. It is clear that the rights and duties of women constitute a very serious part of the problem of family life.

77. Individual Rights vs. Social Duties.—The greatest weakness to be found in twentieth-century society is the disposition on the part of almost all individuals to place personal rights ahead of social duties. The modern spirit of individualism has grown strong since the Renaissance and the Reformation. It has forced political changes until absolutism has been yielding everywhere to democracy. It has extended social privileges until it has become possible for any one with push and ability to make his way to the top rung of the ladder of social prestige. It has permitted freedom to profess and practise any religion, and to advocate the most bizarre ideas in ethics and philosophy. It has brought human individuals to the place where they [73]feel that nothing may be permitted to stand between them and the satisfaction of personal desire. The disciples of Nietzsche do not hesitate to stand boldly for the principle that might makes right, that he who can crush his competitors in the race for pleasure and profit has an indisputable claim on whatever he can grasp, and that the principle of mutual consideration is antiquated and ridiculous. Such principles and privileges may comport with the elemental instincts and interests of unrestrained, primitive creatures, but they do not harmonize with requirements of social solidarity and efficiency. Social evolution in the past has come only as the struggle for individual existence was modified by consideration for the needs of another, and social welfare in the future can be realized only as men and women both are willing to sacrifice age-long prejudice or momentary pleasure and profit to the permanent good of the larger group.


Cooley: Social Organization, pages 356-371.

Brandt and Baldwin: Family Desertion.

Dealey: The Family in Its Sociological Aspects, pages 85-95, 109-118.

Goodsell: The Family as a Social and Educational Institution, pages 456-477.

Howard: History of Matrimonial Institutions, III, pages 239-250.




78. The Main Facts About Divorce.—An indication of the emphasis on individual rights is furnished by the increase of divorce, especially in the United States, where the demands of individualism and industrialism are most insistent. The divorce record is the thermometer that measures the heat of domestic friction. Statistics of marriage and divorce made by the National Government in 1886 and again in 1906 make possible a comparison of conditions which reveal a rapid increase in the number of divorces granted by the courts. Certain outstanding facts are of great importance.

(1) The number of divorces in twenty years increased from 23,000 to 72,000, which is three times the rate of increase of the population of the country. If this rate of progress continues, more than half the marriages in the United States will terminate in divorce by the end of the present century.

(2) In the first census it was discovered that the number of divorces in the United States exceeded the total number of divorces in all the European countries; in the second census it was shown that the United States had increased its divorces three times, while Japan, with the largest divorce rate in the world, had reduced its rate one-half.

(3) Divorces in the United States are least common among people of the middle class; they are higher among native whites than among immigrants, and they are highest in cities and among childless couples.

(4) Two-thirds of the divorces are granted on the demands of the wife.

(5) Divorce laws are very variable in the different [75]States, but most divorces are obtained from the States where the applicants reside.

79. Causes of Divorce.—The causes recorded in divorce cases do not represent accurately the real causes, for the reason that it is easier to get an uncontested decision when the charges are not severe, and also for the reason that State laws vary and that which best fits the law will be put forward as the principal cause. Divorce laws in the United States generally recognize adultery, desertion, cruelty, drunkenness, lack of support, and crime as legitimate grounds for divorce. In the five years from 1902 to 1906 desertion was given as the ground for divorce in thirty-eight per cent of the cases, cruelty in twenty-three per cent, and adultery in fifteen per cent. Intemperance was given as the direct cause in only four per cent, and neglect approximately the same. The assignment of marital unfaithfulness in less than one-sixth of the cases, as compared with one-fourth twenty years before does not mean, however, that there is less unfaithfulness, but that minor offenses are considered sufficient on which to base a claim; the small percentage of charges of intemperance as the principal cause ought not to obscure the fact that it was an indirect cause in one-fifth of the cases.

It is natural that the countries of Europe should present greater variety of laws and of causes assigned. In England, where the law has insisted on adultery as a necessary cause, divorces have been few. In Ireland, where the church forbids it, divorce is rare, less than one to thirty-five marriages. In Scotland fifty per cent of the cases reported are due to adultery. Cruelty was the principal cause ascribed in France, Austria, and Rumania; desertion in Russia and Sweden. The tendency abroad is to ascribe more rather than less to adultery.

The real causes for divorce are more remote than the specific acts of adultery, desertion, or cruelty that are mentioned as grounds for divorce. The primary cause is undoubtedly the spirit of individual independence that demands its rights at the expense of others. In the case of women there is less hesitancy than formerly in seeking [76]freedom from the marriage bond because of the increasing opportunity of self-support. The changing conditions of home life in the city, with the increasing cost of living, coupled with the ease of divorce, encourage resort to the courts. The unscrupulousness of some lawyers, who fatten their purses at the expense of marital happiness, and the meddlesomeness of relatives are also contributing causes. Finally the restraint of religion has relaxed, and unhappy and ill-mated persons do not shrink from taking a step which was formerly condemned by the church.

80. History of Divorce.—The history of divorce presents various opinions and practices. The Hebrews had high ideals, but frequently fell into lax practices; the Greeks began well but degenerated sadly to the point where marriage was a mere matter of convenience; the Romans, noted for their sterling qualities in the early days of the republic, practised divorce without restraint in the later days of the empire.

The influence of Christianity was greatly to restrict divorce. The teaching of the Bible was explicit that the basis of marriage was the faithful love of the heart, and that impure desire was the essence of adultery. Illicit intercourse was the only possible moral excuse for divorce. True to this teaching, the Christian church tried hard to abolish divorce, as it attempted to check all sexual evils, and the Catholic Church threw about marriage the veil of sanctity by making it one of the seven sacraments. As a sacrament wedlock was indissoluble, except as money or influence induced the church to turn back the key which it alone possessed. Separation was allowed by law, but not divorce. Greater stability was infused into the marriage relation. Yet it is not possible to purify sex relations by tying tightly the marriage bond. Unfaithfulness has been so common in Europe among the higher classes that it occasioned little remark, until the social conscience became sensitive in recent decades, and among the lower classes divorce was often unnecessary, because so many unions took place without the sanction of the church. In Protestant countries there has been a variable recession [77]from the extreme Catholic ground. The Episcopal Church in England and in colonial America recognized only the one Biblical cause of unfaithfulness; the more radical Protestants turned over the whole matter to the state. In New England desertion and cruelty were accepted alongside adultery as sufficient grounds for divorce, and the legislature sometimes granted it by special enactment.

81. Investigation and Legislation in the United States and England.—The divorce question provoked some discussion in this country about the time of the Civil War, and some statistics were gathered. Twenty years later the National Government was induced by the National Divorce Reform League to take a careful census of marriage and divorce. This was published in 1889, and revised and reissued in 1909. These reports aroused the States which controlled the regulation of marriage and divorce to attempt improved legislation. Almost universally among them divorce was made more difficult instead of easier. The term of residence before divorce could be obtained was lengthened; certain changes were made in the legal grounds for divorce; in less than twenty years fourteen States limited the privilege of divorced persons to remarry until after a specified time had elapsed, varying from three months to two years. Congress passed a uniform marriage law for all the territories. It was believed almost universally that the Constitution should be amended so as to secure a federal divorce law, but experience proved that it was better that individual States should adopt a uniform law. The later tendency has been in this direction.

At the same time, the churches of the country interested themselves in the subject. The Protestant Episcopal Church took strong ground against its ministers remarrying a divorced person, and the National Council of Congregational Churches appointed a special committee which reported in 1907 in favor of strictness. Fourteen Protestant churches combined in an Interchurch Committee to secure united action, and the Federal Council of Churches recorded itself against the prevailing laxness. The purpose of all this group action was to check abuses and to create a more [78]sensitive public opinion, especially among moral and religious leaders.

In Great Britain, on the other hand, divorce had always been difficult. There the strictness of the law led to a demand for a study of the subject and a report to Parliament. The result was the appointment of a Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, consisting of twelve members, which investigated for three years, and in 1912 presented its report. It recognized the fact that severe restrictions were in force, and a majority of the commission regarding marriage as a legal rather than a sacramental bond, favored easier divorce and a single standard of morality for both sexes. It was proposed that the grounds for legal divorce should be adultery, desertion extending over three years, cruelty, incurable insanity after confinement for five years, habitual drunkenness found incurable after three years, or imprisonment carrying with it a sentence of death. A minority of the committee still regarding marriage as a sacrament, favored no relaxation of the law as it stood.

82. Proposed Remedies.—Various remedies have been proposed to stem the tide of excessive divorce. There are many who see in divorce nothing more than a healthy symptom of individual independence, a revolt against conditions of the home that are sometimes almost intolerable. Many others are alarmed at the rapid increase of divorce, especially in the United States, and believe that checks are necessary for the continued existence of the family and the well-being of society. The first reform proposed as a means of prevention of divorce is the revision of the marriage laws on a higher model. The second is a stricter divorce law, made as uniform as possible. The third is the adoption of measures of reconciliation which will remove the causes that provoke divorce.

The proposed laws include such provisions as the prohibition of marriage for those who are criminal, degenerate, or unfitted to perform the sex function; the requirement of six months' publication of matrimonial banns and a physical certificate before marriage; a strictly provisional decree [79]of divorce; the establishment of a court of domestic relations, and a prohibition of remarriage of the defendant during the life of the plaintiff. These are reasonable restrictions and seem likely to be adopted gradually, as practicable improvements over the existing laws. It is also proposed that the merits of every case shall be more carefully considered, and the judicial procedure improved by the appointment of a divorce proctor in connection with every court trying divorce cases, whose business it shall be to make investigations and to assist in trying or settling specific cases. Experiment has proved the value of such an officer.

83. Court of Domestic Relations.—One of the most significant improvements that has taken place is the establishment of a court of domestic relations, which already exists in several cities, and has made an enviable record. In the early experiments it seemed practicable in Kansas to make such a court a branch of the circuit and juvenile courts, so arranged that it would be possible to deal with the relations of the whole family; in Chicago the new tribunal was made a part of the municipal court. By means of patient questioning, first by a woman assistant and then by the judge himself, and by good advice and explicit directions as to conduct, with a warning that failure would be severely treated, it has been possible to unravel hundreds of domestic entanglements.

84. Tendencies.—There can be no question that the present tendency is in the direction of greater freedom in the marriage relation. Society will not continue to sanction inhumanity and immorality in the relations of man to woman. Marriage is ideally a sacred relation, but when it is not so treated, when love is dead and repulsion has taken its place, and especially when physical contact brings disease and suffering, public opinion is likely to consider that marriage is thereby virtually annulled, and to permit ratification of the fact by a decree of divorce. On the other hand, it is probable that increasing emphasis will be put on serious and well-prepared marriage, on the inculcation of a spirit of mutual love and forbearance through the agency [80]of the church, and on the exhaustion of every effort to restore right relations, if they have not been irreparably destroyed, before any grant of divorce will be allowed. In this, as in all problems of the family, the spirit of mutual consideration for the interests of all concerned is that which must be invoked for a speedy and permanent solution. Education of young people in the importance of the family as a social institution and in the responsibility which every individual member should feel to make and keep the family pure and strong as a bulwark of social stability, is the surest means of preventing altogether its dissolution.


"Report on Marriage and Divorce," 1906, Bureau of the Census, I, pages 272-274, 331-333.

"Reports of the National League for the Protection of the Family."

Post: Ethics of Marriage and Divorce, pages 62-84.

Dealey: The Family in Its Sociological Aspects, pages 96-108.

Howard: History of Matrimonial Institutions, III, pages 3-160.

Willcox: The Divorce Problem.




85. Sexual Impurity.—A prime factor in the breaking up of the home is sexual impurity. The sex passion, an elemental instinct of humanity, is sanctified by the marriage relation, but unbridled in those who seek above all else their own pleasure, becomes a curse in body and soul. It is not limited to either sex, but men have been more self-indulgent, and have been treated more leniently than erring women. Sexual impurity is wide-spread, but public opinion against it is steadily strengthening, and the tendency is to hold men and women equally responsible. For the sake of clearness it is advisable to distinguish between various forms of impurity, and to observe the proper terms. The sexual evil appears in aggravated form in commercial prostitution, but is more prevalent as an irregularity among non-professionals. Sexual intercourse before marriage, or fornication, was not infrequent in colonial days, and in Europe is startlingly common; very frequently among the lower classes there is no marriage until a child is born. Sexual infidelity after marriage, or adultery, is the cause of the ruin of many homes. In the cities and among the well-to-do classes the keeping of mistresses is an occasional practice, but it is far less common than was the case in former days, when it was the regular custom at royal courts and imitated by those lower in the social scale.

86. Prostitution.—Prostitution, softened in common speech to "the social evil," is a term for promiscuity of sex relationship for pay or its equivalent. It is a very old practice, and has existed in the East as a part of religious worship in veneration of the power of generation. In the West it is a frequent accompaniment of intemperance and crime. Modern prostitutes are recruited almost entirely from the lower middle class, both in Europe and America. [82]Ignorant and helpless immigrant girls are seduced on the journey, in the streets of American cities, and in the tenements. Domestic servants and employees in factories and department stores seem to be most subject to exploitation, but no class or employment is immune. A great many girls, while still in their teens, have begun their destructive career. They are peculiarly susceptible in the evening, after the strain of the day's labor, when they are hunting for fun and excitement in theatres, dance-halls, and moving-picture shows. In summer they are themselves hunted on excursion steamers, and at the parks and recreation grounds. The seduction and exploitation of young women has become a distinct occupation of certain worthless young men, commonly known as cadets, who live upon the earnings of the women they procure. Three-fourths of the prostitutes have such men dependent on them, to whom they remain attached through fear or need of pecuniary relief in case of arrest, or even through a species of affection, though they receive nothing but abuse in return. Once secured, the victim is not permitted to escape. Not many women enter the life of prostitution from choice, but when they have once yielded to temptation or force, they lose their self-respect and usually sink into hopeless degradation, and then do not shrink from soliciting business within doors or on the streets.

87. Promotion and Regulation of Vice.—The social evil is centred in houses of ill fame managed by unprincipled women. The business is financed and the profits enjoyed by men who constantly stimulate the trade to make it more profitable. As a result of investigations in New York, it is estimated that the number of prostitutes would be not more than one-fourth of what it is were it not for the ruthless greed of these men. The houses are usually located in the poorer parts of the city, but they are also to be found scattered elsewhere. In cases where public opinion does not warrant rigid enforcement of the law against it, the illicit traffic is disregarded by the police, and often they are willing to share in the gains as the price of their leniency. As a rule the business is kept under cover and not [83]permitted to flaunt itself on the streets. Definite segregation in a particular district has been attempted, and has sometimes been favored as a means of checking vice, but this means is not practised or favored after experiment has shown its uselessness as a check upon the trade. Government regulation by a system of license, with registration of prostitutes and regular though superficial examination of health, is in vogue in parts of western and southern Europe, but it is not favored by vice commissions that have examined into its workings.

88. Extent of the Social Evil.—It is probable that estimates as to the number of prostitutes in the great urban centres has been much exaggerated. In the nature of the case it is very difficult to get accurate reports, but when it is remembered that the number of men who frequent the resorts is not less than fifteen times the number of women, and that in most cases the proportion is larger, it is not difficult to conceive of the immense profits to the exploiters, but also of the enormous economic waste, the widely prevalent physical disease, and the untold misery of the women who sin, and of the innocent women at home who are sinned against by those who should be their protectors.

A "white-slave traffic" seems to have developed in recent years that has not only increased the number of local prostitutes, but has united far-distant urban centres. It is very difficult to prove an intercity trade, but investigation has produced sufficient evidence to show that there is an organized business of procuring victims and that they have been exported to distant parts of the world, including South America, South Africa, and the Far East.

89. The Causes.—The social evil has usually been blamed upon the perversity of women and their pecuniary need, but investigation makes it plain that the causes go deeper than that. The first cause is the ignorance of girls who are permitted to grow up and go out into the world innocently, unaware of the snares in which they are liable to become enmeshed. Added to this ignorance is the lack of moral and religious training, so that there is often no firm conviction of right and wrong, an evil which is [84]intensified in the city tenements by the conditions of congested population. A third grave cause is the public neglect of persons of defective mentality and morality. Women who are not capable of taking care of themselves are allowed full liberty of conduct, and frequently fall victims to the seducer. An investigation of cases in the New York Reformatory for Women at Bedford in 1913 showed one-third very deficient mentally; the Massachusetts Vice Commission in 1914 reported one-half to three-fourths of three hundred cases to be of the same class. It seems clear that a large proportion of prostitutes generally belong in this category. It has been estimated that there are now (1915) as many defective women at large in Massachusetts as there are in public institutions.

Poverty is an important factor in the extension of the sexual evil. It is notorious that thousands of women workers are underpaid. In factories, restaurants, and department stores they frequently receive wages much less than the eight dollars a week required by women to maintain themselves, if dependent on their own resources. The American woman's pride in a good appearance, the natural human love of ease, luxury, and excitement, the craving for relaxation and thrill, after the exacting labor of a long day, all contribute to the welcome of an opportunity for an indulgence that brings money in return. The agency of the dance-hall and the saloon has also an important place in the downfall of the tempted. Intemperance and prostitution go together, and places where they can be enjoyed are factories of vice and crime. Many so-called hotels with bar attachment are little more than houses of evil resort. Especially notorious for a time were the Raines Law hotels in New York City, designed to check intemperance, but proving nurseries of prostitution. Commercial profit is large from both kinds of traffic, and one stimulates the other.

Among minor causes of the social evil is the postponement or abandonment of marriage by many young people, the celibate life imposed upon students and soldiers, the declaration of some physicians that continence is injurious, and lax opinion, especially in Europe.

[85]90. The Consequences.—It is impossible to measure adequately the consequences of sexual indulgence. It is destructive of physical health among women and of morals among both sexes. It results in a weakening of the will and a blunting of moral discernment. It is an economic waste, as is intemperance, for even on the level of economic values it is plain that money could be much better spent for that which would benefit rather than curse. But the great evil that looms large in public view is the legacy of physical disease that falls upon self-indulgent men and their families. The presence of venereal disease in Europe is almost unbelievable; so great has it been in continental armies that governments have become alarmed as to its effects upon the health and morale of the troops. College men have been reckless in sowing wild oats, and have suffered serious physical consequences. Most pathetic is the suffering that is caused to innocent wives and children in blindness, sterility, and frequent abdominal disease. This is a subject that demands the attention of every person interested in human happiness and social welfare.

91. History of Reform.—Spasmodic efforts to suppress the social evil have occurred from time to time. The result has been to scatter rather than to suppress it, and after a little it has crept back to its old haunts. Scattering it in tenements and residential districts has been very unfortunate. The cure is not so simple a process. Neither will segregation help. It is now generally agreed, especially as a result of recent investigations by vice commissioners in the large cities, that there must be a brave, sustained effort at suppression, and then the patient task of reclaiming the fallen and preventing the evil in future.

Organization and investigation are the two words that give the key to the history of reform. International societies are agitating abroad; other associations are directly engaged in checking vice in the United States, most prominent of which is the American Vigilance Association. Rescue organizations are scattered through the cities. Especially active have been the commissions of investigation appointed privately and by municipal, State, and Federal [86]Governments, which have issued illuminating reports. The United States in 1908 joined in an international treaty to prevent the world-wide traffic in white slaves, and in 1910 Congress passed the Mann White Slave Act to prevent interstate traffic in America.

92. Measures of Prevention and Cure.—The social evil is one about which there have been all sorts of wild opinions, but the facts are becoming well substantiated by investigations, and these investigations are the basis upon which all scientific conclusions must rest, alike for public education and for constructive legislation. No one remedy is adequate. There are those who believe that the church has it in its power to stir a wave of indignation that would sweep the whole traffic from the land, but it is not so simple a process. It is generally agreed that both education and legislation are necessary to check the evil. The first is necessary for the public health, and to support repressive laws. As a helpful means of repression it is proposed that the social evil, along with questions of social morals, like gambling, excise, and amusements, shall be taken out of the hands of the municipal police and the politicians, and lodged with an unpaid morals commission, which shall have its own special corps of expert officers and a morals court for the trial of cases appropriate to its jurisdiction. This experiment actually has been tried in Berlin. Measures of prevention as well as measures of repression are needed. Restraint is needed for defectives; protection for immigrants and young people, especially on shipboard, in the tenements, and in the moving-picture houses; better housing, better amusements, and better wages for all the people. Finally, the wrecks must be taken care of. Rescue homes and other agencies manage to save a few to reformed lives; homes are needed constantly for temporary residence. Private philanthropy has provided them thus far, but the United States Government has discussed the advisability of building them in sufficient numbers to meet every local need. Many old and hardened offenders need reformatories with farm and hospital where they can be cared for during a long time; some of the States have provided these already. [87]The principles upon which a permanent cure of the social evil must be based are similar to those that underlie all family reform, namely, the rescue as far as possible of those already fallen, the social and moral education of youth to nobler purpose and will, the removal of unfavorable economic and social conditions, and the improvement of family life until it can satisfy the human cravings that legitimately belong to it.


Addams: A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil.

Willson: The American Boy and the Social Evil.

Morrow: Social Diseases and Marriage, pages 331-353.

Kneeland: Commercialized Prostitution in New York City, pages 253-271.




93. Social Characteristics Illustrated by the Family.—A study of the family such as has been made illustrates the characteristics of social life that were noted in the introductory chapter. There is activity in the performance of every domestic, economic, and social function. There is association in various ways for various purposes between all members of the family. Control is exercised by paternal authority, family custom, and personal and family interest. The history of the family shows gradual changes that have produced varieties of organization, and the present situation discloses weaknesses that are precipitating upon society very serious problems. Present characteristics largely determine future processes; always in planning for the future it is necessary to take into consideration the forces that produce and alter social characteristics. Specific measures meet with much scepticism, and enthusiastic reformers must always reckon with inertia, frequent reactions, and slow social development. In the face of sexualism, divorce, and selfish individualism, it requires patience and optimism to believe that the family will continue to exist and the home be maintained.

94. Principles of Family Reform.—It is probably impossible to restore the home life of the past, as it is impossible to turn back the tide of urban migration and growth. But it is possible on the basis of certain fundamental principles to improve the conditions of family life by means of methods that lie at hand. The first principle is that the home must function properly. There must be domestic and economic satisfactions. Without the satisfaction of the sexual and parental instincts and an atmosphere of comfort and freedom from anxiety, the home is emptied of its [89]attractions. The second principle is that social sympathy and service rather than individual independence shall be the controlling motive in the home. As long as every member of the family consults first his own pleasure and comfort and contributes only half-heartedly to create a home atmosphere and to perform his part of the home functions, there can be no real gain in family life. The home is built on love; it can survive on nothing less than mutual consideration.

95. The Method of Economic Adjustment.—The first method by which these principles can be worked out is economic adjustment. It is becoming imperative that the family income and the family requirements shall be fitted together. Less extravagance and waste of expenditure and a living wage to meet legitimate needs, are both demanded by students of economic reform. It is not according to the principles of social righteousness that any family should suffer from cold or hunger, nor is it right that any social group should be wasteful of the portion of economic goods that has come to it. There is great need, also, that the expense of living should be reduced while the standards of living shall not be lowered. The business world has been trying to secure economies in production; there is even greater need of economies in distribution. Millions are wasted in advertising and in the profits of middlemen. Some method of co-operative buying and selling will have to be devised to stop this economic leakage. It would relieve the housewife from some of the worries of housekeeping and lighten the heart of the man who pays the bills. A third adjustment is that of the household employee to the remainder of the household. The servant problem is first an economic problem, and questions of wages, hours, and privileges must be based on economic principles; but it is also a social problem. The servant bears a social relation to the family. The family home is her home, and she must have a certain share in home comforts and privileges. A fourth reform is better housing and equipment. Attractive and comfortable houses in a wholesome environment of light, air, and sunshine, built for economical and easy [90]housekeeping, are not only desirable but essential for a permanent and happy family life.

96. The Method of Social Education.—A second general method by which the principles of home life may be carried out is social education. Given the material accessories, there must be the education of the family in their use. Children in the home need to know the fundamentals of personal and sex hygiene and the principles of eugenics. In home and in school the emphasis in education should be upon social rather than economic values, on the significance of social relationships and the opportunities of social intercourse in the home and the community, on the personal and social advantages of intellectual culture, on the importance of moral progress in the elimination of drunkenness, sexualism, poverty, crime, and war, if there is to be future social development, and on the value of such social institutions as the home, the school, the church, and the state as agencies for individual happiness and group progress. Especially should there be impressed upon the child mind the transcendent importance of affectionate co-operation in the home circle, parents sacrificing personal preferences and anticipations of personal enjoyment for the good of children, and children having consideration for the wishes and convictions of their elders, and recognizing their own responsibility in rendering service for the common good. Sanctioned by law, by the custom of long tradition, by economic and social valuations, the home calls for personal devotion of will and purpose from every individual for the welfare of the group of which he is a privileged member. The family tie is the most sacred bond that links individuals in human society; to strengthen it is one of the noblest aspirations of human endeavor.


Dealey: The Family in Its Sociological Aspects, pages 119-134.

Post: Ethics of Marriage and Divorce, pages 105-127.

Howard: History of Matrimonial Institutions, III, pages 253-259.

Thwing: The Recovery of the Home. A Pamphlet.





97. Broadening the Horizon.—Out of the kindergarten of the home the child graduates into the larger school of the community. Thus far through his early years the child's environment has been restricted almost entirely to the four walls of the home or the limits of the farm. His horizon has been bounded by garden, pasture, and orchard, except as he has enjoyed an occasional visit to the village centre or has found playmates on neighboring farms. He has shared in the isolation of the farm. The home of the nearest neighbor is very likely out of sight beyond the hill, or too far away for children's feet to travel the intervening distance; on the prairie the next door may be over the edge of the horizon. The home has been his social world. It has supplied for him a social group, persons to talk with, to play with, to work with. Inevitably he takes on their characteristics, and his life will continue to be narrow and to grow conservative and hard, unless he enlarges his experience, broadens his horizon, tries new activities, enjoys new associations, tests new methods of social control, and lets the forces that produce social change play upon his own life.

Happy is he when he enters definitely into community life by taking his place in the district school. The schoolhouse may be at the village centre or it may stand aloof among the trees or stark on a barren hillside along the country road; physical environment is of small consequence as compared with the new social environment of the schoolroom itself. The child has come into contact with others [92]of his kind in a permanent social institution outside the home, and this social contact has become a daily experience. Every child that goes to school is one of many representatives from the homes of the neighborhood. He brings with him the habits and ideas that he has gathered from his own home, and he finds that they do not agree or fuse easily with the ideas and habits of the other children. In the schoolroom and on the playground he repeats the process of social adjustments which the race has passed through. Conflicts for ascendancy are frequent. He must prove his physical prowess on the playground and his intellectual ability in the schoolroom. He must test his body of knowledge and the value of his mental processes by the mind of his teacher. He must have strength of conviction to defend his own opinions, but he must have an open mind to receive truths that are new to him. One of the great achievements of the school is to fuse dissimilar elements into common custom and opinion, and thus to socialize the independent units of community life.

98. Learning Social Values in the Community.—The school is the door to larger social opportunity than the home can provide, but it is not the only door. The child in passing to and from school comes into touch with other institutions and activities. He passes other homes than his own. He sees each in the midst of its own peculiar surroundings, and he makes comparisons of one with another and of each with his own. He estimates more or less consciously the value of that which he sees, not so much in terms of economic as of social worth, and congratulates or pities himself or his schoolmates, according to the judgments that he has made. He stops at the store, the mill, or the blacksmith shop, through frequent contact becomes familiar with their functions, and thinks in turn that he would like to be storekeeper, miller, and blacksmith. He sees the farmer on other farms than his own gathering his harvest in the fall, hauling wood in the winter, or ploughing his field in the spring, and he becomes conscious of common habits and occupations in this rural community. He gets acquainted with the variety of [93]activities that enter into life in the country district in which his home is located, and he learns to appreciate the importance of the instruments upon which such activity depends for travel from place to place. By all these means the child is learning social values. After a little he comes to understand that the community, with its roads, its public buildings, and its established institutions, exists to satisfy certain economic and social needs that the single family cannot supply. By and by he learns that, like the family, it has grown out of the experience of relationships, and can be traced far back in history, and that as time passes it is slowly changing to adapt itself to the changing wants and wishes of its inhabitants. He becomes aware of a present tendency for the community to imitate the larger social life outside, to make its village centre a reproduction in miniature of the urban centres; later he realizes that the introduction of foreign elements into the population is working for the destruction of the simple, unified life of former days, and is introducing a certain flavor of cosmopolitanism.

It is this growth of social consciousness in a single child, multiplied by the number of children in the community, that constitutes the process of social education. A community with no dynamic influences impinging upon it reproduces itself in this way generation after generation, and at best seems to maintain but a static existence. In reality, few communities stand still. The principle of change that is characteristic of social life is continually working to build up or tear down the community structure and to modify community functioning. The causes of change and their methods of operation appear in the history of the rural community.

99. Rural History.—The history of the rural community falls into two periods—first, when the village was necessary to the life of the individual; second, when the individual pioneer pushed out into the forest or prairie, and the village followed as a convenient social institution. The community came into existence through the bond of kinship. Every clan formed a village group with its own [94]peculiar customs. These were primitive, even among semi-civilized peoples. Among the ancient Hebrews the village elders sat by the gate to administer justice in the name of the clan; in China the old men still bask on a log in the sun and pronounce judgment in neighborly gossip. The village existed for sociability and safety. The mediæval Germans left about each village a broad strip of waste land called the mark, and over this no stranger could come as a friend without sounding a trumpet. Later the village was surrounded by a wall called a tun, and by a transfer of terms the village frequently came to be called a mark, or tun, later changed to town. Place names even in the United States are often survivals of such a custom, as Charlestown or Chilmark. The Indian village in colonial America was similarly protected with a palisade, and village dogs heralded the approach of a stranger, as they do still in the East.

100. The Mediæval Village.—The peasant village of the Middle Ages constitutes a distinct type of rural community. A consciousness of mutual dependence between the owner of the land and the peasants who were his serfs produced a feudal system in which the landlord undertook to furnish protection and to permit the peasant to use portions of his land in exchange for service. Strips of fertile soil were allotted to the village families for cultivation, while pasture-land, meadow, and forest were kept for community use. Even in the heart of the city Boston Common remains as a relic of the old custom. On the mediæval manor people lived and worked together, most of them on the same social level, the lord in his manor-house and the peasants in a hamlet or larger village on his land, huddling together in rude huts and in crude fashion performing the social and economic functions of a rural community. In the village church the miller or the blacksmith held his head a little higher than his neighbors, and sometimes the lord of the manor did not deign to worship in the common parish church, but the mass of the people were fellow serfs, owning a common master, working at the same tasks, by custom sowing and reaping the same kind of grain on the same [95]kind of land in the same week of the year. They attended the court of the master, who exercised the functions of government. They worshipped side by side in the church. The same customs bound them and the same superstitions worried their waking hours. There was thus a community solidarity that less commonly exists under modern conditions.

There was no stimulus to progress on the manor itself. There were no schools for the peasant's children, and there was little social intelligence. The finer side of life was undeveloped, except as the love of music was stirred by the travelling bard, or martial fervor or the love of movement aroused the dance. There was no desire for religious independence or understanding of religious experience. The mass in the village church satisfied the religious instinct. There was no dynamic factor in the community itself. Besides all this, the community lived a self-centred life, because the people manufactured their own cloth and leather garments and most of the necessary tools, and, except for a few commodities like iron and salt, they were independent of trade. The result was that every stimulus of social exchange between villages was lacking.

The broadening influence of the Crusades with their stimulus to thought, their creation of new economic wants, and their contact of races and nationalities, set in motion great changes. Out of the manorial villages went ambitious individuals, making their way as industrial pioneers to the opportunity of the larger towns, as now young people push out from the country to the city. New towns were founded and new enterprises were begun. Trade routes were opened up. The feudal principality grew into the modern state. Cultural interests demanded their share of attention. Schools were founded, and art and literature began again to develop. Even law and religion, most conservative among social institutions, underwent change.

101. The Village in American History.—The spirit of enterprise and the disturbed political and religious conditions impelled many groups in western Europe to emigrate to new lands after the geographical discoveries that ushered [96]in the sixteenth century. They were free to go, for serfdom was disappearing from most of the European countries. The village life of Europe was transplanted to America. In the South the mediæval feudal village became the agricultural plantation, where the planter lived on his own estate surrounded by the rude cabins of his dusky peasantry. The more democratic, homogeneous village life of middle-class Englishmen reproduced itself in New England, where the houses of the settlers clustered about the village meeting-house and schoolhouse, and where habits of industry, frugality, and sobriety characterized every local group. In this new village life there came to be a stronger feeling of self-respect, and under the hard conditions of life in a new continent there developed a self-reliance that was destined to work wonders in days to come. The New World bred a spirit of independence that suited well the individualistic philosophy and religion of the modern Englishman. All these qualities prophesied much of individual achievement. Yet this tendency toward individualism threatened the former social solidarity, though there was a recognition of mutual interests and a readiness to show neighborly kindness in time of stress, and a perception of the social value of democracy in church and state.

102. Individual Pioneering.—The pioneer American colonies were group settlements, but they produced a new race of individual pioneers for the West. Occasionally a whole community emigrated, but usually hardy, venturesome individuals pushed out into the wilderness, opening up the frontier continually farther toward the setting sun. By the brookside the pioneer made a clearing and erected his log house; later on the unbroken prairie he built a rude hut of sod. On the land that was his by squatter's right or government claim he planted and reaped his crops. About him grew up a brood of children, and as the years passed, others like himself followed in the path that he had made, single men to work for a time as hired laborers, families to break new ground, until the countryside became sparsely settled and the nucleus of a village was made.

Such pioneers were hard-working people, lonely and [97]introspective. They knew little of the comforts and none of the refinements of life. They prescribed order and administered justice at the weapon's point. They were emotional in religion. They required the stimulus of abundant food and often of strong drink to goad them to their various tasks. Frontier pioneering in America reproduced many of the features of former ages of primitive life and compressed centuries into the space of a generation. It was distinctly individualistic, and needed socializing. The large farm or cattle-range kept men apart, the freedom of the open country attracted an unruly population, and in consequence frontier life tended to rough manners and lawlessness. Isolation and loneliness produced despondency and inertia, and tended to individual and group degeneration.

Even in a growing village men and women of this type had few social institutions. There was little time for schooling or recreation. A circuit-riding preacher held religious services once or twice a month, and in certain regions at a certain season religious enthusiasm found vent in a camp-meeting, but religion often had little effect on habits and morals. Local government and industry were home-made. The settlers brought with them customs and traditions which they cherished, but in the mingling of pioneers from different districts there was continual change and fusion, until the West became the most enterprising and progressive part of the nation, continually open to new ideas and new methods. There was a wholesome respect for church and school, and as villages grew the settlers did not neglect the organization and housing of such institutions; store, mill, and smithy found their place as farther east, and later the lawyer and physician came, but the pioneer could do without them for a time. Inventiveness and individual initiative were characteristics of the rural people, made necessary by their remoteness and isolation.

103. The Development of the West.—With increasing settlement the rural pioneer gave place to the farmer. It was no longer necessary for him to break new ground, for arable acres could be purchased; neither was it necessary [98]to turn from one occupation to another to satisfy personal or household needs, for division of labor provided specialists. Hardship gave way to comfort, for the land was fertile and experience had taught its values for the cultivation of particular crops. Loneliness and isolation were felt less severely as neighbors became more frequent and travelled roads made communication easier. Group life expanded and institutions became fixed. Every neighborhood had its school-teacher, and even the academy and college began to dot the land. Churches of various denominations found root in rural soil, and a settled minister became more common. A general store and post-office found place at the cross-roads, and the permanent machinery of local government was set up. Out of the forest clearings and prairie settlements evolved the prosperous farm life that has been so characteristic of the Middle West.

But the prosperous life of these rural communities has not remained unchanged. Speculation in land has been creating a class of non-resident agricultural capitalists and tenant cultivators, and has been transforming the type of agricultural population over large sections of country. Soil exhaustion is leading to abandonment of the poorest land and is compelling methods of scientific agriculture on the remainder. These conditions are producing their own social problems for the rural community.


Small and Vincent: Introduction to the Study of Society, pages 112-126.

Cheyney: Industrial and Social History of England, pages 31-56.

Cubberley: Rural Life and Education, pages 1-62.

Wilson: Evolution of the Country Community, pages 1-61.

Carver: Principles of Rural Economics, pages 74-116.

Ross: "The Agrarian Revolution in the Middle West," North American Review, September, 1909.

Gillette: "The Drift to the City in Relation to the Rural Problem," American Journal of Sociology, March, 1911.




104. Physical Types.—To understand the continually changing rural life of the present, it is necessary to examine into the physical characteristics of the country districts, the elements of the population, the functions of the rural community, and its social institutions.

The physical characteristics have a large part in determining occupations and in fashioning social life. A natural harbor, especially if it is at the mouth of a river, seems destined by nature for a centre of commerce, as the falls of a swift-flowing stream indicate the location of a manufacturing plant. A mineral-bearing mountain invites to mining, and miles of forest land summon the lumberman. Broad and well-watered plains seem designed for agriculture, and on them acres of grain slowly mature through the summer months to turn into golden harvests in the fall. The Mississippi valley and the Western plain into which it blends have become the granary of the American nation. The railroad-train that rushes day and night from the Great Lakes toward the setting sun moves hour after hour through the extensive rural districts that characterize the great West. There are the mammoth farms that are given to the one enormous crop of wheat or corn. Alongside the railroad loom the immense elevators where the grain is stored to be shipped to market. Here and there are the farm-buildings where the owner or tenant lives, but villages are small and scattered and community activity is slight.

Similarly, in the South before the Civil War there were large plantations of cotton and tobacco, dotted only here and there with the planter's mansion and clumps of negro cabins. Village life was not a characteristic of Southern society. The old South had its picturesque plantation life, and the aristocracy made its sociable visits from family to [100]family, but that rural type disappeared with the war. With the breaking up of the old plantations there came a greater diversification of agriculture, which is going on at an accelerated pace, and social centres are increasing, but there is still much rural isolation. Among the remoter mountains lingers the most conservative American type of citizens in the arrested development of a century ago, with antique tools and ancient methods, scratching a few acres for a garden and corn-field, and living their backward, isolated life, without comfort or even peace, and almost without social institutions.

In the East the country is more broken. Large farms are few, and agriculture is carried on intensively as a business, or is united with another occupation or as a diversion from the cares and tasks of the town. Farms of a score to a few hundred acres, only part of which are cultivated, form rural communities among the hills or along a river valley. Here and there a few houses cluster in village or hamlet, where each house yard has its garden patch, but the inhabitants of the village depend on other means than agriculture for a living. On the farms dairy and poultry products share with agriculture in rural importance, and no one crop constitutes an agricultural staple. In New England the villages are comparatively near together, and social life needs only prodding to produce a healthy development.

105. Characteristics of Population.—Rural life feels in each region the reactions of nature. The narrow life of the hills, the open life of the plains, the peaceful life of the comfortable plantation with its lazy river and its delightful climate, each has its peculiar characteristics that are due in part at least to nature. But these features are complicated by social elements of population. The American rural community of to-day is composed of individuals who differ in age and fortune and kinship, and who vary in qualities and resemblances. There are old and young and middle-aged persons, men and women, married and single, persons with many relatives and others with few, native and foreign born, strong and weak, well and ill, good and [101]bad, educated and illiterate. Yet there are certain characteristics that are typical.

In the first place, for example, there is a considerable uniformity of age in the population of a certain type of community. In those agricultural districts where individuals own their own homes, the number of elderly people is larger than it is in the city, and the young people are comparatively few, for the reason that their ambitions carry them to the city for its larger opportunities, and in the older States many a farm becomes abandoned on the death of the old people. In districts where tenant-farming is largely in vogue, gray hairs are much fewer. The tendency is for the original farmers who have been successful to sell or rent their property and move to town to enjoy its comforts and attractions, leaving the tenants and their families of children.

In the second place, it is characteristic of long-settled rural communities that there is an interlocking of family relationship, with a number of prevailing family names and a great preponderance of native Americans; but in portions of the West and in rural districts not very remote from the large cities of the East there is a large mixture, and in spots a predominance of the foreign element. In the third place, small means rather than wealth and a sluggish contentment rather than ambition is characteristic of the older rural sections; in newer districts ambition to push ahead is more common, and prosperity and an air of opulence are not unusual.

106. The Composition of Rural Communities.—In an analysis of population it is proper to consider its composition and its manner of growth. In making a survey or taking a census of a community there are included at least statistics as to age, sex, number and size of families, degree of kinship, race parentage, and occupations. Records of age, sex, and size of family show the tendencies of a community as to growth or race suicide; kinship and race parentage indicate whether population is homogeneous; and occupations indicate the place that agriculture holds in a particular section of country. By a comparative study of [102]statistics it is easy to determine whether a community is advancing, retrograding, or standing still, and what its position is relative to its neighbors; also to find out whether or not its occupations and characteristics are changing.

107. Manner of Growth.—The manner of growth of a community is by natural excess of births over deaths, and by immigration of persons from outside. As long as the former condition obtains, population is homogeneous, and the community is conservative in customs and beliefs; when immigration is extensive, and more especially when it goes on at the same time with a declining birth-rate and a considerable emigration of the native element, the population is becoming heterogeneous, and the customs and interests of the people are growing continually more divergent. The immigration of an earlier day was from one American community to another, or from northern Europe, but rural communities East and West are feeling the effects of the large foreign immigration of the last decade from southern and eastern Europe and from Asia.

108. Decline of the Rural Population.—The rural exodus to the cities is even more impressive and more serious in its consequences than the foreign influx into the country, though both are dynamic in their effects. This exodus is partly a matter of numbers and partly of quality. A distinction must be made first between the relative loss and the actual loss. The rural population in places of less than twenty-five hundred persons is steadily falling behind in proportion to the urban population in the country at large. There are many localities where there is also an actual loss in population, and in the North and Middle West the States generally are making no rural gain. But the most disheartening element in the movement of population from the point of view of rural communities is the loss of the most substantial of the older citizens, who move to the city to enjoy the reward of years of toil, and of the most ambitious of the young people who hope to get on faster in the city. Loss of such as these means loss of competent, progressive leaders. Added to this is the loss of laborers needed to cultivate the farms to their capacity for urban as well [103]as rural supply. The loss of labor is not a serious economic misfortune, for it can be remedied to a large extent by the introduction of more machinery and new methods, but the loss of population reproduces in a measure the isolation of earlier days, and so tends to social degeneration. It is idle to expect that the far-reaching causes that are contributing to city growth will stop working for the sake of the rural community, but it is possible to enrich community life so that there will be less relative attraction in the city, and so that those who remain may enjoy many of the advantages that hitherto have been associated with the city alone.


Hart: Educational Resources of Village and Rural Communities, pages 11-37.

Gillette: Rural Sociology, pages 32-46, 281-292.

Anderson: The Country Town, pages 57-91.

Semple: Influences of Geographic Environment.

Galpin: "Method of Making a Social Survey in a Rural Community," University of Wisconsin Circular of Information, No. 29.

Carroll: The Community Survey.




109. Rural Occupations.—An important part of the study of the rural community is its social functions. These do not differ greatly in name from the functions of the family, but they have wider scope. The domestic functions are confined almost entirely to the homes. The village usually includes a boarding-house or a country inn for the homeless few, and here and there an almshouse shelters the few derelicts whom the public must support.

Economic activities in the main are associated with the farm home. The common occupation in the country is agriculture. Individuals are born into country homes, learn the common occupation, and of necessity in most cases make it their means of livelihood. Rural people are accustomed to hard labor for long hours. There are seasons when comparative inactivity renders life dull; there are individuals who enjoy pensions or the income of inherited or accumulated funds, and so are not compelled to resort to manual labor, and there are directors of agricultural industry; there are always a shiftless few who are lazy and poor; but these are only exceptions to the general rule of active toil. Not all rural districts are agricultural. Some are frontier settlements where lumbering or mining are the chief interests. Even where agriculture prevails there are varieties such as corn-raising or fruit-growing regions; there are communities that are progressively making use of the latest results of scientific agriculture, and communities that are almost as antique in their methods as the ancient Hebrews. Also, even in homogeneous districts, like those devoted to cotton-growing or tobacco-culture, there are always individuals who choose or inherit an occupation that supplies a special want to the community, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, and masters of other [105]crafts. Occupations indicate an attempt to gear personal energies to the opportunities or requirements of a physical or social environment.

All these occupations have more than economic value; they are fundamental to social prosperity. It is self-evident that the physician and the school-teacher render community service, but it is not so clear that the farmer who keeps his house well painted and his grounds in order, and who is improving his cattle and increasing the yield of his fields and woodland by scientific methods, and who organizes his neighbors for co-operative endeavor, is doing more than an economic service. Yet it is by means of inspiration, information, and co-operation that the community moves forward, and he who supplies these is a social benefactor.

110. Differentiation of Occupation.—If community life is to continue there must be the producers who farm or mine or manufacture; in rural districts they are farmers, hired laborers, woodcutters, threshers, and herdsmen. In the co-operation of village life there must be the craftsmen and tradesmen who finish and distribute the products that the others have secured, such as the miller, the carpenter, the teamster, and the storekeeper. For comfort and peace in the neighborhood there must be added the physician, the minister, the school-teacher, the justice of the peace, and such public functionaries as postmaster, mail-carrier, stage-driver, constable or sheriff, and other town or county officials. Without specific allotment of lands as on the feudal estate, or distribution of tasks as in a socialistic commonwealth, the community accomplishes a natural division of labor and diversification of industry, supports its own institutions by self-imposed taxes and voluntary contributions, and supplies its quota to the larger State of which it forms a democratic part. In spite of the constant exercise of individual independence and competition, there is at the foundation of every rural community the principle of co-operation and service as the only working formula for human life.

111. Co-operation.—One great advantage of community life over the home is the increased opportunity for [106]co-operation. In new communities families work together to erect buildings, make roads, support schools, and organize and maintain a church. They aid each other in sickness, accident, and distress. Farmers find it profitable to unite for purposes of production, distribution, communication, transportation, and insurance. It may not seem worth while for a single farmer to buy an expensive piece of agricultural machinery for his own use, but it is well worth while for four or five to club together and buy it. The cost of an irrigation plant is much too high for one man, but a community can afford it when it will add materially to the production of all the farms in a district. In a region interested mainly in dairying a co-operative creamery can be made very profitable; in grain-producing sections co-operative elevator service makes possible the storage of grain until the demand increases values; in fruit-raising regions co-operation in selling has made the difference between success and failure. A co-operative telephone company has been the means of supplying several adjacent communities with easy communication. Co-operative banks are a convenient means of securing capital for agricultural use, and co-operative insurance companies have proved serviceable in carrying mutual risks.

The advantages of such co-operation are by no means confined to economic interests. The best result is the increasing realization of mutual dependence and common concern. Co-operation is an antidote to the evils of isolation and independence. A co-operative telephone company may not pay large dividends, and may eventually sell out to a larger corporation, but it has introduced people to one another, brightened circumscribed lives, and taught the people social understanding and sympathy. But aside from all such artificial forms of co-operation, the very custom of providing such common institutions as the school and the church is a valuable form of social service, entirely apart from the specific results that come from the exercises of the schoolroom and the meeting-house.

112. Why Co-operation May Fail.—Many co-operative enterprises fail, and this is not strange. There is always [107]the natural conservatism and individualism of the American people to contend with; there is jealousy of the men who have been elected to responsible offices, and there is lack of experience and good judgment by those who undertake to engineer the active organization. Sometimes the method of organization or financing is faulty. Such enterprises work best among foreigners who have a good opinion of them, and know how to conduct them because they have seen them work well in Europe. Every successful attempt at economic co-operation is a distinct gain for rural community betterment, for upon co-operation depends the success of the efforts being put forth for rural improvement generally.

113. Competition Within the Group.—Co-operation is of greatest value when it includes within it a wholesome amount of individual competition for the sake of general as well as individual gain. Boys' agricultural clubs, organized in the South and West, have raised the standards of corn and tomato production by stimulating a friendly spirit of rivalry among boys, and as a result the fathers of the boys have adopted new and more scientific methods to increase their own production. Agricultural fairs may be made powerful agencies for a similar stimulus. At State and county fairs agricultural colleges and experiment stations find it worth while to exhibit their methods and processes with the results obtained; wide-awake farmers get new ideas, which they try out subsequently at home; young people are encouraged to try for the premiums offered the next year, and steadily the general level of excellence rises throughout the district.


McKeever: Farm Boys and Girls, pages 171-196, 275-305.

Gillette: Rural Sociology, pages 20-31.

"Country Life," Annals of American Academy, pages 58-68.

Kern: Among Country Schools, pages 129-157.

Ford: Co-operation in New England, pages 87-185.

Coulter: Co-operation Among Farmers, pages 3-23.

Herrick: Rural Credits, pages 456-480.




114. Recreation and Culture.—Besides the economic function the community has recreative and cultural functions to perform, and these need recognition and improvement. As the child in the home has a right to time and means for play, so the community, especially the young people, may lay claim to an opportunity for recreation; as the child has the right to learn in the home, so the people of the community should have cultural privileges. These demands are the more imperative, because the city has so much of this sort to offer, and the country community cannot hold its young people unless it provides a reasonable amount of attractions. It needs no particular institution to bring this about, but it needs a new spirit to recognize and enjoy the advantages that are possible even in thinly settled localities. Every opportunity for sociability strengthens just so much a natural instinct, increases the sense of social values, and enlarges the sphere of relationships.

In the community, as in the home, children have the first claim to consideration. The recreative impulse is strong in them. When they graduate from the home into the school they find opportunity for the expression of this impulse through their new associations. On the way to and from school and at recess they have opportunity to indulge their impulses and to use their powers of invention. Among the younger children the desire for muscular activity makes running games of all sorts popular; as boys grow older they imitate the primitive impulse to hit and run, so well provided for in games of ball; girls enjoy their recreation in a quieter way as they grow older, and show a tendency to association in pairs. Associations formed in play are not usually lasting ones, but the playground reveals [109]individual temperament and personal qualities that are likely to determine popularity or unpopularity. These play associations develop qualities of leadership, loyalty, honesty, and co-operation that tend to label a child among his mates with a reputation that he carries into later life.

115. The Gang.—Since play is a natural instinct it is to be expected that children will seek a natural rather than an artificial way of expressing the instinct. Organization at best can only direct activities, giving recognition to the social inclinations of childhood. For example, it is not easy for a school-teacher to organize a boys' society and to direct it in such activities as appeal to him. The boys prefer to choose their own mates and their own chief, and the activities that appeal to them are not the same as those that seem to their elders to be most suitable. Between the ages of ten and sixteen the boy tends to gang life. He may work on the farm all day, but evenings and Sundays, if he is permitted to amuse himself, he joins a gang. Obviously the characteristics of the gang are seen best in the city, but they are not materially different in the country. Hunting and fishing may be enjoyed at odd times of leisure by the boy without companions, but the delights of the swimming-hole can be enjoyed thoroughly only as he has the companionship of other boys, and skating gains in virtue as a sport with the possibility of hockey on the ice. This liking for companionship exhibits itself in the habitual association of boys of a certain district for mutual enjoyment. On every possible opportunity they get together in the woods, pretend they are Indians, hunt, fish, and fight in company, build their own camps and plunder the camps of other gangs, and practise other activities characteristic of the savage age through which they are passing. Gangs exhibit a love of cruelty to those whom they may plague, a fondness for appropriating property which does not belong to them, and if possible provoking chase for the sake of the thrill that comes from the attempt to get away. Group athletics of various sorts are popular. Six out of seven gangs have physical activities as the purpose of their organization. The boys do not [110]necessarily adopt any particular organization or choose a leader; on the contrary, they are a natural group, tacitly acknowledging the leadership of the most masterly and versatile individual, finding their own headquarters and adopting the forms of activity that appeal most to the group, according to the season and the opportunities of the region of country where they belong.

116. Leadership of Boys.—The gang is but one expression of the group instinct. It is often a nursery of bad habits that sometimes lead to crime and degeneracy, but it is capable of being used for the good of boyhood. The gang develops the virtues of loyalty to the group and loyalty to the group principles. It stimulates self-sacrifice and co-operation, honor and courage. These virtues can be cultivated by the man who aspires to boy leadership and directed into channels of usefulness as the boy passes on toward manhood. But there must be a frank recognition of the place of the gang in boy life, and not only a remembrance of one's own boyhood days, but also an appreciation of them. One of the best ways that has been devised for securing adult leadership without loss of the gang spirit and characteristics is the Boy Scout movement. It transforms the unorganized gang into the organized patrol, and affiliates it with other patrols in a wide organization, adopts the natural activities of boys as a part of its programme, and adds others of absorbing interest. Obedience is added to the boy's other virtues, and social education is acquired rapidly.

117. Varieties of Boys' Clubs.—The gang is one of the few natural groups of the community, and should be related to other institutions. It should not be hampered by them, but should receive the encouragement and assistance of home, school, and church. The Boy Scout movement has been associated with the churches; other boys' organizations have been connected with the Sunday-schools; the home and the day-school may well provide resources or quarters for the gang, and recognize its activities. But the gang is not the only organization suited to the boys of a community. There are special interests provided for in [111]more artificial groups, such as athletic, debating, agricultural, or natural history clubs. These attract like-minded individuals from all parts of the community, and help to balance the clan spirit developed by the gang. These clubs may centre in school or meeting-house or have quarters of their own. One provision that is needed for the satisfaction of boy life in the rural community is the field or green where two rival gangs may contend legitimately for supremacy in sport, or clubs from different neighborhoods may test their prowess and arouse local pride and enthusiasm. The green needs little or no equipment, but it gains recognition as the boys' own training-field and serves as a safeguard to the health and morals of the youth of the community. The gang and the green are the proper social institutions of boy life in the rural community.

118. Girls' Clubs.—The instinct of the girl is not the same as that of the boy. She has other interests that require different organization. Her disposition is less active, and she does not so readily form a group organization. She associates with other girls in a set that is less democratic than her brother's gang. It has its rivalries and enmities, but hateful thoughts, angry words, and slighting attitudes take the place of the active warfare of the boys. Girls enjoy clubs that are adapted to their interests. Reading clubs, cooking clubs, sewing clubs, musical organizations, and philanthropic societies are useful forms of neighborhood association, and their activities may be correlated with the work of the home, the school, and the church more easily than those of their brothers.

In the country girls' organizations are very properly based on the interests of the farm, with which they are so closely related. They combine, as their brothers do, on the economic principle, organizing their poultry clubs, preserving clubs, or knitting clubs, but the social purpose is not lost sight of in the particular economic concern. An hour of sociability properly follows an hour of economic discussion or activity. Schoolgirls are very willing to accept the leadership of their teacher in a nature or culture club which will broaden their interests and stimulate their [112]ambitions. One of the organizations that has sprung into existence on the model of the Boy Scout movement is the organization of Camp-Fire Girls. It is designed to meet the demand for companionship in a wholesome, pleasant way, and by its incentives to healthy activity and womanly virtue it helps to build character.

119. Recreation in the Country.—The recreative instinct is not confined to children. For the adult labor is lightened, worries banished, and carking care is less corroding, if now and then an evening of diversion interrupts the monotony of rural life, or a day off is devoted to a picnic or neighborhood frolic. There is the same interest in the country that there is in the city in methods of entertainment that satisfy primitive instincts. The instinct for human society enters into all of them. Other specific causes produce a fondness for the various forms of diversion indulged in. Among uncultured people especially an evening gathering soon proves dull unless there is something to do. Cards occupy the mind and hands and create a mild excitement that banishes troublesome thoughts and anxieties. Dancing breaks up the stiffness of a party, brings the sexes together, and provides the exhilaration of rhythmic motion. Barn frolics at maple-sugar or harvest time accomplish the same end, only less satisfactorily. Musicales and amateur theatricals provide an exhibition of skill, cultivate the æsthetic nature, gratify the dramatic instinct, and furnish opportunity for mutual acquaintance among the people of the community, who meet all too seldom in social gatherings, and at the same time they furnish wholesome entertainment for the community at small expense. The proceeds are used for local advantage, instead of being carried out of town. The passing show and moving pictures are less desirable. They are often cheap and degrading, though the kinetoscope can be made valuable for education.

The out-of-door gatherings that occur when the countryside is not too busy to plan or enjoy them are a helpful means of cultivating a community spirit. Athletic contests on the boys' own field readily become a community [113]affair, with a speech and refreshments afterward, and the award of a prize or pennant to the victorious individual or team. The old-fashioned picnic to lake or woods or hilltop is one of the best means for forming and strengthening friendships and for giving persons of all ages a good time. Friendly contests of various sorts all come into play to add to the pleasure of the day. Fourth of July, Arbor Day, Old Home Week, and other occasions, give opportunity for recreation and the cultivation of neighborhood interests.

120. A Community Centre.—Aside from the natural isolation and lack of energy and social interest among country people, the lack of efficient leadership is the most serious handicap to organized sociability. Added to these is the want of a neighborhood centre both convenient and suitable. A community building, tasteful in architecture and equipped for community use, is a great desideratum, but is not often available. There seems to be no good reason why the schoolhouse should not be such a social centre as the community needs, but most school buildings are not adapted to such use. In the absence of any other provision it is the privilege of the rural church to furnish the opportunity for neighborhood gatherings, and there is a growing conviction that this is one of the opportunities of the church to ally itself to general community interests. The church represents, or should represent, the whole community of men, women, young people, and children. It has all their interests at heart. It makes provision for them in Sunday-school, young people's societies, and other groups. It recognizes the social interests in festivals and sociables. It may usefully add to its functions that of raising the standards of community recreation, if no other proper provision for it exists; it is under obligation to find wholesome substitutes for the abuses that exist in the field of amusement which it commonly condemns.



Curtis: Play and Recreation for the Open Country.

Puffer: The Boy and His Gang.

Boy Scout Handbook; Handbook for Scout Masters.

The Book of the Campfire Girls.

Stern: Neighborhood Entertainments.

Cubberley: Rural Life and Education, pages 117-126.




121. The Complexity of Social Life.—Closely allied to the agencies of recreation are the institutions that promote sociability and incidentally provide means of culture. It is not possible to separate social life into compartments and designate an institution as purely recreational or cultural or religious. There is a blending of interests and of functions in such an organization as the grange or the church, as there is in one individual or group a variety of interests and activities. The whole social system is complex, interwoven with a multitude of separate strands of personal desires and prejudices, group clannishness and conservatism, rival institutions developing friction and continually compelled to find new adjustments. Society in constantly in motion like the sea, its units continually striking against one another in perpetual conflict, and as continually melting into the harmony of a mighty wave breaking against the shore and forming anew to repeat the process. The difference is that social life is on an upward plane, its activities are not mere repetitions of a process, but they result in definite achievement, which in the process of centuries becomes an accumulated asset for the race. The most lasting achievements are the social institutions.

122. The Village and the Country Store.—Of all the social institutions of the rural community, the most important is the village itself. There scattered homesteads find their common centre of attraction; there houses are located nearer together and the spirit of neighborliness develops; there tradesmen and professional persons make their homes and at the same time diversify interests and provide for the wants of the community. The school and the church are often located in the open country, but the village forms [116]the nucleus of social intercourse and there are most of the institutions of the community.

The most primitive among these institutions is the country store. It has economic, social, and educational functions. It supplies goods that cannot be produced in the community, it serves as a mercantile exchange for local produce. It helps to remove the necessity of home manufacture of many articles. On occasion it may include an agency for insurance or real estate; it is frequently the village post-office; it contains the public bulletin-board; often the proprietor undertakes to perform the banking function to the extent of cashing checks. Socially the store serves a useful purpose, for it is the centre to which all the inhabitants come, and from which radiate lines of communication all over the neighborhood. It is a clearing-house for news and gossip, and takes the place of a local press. It was formerly, and to some extent is still, the social club of the men of the community during the long winter evenings. As such it performed in the past an educational function. Boxes, firkins, bales of goods, superannuated chairs, and the end of a counter constituted the sittings, and men of all ages occupied them, as they listened to harangues and joined in the discussions. The group constituted the forum of democracy, where politics were frequently on debate, where public opinion was formed, where conservatism and progressivism fought their battles before they tested conclusions at the ballot-box, where science and religion entered the lists, where local interests were threshed out in the absence of more general excitement and crops and agricultural methods filled in the pauses. In recent years the store circle has degenerated. The better class of habitual members has organized its lodges or found satisfaction in the grange, while the hangers-on at the store, barber-shop, or other loafing-place indulge in small talk on matters of no real concern.

123. The Sewing Circle.—What the country store has done for the men as a means of communication and stimulus, the ladies' aid society or church sewing circle has done for the women. Its opportunities are less frequent, but it [117]provides an outlet for ideas and opinions that without it cannot easily find expression. At the same time it provides active occupation for a good cause, which is more than can be said of the men's forum. When it adds to its exercises a supper to which the other sex is admitted, it performs a yet wider social service.

124. The Grange.—The grange is an institution that includes both sexes and combines the interests of young people with those of their elders. Its primary purpose was to consolidate the common interests of a farming community and to stimulate economic prosperity, but it has included several social features, and in many localities exists merely for social purposes. It is an institution that is well adapted to become a social and educational centre for the rural community. When the child has advanced from the home to the school and, graduating from school, has entered into the adult life of the community, the grange serves as a training-school for civic service. In the grange-room, in company with his like-minded parents and friends in the community, he learns how to hold his own in debate in parliamentary fashion, he discusses improved agriculture and listens to lectures from masters of the science, he gains literary and historical knowledge, and from time to time he participates in the social diversions that take place under grange auspices. Music enlivens the meetings, and occasionally a feast is spread or an entertainment elaborated. The Farmers' Union is a similar organization, originating in the South in 1902.

Such rural interests as these have come into existence spontaneously and continue to provide social centres of community life because other institutions do not satisfy. The home, the school, and the church are often spoken of as the essential institutions of the American community, but they do not at best perform all the functions of neighborhood life. The boys' gang, the circle of men about the stove at the corner grocery, the women's sewing circle or club, and the grange, each in its own way performs a necessary part of the group activities, and deserves recognition among the institutions that are worth while. It is scarcely [118]necessary to note that they have their evils, but these are not of the nature of the institution. As the gang can be guided to worthy ends, so the energies of the store club and the sewing circle can be turned into channels of usefulness and low talk and scandal-mongering abolished. As for the grange, it is capable of becoming the most valuable social centre of the community, if it maintains the ideals of its existence and co-operates heartily with other social institutions of worth, like the church.

125. Farmers' Institutes.—Another type of organization exists which can hardly be called institutional, but which performs a useful community service. As illustrations may be mentioned the farmers' club, the farmers' institute, and the Chautauqua movement. These are organizations or movements for stimulating and broadening the interests of farm regions. They bring together the farmers and their families, sometimes from several neighborhoods and for several days, for the consideration of agricultural problems and for entertainment and mutual acquaintance. They are able to attract speakers from the State agricultural college or board, and even from national halls, and they become a valuable clearing-house of ideas and experience. They serve much the same purpose as a church or teachers' convention, and are restricted to a limited number of persons. Farmers' institutes have become a regular part of the State system of agricultural education throughout the country, and a large staff of lecturers and demonstrators exists for local instruction. The particular interests of women and young people are receiving recognition in institutes of their own in connection with the larger gatherings. The expense of such institutes is met by the government. Their success is, of course, dependent on the attendance and intelligent interest of the farm people, who gain greatly in inspiration and knowledge from contact with one another and from the experts to whom they listen. The institutes prove the value of association for the enrichment of individual and family life by means of suggestion, communication, and concerted activity.



Buck: The Granger Movement.

Butterfield: Chapters in Rural Progress, pages 104-120, 136-161.

Carney: Country Life and the Country School, pages 90-107.

Gillette: Rural Sociology, pages 208-213.

Cubberley: Rural Life and Education, pages 117-159.




126. The School as a Social Institution.—There is one institution in every American community that stands as the gateway into the promised land of a richer life. This is the school. It supplements home training and prepares for the broader experiences of community existence. Into it goes the raw material of the bodies and minds of the children, and out of it comes the product of years of education for the making or marring of the children of the community. The school of the present is of two types. One is the relic of an earlier time, with few changes in equipment, organization, or function; it has not shared in the process of evolution enjoyed by certain other institutions of society. The other type is progressive. It has been continually finding adjustment to its environment, fitting itself to meet local needs, and is therefore abreast of the times in educational science. The demand of the age is that the progressive school keep advancing, and as fast as possible the backward school work up to the standard of efficiency.

It is a sociological principle that every social institution approximates to the standards of the community as a whole. If community life is static, school and church stay in the ruts; if it is retrograding, they are losing ground; if it is progressive, they gradually show improvement. On the other hand, the community frequently feels external stimulus, first through one of its institutions, so that the institution becomes a means of betterment. Recent years furnish examples of a new impulse generated in the neighborhood by a teacher or a minister who enters the locality with new ideas and unquenchable zeal.

127. Three Fundamental Principles of Education.—There are three fundamental principles that ought to have [121]recognition in every school. The first of these is the principle that education is to be social. The pupil has to learn how to live in the community. In the home he becomes socialized so far as to learn how to get along with his own relatives and intimates, but the school teaches him how to deal with all sorts of people. He gets acquainted with his environment, both social and physical. What kind of people are living in the homes of the neighborhood? What are their characteristics, their ideals, their failings? What are their occupations, their race or nationality, their measure of comfort, poverty, or wealth? How are they hindered or helped by their natural surroundings, and have they easy means of communication and transit with the outside world? What are the principles that govern social intercourse, and how can the pupil learn to put them into practice? How is he to reconcile his own individual rights with his social obligations? These are fundamental questions that deserve careful answer, and that must be made a part of the school curriculum if the community is to enjoy social health. It matters little how such subjects are named in any course of study, but it is essential that the principles of social living should be taught under some title.

A second principle of education is that it should be vocational. The school children, after graduation, must make their own way in the world. Every normal youth looks forward in anticipation to the time when he will be earning his own support and the support of a family of his own. Every normal girl hopes to be mistress of a home of her own. There are certain things that they need to know if they are to make a success and to build happy homes. Their first business is to know how to make a home. Naturally they want to know the story of the family as a social institution, how the home is purchased or rented, the essentials of a good home, both in its equipment and in the spirit that animates it, the duties and rights of every member of the family, and the relations of the family to the community. The question arises: How may the home-maker provide for the support of the family? What are [122]the available occupations, and how by manual and mental training may he equip himself for usefulness? How may the home-keeper do her part to make the home attractive and comfortable by a study of domestic science and home-management? Obviously, the curriculum should have a place for such studies as these that are so essential to peace and happiness and comfort in the home.

A third principle is that education is to be cultural. Social and vocational knowledge are essential, broad culture of the mind is highly desirable. No citizen of the United States is expected to grow to maturity ignorant of the simple arts of reading or spelling correctly, writing a fair hand, and solving correctly the simple problems of arithmetic. Beyond this many schools provide a smattering of æsthetic training through music and drawing. These are subjects of study in the elementary schools. But culture involves more than these. An appreciation of literature, of the meaning and value of history, of the importance of science in the modern world, of the life of nations and races outside of our own country, of right thinking and right conduct with reference to all our individual relations, constitutes for all persons a mental training that is almost indispensable. To acquire this cultural education requires time and the elimination of the less valuable from the accepted course of study. It is a most wholesome tendency that is prolonging the terms and the years of compulsory education if that education is based on the right principles, and that is discussing the possibility, first, of using part of the long summer vacation to supplement the work of the present school year, and, secondly, of giving to the young people of every State a free university education. It is never to be forgotten that culture may and should go on through life, but that will not occur unless habits of study are formed in early years, and the school years will always remain the golden opportunity for an education.

128. Education as It Is.—On these fundamental principles every educational system should be built. Actual education falls far short of the standard. This standard cannot be reached without proper educational ideals, expert [123]teaching, and adequate equipment. The ideal has been narrow. Stress is put upon one type of education. In the past it has been cultural above the lower grades, and, because it has been almost exclusively so, more than half the pupils have dropped out of school before entering high school. In recent years there has been a new emphasis on practical training, and vocational courses have tended to crowd out some of the cultural courses. The social education which is most important of all has been incidental or omitted altogether. Public opinion needs to be educated to the point of understanding that all three types of training are imperatively needed.

There is a serious difficulty, however, in the way of a supply of teachers for this broad education. It is necessary to extend reform among the normal schools, but this can take place only after they have felt the demand from the grades. Another difficulty is the expense of providing the necessary equipment for vocational education. This does not prevent the introduction of social teaching or a proper attention to culture, but courses in manual training and domestic science usually cost more than most school boards are willing to meet. This is not an insurmountable obstacle, for cheap appliances are in the market and better school boards can be elected when the people want them.

129. Wanted—a Better Rural Education.—The school in the rural community has its own peculiar weaknesses. First among these weaknesses is the fact that education is not in terms of rural experience. It is an accepted educational principle of instruction to begin with that which is simple and familiar, and to work out to that which is complex and more remote. On that principle the rural school should make use of local geography, of rural material in arithmetic, of literature and music with a rural flavor, of nature study with drawings from nature. The opposite has been the case, with the result that the child appreciates neither his surroundings nor his opportunities, but looks upon them as something to be avoided for the more important urban life, with whose activities he has become familiar through his daily tasks.

[124]A second weakness is that rural education omits so much of importance to the child who must make his living in the country. To discuss rural conditions in a natural and systematic way, beginning with the family and working out into the social life of the community; to study the economic side of life first on the farm and then in the neighborhood, getting hold of the underlying principles of agriculture, becoming familiar with the action of various soils and crops and the best methods of cultivation and protection from harm, to prepare by a few simple lessons in household science for the responsibility of the home, is to provide the bases of success and happiness for the boys and girls of the country. Rural education, therefore, needs redirection.

130. The Quality of Teaching.—The child in the country has a right to as good instruction as the city child, but because of the poverty and penuriousness of school districts and the maintenance of too many small schools, rural communities pay small salaries and cannot command good teaching. There are thousands of schools scattered over the country with less than ten pupils in attendance, housed in cheap, unattractive buildings, with teachers who have had no normal-school training, and who have no enthusiasm for the work they have to do. They may hear twenty or more classes recite on numerous subjects in the course of a day, but there is no stimulus to teacher or pupil, and school hours provide little more than a conventional method for passing the time. In such communities as these there is rarely any efficient superintendence of teaching by a paid supervisor, and the school board is unqualified to judge on any other basis than the cost of schooling for a limited number of weeks.

The small district school has the effect of strengthening the isolation that is the bane of the country regions. It continues to exist because every farmer wants the school near by for the convenience of his own family. The history of the "little red schoolhouse" throws a glamour of romance about the district headquarters, but in actual experience the district school has outlived its usefulness. There is a strong movement to consolidate district schools [125]and at some conveniently central point, with attractive and ample grounds, to build, equip, and man a school adequate to the needs of the community. Experience shows that the expense need be no greater, because better teachers can be secured for a given expenditure when fewer are needed, and with a greater number of scholars there may be a regular system of grading and classes large enough to arouse enthusiasm and ambition. The district school operates on the principle of division of labor in educational production, but it does not enjoy the benefits of co-operation or combination for efficiency, while the consolidated school secures these advantages and at the same time a better division of labor through the grades. Rural education needs reorganization.

131. A Discouraging Environment.—Too many a rural community, like old China, has been facing the past. It has lacked courage and ambition. The atmosphere has been one of gloom and discouragement. This community temper appears in the social groups; it is felt in the home, and it is present in the school. It has been typical of whole sections of rural country. Dilapidated school buildings, plain and unkempt in appearance and cheap in construction, have been set in the midst of barren surroundings, unshaded by trees and unadorned with shrubs, without walks or drives to the entrance, and without even a flagpole as an evidence of patriotic enthusiasm. Inside the building there is insufficient light and ventilation, and the old-fashioned furniture is ill adapted to the needs of the pupils. The whole structure is almost devoid of the conveniences and modern devices for making school life either comfortable or worth while. In such an environment there is none of the stimulus that the school should furnish. The best pupil, who might respond quickly to stimulus, tends to sink to the level of the meanest, the mental horizon, cramped at home, is hardly broadened during school hours, and the main purpose for the existence of the institution is not achieved.



Fiske: The Challenge of the Country, pages 151-170.

Foght: The American Rural School, pages 154-253.

Carney: Country Life and the Country School, pages 133-301.

Kern: Among Country Schools.

Gillette: Rural Sociology, pages 233-263.

Bryan: Poems of Country Life.




132. Nature Study in the New Rural School.—In striking contrast to such a defective rural institution as has been presented is the new rural school and the country-life movement of which it is a vital part. The first step in the new education is a growing recognition of the function of the school to relate its courses of study and its activities to the daily experience of the pupil. The background of country life is nature; therefore nature study is fundamental in the new curriculum. Careful observation of natural objects comes first, until the child is able to identify bird and bee and flower. To knowledge is added appreciation. The beauty of fern and leaf, of brookside and hillside, of star-dotted and cloud-dappled sky, is not appreciated by mere observation, but waits on the education of the mind. This is part of the task of the teacher. The economic use of natural objects and natural forces is secondary, and should remain so, but the new education takes the knowledge which has been gained by observation and the enthusiasm which has been distilled through appreciation, and applies them to the social need. Agriculture comes to seem not only an occupation for economic ends, but a vocation for social welfare also. With all the rest there is a moral and religious value in nature study. Nature is pre-eminently under the reign of law; obedience to that law, adjustment to the inexorable demands of nature, are essential to nature's children. No more wholesome moral lesson than this can be taught to the present generation of children. Nature ministers also to the spiritual. Power, order, beauty, intelligence speak through the language of the natural world to the human soul, and the thoughtful child can be led to see through nature to nature's [128]God. Such a God is not a theory; in nature the divine presence is self-evident.

All theory in the new rural school is based on experimentation. Together the new teacher and the pupils beautify the grounds and the interior of the school building; they plan and make gardens and try all sorts of gardening experiments; they grow the plants that they study, and, best of all, they see the process of growth; from the use of soil and seed and proper care they learn lessons in practical agriculture that give satisfaction to all employed as book studies alone never could, and they make possible a far better type of agriculture when the pupils have fields of their own. Nor is it necessary for pupils to wait for their maturity, for many a lesson learned at school and demonstrated in the neighborhood is promptly applied on the neighboring farms.

133. The Study of the Individual.—A second subject of study in the new rural schools is the individual. Nature study is essential to a rural school, but "the noblest study of mankind is man." Though it is highly important that the individual should regard social responsibility as out-weighing his own rights, it would be unfortunate if the importance of the individual were ever overlooked. The nature of the physical self, the requirement of diet and hygiene, the moral virtues that belong to noble manhood and womanhood, the possible self-development in the midst of the rural environment that is the pupil's natural habitat are among the worthy subjects of patient and serious study through the grades. Neither physiology, psychology, nor ethics need be taught as such, but the elementary principles that enter into all of them belong among the mental assets of every individual.

134. Rural Social Science.—In the same way it is not necessary and perhaps may not be advisable to teach rural sociology or economics by name, even in the high school. With the extension of the curriculum to include agriculture, there is need of some consideration of the principles of the ownership and use of land, farm management, and marketing. Practical instruction in accounts, manual training, [129]and domestic science find place in the new school. Fully as important as these is it to explain the social relations that properly exist in the home, the school, and the neighborhood, to show the mutual dependence of all upon one another, and to point out the advantages of co-operation over a prideful individualism and frequent social friction. Along with these relationships, or supplementary to them, belong the larger relations of country and town and the reciprocal service that each can render to the other, the characteristics and tendencies of social life in both types of community, and the effects of the changes that are taking place in methods of doing business and in the nature and characteristics of the people of either community. Following these topics come the problems of rural socialization through such agencies as the school, the grange, and the church, and the application of the principles already learned in a study of social relations.

135. Improvement in Economy and Efficiency.—While the curriculum of the schools is being fitted to the needs of the community, it is desirable that there should be improvement of economy and efficiency in the whole system of education. This is being accomplished partly by better supervision and teaching, but also by a consolidation of schools which makes possible better grading, an enlarged curriculum, improved teaching, and a deeper interest among the pupils. But one of the best results that come from school consolidation is to the community itself. A consolidated school means a larger and better-equipped building. It often has a large assembly hall, a library, and an agricultural laboratory. The new school has within it tremendous potencies. It may become under proper direction an educational centre for people of all ages and degrees of attainment. Continuation schools for adults, especially the young and middle-aged people, who were born too soon to enjoy the advantages of the new education, are possible in the late autumn and winter. Popular lectures and demonstrations on subjects of common concern and entertainments based on rural interests find place at this centre. Mixed occasionally with a rural programme belongs instruction in wider social relations and world affairs.

[130]136. The Teacher a Community Leader.—With the consolidated school comes the well-trained teacher, and such a teacher deserves new recognition as a community leader. In Europe and in some parts of rural America the teacher has a permanent home near the schoolhouse, as a minister has a parsonage near the meeting-house. Such a teacher has an interest in community welfare, and a willingness to aid in community betterment. Whether man or woman, he becomes naturally a community leader, and with the backing of public sentiment and adequate support a distinct community asset. Such a teacher is more than a school instructor. He becomes a social educator of the people by interpreting to them their community life; he becomes a social inspirer to hope, ambition, and courage as he unfolds possible social ideals; he becomes a guide to a new prosperity as he defines the methods and principles on which other communities have worked out their own local successes. Through the medium of the teacher the neighborhood may be brought into vital contact with other communities in a district or whole county, and may be brought together to consider their common interests and to try experiments in co-operation, first for educational purposes and then for general community prosperity.

At first the rural teacher in many localities will have enough to do with securing proper accommodations for the children in school, for good buildings frequently wait for a teacher who has the courage to demand and persist in getting them; but the larger work for the community is only second in importance and adds greatly to the responsiveness of the older people to the suggestions of the teacher. One great weakness in the past has been the short term of service of the average teacher. It takes time to accomplish changes in a conservative community, and the new education will be successful only as the new teacher becomes a comparative fixture. To build oneself into the life of a rural community as does the physician, and to ennoble it with new ideas and higher ideals, is a missionary service that can hardly be surpassed at the present time in America.

137. Higher Education.—The normal school, the rural academy or county high school, and the college have their [131]part in rural education. It rests with the normal school to supply the trained teacher and the normal schools rapidly are meeting the demands of the present situation. Training classes for rural teachers have been established in high schools or academies in twelve or more States. More and more these higher schools are relating their courses of study to the rural life in which so many of them are placed.

138. What the University Can Do.—An increasing number of young people from the country are going to college. The college was founded on the principle of educating American youth in a higher culture than local elementary schools could provide. It is the function of the college and the university to open wider vistas for the individual mind than is otherwise possible, to do on an infinitely larger scale what the teacher is attempting in the elementary grades. These higher schools are passing through a humanizing process; they are making more of the social sciences and the art of living well; and they are allying themselves with practical life. In the case of established institutions with traditions, and often with trustees and alumni of conservative tastes and tendencies, there are difficulties in the way of their rapid adaptation to vocational needs. It is probably best that a certain class of them should stand primarily for intellectual culture, as technical and agricultural schools stand for their specialties, but the true university should be representative of all the social interests of all the people in the State.

An illustration of what the university can do in social service for a whole State occurs in the recent history of the University of Wisconsin. It conceived its function to be not solely to educate students who came for the full university course. It considered the needs of the people of the State, and it planned to provide information and intellectual stimulus for as wide a circle as possible. It provided correspondence courses. It sent out a corps of instructors to carry on extension courses. It made affiliations with other State institutions. It reached all classes of the people and touched all their social interests. It became especially useful to the farmers. In spite of scepticism on the part [132]of the people and some of the university officers, those who had faith in the wider usefulness of the university pushed their plan until they succeeded in organizing a short winter course in agriculture for farmers' sons and then for the older farmers, branched out into domestic courses for the women, and even made provision for the interests of the boys and girls. Reaching out still further, the university organized farmers' courses in connection with the county agricultural schools, established experiment stations, and encouraged the boys to enter local contests for agricultural prizes. By these means the university has become widely popular and has been exceedingly beneficial to the people of the State.

139. The Public Library.—While the school stands out as the leading educational institution of the rural community, it is by no means the sole agency of culture. Alongside it is the library. Home libraries in the country rarely contain books of value, either culturally or for practical purposes. Circulating libraries of fiction are little better. School libraries and village libraries that contain well-selected literature are to be included among the desiderata of every countryside. A few of the great books of all time belong there, a small collection of current literature, including periodicals, and an abundant literature on country life in all its phases. It is the function of the library to instruct the people what to read and how to read by supplying book lists and book exhibits, and by demonstrating occasionally through the school or the church how books may be read to get the most out of them. In the days before public libraries were common in this country, library associations were formed to secure good literature. Such associations are still useful in small communities that find it impossible to sustain a public library, and they serve as a medium for securing from the State a travelling library, which has the special advantage of frequent substitution of books. Or the school library may be the nucleus of a literary collection for the whole community—advantageously so if the school building is kept open as a community centre.

[133]140. Reading Circles and Musical Clubs.—The value of the library to the public consists, of course, not in the presence of books on the shelves, but in their use. Such use is encouraged by the existence of literary or art clubs and reading circles. They supply the twofold want of companionship and culture. The proper basis of association is similarity of interests. Local history or geology, nature study, current public events in State or nation, art in some of its phases, or the literature of a particular country or period, may be the special consideration of a club or reading circle; in every case the library is the laboratory of investigation. One of the conspicuously successful organizations of the last thirty years, showing how organization grows out of social need, is the Chautauqua movement. Starting as an undertaking in Sunday-school extension by means of a summer assembly and local reading circles, in which the study of history, literature, and science was added to Bible study, the movement has grown, until it is represented by a thousand summer institutes, with numerous popular lectures and entertainments, and it is one of the most useful educational agencies anywhere in the United States.

Every community is interested in music. Music has a place on every programme, whether of church, school, or public assembly. A musical club is one of the effective types of organization for those who are like-minded in country or town. There are two varieties of organization, the first of persons who join for the pleasure that comes from agreeable society, the second of those who enter the organization for the musical culture to be obtained. Whether for diversion or study, a musical club is well worth while. Under the influence of music antagonisms soften, moroseness disappears, and sociability and good cheer take their place. The old-fashioned singing-school was one of the most popular of local social institutions; something is needed to fill its place. A club or band for the serious study of instrumental music not only gives culture to individuals, but is also an asset of increasing value to a church or community.

[134]141. Woman's Clubs.—These have become so common that they need no special description, but as a social phenomenon they have their significance. They mark a new era in the emancipation of ideas; they are indicative of a new interest and ambition, and they are training-schools for future citizenship. They are of special value because of the wide areas of human interest that are brought within scope of discussion. For rural women they are a great boon, and while they have been most numerous in the larger centres, they may easily become a universal stimulus and guide to higher culture everywhere. In the absence of a grange they may serve as a centre of farm interests, and discussion may be made practical by the application of acquired knowledge to local problems, but their great value is in broadening the women's horizon of thought and interest beyond their own affairs. If rural men would organize local associations or brotherhoods for similar assembly and discussion of State and national interests they could multiply many times the benefits that come from the associations and discussions that occur on special days of political rally and voting. The rural mind needs frequent stimulus, and it needs frequent association with many minds. For this reason the cultural function is to be provided for by a method of congregation and organization approved by experience, leadership is to be provided and occasional stimulus applied, and life is to be enriched at many points. It is for the people themselves to carry on such enterprises, but the initiation of them often comes from outside. Usually, perhaps, the number of people locally who have a real desire for culture are few, but it is through the training of these few that judicious, capable leaders of the community are to be obtained.



Hart: Educational Resources of Village and Rural Communities, pages 197-277.

Cubberley: Rural Life and Education, pages 161-347.

Carney: Country Life and the Country School, pages 336-340.

Davis: Agricultural Education in the Public Schools.

Eggleston and Bruére: The Work of the Rural School, pages 193-223.

Howe: Wisconsin: an Experiment in Democracy, pages 140-182.

Country Life, pages 200-210.

Foght: The American Rural School, pages 254-281.




142. The Necessity of Government.—Institutions of recreation and culture are in most cases the voluntary creation of local groups of individuals, except as the state has adopted a system of compulsory education. Government may be self-imposed or fixed by external authority, in any case it cannot be escaped. It can be changed in form and efficiency; it depends for its worth upon standards of public opinion; but it cannot cease to exist. As the activity of the child needs to be regulated by parental control in the home and by the discipline of the teacher in the school, so the activity of the people in the community needs to be regulated by the authority of government. Self-control on the part of each individual or the existence of custom or public opinion without an executive agency for the enforcement of the social will, is not sufficient to safeguard and promote the interests of all. Government has everywhere been necessary.

143. The Reign of Law.—The existence of regulation in the community is continually evident. The child comes into relation to law when he is sent to school to conform to the law of compulsory education. He goes to school along a road built and maintained by law, takes his place in a school building provided by a board of education or school committee that executes the law, and accepts the instruction of a teacher who is employed and paid according to the law. His hours of schooling and the length of terms and vacations are determined by the same authority. During his periods of recreation he is still under the reign of law, for game laws regulate the times when he may or may not hunt and fish. When he grows older and assumes the rights of citizenship he must bear his part of the burdens of society. He has the right to vote as one of the [137]lawmakers of the land, but he is not thereby free to cast off the restraints of law. He must pay his proportion of the taxes that sustain the government that binds him, local, State, and federal taxes. He must perform the public duty of sitting on a jury or administering civic office if he is summoned thereto. Even in his own domicile, though he be householder and head of a family, he may not injure the public health or morals by nuisances on his own premises, his financial obligations to creditors are secured against him by law, even the possession of his acres is made certain only by public record. It makes no difference whether the legal restrictions under which he lives are local or national, they are all a part of the system for which he and his neighbors are responsible, and which as citizens they are under obligation to maintain.

144. Political Terms.—It is important to understand and use correctly certain terms which occur in this connection. The state is the people organized for the purpose of exercising the authority of social control. In its sociological sense it is not restricted to a large or small area, but in political parlance it is used with reference to a large district which possesses a certain degree of authority over all the people, as the State of New York, or the sovereign state of Great Britain. Government is the institution that functions for social control in accordance with the will of the people or of an individual to whose authority they submit. Politics is the science and art of government, and includes statesmanship as its highest type and the manipulation of party machinery as its lowest type. Law is the body of social regulations administered by government ostensibly for the public good. Each of these may be and in the past has been prostituted for private advantage. In the state one man or a small group has seized and held the sovereign power through the force of personal ascendancy or the prestige of birth or wealth, and has used it for himself, as history testifies by numerous examples. The forms of government in many cases have not been well adapted to the functions that they were designed to perform. The despotic administrative agencies that were overthrown by [138]the French Revolution were ill-adapted to the governmental needs of the lower classes. Much of the governmental machinery of the American republic has not matched the constitutional forms that were originally provided, and the Constitution has had to be stretched or amended if the government of the founders of the republic was not to be revolutionized. So law and politics have had to be reorganized, revised, and reinterpreted to fit into the social need. Law is a conservative factor in progress, but it adapts itself of necessity to the demands of equity.

145. The Will of the People.—On the continent of Europe rural government is arranged usually by the central authority of the nation; in America it is more independent of national control. On this side of the water the colonial governments often interfered little with local freedom, and after the Revolution the people fashioned their own national organization, and in giving it certain powers jealously guarded their own local privileges. They were willing to sacrifice a general lawmaking power and grudgingly to permit the nation to have executive and judicial authority, but they retained the management of local affairs, including the raising and expenditure of direct taxes. Local government, therefore, has continued to reflect the mind of the community, a mind occasionally swayed by emotional impulse, but usually controlled by a love of order, and by an Anglo-Saxon pride in self-restraint. The will of the people has made the government and sanctions its actions. It may be that the will is not fixed or united enough to force itself effectually upon a set of public officials, and may await reform or revolution to become forceful, yet in the last resort and in the long run the will of the people prevails. By the provisions of a democratic constitution judgment is frequently passed by the people upon the administration of government, and it is within their power to change the administrative policy or to reject the agents of government whom they have previously elected. Locally they have the advantage of knowing all candidates for office. The efficiency of rural government depends much on its revenue, and farmers are reluctant to [139]increase the tax rate; slowly they are learning the value of good roads and good schools.

146. The Ancient History of the Community.—The government of the rural community has a history of its own, as has the community itself. This government gradually fits itself to meet local needs, but it is slow to put away the survivals of earlier forms and customs that have outlived their usefulness. The history of the community goes back to primitive times, when the clan group recognized common interests and acknowledged the leadership of the chief or head man. Custom was the law of the clan, and its older members assisted the chief in interpreting custom. Government in the community developed in two ways, one along the path of centralization of authority, the other in the growth of democracy. One tendency was to attach an undue importance to ancient custom, and to throw about it a veil of sanctity by connecting it with religion. Such a community in its conservatism came to possess in time a static civilization, but it lacked virility and commonly fell under the control of a neighboring energetic community or prince. This is the usual history of the Oriental community. The other tendency was to adapt local law and organization to changing circumstances, and to make use of the abilities of all the members of the community, to give them a voice in the local assembly, and a right to hold public office. Such progressive communities were the city states of Greece, the republic of Rome, and the rural communities of the barbarian Germans before they settled in the Roman Empire. When the Greek communities became decadent they fell under foreign dominion; Rome imperialized the republic, but never forgot how to rule well in her municipalities; the Germans passed on their democratic ways to the English, and from that source they were brought to America.

147. Two Types of Rural Government.—In America there have been two types of rural government growing out of the manner of original settlement. In New England the colonists settled near together in villages grouped about the meeting-house. One or more villages constituted a town [140]for purposes of government. In these small districts it was possible for all the citizens to meet frequently, and in an annual assembly the voters of the community elected their officers and adopted the necessary local regulations. Long custom transplanted oversea had kept a close connection between church and state, and until the new American principle of separation was universally adopted, the annual town meeting in Massachusetts was a parish meeting, in which the community voted with reference to the needs of the church as well as of the state. In the South community life was less closely knit, and town meetings were not in vogue. The parish held its vestry meetings for the transaction of ecclesiastical business, for episcopacy was the established church; overseers of the poor were elected at the same meetings. There were county assemblies for social and judicial purposes, but in each a few prominent people in the neighborhood managed affairs and perpetuated their privileges, as among the landed gentry of England. It was in these ways that popular government continued along the path of material and social progress in the North, while in the South a plantation aristocracy conservatively maintained its colonial ideas and institutions, including slavery.

With wider settlement there was an extension of these sectional differences, except near the border of both, where a blending of the two took place to some extent. County organization was necessary for a time, while the country was thinly settled, but neighborhoods organized as school districts, and by a natural process the school district became the nucleus of a township government, at first for school purposes and later for the self-government of the whole community. In some cases, as in Illinois, it was made optional with the people of a county whether they would organize a township government or not, but wherever the two systems entered into comparison and competition the township government proved the more popular. As long as pure democracy remains there must be a small local unit of government, and the New England town meeting seems wonderfully well adapted to the purpose of [141]self-government. The recent tendency to extend democracy in the form of political primaries and the referendum is a stimulus to such organization, and it may be expected that the town system will continue to extend, even in the South.

148. Town and County Officials.—The town meeting is held in a public building. In colonial days the close connection between church and state made it proper that the meeting should be in the meeting-house; in the West, where the school was the nucleus of local organization, the schoolhouse was the natural voting place. In present-day New England even a small village has its town house, containing a large hall, which serves for town meetings and for community assemblies for various social purposes. In the town meeting the administrative officers, called selectmen, are chosen annually, and minor officers, including clerk, treasurer, constables, and school committee; there the community taxes itself for the salaries of its officials, for the support of the town poor, for the maintenance of highways, and for such modern improvements as street lights and a public library. Personal ability counts for more than party allegiance, though each political party usually puts its candidates in the field. An important function of the local voters is the decision under the local-option system that prevails in the East, as to whether the sale of intoxicating liquors shall be licensed for the ensuing year; under an increasing referendum policy the acts of the State legislature are frequently submitted for review to the local voters.

Where the town system does not exist or is part of a larger county, officers are elected for more extended responsibility. The functions of county officers are mainly judicial. Among the county officers are the sheriff elected by the people to preserve order and justice throughout the region, the coroner whose duty has been to investigate sudden death or disaster, and to hold an inquest to determine the origin of crime if it existed. The county commissioners or supervisors are executive officers, corresponding to the selectmen of the town; the clerk and treasurer of the county have duties similar to the town officers with those titles.

[142]149. Political Relations and Responsibilities.—The local community, alike under township and county government, is a part of a larger political unit, and so has relations with and responsibilities to the greater State. The town meeting may legislate on such matters as the erection of a new schoolhouse or the building of a town highway, but it cannot locate the post-office or change the location of a State or county road. It may make its local taxes large or small, but it cannot increase or diminish the amount of the State tax or regulate the national tariff. The townsman lives under the jurisdiction of a law that is made by his representatives in the State legislature or the national Congress, and he is tried and punished for the infraction of law in a county, State, or national court. As a citizen of these larger political units he may vote for county, State, and national officials, and may himself aspire to the highest office in the gift of his countrymen.

150. Political Standards.—To a foreigner such a system of government may seem exceedingly complex, but by it self-government is preserved to the people of the nation, and a good degree of efficiency is maintained. There are problems of social control that need study and that produce various experiments in one State or another before they are widely adopted; there is corruption of party politics with unscrupulous methods and machinery that is too well oiled with "tainted" money; but local government averages up to the level of the intelligence and morals of the community. If the schoolhouse is an efficient centre for the proper training of boys and girls to understand their social relations and civic responsibilities, and if the meeting-house is an efficient centre for the discussion of social ethics and a religion that moves on the plane of earth as well as heaven, then the town house will give a good account of itself in intelligent voting and clean political methods. If the school-teacher and the minister have won for themselves positions of community leadership, and are educators of a forceful public opinion, and if the community is sufficiently in touch with the best constructive forces in the national political arena to feel their stimulus, the political type [143]locally is not likely to be very low. A self-governing people will always have as good a government as it wants, and if the government is not what it should be, the will of the people has not been well educated.


Fairlie: Local Government in Counties, Towns, and Villages.

Fiske: Civil Government in the United States, pages 34-95.

Henderson: Social Elements, pages 292-317.

Hart: Educational Resources of Village and Rural Communities, pages 92-105.

Cooley: Social Organization, pages 402-410.




151. Health and Beauty in the Community.—Rural government formerly limited its range of activity to political and economic concerns. The individualism of Americans resented the interference of government in other matters. If property was made secure and taxed judiciously for the maintenance of public institutions, the duty of government was accomplished. The individual man was prepared to assume all further responsibility for himself and family. Such matters as the health of a rural community and its æsthetic appearance were left to individual initiative and generally were neglected. On many occasions the housewife showed her sympathy and kindliness by nursing a sick neighbor, but the members of the community had little appreciation of the seriousness of contagion and infection, no knowledge of germs, and small thought of preventive measures. The appearance of their buildings and grounds was nobody's business but their own. They had no conception of the social obligation of each for all and of all for each. The result was an unnecessary amount of illness, especially of tuberculosis and typhoid fever, because of insanitary buildings and grounds, and a general air of shabbiness and neglect that pervaded many communities. It was not that the people lacked the æsthetic sense, but it had not been trained, and in the struggle for the subjugation of a new continent all such minor considerations must give way to the satisfaction of elemental wants.

Slowly it is becoming understood that health and beauty are matters that demand public attention and regulation. Good fortune and happiness are not purely economic and political concerns. Well-kept roads, clean and well-planned public buildings, sanitary farm structures, properly drained [145]farm lands, and pure drinking water may not add to the number of bushels an acre, but they prolong life and add to its comfort and satisfaction.

When it seems no longer strange to bother about health conditions, it will be relatively easy to give attention to rural æsthetics. If a schoolhouse or a meeting-house is to be erected, it will give greater satisfaction to the community if the principles of good architecture are observed and the building is set in the midst of trees and shrubbery and well-kept lawn. With such an object-lesson, the people of the community will presently contrast their own property with that of the public, the imitative impulse will begin to work, and individuals will begin to make improvements as leisure permits. There are villages that are ugly scars on a landscape which nature intended should be beautiful. With misdirected energy, farmers have destroyed the wild beauty of the fence corners and roadsides, mowing down the weeds and clearing out the brush and vines in an effort to make practical improvements, while with curious oversight they have permitted the weeds to grow in the paths and the grass to lengthen in the yard. Many a farm in rural communities has untidy refuse heaps, tottering outbuildings, rusting machinery, and general litter that reveal the absence of all sense of beauty or even neatness, yet the farmer and his wife may be thrifty, hard-working people, and scrupulously particular indoors. Their minds have not been sensitized to outdoor beauty and hideousness. They forget that nature is æsthetic; they live in the midst of her beauty, but their eyes are dim and their ears are dull, and it is difficult to instruct them. Happily, recent years have brought with them a new sense of the possibilities of rural beauty. Children are learning to appreciate it in the surroundings of the schoolhouse and the tasteful decorations of its interior; their elders are buying lawn-mowers and painting their fences, and America may yet rival in attractiveness the fair countryside of old England.

152. Is the Town Healthier than the Country?—It has been commonly believed that country people are healthier than townspeople. Their life in the open, with plenty of [146]exercise and hard work, toughens fibre and strengthens the body to resist disease. It has also been supposed that the city, with its crowded quarters, vitiated air, and communicable diseases, has a much larger death-rate. It is true that city life is more dangerous to health than a country existence if no health precautions are taken, but city ordinances commonly regulate community health, while in the country there is greater license. Exposure gives birth to colds and coughs in the country; these are treated with inadequate home remedies, because physicians are inconveniently distant or expensive, and chronic diseases fasten themselves upon the individual. Ignorance of hygienic principles, absence of bathrooms, poor ventilation, unscreened doors and windows, and impure water and milk are among the causes of disease.

There is as much need of pure air, pure water, and pure food in the country as in the city, and the danger from disease is no less menacing. The farmer loses vitality through long hours of labor, and is susceptible to disease scarcely less than is the working man in town. And he is more at fault if he suffers, for there is room to build the home in a healthful location, where drainage is easy and pure air and sunshine are abundant; there is water without price for cleansing purposes, and sanitation is possible without excessive cost. In most cases it is lack of information that prevents a realization of perils that lurk, and every rural community should have instruction in hygiene from school-teacher, physician, or resident nurse.

153. Rural Health Preservers.—Three health preservers are needed in every rural community. These are the health official, the physician, and the nurse. There is need first of one whose business it shall be to inspect the sanitary conditions of public and private buildings, and to watch the health of the people, old and young. It matters little whether the official is under State or local authority, if he efficiently and fearlessly performs his duty. Constant vigilance alone can give security, and it is a small price to pay if the community is compelled to bear even the whole expense of such a health official. Community health is [147]often intrusted to the town fathers or a district board with little interest in the matter; on the other hand, the agent of a State board is not always a local resident, and is liable to overlook local conditions. It is desirable that the health official be an individual of good training, familiar with the locality, and with ample authority, for in this way only can safety be reasonably secure.

It is by no means impracticable to give a local physician the necessary official authority. He is equipped with information and skilled by experience to know bad conditions when he sees them and to appreciate their seriousness. Whether or not a physician is the official health protector of the community, a physician there should be who can be reached readily by those who need him, and who should be required to produce a certificate of thorough training in both medicine and surgery. If such a medical practitioner does not establish himself in the district voluntarily, the community might well afford to employ such a physician on a salary and make him responsible for the health of all. As civilization advances it will become increasingly the custom in the country as well as in the city to employ a physician to keep one's general health good, as now one employs a dentist to examine and preserve the teeth. Medical practice must continually become more preventive and less remedial. It may seem as if it were an unwarranted expansion of the social functions of a community that it should care for the health of individuals, but as the interdependence of individuals becomes increasingly understood, the community may be expected to extend its care for its own welfare.

154. The Village Nurse.—Alongside the physician belongs the village or rural nurse. Already there are many communities that are becoming accustomed to such a functionary, who visits the schools, examines the children, prescribes for their small ailments or recommends a visit to the physician, and who stands ready to perform the duties of a trained nurse at the bedside of any sufferer. The support of such a nurse is usually maintained by voluntary subscription, but there seems to be no good reason why she [148]should not be appointed and paid by the organized community as a local official. She is as much needed as a road-surveyor, surely as valuable as hog-reeve or pound-keeper. It is a valid social principle, though rural observation does not always justify it, that human life is not only intrinsically more valuable to the individual or family than the life of an animal of the herd, but it is actually worth more to the community.

155. The Village Improvement Society.—To secure good health conditions, interested persons in the community may organize a health club. Its feasibility is well proved by the history of the village improvement society. There are two hundred such societies in Massachusetts alone, and the whole movement is organized nationally in the American Civic Federation. Their object is the toning up of the community by various methods that have proved practicable. They owe their organization to a few public-spirited individuals, to a woman's club, or sometimes to a church. Their membership is entirely voluntary, but local government may properly co-operate to accomplish a desired end. Expenses are met by voluntary contribution or by means of public entertainments, and its efforts are limited, of course, by the fatness of its purse. Examples of the useful public service that they perform are the demolition of unsightly buildings and the cleaning up of unkempt premises, the beautification of public structures and the building of better roads, the erection of drinking troughs or fountains, and the improvement of cemeteries. Besides such outdoor interests village improvement societies create public spirit, educate the community by means of high-class entertainments, art and nature exhibits, and public discussion of current questions of local interest. They stand back of community enterprises for recreation, fire protection, and other forms of social service, including such economic interests as co-operative buying and marketing and the extension of telephone or transportation service.

The initial impulse that sets in motion various forms of village improvement frequently comes from the summer visitor or from a teacher or minister who brings new ideas [149]and a will to carry them into action. In certain sections of country, like the mountain region of northern New England, summer people are very numerous, through the weeks from June to October, and not a few of them revisit their favorite rural haunts for a briefer time in the winter. It is not to be expected that they are always a force for good. Sometimes they make country residents envious and dissatisfied. But it is not unusual that they give an intellectual stimulus to the young people and the women, compel the men to observe the proprieties of social intercourse, and encourage downcast leaders of church and neighborhood to renewed industry and hope. They demand multiplied comforts and conveniences, and expect attractive and healthful accommodations. Where they purchase and improve lands and buildings of their own they provide useful models to their less particular neighbors, and thus the leaven of a better type of living does its work in the neighborhood.

156. Principles of Organization.—The principles that lie at the basis of every organization for improvement are simple and practicable everywhere. They have been enumerated as a democratic spirit and organization, a wide interest in community affairs, and a perennial care for the well-being of all the people. Public spirit is the reason for its existence, and the same public spirit is the only force that can keep the organization alive. Every community in this democratic country has its fortunes in its own hands. If it is so permeated with individualism or inertia that it cannot awake to its duties and its privileges, it will perish in accordance with the law of the survival of the fittest; if, on the contrary, it adopts as its controlling principles those just mentioned, it will find increasing strength and profit for itself, because it keeps alive the spirit of co-operation and mutual help.



Hart: Educational Resources of Village and Rural Communities, pages 66-82, 106-130.

Gillette: Rural Sociology, pages 147-167.

Harris: Health on the Farm.

Farwell: Village Improvement, pages 47-53, Appendix.

Waters: Village Nursing in the United States.




157. Social Disease and Its Causes.—Rural morals are a phase of the public health of the community. Immorality is a kind of social disease, for which the community needs to find a remedy. The amount of moral ill varies widely, but it can be increased by neglect or lessened by effort, as surely as can the amount of physical disease. Moral ill is due to the individual and to the community. The judgment of the individual may be warped, his moral consciousness defective, or his will weak. He may have low standards and ill-adjusted relationships. Selfishness may have blunted his sympathy. All these conditions contribute to the common vices of community life. But the individual is sometimes less to blame than the community. Much moral ill is a consequence of the imperfect functioning of the community. A man steals because he is hungry or cold, and the motive to escape pain is stronger than the motive to deal lawfully with his neighbor; but if the community saw to it that adequate provision was made for all economic need, and if moral instruction was not lacking, it would be unlikely to happen. Similar reasons may be found for other evils. It is as much the business of the community to keep the social atmosphere wholesome as it is to keep the air and water of its farms pure. It should provide moral training and moral exercise.

158. How Morals Develop.—Without attempting a thoroughly scientific definition of morals, we may call good morals those habitual acts which are in harmony with the best individual and social interests of the people of the community, and bad morals the absence of such habits. Of course the acts are the consequence of motives, and in the last analysis the question of morals is rooted in the field of psychology or religion; but the inner motive is [152]revealed in the outward act, and it is customary to speak of the act as moral or immoral. Moral standards are not unvarying. One race differs from another and one period of history differs from another. Primitive custom was the first standard, and was determined by what was good for the group, and the individual conformed to it from force of circumstances. If he was to remain a member of the group and enjoy its benefits he must be willing to sacrifice his selfish desires. His consciousness of the solidarity of the group deepens with experience, and his feelings of sympathy grow stronger, until impulsive altruism becomes a habit and eventually a fixed and purposeful patriotism. By and by religion throws about conduct its sanctions and interprets the meaning of morality. However imperfect may be the relations between good morals and pagan religions, Judaism and Christianity have combined religion with high moral ideals. The Hebrew prophets declared that God demanded justice, kindness, and mercy in human relations rather than acts of ceremony and sacrifice to himself, and Jesus made love to neighbor as fundamental to holiness as love to God. Such a religion becomes dynamic in producing moral deeds.

159. The Social Stimulus to Morality.—It is customary to think of the homely virtues of truthfulness, sobriety, thrift, and kindliness as individual obligations, but they are not wrought out in isolation. Isolation is never complete, and virtue is a social product. The farmer makes occasional visits to the country store, where he experiences social contacts; there is habitual association with individual workers on the farm or traders with whom the farmer carries on a business transaction. His personal contacts may not be helpful, and his wife may lack them almost altogether outside of the home; the result is often a tendency toward vice or degeneration, sometimes to insanity or suicide, but it is seldom that there are not helpful influences and relations available if the individual will put himself in the way of enjoying them. Good morals are dependent on right associations. Human beings need the stimulus of good society, otherwise the mind vegetates or broods upon [153]real or fancied wrongs until the moral nature is in danger of atrophy or warping. Family feuds develop, as among the Scotch highlanders or the mountain people in certain parts of the South. Lack of social sympathy increases as the interests become self-centred; out of this characteristic grow directly such evils as petty lawlessness, rowdyism, and crime. The country districts need the help of high-grade schools and proper places of recreation, of the Young Men's Christian Association or an association of like principles, and most of all of a virile church that will interpret moral obligation and furnish the power that is needed to move the will to right action.

160. Rural Vices.—The moral problems of the rural community do not differ greatly from those of the town. The most common rural vices are profanity, drunkenness, and sexual immorality. Profanity is often a habit rather than a defect in moral character, and is due sometimes to a narrow vocabulary. It is a mark of ignorance and boorishness. In many localities it is less common than it used to be. The average community life is wholesome. Not more than twenty per cent of American rural communities have really bad conditions in any way, according to the investigations made by the United States Rural Life Commission in 1908. Considering the monotony and hardships of rural life, it is much to the credit of the people that most communities are temperate and law-abiding. Intemperance is one of the most common evils; there is a longing for the stimulant of liquor, which appears in some cases in moderate drinking and in other cases in the habit of an occasional spree in a near-by town, when reason abdicates to appetite. Lumbermen and miners, whose work is especially hard and isolation from good society complete, have been notorious for their lapses into intemperance, but it is not a serious problem in three out of four communities the country over, and a wave of temperance sentiment has swept strongly over rural districts. Gambling is a diversion that appeals to those who have few mental and pecuniary resources as an offset to the daily monotony, but this habit is not typical of rural communities.

[154]Investigations of the Rural Life Commission showed that sexual immorality prevails in ten to fifteen per cent of the rural communities, and they trace much of it to late evening drives and dances and unchaperoned calls, but on the whole the perversion of the sex instinct is less common than in the cities. The young are generally trained in moral principles, the religious sanctions are more strongly operative, and the conduct and character of every individual is constantly under the public eye. Young people in the country marry at an earlier age than in the city, and husband and wife are normally faithful. Crime in the country is peculiar to degenerate communities, elsewhere it is rare. Juvenile delinquency occurs, and there are not such helpful influences as the juvenile court of the city; on the other hand, most boys are in touch with home influences, feel the restraint of a law-abiding community, and know that lawbreaking is almost certain to be found out and punished.

161. Community Obligation.—Moral delinquency in the rural community lies in the failure to provide social stimulus to individual members. The farmer has as good reason to be ambitious for success and to feel pride in it as has the city merchant, but he has small local encouragement to develop better agriculture on his own farm. He has as much right to the benefits of association in toil and co-operation in effecting economies and disposing of his products as the employer or working man in town. He is equally entitled to good government, to wholesome recreation, to a suitable and efficient education, and to the spiritual leadership of a progressive church. Without the spur of community fellowship his life narrows and his abilities are not developed. With the help of community stimulus the individual may develop capacity for individual achievement and social leadership of as fine a quality as any urban centre can supply. It is well known that the strong men of the cities in business and the professions have come in large proportion from the country. If such qualities developed in the comparative isolation and discomfort of the past, it is a moral obligation of rural communities of the [155]future to do even more to produce the brawn and brain of city leaders in days to come.


Wilson: The Evolution of the Country Community, pages 171-188.

Anderson: The Country Town, pages 95-106.

Dealey: Sociology, pages 146-165.

Hart: Educational Resources of Village and Rural Communities, pages 166-175.

Hobhouse: Morals in Evolution, I, pages 364-375.

Spencer: Data of Ethics, chapter 8.

Report of Committee on Morals and Rural Conditions of the General Association of Congregational Churches of Massachusetts, 1908.




162. The Value of the Rural Church.—Of all the local institutions of the rural community, none is so discouraging and at the same time so potential for usefulness as the country church. It has had a noble past; it is passing through a dubious present; it should emerge into a great future. The church is the conserver of the highest ideals. Like every long-established institution, it is conservative in methods as well as in principles. It regards itself as the censor of conduct and the mentor of conscience, and it fills the rôle of critic as often as it holds out an encouraging hand to the weary and hard pressed in the struggle for existence and moral victory. It is the guide-post to another world, which it esteems more highly than this. Sometimes it puts more emphasis on creed than on conduct, on Sunday scrupulousness than on Monday scruple. But in spite of its failings and its frequent local decline, the church is the hope of rural America. It is notorious that the absence of a church means a distinctly lower type of community life, both morally and socially. Vice and crime flourish there. Property values tumble when the church dies and the minister moves away. Many residents rarely if ever enter the precincts of the meeting-house or contribute to the expense of its maintenance, yet they share in the benefits that it gives and would not willingly see it disappear when they realize the consequences. In the westward march of settlement the missionary kept pace with the pioneer, and the church on the frontier became the centre of every good influence. It is impossible to estimate the value of the rural church in the onrush of civilization. Religion has been the saving salt of humanity when it was in danger of spoiling. In the lumber and the mining camp, [157]on the cattle-ranch and the prairie, the missionary has sweetened life with his ministry and given a tone to the life of the open and the wild that in value is past calculation.

163. The Church in Decline.—In the days when it seems declining, the strength of the rural church is worth preserving. There are hundreds of rural communities where the young people have gone to the town and population has steadily fallen behind. There are hundreds more where the people of a community have drawn wealth from the soil, and with a succession of good crops and high prices have accumulated enough to keep them comfortable, and then have sold or leased their property and moved into town. The purchasers or tenants who replaced them have been less able to contribute to church support or have been of a different faith or race, and the churches have found it difficult to survive. Doubtless some of these churches could be spared without great loss, for in the rush of real or expected settlement, certain localities became over-churched, but the spectacle of scores of abandoned churches in the Middle West has as doleful an appearance as abandoned farms in New England.

164. Is It Worth Preserving?—It would be a misfortune for the church to perish out of the rural districts, for it performs a religious function that no other institution performs. It cherishes the beliefs that have strengthened man through the ages and given him the upward look that betokens faith in his destiny and power in his life. It calls out the best that is in him to meet the tasks of every day. It ministers to him in times of greatest need. It teaches him how to relate himself to an Unseen Power and to the fellowship of human kind. The meeting-house is a community centre drawing to itself like a magnet family groups and individuals from miles around, overcoming their isolation and breaking into the daily monotony of their lives, and with its worship and its sermon awakening new thoughts and impulses for the enrichment of life. Nor does its ministry confine itself to things of the spirit. The weekly Sunday assembly provides opportunity for social intercourse, if no more than an exchange of greetings, and [158]now and then a sociable evening gathering or anniversary occasion brings an added social opportunity.

165. The Country Minister.—The faithful rural minister also carries the church to the people. His parish is broad, but he finds his way into the homes of his parishioners, acquaints himself with their characteristics and their needs, and fits his ministrations to them. Especially does he carry comfort to the sick and soothe the suffering and the dying. No other can quite fill his place; no other so builds himself into the hearts of the people. He may not be a great thinker or preach polished sermons; his hands may be rough and his clothes ill-fitting; but if he is a loyal friend and ministers to real spiritual need, he is saint and prophet to those whom he has brothered.

In the rural economy each public functionary is worthy or unworthy, according to his personal fidelity to his particular task. A poorly equipped board of government is not worth half the salary of the school-teacher. That official may not hold his place or gain the respect of his pupils unless he meets their needs of instruction with a degree of efficiency. But a public servant who fills full the channels of his usefulness is worth twice what he is likely to get as his stipulated wage. The community can well afford to look kindly upon a minister of that type, to encourage him in his efforts for the upbuilding of the community, and to contribute to an honorable stipend for his support.

166. The Problems.—The rural church has its problems and so has the rural minister. There are the indifferent people who are irreligious themselves and have no share in the activities of the religious institution. There are the insincere people who belong to the church but are not sympathetic in spirit or conduct. There are the cold-blooded people who gather weekly in the meeting-house but do not respond to intellectual or spiritual stimulus, and who chill the heart of the minister and soon quench his enthusiasm. It is not surprising if he is restless and changes location frequently, or if he becomes listless and apparently indifferent to the welfare of his flock, when he meets no response and himself enjoys no stimulus from his own kind. [159]All these conditions constitute the spiritual problem. Beyond this there is the institutional problem. The church finds maintenance difficult, often impossible without outside assistance. Failing to minister to any purely community need except on special occasions, or to assume any responsibility of leadership in civic or social affairs, it does not receive the cordial support of the community to which as a social institution, conserving the highest interests, it is reasonably entitled. It must be remembered that in America there can be no established church supported by the State, as in England. The church is on a different footing in every community from that of the public school. It is therefore dependent on the good-will of the community and must cultivate that good-will if it is to succeed. Most rural churches have yet to become a vital force, not only energizing their own members, but reaching out also to the whole community, seeking not their own growth as their chief end, but by ministering to the community's needs, realizing a fuller, richer life of their own.

167. The Needs of the Church.—The rural church needs reorganization for efficiency, but changes must be gradual. A local church that is democratic in its form of organization, with no external oversight, is likely to need strengthening in administration; a church that intrusts control to a small board or is governed from the outside probably needs to get closer to the people, but differences in church government are of small practical consequence. It does not appear that it makes much difference in the success of a rural church whether its organization is Episcopal, Presbyterian, or Congregational. The machinery needs modernizing, whatever the pattern. It is a part of the task to be undertaken by every up-to-date country minister to consider possible improvements in the various departments of the church. It is as likely that the children are being as inefficiently taught in the Sunday-school as in the every-day school, that organizations and opportunities for the young people are as lacking as in the community at large, that discussions in the Bible class are as pointless as those in any local forum. It is more than likely that the church [160]is failing to make good in a given locality because it is depending on a few persons to carry on its activities, and these few do not co-operate well with one another or with other Christian people. The functions of the church are neither well understood nor properly performed. It has small assets in community good-will, and it is in no real sense a going concern.

168. The New Rural Church.—Here and there a church of a new type is meeting manfully these various needs. It has set itself first to answer the question whether the church is a real religious force in the community, and what method may best be used to energize the countryside more effectually for moral and religious ends. Old forms or times of worship have needed changing, or an innovating individual has taken a hand temporarily. Then it has faced the practical problem of religious education. Most churches maintain a Sunday-school and a Woman's Missionary or Aid Society. Certain of them have young people's organizations, and a few have organized men's classes or clubs. Each of these groups goes on its own independent course. There is no attempt to correlate the studies with which each concerns itself, and there is much waste of effort in holding group sessions that accomplish nothing. The new church directors simplify, correlate, and systematize all the educational work that is being attempted, improve courses of study and methods of teaching, and propose to all concerned the attainment of certain definite standards. In the third place, the new rural church adopts for itself a well-considered programme of community service. Its opportunity is unlimited, but its efforts are not worth much unless it approaches the subject intelligently, with a knowledge of local conditions, of its own resources, and of the methods that have been used successfully in other similar localities. Nothing less than these three tasks of investigation, education, and service belong to every church; toward this ideal is moving an increasing number of churches in the country.



Butterfield: The Country Church and the Rural Problem.

Fiske: The Challenge of the Country.

Wilson: The Church of the Open Country.

Nesmith: Chapter on "The Rural Church" in Social Ministry.

Hart: Educational Resources of Village and Rural Communities, pages 176-196.

Report of Country Life Commission, 1908.




169. A New Type of Institution.—The rural community everywhere is in need of a new social institution. Those which exist have been individualistic in purpose and method and only incidentally have been socially constructive. The school has existed to make individuals efficient intellectually, that they might be able to struggle successfully for existence. The church has existed as a means to individual salvation from future ill. Social good has resulted from these institutions, but it has not been fundamental in their purpose. The new rural institution that is needed is a centre for community reconstruction. If the school or the church can adapt itself to the need, either may become such an institution; if not, there must be a new type.

It has often been said that the characteristic evil of rural life is the isolation of the people, but this must be understood to mean not merely an isolated location of farm dwellings but a lack of human fellowship. In the city the majority of people might as well live in isolated houses as far as acquaintance with neighbors is concerned, but they do not lack human fellowship because they have group connections elsewhere. In the country it is hardly possible to choose associates or institutional connections. There is one school prepared to receive the children of a certain age, and no other, unless they are conveyed to a distance at great inconvenience; the variety of suitable churches is not large. It is necessary to cultivate neighbors or to go without friendships. But rural social relations are not well lubricated. There are few common topics of conversation, except the weather, the crops, or a bit of gossip. There are few common interests about which discussion may centre. There is need of an institution that shall create and conserve such common interests.

[163]170. A Community House.—The first task is to bring people together to a common gathering place, where perfect democracy will prevail, and where there may be unrestricted discussion. There is no objection to using the schoolhouse for the purpose, but ordinarily it is not adapted to the purposes of an assembly-room. The meeting-house may serve the purpose, but to many persons it seems a desecration of a sacred building, and except in the case of a single community church there is too much of the denominational flavor about it to make it an unrestricted forum. Ideally there should be a community house erected at a convenient location, and large enough to accommodate as many as might desire to assemble. It should be equipped for all the social uses to which it might be put. It should be paid for by the voluntary contributions of all the people, but title to the property should be in the hands of a board of trustees or associates who would be responsible for its maintenance and for the uses to which it would be put. These persons must be men and women of the town in whose judgment the people have full confidence. Regular expenses should be met by annual payments, as the Young Men's Christian Association is sustained in cities all over the country, and by occasional entertainments. A limited endowment fund would be helpful, but too large endowment tends to pauperize a local institution.

171. Intellectual Stimulus.—The second task is to put the community house to use. There are numerous ways by which this can be done, but the best are those that fit local need. Of all the needs the greatest is stimulus to thought. Ideally this should come from the pulpit of the rural church, but its stimulus is usually not strong, it is commonly confined to religious exhortation, and it reaches only a few. All the people of the community need to think seriously about their economic and social interests, and to be drawn out to express themselves on such subjects. The old-fashioned town meeting provided a channel for such discussion once a year. What is needed is a town-meeting extension through eight or nine months of the year. The [164]community house offers an opportunity for such an extension. Under the initiative and guidance of one or two energetic local leaders, inspired by an occasional outside lecturer, such as can be obtained at small expense from agricultural colleges and other public agencies, almost any American community ought to carry on a forum of public discussion for weeks, taking up first the most urgent questions of community interest and passing on gradually to matters of broader concern.

172. Social Satisfaction.—As the adults of the community need intellectual stimulus, so the young people need social satisfactions. The salvation of the American rural community lies largely in the contentment of the young people, for without that quality of mind they leave the country for the town, or settle back in an unprogressive, unsocial state of sullen resignation. There must be opportunity for recreation. The community house should function for the entertainment of its constituency in ways that approve themselves to the associates in charge. But it is not so much entertainment that is wanted as an opportunity for sociability, occasions when all the youth of the community can meet for mutual acquaintance and the beginnings of courtship, and for the stimulus that comes from human association. If association and activity are characteristic of normal social life, it is unreasonable to suppose that rural young people will be contented to vegetate. If they cannot have legitimate opportunities to realize their impulse to associated activity, they will provide less satisfactory unconventional opportunities. One of the best means for promoting sociability and providing an outlet for youthful energy in concert has been found in the use of music. The old-fashioned singing-school filled a real need and its passing has left a distinct gap. Where musical gatherings have been revived experience has shown that they are a most effective stimulus to a new community consciousness. The country church choir has long been regarded as a useful social as well as religious institution, but the community chorus is far more effective. It is possible to uncover latent talent and to cultivate it so [165]that it will furnish more attractive entertainment for the people than that which is imported at far greater expense from outside. Among the foreigners who are finding their way into rural localities, there is sometimes discovered a musical ability that outranks the native, and no other method of approach to the immigrant is so easy as by giving his young people a place in the social activities of the community.

173. Continuation Schooling.—A further use for the community house is educational. The older education of the district school was defective, and the new education is not enjoyed by many a farmer's boy or girl, because they cannot be spared in the later years of youth for long schooling. An adaptation of the idea of continuation schools for rural young people so that they may apply the new sciences to country life is greatly to be desired. The local school principal or county superintendent or an extension teacher from a State institution may be found available as director, and it belongs to the community to provide the necessary funds. For older people some of the same courses are suitable, but they should be supplemented with lectures of all sorts. It has been demonstrated many times that popular lecturers can be secured at small expense in different parts of the country, especially in these days when there are so many agencies to push the new agricultural science, and other subjects over a wide range of interests will not fail to find exponents if a demand for them can be created.

174. Community Leadership.—In the last analysis the prime factor in the rural situation is the community leader. Institutions can do little for the enrichment of rural life if personality is wanting. It is the leader's energy that keeps the wheels of the machinery turning, his wisdom that gears their action to the needs of the community. It is desirable that the leader should spring from the community itself, acquainted with its needs and voicing its aspirations. But more communities get their leaders from outside and are often more willing to accept such a leader than if he came up out of their midst, for the proverb is often true that a prophet is without honor in his own country.

[166]175. Qualities of Leadership.—Social leadership is dependent upon certain qualities in the person who leads and in those who are led. The attitude of the people of the community is fundamental. The stimulus that the leader applies must find response in their inner natures if his energy is to become socially effective. If there is not a latent capacity to action, no amount of stimulus will avail. It is safe to assume that there are few local communities in America that will fail to respond to the right kind of leadership, but certain qualities in the leader are essential for inspiration. It is not necessary that he should be country born, but it is essential that he love the country, appreciate its opportunities, and be conscious of its needs. He cannot hope to call out these qualities in the people if he does not himself possess them. And it must be a genuine love and appreciation that is in him, for only sincerity and perfect honesty can win men for long. It is essential that he have breadth of sympathy for all the interests of the people that he seeks for his own; he may not think lightly of farming or storekeeping, of education or recreation, of morals or religion. He must be devoted to the community, its servant as well as its leader, content to build himself into its life. It is not necessary that the leader should be a trained expert, a finished product of the schools, desirable as such equipment is, but it is essential that he know how to call out the best that is in others, to play upon their emotions, to appeal to their intellects, to energize their wills. He must not only understand their present mental processes, but he must have a vision of them when they have become transformed with new impulses and ambitions, and converted to new and nobler purposes. He needs an unquenchable enthusiasm, a gentle patience, an invincible, aggressive persistency, a contagious optimism that will carry him over every obstacle to ultimate victory. It is essential that he possess fertility of resource to adapt himself to circumstances, that he have power to call out action and executive ability to direct it. Most important of all is a magnetic personality such as belonged to the great chieftains of history who in war or [167]peace have been able to attract followers and to mould them in obedience to their own will.

176. Broad Opportunities.—A leader such as that described has an almost unlimited field of opportunity to mould social life. In the city the opportunity for leadership may seem to be larger, but few can dominate more than a small group. In the country the start may be slower and more discouraging, but the goal reaches out ahead. From better agriculture the leader may draw on the people to better social ideals, to a new appreciation of education and broad culture, to a truer understanding of ethics and religion. He may refashion institutions that may express the new in modern terms. But when this is accomplished his work is not done. He may reach out over the countryside and make his village a nucleus for wider progress through a whole county. Even then his influence is not spent. The rural communities in America are feeders of the cities; in them is the nursery of the men and women who are to become leaders in the larger circles of business and professional life, in journalism and literature, in religion and social reform. Many a rural teacher or pastor has built himself into the affections of a boy or a girl, incarnating for them the noblest ideals and stimulating them to achievement and service in an environment that he himself could never hope to fill and with a power of influence that he could never expect to wield. The avenues of opportunity are becoming more numerous. The teacher and the minister have advantages of leadership over the county Young Men's Christian Association secretary and the village nurse, but since personal qualities are the determining factors, no man or woman, whatever their position, can make good the claim without proving ability by actual achievement. Any man or woman who enters a particular community for the first time, or returns to it from college, may become a dynamo of blessing to it. There waits for such a leader the loyalty of the boys who may be won for noble manhood, of the girls who may become worthy mothers of a better generation of future citizens, of men and women for whom the glamour of youth has passed [168]into the sober reality of maturer years, but who are still capable of seeing visions of a richer life that they and their children may yet enjoy. There are ready to his hand the institutions that have played an important part, however inefficiently in rural life, the heritage of social custom and community character that have come down from the past, and the material environment that helps or hinders but does not control human relations and human deeds. These constitute the measure of his world; these are clay for the potter and instruments for his working; upon him is laid the responsibility of the product.


Curtis: Play and Recreation for the Open Country, pages 195-259.

Fiske: The Challenge of the Country, pages 225-266.

Cooley: Human Nature and the Social Order, pages 283-325.

McNutt: "Ten Years in a Country Church," World's Work, December, 1910.

McKeever: Farm Boys and Girls, pages 129-145.

Carney: Country Life and the Country School, pages 1-17, 302-327.





177. Enlarging the Social Environment.—In the story of the family and the rural community it has become clear that the normal individual as he grows to maturity lives in an expanding circle of social relations. The primary unit of his social life is the family in the home. There the elemental human instincts are satisfied. There while a child he learns the first lessons of social conduct. From the home he enters into the larger life of the community. He takes his place in the school, where he touches the lives of other children and learns that he is a part of a larger social order. He gets into the current of community life and finds out the importance of local institutions like the country store and the meeting-house. He becomes accustomed to the ways that are characteristic of country people, and finds a place for himself in the industry and social activity of the countryside. When the boy who has grown up in a rural community comes to manhood, his natural tendency is to accept the occupation of farming with which he has become acquainted in boyhood, to woo a country maid for a mate, and to make for himself a rural home after the pattern of his ancestors. In that case his social environment remains restricted. His relations are with nature rather than with men. His horizon is narrow, his interests limited. The institutions that mould him are few, the forces that stimulate to progress are likely to be lacking altogether. He need not, but he usually does, cease to grow.

178. Characteristics of the City.—Certain individuals find the static life of the country unbearable. Their nature demands larger scope in an expanding environment. To [170]them the stirring town beckons, and they are restless until they escape. The city is a centre of social life where the individual feels a greater stimulus than in the home or the rural community. It resembles the family and the village in providing social relations and an interchange of ideas, but it surpasses them in the large scale of its activities. It presents many of the same social characteristics that they do, but geared in each case for higher speed. Its activities are swifter and more varied. Its associations are more numerous and kaleidoscopic. Its people are less independent than in the country; control, economic and political, is more pervasive, even though crude in method. Change is more rapid in the city, because the forces that are at work are charged with dynamic energy. Weakness in social structure and functioning is conspicuous. In the large cities all these are intensified, but they are everywhere apparent whenever a community passes beyond the village stage. The line that separates the village or small town from the city is an arbitrary one. The United States calls those communities rural that have a population not exceeding twenty-five hundred, but it is less a question of population than of interests and activities. When agriculture gives place to trade or manufacturing as the leading economic interest; when the community takes on the social characteristics that belong to urban life; and when places of business and amusement assume a place of importance rather than the home, the school, and the church, the community passes into the urban class. Names and forms of government are of small consequence in classification compared with the spirit and ways of the community.

179. How the City Grows.—The city grows by the natural excess of births over deaths and by immigration. Without immigration the city grows more slowly but more wholesomely. Immigration introduces an alien element that has to adjust itself to new ways and does not always fuse readily with the native element. This is true of immigration from the country village as well as from a foreign country, but an American, even though brought up differently, finds it easier to adapt himself to his new [171]environment. An increasingly large percentage of children are born and grow to maturity in the city. There are thousands of urban communities of moderate size in America, where there are few who come in from any distance, but for nearly a hundred years in the older parts of the country a rural migration has been carrying young people into town, and the recent volume of foreign immigration is spilling over from the large cities into the smaller urban centres, so that the mixture of population is becoming general.

180. The Attraction of the City.—Foreign immigration is a subject that must be treated by itself; rural immigration needs no prolonged discussion once the present limitations of life in the country are understood. Multitudes of ambitious young people are not contented with the opportunities offered by the rural environment. They want to be at the strategic points of the world's activities, struggling for success in the thick of things. The city attracts the country boy who is ambitious, exactly as old Rome attracted the immature German. The blare of its noisy traffic, the glare of its myriad lights, the rush and the roar and the rabble all urge him to get into the scramble for fun and gain. The crowd attracts. The instinct of sociability draws people together. Those who are unfamiliar with rural spaces and are accustomed to live in crowded tenements find it lonesome in the country, and prefer the discomfort of their congested quarters in town to the pure air and unspoiled beauty of the country. They love the stir of the streets, and enjoy sitting on the door-steps and wandering up and down the sidewalks, feeling the push of the motley crowd. Those who leave the country for the city feel all these attractions and are impelled by them, but beyond these attractions, re-enforcing them by an appeal to the intellect, are the economic advantages that lie in the numerous occupations and chances for promotion to high-salaried positions, the educational advantages for children and youth in the better-graded schools, the colleges, the libraries, and the other cultural institutions, and such social advantages as variety of entertainment, modern conveniences in houses and hotels, more beautiful and up-to-date [172]churches, well-equipped hospitals, and comfortable and convenient means of transportation from place to place.

181. Making a Countryman into a Citizen.—It is important to enter into the spirit of the young people who prefer the streets and blocks of the town to the winding country roads, and are willing to sacrifice what there is of beauty and leisure in rural life for the ugliness, sordidness, and continuous drive of the city; to understand that a greater driving force, stirring in the soul of youth and thrusting upon him with every item of news from the city, is impelling him to disdain what the country can give him and to magnify the counter-attractions of the town. He has felt the monotony and the contracted opportunity of farm life as he knows it. He has experienced the drudgery of it ever since he began to do the chores. Familiar only with the methods of his ancestors, he knows that labor is hard and returns are few. He may look across broad acres that will some day be his, but he knows that his father is "land poor." As a farmer he sees no future for agriculture. He has known the village and the surrounding country ever since he graduated from the farmyard to the schoolhouse, and came into association with the boys and girls of the neighborhood. He knows the economic and social resources of the community and is satisfied that he can never hope for much enjoyment or profit in the limited rural environment. The school gave him little mental stimulus, but opened the door ajar into a larger world. The church gave him an orthodox gospel in terms of divinity and its environment rather than humanity on earth, but stirred vaguely his aspirations for a fuller life. He has sounded the depths of rural existence and found it unsatisfying. He wants to learn more, to do more, to be more.

One eventful day he graduates from the village to the city, as years before he graduated from the home into the community. By boat or train, or by the more primitive method of stage-coach or afoot, he travels until he joins the surging crowd that swarms in the streets. He feels himself thrilling with the consciousness that he is moving toward success and possibly greatness. He does not stop [173]to think that hundreds of those who seek their fortune in the city have failed, and have found themselves far worse off than the contented folk back in the home village. The newcomer establishes himself in a boarding-house or lodging-house which hundreds of others accept as an apology for a home, joins the multitude of unemployed in a search for work, and is happy if he finds it in an office that is smaller and darker than the wood-shed on the farm, or behind a counter where fresh air and sunlight never penetrate. He will put up with these non-essentials, for he expects in days ahead to move higher up, when the large rewards that are worth while will be his.

In the ranks of business he measures his wits with others of his kind. He apes their manners, their slang, and their tone inflections. He imitates their fashions in clothes, learns the popular dishes in the restaurants, and if of feminine tastes gives up pie for salad. He goes home after hours to his small and dingy bedroom, tired from the drain upon his vitality because of ill-ventilated rooms and ill-nourishing food, but happy and free. There are no chores waiting for him now, and there is somewhere to go for entertainment. Not far away he may have his choice of theatres and moving-picture shows. If he is æsthetically or intellectually inclined, there are art-galleries and libraries beckoning him. If his earnings are a pittance and he cannot afford the theatre, and if his tastes do not draw him to library or museum, the saloon-keeper is always ready to be his friend. The youth from the country would be welcomed at the Young Men's Christian Association on the other side of the city, or at a church if there happened to be a social or religious function that opened the building, but the saloon is always near, always open, and always cordial. Poor or rich, or a stranger, it matters not, let him enter and enjoy the poor man's club. It is warm and pleasant there and he will soon make friends.

182. Mental and Moral Changes.—The readjustments that are necessary in the transfer from country to city are not accomplished without considerable mental and moral shock. Changing habits of living are paralleled by [174]changing habits of thought. Old ideas are jostled by new every hour of the day. At the table, on the street, in office or store, at the theatre or church the currents of thought are different. Social contacts are more numerous, relations are more shifting, intellectual affinities and repulsions are felt constantly; mental interactions are so frequent that stability of beliefs and independence of thought give way to flexibility and uncertainty and openness to impression. Group influence asserts its power over the individual.

Along with the influence of the group mind goes the influence of what may be called the electrical atmosphere of the city. The newcomer from the country is very conscious of it; to the old resident it becomes second nature. City life is noisy. The whole industrial system is athrob with energy. The purring of machinery, the rattle and roar of traffic, the clack and toot of the automobile, the clanging of bells, and the chatter of human tongues create a babel that confuses and tires the unsophisticated ear and brain. They become accustomed to the sounds after a time, but the noise registers itself continually on the sensitive nervous system, and many a man and woman breaks at last under the strain. Another element that adds to the nervous strain is haste. Life in the city is a stern chase after money and pleasure. Everybody hurries from morning until night, for everything moves on schedule, and twenty-four hours seem not long enough to do the world's work and enjoy the world's fun. Noise and hurry furnish a mental tension that charges the urban atmosphere with excitement. Purveyors of news and amusement have learned to cater to the love of excitement. The newspaper editor hunts continually for sensations, and sometimes does not scruple to twist sober fact into stirring fiction. The book-stall and the circulating library supply the novel and the cheap magazine to give smack to the jaded palate that cannot relish good literature. The theatre panders to the appetite for a thrill.

In these circumstances lie the possibilities of moral shock. In the city there is freedom from the old restraint that the country community imposed. In the city the countryman [175]finds that he can do as he pleases without the neighbors shaking their heads over him. In the absence of such restraint and with the social contact of new friends he may rapidly lower his moral standards as he changes his manners and his mental habits. It does not take long to shuffle off the old ways; it does not take much push or pull to make the unsophisticated boy or girl lose balance and drift toward lower ideals than those with which they came. Not a few find it hard to keep the moral poise in the whirlpool of mental distraction. It is these effects of the urban environment that help to explain the social derelicts that abound in the cities. It is the weakness of human nature, along with the economic pressure, that accounts for the drunkenness, vice, and crime that constitute so large a problem of city life and block the path of society's development. They are a part of the imperfection that is characteristic of this stage of human progress, and especially of the twentieth-century city. They are not incurable evils, they demand a remedy, and they furnish an inspiring object of study for the practitioner of social disease.

He who escapes business and moral failure has open wide before him in the city the door of opportunity. He may, if he will, meet all the world and his wife in places where the people gather, touching elbows with individuals from every quarter of the country, with persons of every class and variety of attainment, with believers of every political, æsthetic, and religious creed. In such an atmosphere his mind expands like the exotic plant in a conservatory. His individual prejudices fall from him like worn-out leaves from the trees. He begins to realize that other people have good grounds for their opinions and practices that differ from his own, and that in most cases they are better than his, and he quickly adjusts himself to them. The city stimulates life by its greater social resources, and forms within its borders more highly developed human groups. Beyond the material comforts and luxuries that the city supplies are the social values that it creates in the associations and organizations of men and women allied [176]for the philanthropic, remedial, and constructive purposes that are looking forward to the slow progress of mankind toward its highest ideals.

183. The City as a Social Centre.—The city is an epitome of national and even world life, as the farm is community life in miniature. Its social life is infinitely complex, as compared with the rural village. Distances that stretch out for miles in the country, over fields and woods and hills, are measured in the city by blocks of dwellings and public buildings, with intersecting streets, stretching away over a level area as far as the eye can see. Social institutions correspond to the needs of the inhabitants, and while there are a few like those in the country, because certain human needs are the same, there is a much larger variety in the city because of the great number of people of different sorts and the complexity of their demands. Every city has its business centres for finance, for wholesale trade, and for retail exchange, its centres for government, and for manufacturing; it has its railroad terminals and often its wharves and shipping, its libraries, museums, schools, and churches. All these are gathering places for groups of people. But there is no one social centre for all classes; rather, the people of the city are associated in an infinite number of large and small groups, according to the mutual interests of their members. But if the city has no four corners, it is itself a centre for a large district of country. As the village is the nucleus that binds together outlying farms and hamlets, so the city has far-flung connections with rural villages and small towns in a radius of many miles.

184. The Importance of the City.—The city has grown up because it was located conveniently for carrying on manufacturing and trade on a large scale. It is growing in importance because this is primarily an industrial age. Its population is increasing relatively to the rural population, and certain cities are growing enormously, in spite of Mr. Bryce's warning that it is unfortunate for any city to grow beyond a population of one hundred thousand. The importance of the city as a social centre is apparent when we remember that in America, according to the census of [177]1910, 46.3 per cent of the people live in communities of more than 2,500 population, while 31 per cent of the whole are inhabitants of cities of 25,000 or more population. When nearly one-third of all the people of the nation live in communities of such size, the large city becomes a type of social centre of great significance. At the prevailing rate of growth a majority of the American people will soon be dwelling in cities, and there seems to be no reason to expect a reversal of tendency because modern invention is making it possible for fewer persons on the farm to supply the agricultural products that city people need. This means, of course, that the temper and outlook of mind will be increasingly urban, that social institutions generally will have the characteristics of the city, that the National Government will be controlled by that part of the American citizens that so far has been least successful in governing itself well.

185. Municipal History.—The city has come to stay, and there is in it much of good. It has come into existence to satisfy human need, and while it may change in character it is not likely to be less important than now. Its history reveals its reasons for existence and indicates the probabilities of its future. The ancient city was an overgrown village that had special advantages for communication and transportation of goods, or that was located conveniently for protection against neighboring enemies. The cities of Greece maintained their independence as political units, but most social centres that at first were autonomous became parts of a larger state. The great cities were the capitals of nations or empires, and to strike at them in war was to aim at the vitals of an organism. Such were Thebes and Memphis in Egypt, Babylon and Nineveh in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, Carthage and Rome in the West. Such are Vienna and Berlin, Paris and London to-day. Lesser cities were centres of trade, like Corinth or Byzantium, or of culture, such as Athens. Such was Florence in the Middle Ages, and such are Liverpool and Leipzig to-day. The municipalities of the Roman Empire marked the climax of civic development in antiquity.

The social and industrial life of the Middle Ages was [178]rural. Only a few cities survived the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, and new centres of importance did not arise until trade revived and the manufacturing industry began to concentrate in growing towns about the time of the Crusades. Then artisans and tradesmen found their way to points convenient to travel and trade, and a city population began the processes of aggregation and congregation. They grew up rough in manners and careless of sanitation and hygiene, but they developed efficiency in local government and an inclination to demand civic rights from those who had any outside claim of control; they began to take pride in their public halls and churches, and presently they founded schools and universities. Wealth increased rapidly, and some of the cities, like the Hansa towns of the north, and Venice and Genoa in the south, commanded extensive and profitable trade routes.

Modern cities owe their growth to the industrial revolution and the consequent increase of commerce. The industrial centres of northern England are an illustration of the way in which economic forces have worked in the building of cities. At the middle of the eighteenth century that part of Great Britain was far less populous and progressive than the eastern and southern counties. It had small representation in Parliament. It was provincial in thought, speech, and habits. It was given over to agriculture, small trade, and rude home manufacture. Presently came the revolutionary inventions of textile machinery, of the steam-engine, and of processes for extracting and utilizing coal and iron. The heavy, costly machinery required capital and the factory. Concentrated capital and machinery required workers. The working people were forced to give up their small home manufacturing and their unprofitable farming and move to the industrial barracks and workrooms of the manufacturing centres. These centres sprang up where the tools were most easily and cheaply obtained, and where lay the coal-beds and the iron ore to be worked over into machinery. From Newcastle on the east, through Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham, and Manchester, to Liverpool on the west and Glasgow over the Scottish border [179]grew up a chain of thriving cities, and later their people were given the ballot that was taken from certain of the depopulated rural villages. These cities have obtained a voice of power in the councils of the nation. In America the industrial era came somewhat later, but the same process of centralizing industry went on at the waterfalls of Eastern rivers, at railroad centres, and at ocean, lake, and Gulf ports. Commerce has accelerated the growth of many of these manufacturing towns. Increase of industry and population has been especially rapid in the great ports that front the two oceans, through whose gates pour the floods of immigrants, and in the interior cities like Chicago, that lie at especially favorable points for railway, lake, or river traffic. As in the Middle Ages, universities grew because teachers went where students were gathered, and students were attracted to the place where teachers were to be found, so in the larger cities the more people there are and the more numerous is the population, the greater the amount of business. It pays to be near the centre of things.


Howe: The Modern City and Its Problems, pages 9-49.

Gillette: Constructive Rural Sociology, pages 32-46.

Strong: Our World, pages 228-283.

Nearing and Watson: Economics, pages 123-132.

Giry and Reville: Emancipation of the Mediæval Towns.

Bliss: New Encyclopedia of Social Reform, art. "Cities."




186. Preponderance of Economic Interests.—Such a social centre as the city has several functions to perform for its inhabitants. Though primarily concerned with business, the people have other interests to be conserved; the city, therefore, has governmental, educational, and recreational functions as a social organization, and within its limits all kinds of human concerns find their sponsors and supporters. Unquestionably, the economic interests are preponderant. On the principle that social structure corresponds to function, the structure of the city lends itself to the performance of the economic function. Business streets are the principal thoroughfares. Districts near the great factories are crowded with the tenements that shelter the workers. Little room is left for breathing-places in town, and little leisure in which to breathe. Government is usually in the hands of professional politicians who are too willing to take their orders from the cohort captains of business. Morals, æsthetics, and recreation are all subordinate to business. Even religion is mainly an affair of Sunday, and appears to be of relatively small consequence compared with business or recreation. The great problems of the city are consequently economic at bottom. Poverty and misery, drunkenness, unemployment, and crime are all traceable in part, at least, to economic deficiency. Economic readjustments constitute the crying need of the twentieth-century city.

187. The Manufacturing Industry.—It is the function of the agriculturist and the herdsman, the miner and the lumberman, to produce the raw material. The sailor and the train-hand, the longshoreman and the teamster, transport them to the industrial centres. It is the business of [181]the manufacturer and his employees to turn them into the finished product for the use of society. Manufacturing is the leading occupation in thousands of busy towns and small cities of all the industrial nations of western Europe and America, and shares with commerce and trade as a leading enterprise in the cosmopolitan centres. The merchant or financier who thinks his type of emporium or exchange is the only municipal centre of consequence, needs only to mount to the top of a tall building or climb a suburban hill where he can look off over the city and see the many smoking chimneys, to realize the importance of the factory. With thousands of tenement-house dwellers it is as natural to fall into the occupation of a factory hand as in the rural regions for the youth to become a farmer. The growing child who leaves school to help support the family has never learned a craftsman's trade, but he may find a subordinate place among the mill or factory hands until he gains enough skill to handle a machine. From that time until age compels him to join the ranks of the unemployed he is bound to his machine, as firmly as the mediæval serf was bound to the soil. Theoretically he is free to sell his labor in the highest market and to cross the continent if he will, but actually he is the slave of his employer, for he and his family are dependent upon his daily wage, and he cannot afford to lose that wage in order to make inquiries about the labor market elsewhere. Theoretically he is a citizen possessed of the franchise and equal in privilege and importance to his employer as a member of society, but actually he must vote for the party or the man who is most likely to benefit him economically, and he knows that he occupies a position of far less importance politically and socially than his employer. Employment is an essential in making a living, but it is an instrument that cuts two ways—it establishes an aristocracy of wealth and privilege for the employer and a servile class of employees who often are little better than peasants of the belt and wheel.

188. History of Manufacturing.—The history of the manufacturing industry is a curious succession of [182]enslavement and emancipation. Until within a century and a half it was closely connected with the home. Primitive women fashioned the utensils and clothing of the primitive family, and when slaves were introduced into the household it became their task to perform those functions. The slave was a bondman. Neither his person nor his time was his own, and he could not hold property; but he was taken care of, fed and clothed and housed, and by a humane master was kindly treated and even made a friend. When the slave became a serf on the manorial estate of mediæval Europe, manufacturing was still a household employment and old methods were still in use. These sufficed, as there was little outside demand from potential buyers, due to general poverty and lack of the means of exchange and transportation. Certain industries became localized, like the forging of iron instruments at the smithy and the grinding of grain at the mill, and the monastery buildings included apartments for various kinds of handicraft, but the factory was not yet. Then artisans found their way to the town, associated themselves with others of their craft, and accepted the relation of journeyman in the employ of a master workman; there, too, the young apprentice learned his trade without remuneration. The group was a small one. For greater strength in local rivalries they organized craft guilds or associations, and established over all members convenient rules and restrictions. Increasing opportunities for exchange of goods stimulated production, but the output of hand labor was limited in amount. The position of the craftsman locally was increasingly important, and his fortunes were improving. The craft guilds successfully disputed with their rivals for a share in the government of the city; there was democracy in the guild, for master and journeyman were both included, and they had interests much in common. A journeyman confidently expected to become a master in a workshop of his own.

189. Alteration of Status.—Under the factory system the employee becomes one of many industrial units, having no social or guild relation to his employer, receiving a money wage as a quit claim from his employer, and [183]dependent upon himself for labor and a living. For a time after the factory system came into vogue there were small shops where the employer busied himself among his men and personally superintended them, but the large factory tends to displace the small workshop, the corporation takes the place of the individual employer, and the employee becomes as impersonal a cog in the labor system as is any part of the machine at which he works. It used to be the case that a thrifty workman might hope to become in the future an employer, but now he has become a permanent member of a distinct class, for the large capital required for manufacturing is beyond his reach. The manufacturing industry is continually passing under the management of fewer individuals, while the number of operatives in each factory tends to increase. With concentration of management goes concentration of wealth, and the gap widens between rich and poor. Out of the modern factory system has come the industrial problem with all its varieties of skilled and unskilled work, woman and child labor, sweating, wages, hours and conditions of labor, unemployment, and other difficulties.

190. The Working Grind.—There are many manufacturing towns and small cities that are built on one industry. Thousands of workers, young and old, answer the morning summons of the whistle and pour into the factory for a day's labor at the machine. A brief recess at noon and the work is renewed for the second half of the day. Weary at night, the workers tramp home to the tenements, or hang to the trolley strap that is the symbol of the five-cent commuter, and recuperate for the next day's toil. They are cogs in the great wheel of industry, units in the great sum of human energy, indispensable elements in the progress of economic success. Sometimes they seem less prized than the costly machines at which they work, sometimes they fall exhausted in the ranks, as the soldier in the trenches drops under the attack, but they are absolutely essential to wealth and they are learning that they are indispensable to one another. In the development of social organization the working people are gaining a larger [184]part. The factory is educating them to a consciousness of the solidarity of their class interests. All class organizations have their faults, but they teach their members group values and the dependence of the individual on his fellows.

191. The Benefits of the New Industry to the Workers.—It must not be supposed that the industrial revolution and the age of machinery have been a social misfortune. The benefits that have come to the laboring people, as well as to their employers, must be put into the balance against the evils. There is first of all the great increase of manufactured products that have been shared in by the workers and the greatly reduced price of many necessaries of life, such as matches, pins, and cooking utensils. Invention has eased many kinds of labor and taken them away from the overburdened housewife, and new machinery is constantly lightening the burden of the farm and the home. Invention has broadened the scope of labor, opening continually new avenues to the workers. It is difficult to see how the rapidly increasing number of people in the United States could have found employment without the typewriter, the automobile, and the numerous varieties of electrical application. The great number of modern conveniences that have come to be regarded as necessaries even in the homes of the working people, and the local improvements in streets and sidewalks, schools and playgrounds that are possible because of increasing wealth, are all due to the new type of industry.

Conditions of labor are better. Where building laws are in force, factories are lighter, cleaner, and better ventilated than were the houses and shops of the pre-factory age, and the hours of labor that are necessary to earn a living have been greatly reduced in most industries. There have been mental and moral gains, also. It requires mental application to handle machinery. An uneducated immigrant may soon learn to handle a simple machine, but the complicated machinery that the better-paid workmen tend requires intelligence, care, and sobriety. The age of machinery has brought with it emancipation from slavery, [185]indenture, and imprisonment for debt, and has made possible a new status for the worker and his children. The laborer in America is a citizen with a vote and a right to his own opinion equal to that of his employer; he has time and money enough to buy and read the newspaper; and he is encouraged and helped to educate his children and to prepare them for a place in the sun that is ampler than his own.


Cheyney: Industrial and Social History of England, pages 199-239.

Nearing and Watson: Economics, pages 206-212, 256-266.

Henderson: Social Elements, pages 143-156.

Adams and Sumner: Labor Problems, pages 3-15.

Bogart: Economic History of the United States, pages 130-169, 356-399.




192. What It Means.—The industrial problem as a whole is a problem of adjusting the relations of employer and employee to each other and to the rapidly changing age in the midst of which industry exists. It is a problem that cannot be solved in a moment, for it has grown out of previous conditions and relationships. It must be considered in its causes, its alignments, the difficulties of each party, the efforts at solution, and the principles and theories that are being worked out for the settlement of the problem.

193. Conflict Between Industrial Groups.—The industrial problem is not entirely an economic problem, but it is such primarily. The function of employer and employee is to produce material goods that have value for exchange. Both enter into the economic relation for what they can get out of it in material gain. Selfish desire tends to overcome any consideration of each other's needs or of their mutual interests. There is a continual conflict between the wage-earner who wants to make a living and the employer who wants to make money, and neither stops long to consider the welfare of society as a whole when any specific issue arises. The conflict between individuals has developed into a class problem in which the organized forces of labor confront the organized forces of capital, with little disposition on either side to surrender an advantage once gained or to put an end to the conflict by a frank recognition of each other's rights.

It is not strange that this conflict has continued to vex society. Conflict is one of the characteristics of imperfectly adjusted groups. It seems to be a necessary preliminary to co-operation, as war is. It will continue until human beings are educated to see that the interests of all [187]are paramount to the interests of any group, and that in the long run any group will gain more of real value for itself by taking account of the interests of a rival. Railroad history in recent years has made it very plain that neither railway employees nor the public have gained as much by hectoring the railroad corporations as either would have gained by considering the interests of the railroad as well as its own.

Industrial conflict is due in great part to the unwillingness of the employer to deal fairly by his employee. There have been worthy exceptions, of course, but capitalists in the main have not felt a responsibility to consider the interests of the workers. It has been a constant temptation to take advantage of the power of wealth for the exploitation of the wage-earning class. Unfortunately, the modern industrial period began with economic control in the hands of the employer, for with the transfer of industry to the factory the laborer was powerless to make terms with the employer. Unfortunately, also, the disposition of society was to let alone the relations of master and dependent in accordance with the laisser-faire theory of the economists of that period. Government was slow to legislate in favor of the helpless employee, and the abuses of the time were many. The process of adjustment has been a difficult one, and experiment has been necessary to show what was really helpful and practicable.

194. More than an Industrial Problem.—In the process of experiment it has become clear that the industrial problem is more than an economic problem; secondarily, it is the problem of making a living that will contribute to the enrichment of life. It is not merely the adjustment of the wage scale to the profits of the capitalist by class conflict or peaceful bargaining, nor is it the problem of unemployment or official labor. The primary task may be to secure a better adjustment of the economic interests of employer and employee through an improvement of the wage system, but in the larger sense the industrial problem is a social and moral one. Sociologists reckon among the social forces a distinction between elemental desires [188]and broader interests. Wages are able to satisfy the elemental desires of hunger and sex feeling by making it possible for a man to marry and bring up a family and get enough to eat; but there are larger questions of freedom, justice, comity, personal and social development that are involved in the labor problem. If wages are so small, or hours so long, or factory conditions so bad that health is affected, proper education made impossible, and recreation and religion prevented, the individual and society suffer much more than with reference to the elemental desires. The industrial problem is, therefore, a complex problem, and not one that can be easily or quickly solved. Although it is necessary to remember all as parts of one problem of industry, it is a convenience to remember that it is:

(1) An economic problem, involving wages, hours, and conditions of labor.

(2) A social problem, involving the mental and physical health and the social welfare of both the individual worker, the family, and the community.

(3) An ethical problem, involving fairness, justice, comity, and freedom to the employer, the employee, and the public.

(4) A complex problem, involving many specific problems, chief of which are the labor of women and children, immigrant labor, prison labor, organization of labor, insurance, unemployment, industrial education, the conduct of labor warfare, and the interest of the public in the industrial problem.

195. Characteristics of Factory Life.—Group life in the factory is not very different in characteristics from group life everywhere. It is an active life, the hand and brain of the worker keeping pace with the speedy machine, all together shaping the product that goes to exchange and storage. It is a social life, many individuals working in one room, and all the operatives contributing jointly to the making of the product. It is under control. Captains of industry and their lieutenants give direction to a group that has been thoroughly and efficiently organized. Without control and organization industry could not be [189]successfully carried on, but it is open to question whether industrial control should not be more democratic, shared in by representatives of the workers and of the public as well as by the representatives of corporate capital or a single owner. It is a life of change. It does not seem so to the operative who turns out the same kind of a machine product day after day, sometimes by the million daily, but the personnel of the workers changes, and even the machines from time to time give way to others of an improved type. It is a life that has its peculiar weaknesses. The relations of employer and employee are not cordial; the health and comfort of the worker are often disregarded; the hours of labor are too long or the wages too small; the whole working staff is driven at too high speed; the whole process is on a mechanical rather than a human basis, and the material product is of more concern than the human producer. These weaknesses are due to the concentration of control in the hands of employers. The industrial problem is, therefore, largely a problem of control.

196. Democratizing Industry.—When the modern industrial system began in the eighteenth century the democratic principle played a small part in social relations. Parental authority in the family, the master's authority in the school, hierarchical authority in the church, official authority in the local community, and monarchical authority in the nation, were almost universal. It is not strange that the authority of the capitalist in his business was unquestioned. Only government had the right to interfere in the interest of the lower classes, and government had little care for that interest. The democratic principle has been gaining ground in family and school, state and church; it has found grudging recognition in industry. This is because the clash of economic interests is keenest in the factory. But even there the grip of privilege has loosened, and the possibility of democratizing industry as government has been democratized is being widely discussed. There is difference of opinion as to how this should be done. The socialist believes that control can be transferred to the people in no other way than by collective [190]ownership. Others progressively inclined accept the principle of government regulation and believe that in that way the people, through their political representatives, can control the owners and managers. Others think that the best results can be obtained by giving a place on the governing board of an industry to working men alongside the representatives of capital and permitting them to work out their problems on a mutual basis. Each of these methods has been tried, but without demonstrating conclusively the superiority of any one. Whatever method may come into widest vogue, there must be a recognition of the principle of democratic interest and democratic control. No one class in society can dictate permanently to the people as a whole. Industry is the concern of all, and all must have a share in managing it for the benefit of all.

197. Legislation.—The history of industrial reform is first of all a story of legislative interference with arbitrary management. When Great Britain early in the nineteenth century overstepped the bounds of the let-alone policy and began to legislate for the protection of the employee, it was but a resumption of a paternal policy that had been general in Europe before. But formerly government had interfered in behalf of the employing class, now it was for the people who were under the control of the exploiting capitalist. The abuses of child labor were the first to receive attention, and Parliament reduced the hours of child apprentices to twelve a day. Once begun, restriction was extended. Beginning in 1833, under the leadership of Lord Shaftesbury, the working man's friend, the labor of children under thirteen was reduced to forty-eight hours a week, and children under nine were forbidden to work at all. The work of young people under eighteen was limited to sixty-nine hours a week, and then to ten hours a day; women were included in the last provision. These early laws were applicable to factories for weaving goods only, but they were extended later to all kinds of manufacturing and mining. These laws were not always strictly enforced, but to get them through Parliament at all was an achievement. Later legislation extended the ten-hour law to men; then [191]the time was reduced to nine hours, and in many trades to eight.

In the United States the need of legislation was far less urgent. Employers could not be so masterful in the treatment of their employees or so parsimonious in their distribution of wages, because the laborer always had the option of leaving the factory for the farm, and land was cheap. Women and children were not exploited in the mines as in England, pauper labor was not so available, and such trades as chimney-sweeping were unknown. Then, too, by the time there was much need for legislation, the spirit of justice was becoming wide-spread and legislatures responded more quickly to the appeal for protective legislation. It was soon seen that the industrial problem was not simply how much an employee should receive for a given piece of work or time, but how factory labor affected working people of different sex or age, and how these effects reacted upon society. Those who pressed legislation believed that the earnings of a child were not worth while when the child lost all opportunity for education and healthful physical exercise, and that woman's labor was not profitable if it deprived her of physical health and nervous energy, and weakened by so much the stamina of the next generation. The thought of social welfare seconded the thought of individual welfare and buttressed the claims of a particular class to economic consideration in such questions as proper wages. Massachusetts was the first American State to introduce labor legislation in 1836; in 1869 the same State organized the first labor bureau, to be followed by a National bureau in 1884, four years later converted into a government department. Among the favorite topics of legislation have been the limitation of woman and child labor, the regulation of wage payments, damages and similar concerns, protection from dangerous machinery and adequate factory inspection, and the appointment of boards of arbitration. The doctrine of the liability of employers in case of accident to persons in their employ has been increasingly accepted since Great Britain adopted an employers' liability act in 1880, and since 1897 compulsory [192]insurance of employees has spread from the continent of Europe to England and the United States.

198. The Organization of Labor.—These measures of protection and relief have been due in part to the disinterested activity of philanthropists, and in part to the efforts of organized labor, backed up by public opinion; occasionally capitalists have voluntarily improved conditions or increased wages. The greatest agitation and pressure has come from the labor-unions. Unlike the mediæval guilds, these unions exist for the purpose of opposing the employer, and are formed in recognition of the principle that a group can obtain guarantees that an individual is helpless to secure. Like-mindedness holds the group together, and consciousness of common interests and mutual duties leads to sacrifice of individual benefit for the sake of the group. The moral effect of this sense and practice of mutual responsibility has been a distinct social gain, and warrants the hope that a time may come when this consciousness of mutual interests may extend until it includes the employing class as in the old-time guild.

The modern labor-union is a product of the nineteenth century. Until 1850 there was much experimenting, and a revolutionary sentiment was prevalent both in America and abroad. The first union movement united all classes of wage-earners in a nation-wide reform, and aimed at social gains, such as education as well as economic gains. It hoped much from political activity, spoke often of social ideals, and did not disdain to co-operate with any good agency, even a friendly employer. Class feeling was less keen than later. But it became apparent that the lines of organization were too loose, that specific economic reforms must be secured rather than a whole social programme, and that little could probably be expected from political activity. Labor began to organize on a basis of trades, class feeling grew stronger, and trials of strength with employers showed the value of collective bargaining and fixed agreements. Out of the period grew the American Federation of Labor. More recently has come the industrial union, which includes all ranks of labor, like the early [193]labor-union, and is especially beneficial to the unskilled. It is much more radical in its methods of operation, and is represented by such notorious organizations as the United Mine Workers and the International Workers of the World.

199. Strikes.—The principle of organization of the trade-union is democratic. The unit of organization is the local group of workers which is represented on the national governing bodies; in matters of important legislation, a referendum is allowed. Necessarily, executive power is strongly centralized, for the labor-union is a militant organization, but much is left to the local union. Though peaceful methods are employed when possible, warlike operations are frequent. The favorite weapon is the strike, or refusal to work, and this is often so disastrous to the employer that it results in the speedy granting of the laborers' demands. It requires good judgment on the part of the representatives of labor when to strike and how to conduct the campaign to a successful conclusion, but statistics compiled by the National Labor Bureau between 1881 and 1905 indicate that a majority of strikes ordered by authority of the organization were at least partially successful.

The successful issue of strikes has demonstrated their value as weapons of warfare, and they have been accepted by society as allowable, but they tend to violence, and produce feelings of hatred and distrust, and would not be countenanced except as measures of coercion to secure needed reforms. The financial loss due to the cessation of labor foots up to a large total, but in comparison with the total amount of wages and profits it is small, and often the periods of manufacturing activity are so redistributed through the year that there is really no net loss. Yet a strike cannot be looked upon in any other way than as a misfortune. Like war, it breaks up peaceful if not friendly relations, and tends to destroy the solidarity of society. It tends to strengthen class feeling, which, like caste, is a handicap to the progress of mankind. Though it may benefit the working man, it is harmful to the general public, which suffers from the interruption of industry and [194]sometimes of transportation, and whose business is disturbed by the blow to confidence.

200. Peaceful Methods of Settlement.—Strikes are so unsettling to industry that all parties find it better to use diplomacy when possible, or to submit a dispute to arbitration rather than to resort to violence. It is in industrial concerns very much as it is in international politics, and methods used in one circle suggest methods in the other. Formerly war was a universal practice, and of frequent occurrence, and duelling was common in the settlement of private quarrels; now the duel is virtually obsolete, and war is invoked only as a last resort. Difficulties are smoothed out through the diplomatic representatives that every nation keeps at the national capitals, and when they cannot settle an issue the matter is referred to an umpire satisfactory to both sides. Similarly in industrial disputes the tendency is away from the strike; when an issue arises representatives of both sides get together and try to find a way out. There is no good reason why an employer should refuse to recognize an organization or receive its representatives to conference, especially if the employer is a corporation which must work through representatives. Collective bargaining is in harmony with the spirit of the times and fair for all. Conference demands frankness on the part of all concerned. It leads more quickly to understanding and harmony if each party knows the situation that confronts the other. If the parties immediately concerned cannot reach an agreement, a third party may mediate and try to conciliate opposition. If that fails, the next natural step is voluntarily to refer the matter in dispute to arbitration, or by legal regulation to compel the disputants to submit to arbitration.

201. Boards of Conciliation.—The history of peaceful attempts to settle industrial disputes in the United States helps to explain the methods now frequently employed. In 1888, following a series of disastrous labor conflicts, Congress provided by legislation for the appointment of a board of three commissioners, which should make thorough investigation of particular disputes and publish its [195]findings. The class of disputes was limited to interstate commerce concerns and the commissioners did not constitute a permanent board, but the legislative act marked the beginning of an attempt at conciliation. Ten years later the Erdman Act established a permanent board of conciliation to deal with similar cases when asked to do so by one of the parties, and in case of failure to propose arbitration; it provided, also, for a board of arbitration. Meantime the States passed various acts for the pacification of industrial disputes; the most popular have been the appointment of permanent boards of conciliation and arbitration, which have power to mediate, investigate, and recommend a settlement. These have been supplemented by State and national commissions, with a variety of functions and powers, including investigation and regulation. The experience of government boards has not been long enough to prove whether they are likely to be of permanent value, but the results are encouraging to those who believe that through conciliation and arbitration the industrial problem can best be solved.

202. Public Welfare.—There can be no reasonable complaint of the interference of the government. The government, whether of State or nation, represents the people, and the people have a large stake in every industrial dispute. Society is so interdependent that thousands are affected seriously by every derangement of industry. This is especially true of the stoppage of railways, mines, or large manufacturing establishments, when food and fuel cannot be obtained, and the delicate mechanism of business is upset. At best the public is seriously inconvenienced. It is therefore proper that the public should organize on its part to minimize the derangement of its interests. In 1901 a National Civic Federation was formed by those who were interested in industrial peace, and who were large-minded enough to see that it could not be obtained permanently unless recognition should be given to all three of the interested parties—the employers, the employees, and the public. Many small employers of labor are bitterly opposed to any others than themselves having anything [196]to say about the methods of conducting industry, but the men of large experience are satisfied that the day of independence has passed. This organization includes on its committees representatives of all parties, and has helped in the settlement of a number of controversies.

203. Voluntary Efforts of Employers.—It is a hopeful sign that employers themselves are voluntarily seeking the betterment of their employees. It is a growing custom for corporations to provide for the comfort, health, and recreation of men and women in their employ. Rest-rooms, reading-rooms, baths, and gymnasiums are provided; athletic clubs are organized; lunches are furnished at cost; continuation schools are arranged. Some manufacturing establishments employ a welfare manager or secretary whose business it shall be to devise ways of improving working conditions. When these helps and helpers are supplied as philanthropy, they are not likely to be appreciated, for working people do not want to be patronized; if maintained on a co-operative basis, they are more acceptable. But the employer is beginning to see that it is good business to keep the workers contented and healthy. It adds to their efficiency, and in these days when scientific management is putting so much emphasis on efficiency, any measures that add to industrial welfare are not to be overlooked.

204. Profit-Sharing.—Another method of conferring benefit upon the employee is profit-sharing. By means of cash payment or stock bonuses, he is induced to work better and to be more careful of tools and machinery, while his expectation of a share in the success of the business stimulates his interest and his energy and keeps him better natured. The objections to the plan are that it is paternalistic, for the business is under the control of the employer and the amount of profits depends on his honesty, good management, and philanthropic disposition. There are instances where it has worked admirably, and from the point of view of the employer it is often worth while, because it tends to weaken unionism; but it cannot be regarded as a cure for industrial ills, because it is a remedy of uncertain value, and at best is not based on the principle of industrial democracy.

[197]205. Principles for the Solution of the Industrial Problem.—Three principles contend for supremacy in all discussions and efforts to solve the industrial problem. The first is the doctrine of employer's control. This is the old principle that governed industrial relations until governmental legislation and trade-union activity compelled a recognition of the worker's rights. By that principle the capitalist and the laborer are free to work together or to fight each other, to make what arrangements they can about wages, hours, and health conditions, to share in profits if the employer is kindly disposed, but always with labor in a position of subordination and without recognized rights, as in the old political despotisms, which were sometimes benevolent but more often ruthless. Only the selfish, stubborn capitalist expects to see such a system permanently restored.

The second principle is the doctrine of collective control. This theory is a natural reaction from the other, but goes to an opposite extreme. It is the theory of the syndicalist, who prefers to smash machinery before he takes control, and of the socialist, who contents himself with declaring the right of the worker to all productive property, and agitates peacefully for the abolition of the wage system in favor of a working man's commonwealth. The socialist blames the wage system for all the evils of the present industrial order, regards the trade-unions as useful industrial agencies of reform, but urges a resort to the ballot as a necessary means of getting control of industry. There would come first the socialization of natural resources and transportation systems, then of public utilities and large industries, and by degrees the socialization of all industry would become complete. Then on a democratic basis the workers would choose their industrial officers, arrange their hours, wages, and conditions of labor, and provide for the needs of every individual without exploitation, overexertion, or lack of opportunity to work. Serious objections are made to this programme for productive enterprise on the ground of the difficulty of effecting the transfer of the means of production and exchange, and of executive management without the incentive of abundant pecuniary [198]returns for efficient superintendency; even more because of the natural selfishness of human beings who seek personal preferment, and the natural inertia of those who know that they will be taken care of whether they exert themselves or not. More serious still are the difficulties that lie in the way of a satisfactory distribution of the rewards of labor, for there is sure to be serious difference of opinion over the proper share of each person who contributes to the work of production, and no method of initiative, referendum, and recall would avail to smooth out the difficulties that would be sure to arise.

206. Co-operation.—The third principle is co-operation. The principle of co-operation is as important to society as the principle of division of labor. By means of co-operative activity in the home the family is able to maintain itself as a useful group. By means of co-operation in thinly settled communities local prosperity is possible without any individual possessing large resources. But in industry where competition rules and the aim of the employer is the exploitation of the worker, general comfort is sacrificed for the enrichment of the few and wealth flaunts itself in the midst of misery. There will always be a problem in the industrial relations of human beings until there is a recognition of this fundamental principle of co-operation. The application of the principle to the complicated system of modern industrialism is not easy, and attempts at co-operative production by working men with small and incapable management have not been successful, but it is becoming clear that as a principle of industrial relation between classes it is to obtain increasing recognition. If it is proper to admit the claims of the employer, the employee, and the public to an interest in every labor issue, then it is proper to look for the co-operation of them all in the regulation of industry. The usual experiments in co-operative industry have been the voluntary organization of production, exchange, or distribution by a group of middle or working class people to save the large expense of superintendents or middlemen. Co-operation in production has usually failed; in America co-operative banks and building [199]associations, creameries, and fruit-growing associations have had considerable success, and in Europe co-operative stores and bakeries have had a large vogue in England and Belgium, and co-operative agriculture in Denmark. But industry on a large scale requires large capital, efficient management, capable, interested workmanship, and elimination of waste in material and human life. To this end it needs the good-will of all parties and the assistance of government. Unemployment, for instance, may be taken care of by giving every worker a good industrial education and doing away with inefficiency, and then establishing a wide-spread system of labor exchanges to adjust the mass of labor to specific requirements. Industry is such a big and important matter that nothing less than the co-operation of the whole of society can solve its problems.

This co-operation, to be effective, requires a genuine partnership, in which the body of stockholders and the body of working men plan together, work together, and share together, with the assistance of government commissions and boards that continually adjust and, if necessary, regulate the processes of production and distribution on a basis of equity, to be determined by a consensus of expert opinion. In such a system there is no radical derangement of existing industry, no destruction of initiative, no expulsion of expert management or confiscation of property. Individual and corporate ownership continue, the wage system is not abolished, efficient administration is still to be obtained, but the body of control is not a board of directors responsible only to the stockholders of the corporation, and managing affairs primarily for their own gain, but it consists of representatives of those who contribute money, superintendence, and labor, together with or regulated by a group of government experts, all of whom are honestly seeking the good of all parties and enjoying their full confidence. Toward such an outcome of present strife many interested social reformers are working, and it is to be hoped that its advantages will soon appear so great that neither extreme alternative principle will have to be tried out thoroughly before there will be a general acceptance [200]of the co-operative idea. It may seem utopian to those who are familiar with the selfishness and antagonism that have marked the history of the last hundred years, but it is already being tried out here and there, and it is the only principle that accords with the experiences and results of social evolution in other groups. It is the highest law that the struggle for individual power fails before the struggle for the good of the group, and a contest for the success of the few must give way to co-operation for the good of all.


Ellwood: Sociology in Its Psychological Aspects, pages 188-194.

Adams and Sumner: Labor Problems, pages 175-286, 379-432, 461-500.

Bulletins of the United States Department of Labor.

Carlton: History and Problems of Organized Labor, pages 228-261.

Gladden: The Labor Question, pages 77-113.

Henderson: Social Elements, pages 167-206.

Cross: Essentials of Socialism, pages 11, 12, 106-111.

Wyckoff: The Workers.




207. Mercantile Exchange.—Important as is the manufacturing industry in the life of the city, it is only a part of the economic activity that is continually going on in its streets and buildings. The mercantile houses that carry on wholesale and retail trade, the towering office-buildings, and the railway and steamship terminals contain numerous groups of workers all engaged in the social task of supplying human wants, while streets and railways are avenues of traffic. The manufacture of goods is but a part of the process; distribution is as important as production. All these sources of supply are connected with banks and trust companies that furnish money and credit for business of every kind. The economic activities of a city form an intricate network in which the people are involved.

Hardly second in importance to manufacturing is mercantile exchange. The manufacturer, after he has paid his workers, owns the goods that have been produced, but to get his living he must sell them. To do this he establishes relations with the merchant. Their relations are carried on through agents, some of whom travel from place to place taking orders, others establish office headquarters in the larger centres of trade. Once the merchant has opened his store or shop and purchased his goods he seeks to establish trade relations with as many individual customers as he can attract. Mercantile business is carried on in two kinds of stores, those which supply one kind of goods in wholesale or retail quantities, like groceries or dry goods, and those which maintain numerous departments for different kinds of manufactured goods. Large department stores have become a special feature of mercantile exchange in cities of considerable size, but they do not destroy the smaller merchants, though competition is often difficult.

[202]208. The Ethics of Business.—The methods of carrying on mercantile business are based, as in the factory, on the principle of getting the largest possible profits. The welfare of employees is a secondary consideration. Expense of maintenance is heavy. Rents are costly in desirable locations; the expense of carrying a large stock of merchandise makes it necessary to borrow capital on which interest must be paid; the obligations of a large pay-roll must be met at frequent intervals, whether business is good or bad. All these items are present in varying degree, whatever the size of the business, except where a merchant has capital enough of his own to carry on a small business and can attend to the wants of his customers alone or with the help of his family. The temptation of the merchant is strong to use every possible means to make a success of his business, paying wages as low as possible, in order to cut down expenses, and offering all kinds of inducements to customers in order to sell his goods. The ethics of trade need improvement. It is by no means true, as some agitators declare, that the whole business system is corrupt, that honesty is rare, and that the merchant is without a conscience. General corruption is impossible in a commercial age like this, when the whole system of business is built on credit, and large transactions are carried on, as on the Stock Exchange, with full confidence in the word or even the nod of an operator. Of course, shoddy and impure goods are sold over the counter and the customer often pays more than an article is really worth, but every mercantile house has its popular reputation to sustain as well as its rated financial standing, and the business concern that does not deal honorably soon loses profitable trade.

Exchange constitutes an important division of the science of economics, but its social causes and effects are of even greater consequence. Exchange is dependent upon the diffusion of information, the expansion of interests, and growing confidence between those who effect a transaction. When mutual wants are few it is possible to carry on business by means of barter; when trade increases money becomes a necessary medium; world commerce requires a [203]system of credit which rests on social trust and integrity. Conversely, there are social consequences that come from customs of exchange. It enlarges human interests. It stimulates socialization of habits and broader ideas. It encourages industry and thrift and promotes division of labor. It strengthens social organization and tends to make it more efficient. Altogether, exchange of goods must be regarded as among the most important functions of society.

209. Business Employees.—The business ethics that are most open to criticism are those that govern the relations of the merchant and his employees. Here the system of employment is much the same as in the factory. The merchant deals with his employees through superintendents of departments. The employment manager hires the persons who seem best qualified for the position, and they are assigned to a department. They are under the orders of the head of the department, and their success or failure depends largely on his good-will. Wages and privileges are in his hand, and if he is morally unscrupulous he can ruin a weak-willed subordinate. There is little coherence among employees; there are always men and women who stand ready to take a vacant position, and often no particular skill or experience is required. There has been no such solidifying of interests by trade-unions as in the factory; the individual makes his own contract and stands on his own feet. On the other hand, there is an increasing number of employers who feel their responsibility to those who are in their employ, and, except in the department stores, they are usually associated personally with their employees. Welfare work is not uncommon in the large establishments, and a minimum wage is being adopted here and there.

One of the worst abuses of the department store is the low-paid labor of women and girls. It is possible for girls who live at home to get along on a few dollars a week, but they establish a scale of wages so low that it is impossible for the young woman who is dependent on her own resources to get enough to eat and wear and keep well. The physical and moral wrecks that result are disheartening. [204]Nourishing food in sufficient quantities to repair the waste of nerve and tissue cannot be obtained on five or six dollars a week, when room rent and clothing and necessary incidentals, like car-fare, have to be included. There are always human beasts of prey who are prepared to give financial assistance in exchange for sex gratification, and it is difficult to resist temptation when one's nervous vigor and strength of will are at the breaking-point. It is not strange that there is an economic element among the causes of the social evil; it is remarkable that moral sturdiness resists so much temptation.

210. Offices.—The numerous office-buildings that have arisen so rapidly in recent years in the cities also have large corps of women workers. They have personal relations with employers much more frequently, for there are thousands of offices where a few stenographers or even a single secretary are sufficient. Office work is skilled labor, is better paid, and attracts women of better attainments and higher ideals than in department store or factory. Office relations are pleasant as well as profitable. The demands are exacting; labor at the typewriter, the proof-sheets, or the bookkeeper's desk is tiresome, but the society of the office is congenial, working conditions are healthful and cheerful in most cases, and there are many opportunities for increasing efficiency and promotion. The office has its hardships. Everything is on a business basis, and there is little allowance for feelings or disposition. There are days when trials multiply and an atmosphere of irritation prevails; there are seasons when the constant rush creates a wearing nervous tension, and other seasons, when business is so poor that occasionally there are breakdowns of health or moral rectitude; but on the whole the office presents a simpler industrial problem than the factory or the store.

211. Transportation.—A third industry that has its centre in the city but extends across continents and seas is the business of transportation. Manufactured goods are conveyed from the factory to the warehouse and the store, goods sold in the mercantile establishment are delivered from door to door, but enormous quantities of the products [205]of economic activity are hauled to greater distances by truck, car, and steamship. The city is a point to which roads, railways, and steamship lines converge, and from which they radiate in every direction. By long and short hauls, by express and freight, vast quantities of food products and manufactured goods pour into the metropolis, part to be used in its numerous dwellings, part to be shipped again to distant points. Along the same routes passengers are transported, journeying in all directions on a multitude of errands, jostling for a moment as they hurry to and from the means of conveyance, and then swinging away, each on its individual orbit, like comet or giant sun that nods acquaintance but once in a thousand years.

The business of transportation occupies the time and attention of thousands of workers, and its ramifications are endless. It is not limited to a particular region like agriculture, or to towns and cities like manufacturing; it is not stopped by tariff walls or ocean boundaries. An acre of wheat is cut by the reaper, threshed, and carted to the elevator by wagon or motor truck. The railroad-car is hauled alongside, and with other bushels of its kind the grain is transported to a giant flour-mill, where it is turned into a whitened, pulverized product, packed in barrels, and shipped across the ocean to a foreign port. Conveyed by rail or truck to the bakery, the flour undergoes transformation into bread, and takes its final journey to hotel, restaurant, and dwelling-house. Similarly, every kind of raw material finds its destination far from the place of its production and is consumed directly or as a manufactured product. This gigantic business of transportation is the means of providing for the sustenance and comfort of millions of human beings, and in spite of the extensive use of machinery it requires at every step the co-operative labor of human beings.

212. Growth of Interdependence.—It is the far-flung lines of commerce that bind together the peoples of the world. Formerly there were periods of history, as in the European Middle Ages, when a social group produced nearly everything that it needed for consumption and [206]commerce was small; but now all countries exchange their own products for others that they cannot so readily produce. The requirements of commerce have broken down the barriers between races, and have compelled mutual acquaintance and knowledge of languages, mutual confidence in one another's good intentions, and mutual understanding of one another's wants. The demands of commerce have precipitated wars, but have also brought victories of peace. They have stimulated the invention of improved means of communication, as the demands of manufacturing stimulated invention of machinery. The slow progress of horse-drawn vehicles over poor roads provoked the invention of improved highways and then of railroads. The application of steam to locomotives and ships revolutionized commerce, and by the steady improvements of many years has given to the eager trader and traveller the speedy, palatial steamship and the train de luxe.

Transportation depends, however, on the man behind the engine rather than on the mass of steel that is conjured into motion. Successful commerce waits for the willingness and skill of worker and director. There must be the same division and direction of labor and the same spirit of co-operation; there must be intelligence in planning schedules for traffic and overcoming obstacles of nature and human frailty and incompetence. The teamster, the longshoreman, the freight-handler, and the engineer must all feel the push of the economic demand, keeping them steadily at work. A strike on any portion of the line ties up traffic and upsets the calculations of manufacturer, merchant, and consumer, for they are all dependent upon the servants of transportation.

213. Problems of Transportation.—There are problems of transportation that are of a purely economic nature, but there are also problems that are of social concern. The first problem is that of safe and rapid transportation. The comfort and safety of the millions who travel on business or for pleasure is a primary concern of society. If the roads are not kept in repair and the steamship lanes patrolled, if the rolling-stock is allowed to deteriorate and become liable [207]to accident, if engine-drivers and helmsmen are intemperate or careless, if efficiency is not maintained, or if safety is sacrificed to speed, the public is not well served. Many are the illustrations of neglect and inefficiency that have culminated in accident and death. Or the transportation company is slow to adopt new inventions and to meet the expense that is necessary to equip a steamer or a railroad for speed, or to provide rapid interurban or suburban transit. Poor management or single tracks delay fast freights, or congested terminals tie up traffic. These inconveniences not only consume profits and ruffle the tempers of working men, but they are a social waste of time and effort, and they stand in the way of improved living conditions. The congestion of population in the cities can easily be remedied when rapid and cheap transit make it possible for working men to live twenty or thirty miles out of town. The standard of living can be raised appreciably when fast trolley or steam service provides the products of the farms in abundance and in fresh condition.

Another problem is that of the worker. The same temptation faces the transportation manager that appears in the factory and the mercantile house. The expenses of traffic are enormous. Railways alone cost hundreds of millions for equipment and service, and there are periods when commerce slackens and earnings fall away. It is easier to cut wages than to postpone improvements or to raise freight or passenger rates. In the United States an interstate commerce commission regulates rates, but questions of wages and hours of labor are between the management and the men. Friction frequently develops, and hostility in the past has produced labor organizations that are well knit and powerful, so that the railroad man has succeeded in securing fair treatment, but there are other branches of transportation service where the servants of the public find their labor poorly paid and precarious in tenure. Teamsters and freight-handlers find conditions hard; sailors and dock-hands are often thrown out of employment. Whole armies of transportation employees have been enrolled since trolley-lines and automobile service have [208]been organized. Fewer persons drive their own horses and vehicles, and many who walked to and from business or school now ride. Transportation service has been vastly extended, but there are continually more people to be accommodated, and motor-men, conductors, and chauffeurs to be adjusted to wage scales and service hours.

214. Monopoly.—A persistent tendency in transportation has been toward monopoly. Express service between two points becomes controlled by a single company, and the charges are increased. A street-railway company secures a valuable city franchise, lays its tracks on the principal streets, and monopolizes the business. Service may be poor and fares may be raised, unless kept down by a railroad commission, but the public must endure inconvenience, discomfort, and oppression, or walk. Railroad systems absorb short lines and control traffic over great districts; unless they are under government regulation they may adjust their time schedules and freight charges arbitrarily and impose as large a burden as the traffic will bear; the public is helpless, because there is no other suitable conveyance for passengers or freight. It is for these reasons that the United States has taken the control of interstate commerce into its own hands and regulated it, while the States have shown a disposition to inflict penalties upon recalcitrant corporations operating within State boundaries. It is the policy of government, also, to prevent control of one railroad by another, to the added inconvenience and expense of the public. But since 1890 there has been a rapid tendency toward a consolidation of business enterprises, by which railroads became united into a few gigantic systems, street railways were consolidated into a few large companies, and ocean-steamship companies amalgamated into an international combination.

215. Government Ownership vs. Regulation.—Nor did monopoly confine itself to transportation. The control of public utilities has passed into fewer hands. Coal companies, gas and electric light corporations, telegraph and telephone companies tend to monopolize business over large sections of country. Some of these possess a natural [209]monopoly right, and if managed in the interests of the public that they serve, may be permitted to carry on their business without interference. But their large incomes and disposition to oppress their constituents has produced many demands for government ownership, especially of coal companies and railroads, and though for less reason of telephone and telegraph lines. Government ownership has been tried in Europe and in Australasia, but experience does not prove that it is universally desirable. There are financial objections in connection with purchase and operation, and the question of efficiency of government employees is open to debate. Enough experiments have been tried in the United States to render very doubtful the advisability of government ownership of any of these large enterprises where politics wield so large a power and democracy delights to shift office and responsibility. But it is desirable that the government of State and nation have power to regulate business associations that control the public welfare as widely as do railroads, telegraph-lines, and navigation companies. By legislation, incorporation, and taxation the government may keep its hand upon monopoly and, if necessary, supersede it, but the system which has grown up by a natural process is to be given full opportunity to justify itself before government assumes its functions. It is hardly to be expected that government regulation will be faultless, American experience with regulating commissions has not been altogether satisfactory, but society needs protection, and this the government may well provide.

216. Trusts.—The tendency to monopoly is not confined to any one department of economic activity. Manufacturing, mercantile, and banking companies have all tended to combine in large corporations, partly for greater economy, partly for an increase of profits through manipulating reorganization of stock companies, and partly for centralization of control. In the process, while the cost of certain products has been reduced by economy in operating expenses, the enormous dividend requirements of heavily capitalized corporations has necessitated high prices, a large [210]business, and the danger of overproduction, and a virtual monopoly has made it possible to lift prices to a level that pinches the consumer. By a grim irony of circumstance, these giant and often ruthless corporations have taken the name of trusts, but they do not incline to recognize that the people's rights are in their trust. Not every trust is harmful to society, and certainly trusts need not be destroyed. They have come into existence by a natural economic process, and as far as they cheapen the cost of production and improve the manufacture and distribution of the product they are a social gain, but they need to be controlled, and it is the function of government to regulate them in the interests of society at large. It has been found by experience that publicity of corporate business is one of the best methods of control. In the long run every social organization must obtain the sanction of public opinion if it is to become a recognized institution, and in a democratic country like the United States no trust can become so independent or monopolistic that it can afford to disregard the public will and the public good, as certain American corporations have discovered to their grief.

217. The Chances of Progress.—Every economic problem resolves itself into a social problem. The satisfaction of human wants is the province of the manufacturer, the merchant, and the transporter, but it is not limited to any one or all of these, nor is society under their control. The range of wants is so great, the desires of social beings branch out into so many broad interests, that no one line of enterprise or one group of men can control more than a small portion of society. The whole is greater than any of its parts. There will be groups that are unfortunate, communities and races that will suffer temporarily in the process of social adjustment, but the welfare of the many can never long be sacrificed to the selfishness of the few. Social revolution in some form will take place. It may not be accomplished in a day or a year, but the social will is sure to assert itself and to right the people's wrongs. The social process that is going on in the modern city has aggravated the friction of industrial relations; the haste with [211]which business is carried on is one of its chief causes; but the very speed of the movement will carry society the sooner out of its acute distresses into a better adjusted system of industry. So far most of the world's progress has been by a slow course of natural adjustment of individuals and groups to one another; that process cannot be stopped, but it can be directed by those who are conscious of the maladjustments that exist and perceive ways and means of improvement. Under such persons as leaders purposive progress may be achieved more rapidly and effectually in the near future.


Hadley: Standards of Public Morality, pages 33-96.

Nearing: Wages in the United States, pages 93-96.

Nearing and Watson: Economics, pages 241-255, 314-320.

Vrooman: American Railway Problems, pages 1-181.

Bolen: Plain Facts as to the Trusts and the Tariff, pages 3-236.

Bogart: Economic History of the United States, pages 186-216, 305-337, 400-418.

Montgomery: Vital American Problems, pages 3-91.




218. Economic vs. Social Values.—Economic interests may receive first attention in the city, but the work that is done is of less importance than the people who work. Things may so fill the public mind that the real values of the various elements that enter into life may become distorted. A penny may be held so close to the eye as to hide the sun. Making a living may seem more important than making the most of life. Persons who are absorbed in business are liable to lose their sense of proportion between people and property; the capitalist overburdens himself with business cares until he breaks down under the nervous strain, and overworks his subordinates until they often become physical wrecks, but it is not because he personally intends to do harm. Eventually the social welfare of every class will become the supreme concern and the study of social efficiency will fill a larger place than the study of economic efficiency.

219. The Social Classes.—There is a natural line of social cleavage that has made it a customary expression to speak of the upper, the middle, and the lower classes. It is impossible to separate them sharply, for they shade into one another. Theoretically, in a democratic country like America there should be no class distinctions, but in colonial days birth and education had an acknowledged social position that did not belong to the common man, and in the nineteenth century a wealthy class came into existence that wrested supremacy from professional men and those who could rely alone on their intellectual achievements. It has never been impossible for individuals to push their way up the social path of success, but it has been increasingly difficult for a self-made man to break through into [213]the circle of the élite. There are still young men who come out of the country without pecuniary capital but with physical strength and courage and, after years of persistent attack, conquer the citadel of place and power, but the odds are against the youth without either capital or a higher education than the high school gives. Without unusual ability and great strength of will it is impossible to rise high if one lacks capital or influential friends, but with the help of any two of these it is quite possible to gain success. Employers complain that the vast majority of persons whom they employ are lacking in energy, ambition, and ability. Important as is the possession of wealth and influence it seems to be the psychic values that ultimately determine the individual's place in American society. We shall expect, therefore, to find an upper class in society composed of some who hold their place because of the prestige that belongs to birth or property, and of others who have made their own way up because they had the necessary qualities to succeed. Below them in the social scale we shall expect to find a larger class who, because they were not consumed by ambition to excel, or because they lacked the means to achieve distinction, have come to occupy a place midway between the high and the low, to fill the numerous professional and business positions below the kings and great captains, and to hold the balance of power between the aristocracy and the proletariat. Below these, in turn, are the so-called masses, who fill the lower ranks of labor, and who are essential to the well-being of those who are reckoned above them.

220. The Worth of the Upper Class.—It is a common belief among the lowly that the people who hold a place in the upper ranks are not worthy of their lofty position, and there are many who hope to see such a general levelling as took place during the French Revolution. They are fortified in their opinion by the lavish and irresponsible way in which the wealthy use their money, and they are tantalized by the display of luxury which, if times are hard, are in aggravating contrast to the hardship and suffering of the poor. The scale of living of the millionaire cannot justify [214]itself in the eyes of the man who finds it difficult to make both ends meet. Undoubtedly society will find it necessary some day to devise a more equitable method of distribution. But it is a mistake to suppose that most of the rich are idle parasites on society, or that their service, as well, as their wealth, could be dispensed with in the social order. In spite of the impression fostered by a sensational press that the average person of wealth devotes himself to the gaieties and dissipations of a pleasure-loving society, the truth is that after the self-centred years of callow youth are over most men and women take life seriously and only the few are idlers. If the investigator should go through the wealthy sections of the cities and suburbs, and record his observations, he would find that the men spend their days feeling the pulse of business in the down-town offices, directing the energies of thousands of individuals, keeping open the arteries of trade, using as productive capital the wealth that they count their own, making possible the economic activity and the very existence of the persons who find fault with their worthlessness. He would find the women in the nature of the case less occupied with public affairs, but interested and enlisted in all sorts of good enterprises, and, while often wasteful of time and money, bearing a part increasingly in the promotion of social reforms by active participation and by generous contributions. The immense gains that have come to society through philanthropy and social organization, as well as through the channels of industry, would have been impossible without the sympathetic activity of the so-called upper class.

221. Who Belong to the City Aristocracy?—Most of those who belong to the upper class are native Americans. They may not be far removed from European ancestry, but for themselves they have had the advantage of a rearing in American ways in the home, the school, and society at large. They are both city and country bred. The country boy has the advantage of physical strength and better manual training, but he often lacks intellectual development, and usually has little capital to start with. The city youth knows the city ways and possesses the asset of [215]acquaintances and friendships, if not of capital, in the place where he expects to make a living. He is helped to success if the way is prepared for him by relatives who have attained place and property, but he is as often cursed by having more money and more liberty than is good for him, while still in his irresponsible years. No place is secure until the young man has proved his personal worth, whether he is from the city or the country and has come up out of poverty or from a home of wealth.

222. Sources of Wealth.—The large majority of persons of wealth have won or inherited their property from the economic industries of manufacturing, trade, commerce, and transportation, or real estate. Certain individuals have been fortunate in their mining or public-service investments; others make a large income as corporation officials, lawyers, physicians, engineers, and architects, but most of them have attained their success as capitalists, and they are able to maintain a position of prominence and ease because they use rather than hoard their wealth. It is easy to underestimate the usefulness of human beings who finance the world of industry, and in estimating the returns that are due to members of the various social classes this form of public service that is so essential to the prosperity of all must receive recognition.

223. How They Live.—Unfortunately, the possession of money furnishes a constant temptation to self-indulgence which, if carried far, is destructive of personal health and character, weakens family affection, and threatens the solidarity of society. The dwelling-house is costly and the furnishings are expensive. A retinue of servants performs many useless functions in the operation of the establishment. Ostentation often carried to the point of vulgarity marks habits of speech, of dress, and of conduct both within and outside of the home. Every member of the family has his own friends and interests and usually his own share of the family allowance. The adults of the family are unreasonably busy with social functions that are not worth their up-keep; the children are coddled and supplied with predigested culture in schools that cater to the trade, and [216]if they are not spoiled in the process of preparation go on to college as a form of social recreation. There are exceptions, of course, to this manner of life, but those who follow it constitute a distinct type and by their manner of living exert a disintegrating influence in American society.

224. The Middle Class.—The middle class is not so distinct a stratum of society as are the upper and lower classes. It includes the bulk of the population in the United States, and from its ranks come the teachers, ministers, physicians, lawyers, artists, musicians, authors, and statesmen; the civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers, the architects, and the scientists of every name; most of the tradesmen of the towns and the farmers of the country; office managers and agents, handicraftsmen of the better grade, and not a few of the factory workers. They are the people who maintain the Protestant churches and their enterprises, who make up a large part of the constituency of educational institutions and buy books and reviews, and who patronize the better class of entertainments and amusements. These people are too numerous to belong to any one race, and they include both city and country bred. The educated class of foreigners finds its place among them, assimilates American culture, and intermarries in the second generation. Into the middle class of the cities is absorbed the constant stream of rural immigration, except the few who rise into the upper class or fall into the lower class. In the city itself grow up thousands of boys and girls who pass through the schools and into business and home life in their native environment, and who constitute the solid stratum of urban society.

These people have not the means to make large display. They are influenced by the fashions of the upper class, sometimes are induced to applaud their poses or are hypnotized to do their bidding, but they have their own class standards, and most of them are contented to occupy their modest station. Only a minority of them own their homes, but as a class they can afford to pay a reasonable rent and to furnish their houses tastefully, to hire one or two household servants, and to live in comfort. Twenty years ago they owned bicycles and enjoyed century runs [217]into the country on Sunday: since then some of them have been promoted to automobiles and enjoy a low-priced car as much as the wealthy appreciate their high-priced limousines. As in rural villages, so in the city they form various groups of neighbors or friends based on a common interest, and find entertainment and intellectual stimulus from such companionship. On the roster of social organizations are musical societies and bridge clubs, literary and art circles, dramatic associations, women's clubs, and men's fraternities. The people meet at dances, teas, and receptions; they mingle with others of their kind at church or theatre, and co-operate with other workers in settlements and charity organizations. They educate their children in the public schools and in increasing numbers give them the benefit of a college education.

People of the middle class are by no means debarred from passing up to a higher social grade if they have the ability or good fortune to get ahead, nor are they guaranteed a permanent place in their own native group unless they are competent to keep their footing. There is no surety to keep the independent tradesman from failing in business or the careless youth from falling into intemperate or vicious habits; many hazards must be crossed and hindrances overcome before an assured position is secured in the community, but the opportunities are far better than for the handicapped strugglers below.

225. Bonds of Union Between Classes.—Though the middle class is distinct from the aristocracy of society in America, it is not shut off from association with it. The same is true in a less degree of the lowest class. Party lines are vertical, not horizontal. Religious and intellectual lines are only less so. The politician cannot afford to ignore a single vote, and the working man's counts as much as the plutocrat's. There are few churches that do not have representatives of all classes, from the gilded pew-holder to the workman with dingy hands who sits under the gallery. The school is no respecter of class lines. The store, the street-car, and the railroad are all common property, where one jostles another without regard to class. [218]Friendship oversteps all boundaries, even of race and creed.

226. The Lower Class.—The lower class consists of those who are dependent upon others for the opportunity to work or for the charity that keeps them alive. They commonly lack initiative and ambition; if they have those qualities they are hindered by their environment from ever getting ahead. Sometimes they make an attempt in a small way to carry on trade on their own resources, but they seldom win success. Their skill as factory operatives is not so great as to gain for them a good wage, and when business is slack they are the first to be laid off the pay-roll, and they help to swell the ranks of the unemployed. Because of the American system of compulsory education they are not absolutely illiterate, but their ability is small; they leave school early, and what little education they have does not help them to earn a living. They do not usually choose an occupation, but they follow the line of least resistance, taking the first job that offers, and often finding later that they never can hope for advancement in it. Frequently they are the victims of weak will and inherited tendencies that lead to intemperance, vice, and crime. Thousands of them are living in the unwholesome tenements that lack comfort and attractiveness. There is no inducement to cultivate good habits, and no possibility of keeping the children free from moral and physical contamination. As a class they are continually on the edge of poverty and often submerged in it. They know what it is to feel the pinch of hunger, to shiver before the blasts of winter, and to look upon coal and ice as luxuries. They become discouraged from the struggle as they grow older, often get to be chronically dependent on charity, and not infrequently fall at last into a pauper's grave.

227. The Degenerate American.—Many of these people are Americans, swarms of them are foreigners who have come here to better their fortunes and have been disappointed or, finding the difficulties more than they anticipated, have settled down fairly contented in the city. Many persons think that it is the alien immigrant who [219]causes the increase in intemperance and crime that has been characteristic of city life, but statistics lay much of the guilt upon the degenerate American. There are poor whites in the cities as there are in the South country. The riffraff drifts to town from the country as the Roman proletariat gravitated to the capital in the days of decadence. A great many young persons who enter the city with high hopes of making a fortune fail to get a foothold or gradually lose their grip and are swept along in the current of the city's débris. Illness, accident, and repeated failure are all causes of degeneration.

Along with misfortune belongs misconduct. Those causes which produce poverty like intemperance, idleness, and ignorance, are productive of degeneracy, also. They render the individual unfit to meet the responsibilities of life, and tend not only to incompetence but also to sensuality and even crime. Added to the various physical causes are such psychical influences as contact with degraded minds or with base literature or art, loss of religious faith, and loss of self-confidence as to one's ability to succeed.

Personal degeneracy tends to perpetuate itself in the family. Drunken, depraved, or feeble-minded parents usually produce children with the same inheritances or tendencies; family quarrelling and an utter absence of moral training do not foster the development of character. A slum environment in the city strengthens the evil tendencies of such a home, as it counterbalances the good effects of a wholesome home environment. Mental and moral degeneracy is always present in society, and if unchecked spreads widely; physical degeneracy is so common as to be alarming, resulting in dangerous forms of disease, imbecility, and insanity. Society is waking to the need of protecting itself against degeneracy in all its forms, and of cutting out the roots of the evil from the social body.



Nearing: Social Religion, pages 104-157.

Commons: "Is Class Conflict in America Growing?" art. in American Journal of Sociology, 13: 756-783.

Henderson: Social Elements, pages 276-283.

Nearing and Watson: Economics, pages 185-193.

Warner: American Charities, pages 59-117, 276-292.

Patten: Social Basis of Religion, pages 107-133.

Blackmar and Gillin: Outlines of Sociology, pages 499-512.




228. The Immigrant Problem.—An increasing proportion of the city's population is foreign born or of foreign parentage. For a hundred years America has been the goal of the European peasant's ambition, the magnet that has drawn him from interior hamlet and ocean port. Migration has been one of the mighty forces that have been reshaping society. The American people are being altered by it, and it is a question whether America will maintain its national characteristics if the volume of immigration continues unchecked. Europe has been deeply affected, and the people who constitute the migrating mass have been changed most of all. And the end is not yet.

The immigrant constitutes one of the problems of society. Never has there been in history such a race movement as that which has added to one nation a population of more than twenty million in a half century. It is a problem that affects the welfare of races and continents outside of America, as well as here, and that affects millions yet unborn, and millions more who might have been born were it not for the unfavorable changes that have taken place because of the shift in population. It is a problem that has to do with all phases of group life—its economic, educational, political, moral, and religious interests. It is a problem that demands the united wisdom of all who care for the welfare of humanity in the days to come. The heart of the problem is first whether the immigrant shall be permitted to crowd into this country unhindered, or whether sterner barriers shall be placed in the way of the increasing multitude; secondly, if restrictions are decided upon what shall be their nature, and whose interests shall [222]be considered first—those of the immigrant, of the countries involved, or of world progress as a whole?

The problem can be approached best by considering (1) the history of immigration, (2) the present facts about immigration, (3) the tendencies and effects of immigration. Migrations have occurred everywhere in history, and they are progressing in these days in other countries besides the United States. Canada is adding thousands every year, parts of South America are already German or Italian because of immigration, in lesser numbers emigrants are going to the colonies that the European nations, especially the English, have located all over the world. European immigration to North America has been so prolonged and abundant that it constitutes the particular phenomenon that most deserves attention. Other nations have fought wars to secure additional territory for their people; the immigrant occupation of America has been a peaceful conquest.

229. The Irish.—Although the early occupation of this continent was by immigration from Europe, after the Revolution the increase of population was almost entirely by natural growth. Large families were the rule and a hardy people was rapidly gaining the mastery of the eastern part of the continent. It was not until 1820 that the new immigration became noticeable and the government took legislative action to regulate it (1819). Between 1840 and 1880 three distinct waves of immigration broke on American shores. The first was Irish. The Irish peasants were starving from a potato famine that extended over several years in the forties, and they poured by the thousand into America, the women becoming domestic servants and the men the unskilled laborers that were needed in the construction camps. They built roads, dug canals, and laid the first railways. Complaint was made that they lowered the standards of wages and of living, that their intemperate, improvident ways tended to complicate the problem of poverty, and that their Catholic religion made them dangerous, but they continued to come until the movement reached its climax, in 1851, when 272,000 passed through [223]the gates of the Atlantic ports. The Irish-American has become an important element of the population, especially in the Eastern cities, and has shown special aptitude for politics and business.

230. Germans and Scandinavians.—The Irishman was followed by the German. He was attracted by-the rich agricultural lands of the Middle West and the opportunities for education and trade in the towns and cities. German political agitators who had failed to propagate democracy in the revolutionary days of 1848 made their way to a place where they could mould the German-American ideas. While the Irish settled down in the seaboard towns, the Germans went West, and constituted one of the solid groups that was to build the future cosmopolitan nation. The German was followed by the Scandinavian. The people of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark were increasing in number, but their rough, cold country could not support them all. As the Norsemen took to the sea in the ninth century, so the Scandinavian did in the nineteenth, but this time in a peaceful migration toward the setting sun. They began coming soon after the Civil War, and by 1882 they numbered thirteen per cent of the total immigration. They were a specially valuable asset, for they were industrious agriculturists and occupied the valuable but unused acres of the Northwest, where they planted the wheat belt of the United States, learned American ways and founded American institutions, and have become one of the best strains in the American blood.

231. The New Immigrants.—If the United States could have continued to receive mainly such people as these from northern Europe, there would be little cause to complain of the volume of immigration, but since 1880 the tide has been setting in from southern and eastern Europe and even from Asia, bringing in large numbers of persons who are not of allied stock, have been little educated, and do not understand or fully sympathize with American principles and ideals, and for the most part are unskilled workmen. These have come in such enormous numbers as to constitute a real menace and to compel attention.



(Races numbering less than 10,000 each are not included)

South Italians 251,612
Jews 138,051
Poles 122,657
Germans 79,871
English 51,746
Greeks 45,881
Russians 44,957
North Italians 44,802
Hungarians 44,538
Croatians and Slovenians 37,284
Ruthenians 36,727
Scandinavians 36,053
Irish 33,898
Slovaks 25,819
Roumanians 24,070
Lithuanians 21,584
Scotch 18,997
French 18,166
Bulgarians, Servians, and Montenegrins 15,084
Mexicans 13,089
Finns 12,805
Dutch and Flemings 12,566
Spanish 11,064

232. Italians and Slavs.—Most numerous of these are the Italians. At home they feel the pressure of population, the pinch of small income, and heavy taxation. Here it costs less to be a citizen and there are more opportunities for a livelihood. Gangs of Italian laborers have taken the place of the Irish. Italians have established themselves in the small trades, and some of them find a place in the factory. Two-thirds of them are from the country, and they find opportunity to use their agricultural knowledge as farm laborers. In California and Louisiana they have established settlements of their own, and in the East they make a foreign fringe on the outskirts of suburban towns. North Italy is more progressive than the south and the qualities of the people are of higher grade, but the bulk of emigration is from the region of Naples and Sicily. Among the southern Italians the percentage of illiteracy is high, they have the reputation of being slippery in business relations, and not a few anarchists and criminals are found among them. It is not reasonable to expect that these people will measure up to the level of the steady, reliable, and hard-working American or north European, especially [225]as large numbers of them are birds of passage spending the winter in Italy or going home for a time when business in America is depressed. Yet the great majority of those who settle here are peaceable, ambitious, and hard-working men and women.

Alongside the Italian is the Slav. There are so many varieties of him that he is confusing. He comes from the various provinces of Russia, from the conglomerate empire of Austro-Hungary, and from the Balkan states. In physique he is sturdier than the Italian and mentally he is less excitable and nervous, but he drinks heavily and is often murderous when not sober. The Slav has come to America to find a place in the sun. At home he has suffered from political oppression and poverty; he has had little education of body or mind; he is subject to his primitive impulses as the west European long ago ceased to be. It is not easy for America to assimilate large numbers of such backward peoples, but the Slav is coming at the rate of three hundred thousand a year. The Slav is depended upon for the hard labor of mine and foundry, of sugar and oil refineries, and of meat-packing establishments. Hundreds and thousands are in the coal and iron regions of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and West Virginia. The Bohemians and Poles more frequently than the others bring their families with them, and to some extent settle in the rural districts, but the bulk of the Slavs are men who herd in congested boarding-houses, move frequently from one industrial centre to another, and naturally are very slow to become assimilated.

233. The Jews.—Of all the races that have found asylum in America none have felt abroad the heavy hand of oppression more than the Jew. He has been the world's outcast through nineteen centuries, but in America he has found freedom to expand. One-fifth of all the Jews are already in America, and the rate of immigration is not far from 140,000 a year. The immigrant Jews are of different grades, some are educated and well-to-do, but the masses are poor, and the most recent immigrants have low ideals of living. Few of those who come settle in the country [226]districts; the large majority herd in the city tenements and engage in small trades and manufacturing. Jewish masters are unmerciful as sweaters, unprincipled as landlords, and disreputable as white slavers, but no man rises above limitations that others have set for him like the Jew, and with ambition, ability, and persistence the race is pushing its way to the front. The young people are eager for an education, and are often among the keenest pupils in their classes. Later they make their mark in the professions as well as in business. The Jew has found a new Canaan in the West.

234. The Lesser Peoples.—Besides these great groups that constitute the bulk of the incoming millions, there are representatives from all the nations and tribes of Europe. All parts of Great Britain have sent their people, and from Canada so many have come as almost to impoverish certain sections. French-Canadians are numerous in the mill cities of New England. From the Netherlands there has always been a small contingent. Portugal has sent islanders from the Azores and Cape Verde. The Finns are here, the Lithuanians from Russia, the Magyars from Hungary. The Greeks are pouring in from their sunny hills and valleys; they rival the Italians in the fruit trade, and monopolize the bootblack industry in certain cities. With the twentieth century have come the Turks and their Asiatic subjects, the Syrians and the Armenians. All these peoples have race peculiarities, prejudices, and superstitions. Most of their members belong in the lower grades of society and their coming is a distinct danger to the nation's future. There can be no question, of course, that individuals among them possess ability and even talent, and that certain groups like those from Great Britain and the Netherlands are exceptions to the general rule, but there is a strong conviction among social workers and students that those who are here should be assimilated before many more arrive. Definite measures are advocated by which it is expected that the government or private agencies may be able to make over these latest aliens into reputable, useful American citizens.

[227]235. Public Attitude toward Immigration.—Although interest in national and immigrant welfare is far less keen than it well might be, the tremendous consequences of the wide-spread movement have not passed unnoticed. Wage-earners already here have felt the effects of low-grade competition and have clamored for restrictive legislation. On race rather than economic grounds Asiatics have been excluded except for the few already here. Federal regulation has been increased with reference to all immigrant traffic. This has been based increasingly on investigation by private effort and government commission, and governments and churches have established bureaus on immigration. Aid associations maintain agents to safeguard the newcomer from exploitation, both on the journey and in port. From all these sources a body of information has been gathered that throws light on the causes and effects of immigration.

236. Causes and Effects.—The primary cause is industrial. The desire of the people to improve their economic and social condition is the compelling motive that drives them, in spite of homesickness and ignorance, to venture into an unknown country and to face dangers and difficulties that could not be foreseen. Three out of four who come are males, pioneers oftentimes of a family that looks forward to a larger migration later on. Friends on this side encourage others and commonly supply the necessary funds. Eighty per cent of all who come into Massachusetts make the venture in hope of finding better industrial conditions or to join relatives or friends. In some countries, like Russia, religious and political oppression are expelling causes, and the military service required by the European Powers drives young men away. It has been demonstrated that forty per cent of the immigration is not permanent, but that for various reasons individuals return for a season, some permanently.

Immigration has its good and bad effects. There are certain good qualities in many of the immigrant strains that are valuable to American character, and it cannot be denied that the exploitation of national resources and the [228]execution of public works could not have been accomplished so rapidly without the immigrant. But the bad effects furnish a problem that is not easily solved. Immigrants come now in such large numbers that they tend to form alien groups of increasing proportions in the midst of the great cities. There is danger that the city will become a collection of districts—little Italy, little Hungary, and little Syria—and the sense of civic unity be destroyed. Even more significant is the high birth-rate of the foreigner. Statistics show that with the greater birth-rate of the immigrants there is a corresponding decline in the native birth-rate, so that the alien is supplanting the native American stock. Along with race degeneracy goes lack of industrial skill and declining wages, for the foreigner is ignorant, often unorganized, and willing to work and live under worse conditions than the native American. Among the disastrous social effects are increasing poverty and crime, lack of sanitation, and an increase of diseases that thrive in filth. Illiteracy and slow mentality lower the general level of intelligence. Lack of training in democracy renders the average immigrant a poor citizen, though some State laws give him the ballot without delay. In morals and religion there is more loss than gain by immigration. American liberty tends to become license, scores of thousands lose all interest in the church, and moral restraint is thrown off with the ecclesiastical yoke. Plainly when the immigrant population is predominant in a great city the problem of immigration becomes vital not only to the local municipality but also to the nation, which is fast becoming urban.

237. Americanizing the Alien.—After all is said, the immigrant problem is not insoluble. There is much in the situation to make one optimistic. Thus far the native stock has been able to survive and to give its best to the newcomer. The immigrant himself has no desire to destroy American institutions. He comes longing to share in their benefits. America is to him an Eldorado, a promised land flowing with milk and honey. His children, through the schools and other contacts, learn the language that his tongue is slow to acquire, and absorb the ideas and [229]ideals that are typically American. After all, it is the spirit rather than the form of the institutions that make them valuable. The upper-class American, who is too indifferent to go to the polls on election day, is less patriotic and more harmful to American institutions than the Italian who is too ignorant to vote, but would die on the battle-field for the defense of his adopted country. Many agencies are at work to help the alien adjust himself to American ways and to make him into a good citizen. In the last resort the Americanization of the foreigner rests with the attitude of the native American toward him rather than with the immigrant himself.


Ross: The Old World in the New, pages 24-304.

Fairchild: Immigration, pages 213-368.

Commons: Races and Immigrants in America, pages 198-238.

Roberts: The New Immigration.

Jenks and Lauck: Immigration.

Woods: Americans in Process.

Willis: "Findings of the Immigration Commission," art. in The Survey, 25: 571-578.




238. In Europe.—A large proportion of the immigrants from Europe have been peasants who have come out of rural villages to find a home in the barracks of American cities. In the Old World they have lived in houses that lacked comfort and convenience; they have worked hard through a long day for small returns; and a government less liberal and more burdened than the United States has mulcted them of much of their small income by heavy taxes. Young men have lost two or three years in compulsory military training, and their absence has kept the women in the fields. From the barracks men often return with the stigma of disease upon them, which, added to the common social evils of intemperance and careless sex relations, keeps moral standards low. Thousands of them are illiterate, few of them have time for recreation, and those who do understand little of its possibilities. Religion is largely a matter of inherited superstition, and as a superior force in life is quite lacking. To people of this sort comes the vision of a land where government is democratic, military conscription is unknown, wages are high, and there is unlimited opportunity to get ahead. Encouraged by agents of interested parties, many a man accumulates or borrows enough money to pay his passage and to get by the immigration officer on the American side, and faces westward with high hope of bettering his condition.

239. In America.—On the pier in America he is met by a friend or finds his way by force of gravity into the immigrant district of the city. Usually unmarried, he is glad to find a boarding place with a compatriot, who cheerfully admits him to a share of his small tenement, because he will help to pay the rent. With assistance he finds a job and [231]within a week regards himself as an American. Later if it seems worth while he will take steps to become a citizen, but recently immigrants are less disposed to do this than formerly. Many immigrants do not find their new home in the port of landing; they are booked through to interior points or locate in a manufacturing town within comfortable reach of the great city; but they find a place in the midst of conditions that are not far different. Unskilled Italians commonly join construction gangs, and for weeks at a time make their home in a temporary shack which quickly becomes unsanitary. Wherever the immigrant goes he tends to form foreign colonies and to reproduce the low standards of living to which he has been accustomed. If he could be introduced to better habits and surrounded with improved conditions from the moment of his arrival he would gain much for himself, and far more speedily would become assimilated into an American; as it is, he is introducing foreign elements on a large scale into a city life that is overburdened with problems already.

Changes in the manner of living are often for the worse. Instead of their village houses set in the midst of the open fields here, they herd like rabbits in overpopulated, unhealthy warrens, frequently sleeping in rooms continually dark and ill-ventilated. They still work for long hours, but here under conditions that breed discouragement and disease, in the sweat-shop or the dingy factory, and often in an occupation dangerous to life or limb. Though they are free from the temptations of the military quarters, they find them as numerous at the corner saloon and the brothel, and even in the overcrowded tenement itself. If they bring over their families or marry here, they can expect no better home than the tenement, unless they have the courage to get out into the country, away from all that which is familiar. Rather than do that or knowing no better way, they swarm with others of their kind in the immigrant hive.

240. Tenement House Conditions.—In New York large tenements from five to seven stories high, with three or four families on each floor, shelter many thousands of the [232]city's workers. These are often built on lots too small to permit of air and light space between buildings. Some of them contain over a hundred individuals. Three-fourths of the population of Manhattan is in dwellings that house not less than twenty persons each. The density of population is one hundred and fifty to the acre. Twelve to eighteen dollars a month are charged for a suite of four rooms, some of them no better than dark closets. Instances can be multiplied where adults of both sexes and children are crowded into one or two rooms, where they cook, eat, and sleep, and where privacy is impossible. Thousands of children grow up unmoral, if not immoral, because their natural sense of modesty and decency has been blunted from childhood. The poorest classes live in cellars that reek with disease germs of the worst kind, and sanitary conditions are indescribable.

If these conditions were confined to the immigrant population, Americans might shrug their shoulders and dismiss the subject with disparaging remarks about the dirty foreigner, but housing conditions like these are not restricted to the immigrant, whether he be Jew or Gentile. The American working man who finds work in the factory towns is little better off. The natural desire of landlords to spend as little as possible on their property, and to get the largest possible returns, makes it very difficult for the worker to find a suitable home for his family that he can afford to pay for. Yet he must live near his work to save time and expense. Old and dilapidated houses are ready for his occupancy, but though they are often not so bad as the large tenements, with their more attractive exteriors, they are not fit dwellings for his growing family. A flat in a three-decker may be obtained at a moderate rental, but such houses are usually poorly built, of the flimsiest inflammable material, and they, too, lack privacy and modern conveniences.

241. Effects of these Conditions.—It must not be supposed that these evils have been overlooked. Building associations and private philanthropists have erected improved tenements, and have proved that the right sort of [233]structures may be made paying investments. State and municipal governments have appointed commissions and departments on housing, fire protection has been provided, better sanitary conditions have been enforced, and hopelessly bad buildings have been destroyed. But slums grow faster than they can be improved, and the rapidly growing tenement districts need more drastic and comprehensive measures than have yet been taken. The housing problem affects the tenant first of all, and in countless instances his unwholesome environment is ruining his health, ability, and character; but it also affects the community and the nation, for persons produced by such an environment do not make good citizens. The roots of family life are destroyed, gaunt poverty and loathsome disease hold hands along dark and dirty stairways and through the halls, foul language mingles with the foul air, and drunkenness is so common as to excite no remark. Sexual impurity finds its nest amid the darkness and ill-endowed children swarm in the streets.

242. Possible Improvements.—There must be some way out of these evil conditions that is practicable and that will be permanent. Those who are interested in housing reform favor two kinds of measures—first, the prevention of building in the future the kind of houses that have become so common but so unsatisfactory, and the improvement of those already in existence; second, provision of inexpensive, attractive, and sanitary dwellings outside of the city, and cheap and rapid transit to and from the places of labor. Both of these methods are practicable either by voluntary association or State action, and both are called for by the social need of the present. There are definite principles to be observed in the redistribution of population. The principle of association calls for group life in a neighborhood, and it is as idle to think that people from the slums can be contented on isolated farms as it is to suppose that they can be converted readily into prosperous American agriculturists. Close connection with the town is indispensable. The principle of adaptation demands that the new homes shall answer to the needs of the people [234]for whom they are provided, and that the neighborhood shall be suited to those needs. The houses will need to be enough better than those in town to offset the greater effort of travel. The principle of control demands that the new life of the people be regulated as effectively as it can be by municipal authority, and if necessary that such municipal authority be extended or State authority be localized. There are difficulties in the way of all such enterprises, but social welfare requires improvements in the way the working people live.

It is notorious that immigrants and working people generally have larger families than the well-to-do. The children of the city streets form a class of future citizens that deserve most careful attention. The problem of the tenement and the flat is especially serious, because they are the factories of human life. There the next generation is in the making, and there can be no doubt about the quality of the product if conditions continue as they are. It is important to inquire how the children live, what are their occupations and means of recreation, their moral incentives and temptations, and their opportunities for the development of personality.

243. How the Children Live.—The best way to understand how the children live is to put oneself in their place. Imagine waking in the morning in a stuffy, overcrowded room, eating a slice of bread or an onion for breakfast and looking forward to a bite for lunch and an ill-cooked evening meal, or in many cases starting out for the day without any breakfast, glad to leave the tenement for the street, and staying there throughout waking hours, when not in school, using it for playground, lunch-room, and loafing-place, and regarding it as pleasanter than home. Imagine going to school half fed and poorly clothed, sometimes the butt of a playmate's gibes because of a drunken father or a slatternly mother, required to study subjects that make no appeal to the child and in a language that is not native, and then back to the street, perhaps to sell papers until far into the night, or to run at the beck and call of the public as a messenger boy. Many a child, in [235]spite of the public opposition to child labor, is put to work to help support the family, and department store and bootblack parlor are conspicuous among their places of occupation. Mills and factories employ them for special kinds of labor, and States are lax in the enforcement of child-labor laws after they are on the statute books.

244. The Street Trades.—Employment in the street trades is very common among the children of the tenements. There are numerous opportunities to peddle fruit and small wares at a small wage; messenger and news boys are always in demand, and the bootblacking industry absorbs many of the immigrant class. By these means the family income is pieced out, sometimes wholly provided, but the ill effects of such child labor are disturbing to the peace of mind of the well-wishers of children. Street labor works physical injury from exposure to inclement weather and to accident, from too great fatigue, and from irregular habits of eating and sleeping. It provokes resort to stimulants and sows the seeds of disease, vice, and petty crime. Moral deterioration follows from the bad habits formed, from the encouragement to lawbreaking and independence of parental authority, and from the evil environment of the people and places with which they come into contact. Children are susceptible to the influence of their elders, and easily form attachments for those who treat them well. Saloons and disorderly houses are their patrons, and when still young the children learn to imitate those whom they see and hear. Even for the children who do not work, the street has its influence for evil. The street was intended as a means of transit, not for trade or play, but it is the most convenient place for games and social enjoyments of all sorts. The little people become familiar with profane and obscene language, with quarrelling and dishonesty, and even with more serious crime, and no intellectual education in the schoolroom can counteract the moral lessons of the street.

245. Playgrounds.—Various experiments for keeping children off the street have been proposed and tried. Vacation schools in the summer provide interesting [236]occupations and talks for those who can be induced to attend; their success is assured, but they reach only a small part of the children. Gymnasiums in the winter attract others of the older class, but the most useful experiments are equipped and supervised playgrounds. For the small children sand piles have met the desire for occupation, and kindergarten games have satisfied the instinct for association. The primitive nature of the child demanded change, and one kind of game after another was added for those of different ages. Swings, climbing ladders, and poles are always popular, and for the older boys opportunities for ball playing, skating, and coasting. All these activities must be under control. The characteristics of children on the playground are the same as those of their elders in society. Authority and instruction are as necessary as in school; indeed, playgrounds are a supplement to the indoor education of American children.

246. The City School.—The school is expected to be the foster-mother of every American child, whether native or adopted. It is expected to take the children from the avenue and the slum, those with the best influences of heredity and environment, and those with the worst, those who are in good health and those who are never well, and putting them all through the same intellectual process, to turn out a finished product of boys and girls qualified for American citizenship. It is an unreasonable expectation, and the American school falls far short of meeting its responsibility. It often has to work with the poorest kind of material, sometimes it has to feed the pupil before his mental powers can get to work. It has to see that the physical organs function properly before it can get satisfactory intellectual results. The school is the victim of an educational system that was made to fit other conditions than those of the present-day city; the whole system needs reconstructing, but the management is conservative, ignorant, or parsimonious in many cases, or too radical and given to fads and experiments. Yet, in spite of all its faults and delinquencies, the public schools of the city are the hope of the future.

[237]The school is the melting-pot of the city's youth. It is the training-school of municipal society. In the absence of family training it provides the social education that is necessary to equip the child for life. It accustoms him to an orderly group life and establishes relations with others of similar age from other streets or neighborhoods than those with which he is familiar. It teaches him how intelligent public opinion is formed, and brings him within the circle of larger interests than those with which he is naturally connected. He learns how to accommodate himself to the group rather than to fight or worm his way through for a desired end, as is the method of the street. He learns good morals and good manners. He finds out that there are better ways of expressing his ideas than in the slang of the alley, and in time he gains an understanding of a social leadership that depends on mental and moral superiority instead of physical strength or agility. As he grows older he becomes acquainted with the worth of established institutions, and his hand is no longer against every man and every man's hand against him. He likes to share in the social activities that occur as by-products of the school—the musical and dramatic entertainments, the athletic contests, and the debating and oratorical rivalries. By degrees he becomes aware that he is a responsible member of society, that he is an individual unit in a great aggregation of busy people doing the work of the world, and that the school is given him to make it possible for him to play well his part in the activities of the city and nation to which he belongs.


Veiller: Housing Reform, pages 3-46.

Riis: How the Other Half Lives.

Clopper: Child Labor in the City Streets.

Martin: "Exhibit of Congestion," art. in The Survey,20: 27-39.

Goodyear: "Household Budgets of the Poor," art. in Charities, 16: 191-197.

"The Pittsburgh Survey," arts, in The Survey, vol. 21.

Lee: Constructive and Preventive Philanthropy, pages 109-184.




247. The Demand for Recreation.—The natural instinct for recreation is felt by the working people in common with persons of every class. They cannot afford to spend on the grand scale of those who patronize the best theatres and concerts, nor can they relax all summer at mountains or seashore, or play golf in the winter at Pinehurst or Palm Beach. They get their pleasures in a less expensive way in the parks or at the beach resorts in the summer, and at the "movies," dance-halls, and cheap theatres in the winter. They have little money to spend, but they get more real enjoyment out of a dime or a quarter than thousands of dollars give to some society buds and millionaires who are surfeited with pleasure. Recreation to the working people is not an occupation but a diversion. Their occupation is usually strenuous enough to furnish an appetite for entertainment, and they are not particular as to its character, though the more piquant it is the greater is the satisfaction. Craving for excitement and a stimulus that will restore their depleted energies, they flock into the dance-halls and the saloons, where they find the temporary satisfaction that they wanted, but where they are tempted to lose the control that civilization has put upon the primitive passions and to let the primitive instincts have their sway.

It is a prerogative of childhood to be active. If activity is one of the striking characteristics of all social life, it is especially so of child life. The country child has all out-of-doors for the scope of his energies, the city boy and girl are cramped by the tenement and the narrow street, with occasional resort to a small park. It requires ingenuity to devise methods of diversion in such small areas, but [239]necessity is the mother of invention, and the children of the city become expert in outwitting those whose business it is to keep them within bounds. This kind of education has a smack of practicality in that it sharpens the wits for the struggle for existence that makes up much of the experience of city folk, but it also tends to develop a crookedness in mental and moral habits through the constant effort to get ahead of the agents of social control.

248. Street Games.—To understand how the youth of the city get their diversions it is well to examine a cross-section of city life on Saturday afternoon or Sunday. Family quarters are crowded. Tenements and apartments have little spare space inside or outside. Children find it decidedly irksome indoors and naturally gravitate to the street, to the relief of their elders and their own satisfaction. There they quickly find associates and proceed to give expression to their restless spirits. It is the child's nature to play, and he uses all his wits to find the materials and the room for sport. His ingenuity can adapt sticks and stones to a variety of uses, but the street makes a sorry substitute for a ball-field, and while the girl may content herself with the sidewalk and door-steps, the boy soon looks abroad for a more satisfying occupation. Among the gangs of city boys no diversion is more enjoyable than the game of craps, learned from the Southern negro. With a pair of dice purchased for a cent or two at the corner news-stand and a few pennies obtained by newspaper selling or petty thieving the youngster is equipped with the necessary implements for gambling, and he soon becomes adept in cleaning out the pockets of the other fellows.

249. Young People's Amusements.—Meantime the older boys and girls are seeking their diversions. At fourteen or fifteen most of them have found work in factory or store, but evenings and Sundays they, too, are looking for diversion. The girls find it attractive to walk the streets, while the boys frequent the cheap pool-room, where they find a chance to gamble and listen to the tales of the idlers who find employment as cheap thieves and hangers-on of immoral houses. From these headquarters they sally forth [240]upon the streets to find association with the other sex, and together they give themselves up to a few hours' entertainment. A few are contented to promenade the streets, but amusement houses are cheap, and the "movies" and vaudeville shows attract the crowd. For a few dimes a couple can have a wide range of choice. If the tonic of the playhouse is not sufficient, a small fee admits to the public dance-hall, where it is easy to meet new acquaintances and to find a partner who will go to any length in the mad hunt for pleasures that will satisfy. From the dance-hall it is an easy path to the saloon and the brothel, as it is from the game of craps and the pool-room to the gambling-den and the criminal joint. It is the lack of proper means for diversion and proper oversight of places of entertainment that is increasing the vice, drunkenness, and crime that curse the lives of thousands and give to the city an evil reputation.

250. The Saloon as the Poor Man's Club.—The saloon is an institution peculiar to America, but it is the successor of a long line of public drinking houses. There were cafés among the ancients, public houses among the Anglo-Saxons, and taverns in the colonies. At such places the traveller or the working man could find social companionship along with his glass of wine or grog, and by a natural evolution the saloon became the poor man's club. It is successful as a place of business, because it caters to primitive wants and social interests in considerable variety. It is a never-failing source of supply of the strong waters that bring the good cheer of intoxication, and lull into torpid content the mind that wants to forget its worry or its misery. It is a place where conventionality is laid aside and human beings meet on the common level of convivial good-fellowship. It is the avenue to fuller enjoyment in billiard-room, at card-table, in dance-hall, and in house of assignation, but though the door is open to them there is no obligation to enter. It is first aid to the sporting fraternity, the resort of those who delight in pugilism, baseball, and the racetrack, the dispenser of athletic news of all sorts that is worth talking about. It frequently provides a free lunch, [241]music, and games. It is the agent of the political boss who mixes neighborhood charity with the dispensing of party jobs. "The saloon is a day-school, a night-school, a vacation-school, a Sunday-school, a kindergarten, a college, a university, all in one. It runs without term ends, vacations, or holidays.... It influences the thoughts, morals, politics, social customs, and ideals of its patrons."

251. Substitutes for the Saloon.—An institution that fills a place as large as this in the social life of the American city must be given careful consideration, and cannot be impatiently dismissed as an unmitigated social evil. The saloon is unsparingly denounced as the cause of intemperance, prostitution, poverty, and crime, and much of the charge is a fair indictment, but it is easier to condemn its abuses than to find a satisfactory substitute for the social service that it performs. If the saloon must go, something must be put in its place to perform its helpful functions. It may have to be legislated out of existence in order to check intemperance, for the satisfaction of thirst is its principal attraction, and its prime function is to furnish drink, but the law can be more easily enforced if other social centres are available where the average man can feel equally at home. A model saloon managed by church people or labor unionists has been tried, but has failed to solve the problem. The Young Men's Christian Association on its present basis does not reach the class of men that frequents the saloon. Coffee-houses, reading-rooms, municipal gymnasiums, and baths, may each provide a small part, but none of these nor all together fill the gap that is left after the saloon is abolished. Attractive quarters, recreational facilities, and a spirit of democracy and freedom appear absolutely essential to any successful experiment in substitution. The patrons wish to be consulted as to what they want and what they will pay for, and unless the substitute is self-supporting it is sure to fail. The most promising experiment is an athletic club maintained by regular dues, where there is abundant room for sport and conversation, and where it is possible to secure food at a moderate price and to enjoy lively music at the same time. Under a reasonable amount [242]of regulation such an establishment cannot become a public nuisance, and it supplies a social need on a sound economic basis.

252. Monopoly Experiments.—It has been proposed to draw the virus of the saloon by removing the element of private profit and placing the traffic under State management. The South Carolina dispensary system was such an attempt. It broke up the saloon as a social centre, for drinking was not allowed on the premises, but it did not stop the consumption of liquor, the profits went to the public, and the saloon element became a vicious element in politics. The Norwegian or Gothenburg system was another experiment of a similar sort. The liquor traffic was made respectable by the government chartering a monopoly company and by putting business on the basis not of profit, but of supplying a reasonable demand of the working class. Fifty years' trial has reduced consumption one-half, has improved the character of the saloon, and has removed the immoral annexes. The system is not compulsory, but the people must choose between it and prohibition. The main objection raised against State monopoly or charter is that the government makes an alliance with a traffic that is injurious to society, and that is contrary to the fundamental principle of government. At best it can be regarded as only a half measure toward the abolition of the trade in intoxicants.

253. The Seriousness of the Liquor Problem.—There can be no doubt that the liquor problem is one of the serious menaces to modern health, morals, and prosperity. Intemperance is closely bound up with the home, it is a regular accompaniment of unchastity, it is both the cause and the result of poverty, it vitiates much charity, it is a leading cause of imbecility and insanity, and a provocative of crime. It stands squarely in the way of social progress. It is a complex problem. It is first a personal question, affecting primarily the drinker; secondly, a social question, affecting the family and the community; thirdly, an economic and political question, affecting society at large. Consequently the solution of the problem is not simple. [243]Different phases of the problem demand a variety of methods. Intemperance may be approached from the standpoint of disease or immorality. It may be treated in medical or legislative fashion. It may receive the special condemnation of the churches. One of the most effective arguments against it is on the basis of economic waste. The best statistics are incomplete, but the conservative estimate of a national trade journal gave as the total direct expense in 1912, $1,630,000,000. This minimum figure means eighteen dollars for every man, woman, and child in the country. The indirect cost to society of the wretchedness and crime that result from intemperance is vastly greater. United States internal-revenue statistics indicate an increased consumption in all kinds of liquor between 1900 and 1910, although the territory under prohibition was steadily enlarging.

254. Causes and Effects of the Traffic.—The leading causes of intemperance are the natural craving of appetite and the pleasure of mild intoxication, the congenial society of the saloon and the habit of treating, and the presence of the public bar on the streets of the poorer districts of the city. The mere presence of the saloon is a standing invitation to the men and boys of the neighborhood, and it grows to seem a natural part of the environment. It is far more attractive than the cheerless tenement and the tiresome street. The sedative to tired nerves and stimulant for weary muscles is there; the social customs of the past or of the homeland re-enforce the social instincts of the present and draw with the power of a magnet.

The effects of intemperance may be classified as physical losses, economic losses, and social losses. The immediate physical effect is exhilaration, but this is succeeded by lassitude and incompetency. The stimulus gained is momentary, the loss is permanent. It is well established that even small quantities of alcohol weaken the will power and benumb the mental powers. Habitual use depletes vitality and so predisposes to disease. Life-insurance policies consider the alcoholic a poor risk. The economic effect is a great preponderance of loss over gain. Somebody makes [244]money out of the consumer, but it is not the farmer who produces the grain, the railroad company that transports it, or the government that taxes it; less than formerly is it the individual saloon-keeper, but the brewer and distiller who in increasing numbers own the local plant as well as manufacture the liquor. Neither the nation that taxes the manufacture for the sake of the internal revenue, nor the city or town that licenses the sale, gets enough to compensate for the economic loss to society. Among the specific losses to consumers are irregularity and cessation of employment, due to the unreliability of the intemperate workman and the consequent reluctance of employers to hire him—a reluctance increased since employers are made liable to compensate workmen for accidents; the poverty and destitution of the families of habitual drinkers; and the enormous waste of millions of dollars that, if not thus wasted, might have gone into the channels of legitimate trade. Finally, there is a wide-spread social effect. Intemperance ranks next to heredity as the cause of insanity. One-third to one-half of the crime in the country is charged to intemperance. Alcohol makes men quarrelsome, upsets the brain balance, and introduces the user to illegal and immoral practices. The saloon corrupts politics. It has been estimated that the liquor traffic controls two million votes, and some of it is easily purchasable. When it is remembered that the saloon is in close alliance with the gambling interest, the white-slave interest, the graft element, the political bosses, and the corrupt lobbies, it is easy to see that it constitutes a serious danger to good government throughout the nation.

255. The Temperance Crusade.—Intemperance has grown to be so wide-spread and serious an evil that a crusade against it has gathered strength through the nineteenth century. In colonial days the use of liquors was universal and excited little comment, but groups of persons here and there, especially the church people, opposed the common practice of tippling and began to organize in order to check it. It was not a total-abstinence movement at first, but was designed particularly to check the use of [245]spirituous liquors. Temperance revivals swept over whole States, but were too emotional to be permanent. When the second half of the century began organization became more thorough and the Good Templars and Woman's Christian Temperance Union assumed the leadership of the cause. These organizations stood for total abstinence and State prohibition, and by temperance evangelism and temperance education the women especially pushed their campaign nationally and abroad. Among all temperance agencies the Anti-Saloon League organized in Ohio in 1893, and extending through the United States, has been most effective. It has federated existing agencies and enlisted organized religion. It has pushed no-license campaigns in States that had an optional law, has secured the extension of prohibition to scores of counties in the South and West, and has extended the area of State-wide prohibition, an experiment begun in Maine in 1851, until eighteen States are now under a prohibitory law (1915).

256. Remedies for Intemperance.—There is a general agreement among people who reflect upon social ills that intemperance is a curse upon large numbers of individuals and families through both its direct and indirect effects. It seems well established that even moderate drinking produces physical and mental weakness and even as a temporary stimulant is of small value. It is not so clear how to check the evil without injuring personal interests and violating the liberty which every citizen claims for himself as a right. Three methods have been proposed and tried as remedies for intemperance. The first of these is public appeal and education. Public addresses in which arguments are presented and an appeal made to the emotions have led to the signing of pledges, and sometimes to the control of elections, but they have to be repeated frequently to keep the individual who is moved by his impulses up to the standard. Slower is education through the press and through the school, where the evil effects of alcohol are demonstrated scientifically, but it has been tried patiently, and there is continually a large output of temperance literature.

[246]257. Regulation.—A second method that has been used extensively is regulation. It seems to many persons that the use of liquor cannot be stopped, and if it is to be manufactured and sold, it is best to regulate it by a form of license. In many of the American States the people are allowed local option and vote periodically, whether they will permit the legal manufacture and sale of intoxicants, or will attempt to prevent it for a time. Local option has kept a great many towns and counties "dry" for years, and it is a step toward wide-spread prohibition. It is regarded by many as a better method than a State prohibition that is ineffective. Those who oppose all licensing on principle, do so on the ground that there should be no legal recognition of that which is known to be a social evil.

258. Prohibition.—Prohibition is to most temperance advocates the master key that will unlock the door to happiness and prosperity. The enforcement of prohibition in Russia after the European war began in 1914 had very impressive results in the better conduct and enterprise of the people. Where it has been carried out effectively in the United States, the results soon appear in diminished poverty and wretchedness and in a decrease of vice and crime. The legitimacy of this method is recognized even by liquor manufacturers, and they are willing to spend millions of dollars to prevent national prohibition, realizing that though it would not destroy their business it would greatly lessen the profits. The prohibition policy has bitter enemies among some who are not personally interested in the business. They think it is too drastic and call attention to the sociological principle that prohibitions are a primitive method of social control, but the trend of public opinion is strongly against them on the ground that prohibitions are necessary in an imperfect human society. Government increases its regulation of business of all kinds, and the police their regulation of individuals. The failure of half-way measures has added to the conviction that prohibition rigidly enforced is likely to be the only effective method for the solution of the liquor problem.



Stelzle: The Workingman and Social Problems, pages 21-50.

Moore: "Social Value of the Saloon," art. in American Journal of Sociology, 3: 1-12.

Melendy: "The Saloon in Chicago," art. in American Journal of Sociology, 6: 289-306, 433-464.

Calkins: Substitutes for the Saloon. Regulation of the Liquor Traffic (American Academy), pages 1-127.

Peabody: The Liquor Problem: A Summary.

Grant: "Children's Street Games," art. in The Survey, 23: 232-236.

Partridge: The Psychology of Intemperance, pages 222-239.




259. The Problem of Crime.—Habitual self-indulgence is at odds with the idea of social control. The man who resents interference with his diversions and pleasures is disposed to defy law, and if he feels that society is not treating him properly he is liable to become a lawbreaker. This is one of the reasons for the prevalence of crime, which on the whole increases rather than diminishes, and is a factor of disturbance in city life. Statistics in the United States show that in thirty years, from 1880 to 1910, the criminal population increased relative to population by one-third. This is only partly due to immigration, nor is it mainly because a large majority of criminals escape punishment. Two facts are to be kept constantly in mind: (1) Crime depends upon certain subjective and objective elements, and tends to increase or decrease without much regard to police protection. (2) As long as there are persons whose habits and character predispose them to crime, as long as there are social inequalities and wants that provoke to criminal acts, and as long as there are attractive or easy victims, so long will thieving and arson, rape and murder take place.

The problem of crime is not a simple one. The individual and his family and his social environment are all involved and changes in economic conditions affect the amount of crime. The task of the social reformer is to determine the causes of crime and to apply measures of reform and prevention. The science of the phenomena of crime is called criminology, that of punishment is named penology.

260. Its Causes.—If there is to be any effective prevention of crime there is needed a clearer understanding of its causes. Criminologists are not agreed about these; one [249]school emphasizes physical abnormalities as characteristic of the criminal, another considers environment the controlling influence. The removal of physical defect has repeatedly made an antisocial person normal in his conduct, and it seems plain, especially from the investigations of European criminologists, that certain individuals are born with a predisposition to crime, like the alcoholic inheriting a weak will, or with insane or epileptic tendencies that may lead early to criminal conduct; but it is not yet proven that a majority of offenders are hereditary perverts. A stronger reason for crime is the unsatisfied desire or the uncontrolled impulse that drives a man to take by force that to which he has no lawful claim. This desire is strengthened by the social conditions of the present. In all grades of society there are individuals who resort to all sorts of means to get money and pleasure, and those who are brought up without moral and social training, and who feel an inclination to disregard the interests of others are ready to justify themselves by illegal examples in high life. Given a tenement home, the streets for a playground, the saloon as a social centre, hard, unpleasant, and poorly paid labor, a yellow press, and a prevailing spirit of envy and hatred for the rich, and it is not difficult to manufacture any amount of crime.

261. Special Reasons for Crime.—Certain special circumstances have tended to encourage crime within the last few generations. The freedom and natural roughness of frontier life gave an opportunity for lawlessness and appealed to those who are scarcely to be reckoned as friends of society. In the mining and lumber camps gambling and drinking were common, and robbery and murder not infrequent. The American Civil War, like every war, stimulated the elemental passions and nourished criminal tendencies. Human life and rights were cheapened. The brute in man was evoked when it became lawful to kill and plunder. The moral effects of war are among the most lasting and the most pernicious. More recently the conditions of existence in the cities have generated crime and are certain to continue to do so as long as slums exist.

[250]The liberty that is characteristic of America easily becomes license, especially if restraint has been thrown off suddenly, as in the case of the immigrant, or of the country youth arriving in the city for the first time and dazzled by the opportunities of his new freedom or with a grudge against society because it has not been hospitable to him. The amount of crime is increased also by the constant increase of legislation. The social regulations that are necessary in the city tend to become confused with the more serious violations of the moral code, and because the first are frequently broken with impunity acts of crime seem less iniquitous. All these reasons help to explain the increase of crime in the cities. It is worth noticing that the blame for it is not to be placed on the immigrant. In spite of his misunderstanding of American law and custom, his overcrowding in houses and streets, his ill-treatment economically and socially, and his common disappointment and discouragement because his dreams of wealth and progress have not materialized, the immigrant as a rule is law-abiding when sober and is less responsible for crime than the degenerate American. It is important to remember that there is a constant inflow of undesirable elements of American population into the cities, as well as an influx of aliens from Europe. The proletariat is not all foreign.

262. Measures of Prevention.—Crime calls for prevention and punishment. Improvements in both are taking place. Various methods of prevention are being proposed and these should be considered systematically. The first step is to prevent the reproduction of the bad. It has even been proposed to take away the life of all who are regarded as hopeless delinquents. Less severe but still radical is the proposal, actually in practice in several States, to sterilize such persons as idiots, rapists, and confirmed criminals. The same end demanded by eugenics may be accomplished by segregating in life confinement all but the occasional criminals. A second step is the right training of children by the improvement home conditions, to include pensioning the mother if necessary, that she may hold the family together and bring the children up properly. The [251]school helps to train the children, but industrial training is needed to take the place of the street trades.

A third step is provision for specific moral and religious education. Many persons think that however good may be the moral influence of a school, there is need of supplementary instruction in the home and the church. In the school itself character study in history and literature helps, and attention to the noble deeds in current life; the introduction of forms of self-government and the study of the life and organization of society are also useful; but some way should be devised for the definite training of children in social and moral principles that will act as an antidote to antisocial tendencies. Experiments have been tried in the affiliation of church and school, and it has been urged that the State should appropriate money for religious training in the church, but the objection is made that such procedure is contrary to the American principle of the separation of church and state. The need of such education awaits a satisfactory solution.

263. The Big Brother Idea.—The most hopeful method of prevention is to provide a friend for the human being who needs safeguarding. Many a grown person needs this help, but especially the boy who is often tempted to go wrong. The Big Brother movement, starting in New York in 1905, befriended more than five thousand boys in six years, and branches were formed in cities all over the country. In Europe the minister is often made a probation officer by the state, to see that the boy or youth keeps straight. In this country through the agency of court or charitable society in some cities each boy in need has his special adviser, as each family has its friendly visitor; sometimes it is a probation officer, sometimes the judge of a juvenile court, sometimes only a charitably minded individual who loves boys. Through this friend work is found, to him difficulties are brought and intimate thoughts confided, and the boy is encouraged to grow morally strong. The immigrant, whether boy or man, often ignorant and stupid, especially needs such friendly assistance. The Boy Scout movement may be extended, or a substitute found [252]for it, but some such organization is needed for the immigrant boy and the native American who is compelled to rely on his own resources. The fear of the law is undoubtedly a deterrent from crime, but it is inferior to the inspiration that comes from friendliness.

264. Educating Public Opinion.—One of the important preventives of crime is work—steady, well-paid, and not disagreeable work, with proper intervals of recreation; added to this a social interest to take the place of the saloon and the dance-hall. With these belong improved housing, a better police system, and cleaner politics. The education of public opinion will eventually lead to a general demand for all of these. The press has the great opportunity to mould public opinion, but in its search for news, especially of a sensational character, it discusses crime in such a way as to excite a morbid interest in its details, and sometimes in its repetition, and the newspaper rarely discusses measures of crime prevention. Many believe that a large responsibility rests upon the church to educate public opinion with regard to social obligation. They declare that the people need to be taught that certain social conditions are turning out criminals as regularly as the factory machine turns out its particular product, and then they need to be aroused in conscience until the will to prevent the evil is fixed. The minister, priest, or rabbi is summoned by the age to be both a prophet and a teacher of ways and means to a people too often unheeding and careless.

265. Theories of Punishment.—The old theory of punishment was that the state must punish the criminal in proportion to the seriousness of his crime, and that the penalty must be sufficiently severe to deter others from similar crime. This primitive theory has been giving way to the new theory of reformation. This theory is that the object of arrest and imprisonment is not merely the safety of the public during the criminal's term of imprisonment, but even more the reformation of the guilty man that he may be turned into a useful member of society. The reformatory method has been introduced with conspicuous success into a number of the American States, and is being [253]extended until it seems likely to supplant the old theory altogether.

266. Three Elements in the Method of Reformation.—The reformatory system includes three elements that are comparatively new. The first of these is the indeterminate sentence now generally in practice in the United States. According to this principle, the sentence of a prisoner is not for a fixed period, but maximum and minimum limits are set, and the actual length of imprisonment is determined by the record the prisoner makes for himself. The second element is reformatory discipline. The whole treatment of the prisoner, his assignment to labor, his participation in mental, moral, and religious class exercises, are all designed to stimulate manhood and to work a complete reformation of character. The third element is conditional liberation, or the dismissal of the prisoner on parole. According to this method, the prisoner is freed on probation, if his record has been good, before his full term has expired, and is under obligation to report to the probation officer at stated intervals until his final discharge. If his conduct is not satisfactory he can be returned to prison at any time. This probation principle has been extended in application, so that most first offenders are not sent to a penal institution at all, but are placed on their good behavior under the watchful eye of the probation officer. Experience with the reformatory method shows that about eighty per cent of the cases turn out well. In the sifting process of the reformatory there are always a few incorrigibles who are turned over to the penitentiary, and most recidivists, or old offenders, are sentenced there directly.

267. Helping the Discharged Prisoner.—Two experiments have been tried to help the discharged prisoner and to improve the treatment of the juvenile criminal. It is a part of the reformatory system to prepare the way for a prisoner's return to society by teaching him a trade while in confinement, and finding him a place to work when he goes out, but under the old system a man was turned loose from prison with a small sum of money, to redeem himself, when he felt the timidity natural to an ex-convict and the [254]stigma of his reputation, and in most cases took the easiest road and returned to crime. To aid him friendly societies were organized, and even now they prove necessary to get a man on his feet. The Volunteer Prison League was organized by Mrs. Ballington Booth to help in the reformation of men in prison and to aid them when they return to society, and homes have been established to give them temporary refuge. Through these efforts not a few criminals that seemed incurable have been reformed.

268. The Juvenile Court.—The juvenile court is the result of the enlightened modern policy of dealing with the criminal. It was the old custom to conduct the trial of the juvenile offender in the same way as older men were tried, and to commit them to the same prisons. They soon became hardened criminals through their associations. But experience proves that with the right treatment a majority of those who fall into crime before the age of sixteen can be redeemed to normal social conduct. Experiments with boys showed that there was a better way of trial and punishment than that which had been in vogue, and the juvenile courts that they devised have been widely adopted. The new plan is based on the principle of making friends with the boy. Personal inquiry into the conditions of his life is made before the trial, then the judge hears the case in private conference with the boy, and after consultation gives directions for his future conduct.

It is plain that the right principle of dealing with crime is to secure the reformation of the criminal and the protection of society with a minimum amount of punishment. Retaliation is no longer the accepted principle; reformation has taken its place. Fundamental to all the rest is the prevention of crime by providing for the needs of children and youth. Methods of reform and reclamation are made necessary, because youthful impulses are not gratified in a way that would be beneficial, and habits are allowed to develop that lead to antisocial practices. Society can protect itself only by providing means for comfortable living, suitable employment, wholesome recreation, and social education.



Henderson: Cause and Cure of Crime.

Wines: Punishment and Reformation, pages 1-265.

Barrows: Reformatory System in the United States, pages 17-47.

Eliot: The Juvenile Court and the Community, pages 1-185.

Travis: The Young Malefactor, pages 100-183.




269. Characteristics of City Government.—The activities and associations of such large groups as the people who live in cities must be under social control. It is a principle of American life that the individual be permitted to direct his own energies as long as he does not interfere with the comfort and happiness of others, and in the country there is a large measure of freedom, but in the close contacts of city life constraint has to be in force. In contrast to the strict surveillance that is practised in certain countries, Americans, even in the cities, have seldom been watched or interfered with. The police have been guardians of peace and safety at street crossings and on the sidewalks; occasionally it has been necessary to arrest the doings of disorderly persons, to the annoyance of convivial spirits and small boys, but their functions as petty guardsmen have not given police officers great dignity in the eyes of citizens. City officials have confined their efforts to the routine affairs of their office, and have so often spent their spare time and the city's money freely for the satisfaction of their personal interests that municipal government has gained the reputation of being notoriously corrupt, and has been left to ward politicians by the better class of citizens. Nevertheless, municipal government represents the principle of control and stands in the background as the preserver of the interests of all the people.

270. The Relation of the City to the State.—The American city is almost universally a creature of the State. Town and county government were transplanted from England and naturally accompanied the settlers into the interior, but the city came as a late artificial arrangement for the better management of large aggregations of population, and [257]the form and details of government were prescribed by State charter. The State has continued to be the guardian of the city, often to the detriment of municipal interests. If a city wishes to change the form of local administration, it must ask permission from the State Legislature, and every such question becomes entangled with State politics, and so is not likely to be judged on the merits of the question. Indeed, the whole history of city government condemns the intense partisanship that has directed the affairs of the city in its own interest when the real interests of all the people irrespective of party should have been cared for with business efficiency.

271. Functions of the City Government.—Among the recognized functions of the city government is, first, the normal function of operation. This includes the activity of the various municipal departments like the maintenance of streets, the prosecution of various public works, and the care of health by inspection and sanitation. Secondly, there are the regulative and reformatory functions, which make it necessary to organize and maintain a police and judicial force and to provide the necessary places of detention and punishment. Thirdly, there are educational and recreational functions represented by schools, public libraries, parks, and playgrounds. The tendency is for the city government to extend its functions in order to promote the various interests of its citizens. It is demanded that the city provide musical entertainments, theatres, and athletic grounds, that it open the schools as social centres and equip them for that purpose, that it beautify itself with the most approved adornments for twentieth-century cities; in short, that it regard itself as the agent of every kind of social welfare at whatever cost. Obviously, this programme involves the city in large expense, and there is a limit to the taxation and bonded indebtedness to which it can resort, but better financial management would save much waste and make larger funds available for social purposes without the necessity of raising large additional sums.

272. How the Regulative Function Works.—Doubtless it will be always true that the regulative function in its [258]largest sense will be the main business of the city government. The interests of individuals clash. The self-interest of one often runs counter to the interests of another, and the city government is their mediator. At every turn one sees evidences of public oversight. The citizen leaves home to go to work in the morning. A sidewalk is provided for his convenience and safety if he needs or prefers to walk. The abutters must keep it in a safe condition; open coal scuttles, heaps of sand or gravel, or other obstructions must not remain there, and in winter ice must not threaten hurt. A street is kept clear for the citizen's carriage or automobile if he drives down-town, and a franchise is given a street-railway on certain conditions to provide cheap and rapid transit. For the convenience of the public the street is properly drained and paved, at night it is lighted and patrolled. No householder is permitted to throw ashes or garbage upon the public thoroughfare, no landowner can rear a building above a certain height to shut out light and air. The citizen arrives down-town. The public building in which he works or where he trades is inspected by the city authorities, the market where he buys his produce is subject to regulation, the street hawker who calls his own wares must procure a license to sell goods—law is omnipresent.

273. The Police.—The offender who violates city ordinances must expect to be arrested. Policemen are on the watch to detect such violations and promptly give warning that they cannot be permitted. Repeated violation leads to arrest and trial before a police-court justice, with the probable penalty of a fine or temporary detention in jail. In case of serious crime, the trial is before a higher court, and the punishment is more severe. Such control is necessary for the preservation of order because there are always social delinquents ready to take advantage of too great freedom. A certain class of offenses seems to require different handling. Moral obliquity such as the maintenance of disorderly houses is a corrupting influence, and the police departments of cities have frequently been charged with conniving at immoral practices. Police officials have been [259]found to have their price, and graft has become notorious. For this reason a special morals police has been proposed to have charge of such cases, and experiments have been tried already on that plan.

274. Organization of the City Government.—(1) In America. The police department is but one of several boards or official departments for the management of municipal affairs. The administrative officers are appointed or elected, and are usually under the supervision of the city executive. The usual form of city government is modelled upon the State; a mayor corresponds to the governor and a city council of one or two chambers usually elected by wards is parallel to the State Legislature. The mayor is the executive officer and the head of the administrative system, the council assists or obstructs him, appropriates funds, and attends to the details of municipal legislation. Political considerations rather than fitness for office have usually determined the choice of persons for positions.

(2) In Europe. In Europe municipal government is treated as a business or professional matter, not one of politics, and the results have been so much more satisfactory that American cities have begun to reform their governments. In England cities are governed according to the Local Government Act of 1888, by which cities of more than fifty thousand people become counties for administrative purposes, and control of administration is vested in a council elected by voters of the city. Councillors are regarded with high honor, but their work is a work of patriotism, for they are unpaid, with the result that the best men enter the city councils. Administration is carried on through various committees and through department officials who are retained permanently. In Germany the cities are managed like large households, and their officials are free to undertake improvements without specific legislative permission. The mayor or burgomaster is usually one who makes a profession of magistracy, and he need not be a citizen of the city that he serves. In administration he is assisted by a board of experts known as magistrates, who are elected by the council, usually for life. [260]The council is the real governing body, and its members are elected by the people for six years, one-third of them retiring periodically, as in the United States Senate. The activities of the German cities are more numerous than in this country, yet they are managed economically and efficiently.

275. Organizing Municipal Reform.—The earliest reform movements in the United States were spasmodic uprisings of outraged citizens who were convinced of the corruption of city government. Among the pioneers in organization were leagues of reform in Chicago, Baltimore, and Boston, organized between 1874 and 1885. In 1887 the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Good Citizenship was formed. The weakness of the early movements was the temporary enthusiasm that soon died away after a victory for reform was gained at the polls; within a short time the grafters were in the saddle again. The year 1892 marked an epoch, for in that year the first City Club was organized in New York, followed by Good Government Clubs in many cities, and finally by the National Municipal League in 1894. Two hundred reform leagues in the larger cities united in the National Reform League, with its centre in Philadelphia. After 1905 a new impetus was given to civic reform by the new moral emphasis in business and politics. Better officials were elected and others were reminded that they were responsible to the people more than to the political machine. An extension of reform effort through direct primary nominations came into vogue on the principle that government ought to be by the people themselves: that democracy means self-control. The extension of municipal ownership was widely discussed on the principle that the people's interests demanded the better control of public utilities. There was apparent a new recognition that the city government was only an agent of popular control, not an irresponsible bureau for the enrichment of a few officials at the public expense.

276. Commission Government.—In a number of cases radical changes were made in the charter of the city. Galveston and several other Texas cities tried the experiment [261]of substituting a commission for the mayor and council. The Galveston idea originated in 1901, after a hurricane had devastated the city, and the mayor and aldermen proved unable to cope with the situation. Upon request of an existing civic committee the State legislature gave to the city a new charter, with provision for a commission of five, including a mayor who ordinarily has no more power than any other commissioner. Each man was to manage a department and receive a salary. In four years the commission saved the city a million dollars. Des Moines, Iowa, added to the Galveston plan the initiative, the referendum, and the recall, put in force a merit system for subordinate officials, and adopted the non-partisan open primary. These experiments proved so popular that in 1908-9 not less than one hundred and thirty-eight cities, including most of the large ones, proposed to make important changes in their charters, adopting the most prominent features of the new plan, or adapting the new to the old system.

Commission government has been defined as "that form of city government in which a small board, elected at large, exercises substantially the entire municipal authority, each member being assigned as head of a rather definite division of the administrative work; the commission being subject to one or more means of direct popular control, such as publicity of proceedings, recall, referendum, initiative, and a non-partisan ballot." Commission government is less cumbersome and less partisan than the old system and tends to be more efficient, but the public needs to remember that it is the men in office and not the form of government that make the control of municipal affairs a success or failure. In a few cases only disappointment has resulted from the changes made, and commission government is still in its experimental stage.

277. The City Manager.—A modification of the commission plan was tried in several cities of the South and Middle West in 1913-14. This has been called the city-manager plan. It is founded on the belief that the city needs business administration, and that a board of directors is not so efficient as a single manager employed by the [262]commission, who shall have charge of all departments, appoint department heads as his subordinates, and thus unify the whole administration of municipal affairs. The manager is responsible to the commission, and through it to the people, and may be removed by the commission, or even by popular recall. Such a plan as this is, of course, liable to abuse, unless the commissioners are high-minded, conscientious men, and it has not been tried long enough to prove its worth. The best element in the whole history of recent municipal changes is the earnest effort of the people to find a form of administrative control that will work well, and this gives ground for belief that the experiments will continue until the American city will cease to be notorious for misgovernment and become, instead, a model for the whole nation.


Commission Government and the City Manager Plan (American Academy), pages 3-11, 103-109, 171-179, 183-201.

Goodnow: City Government in the United States, pages 69-108.

Bryce: The American Commonwealth (abridged edition), pages 417-427.

Shaw: Municipal Government in Continental Europe, pages 1-145.

Zueblin: American Municipal Progress (revised edition), pages 376-394.




278. The Fact of Misery.—A brief study of the conditions in which a city's toilers live and work and play makes it plain that the people have to contend with numerous difficulties. Large numbers of them are in misery, and there are few who are not living in constant fear of it. To a foreigner who did not understand America, it would seem incredible that misery should be prevalent in the midst of wealth and unbounded natural resources, when mines and factories are making record-breaking outputs, when harbors are thronged with ships and the call for workers goes across the sea. But no one who visits the tenements and alleys of the city fails to find abundant evidence of misery and want. People do not live in dark rooms and dirty surroundings from choice, sometimes as many as two thousand in a single block. They do not willingly pay a large percentage of their earnings in rent for a tenement that breeds fever and tuberculosis. They do not feed their babies on impure milk and permit their children to forage among the garbage cans because they care nothing for their young. They do not shiver without heat or lose vitality for lack of food until they have struggled for a comfortable existence to the point of exhaustion. Misery is here as it is in the Old World cities, and it leads to weakness and disease, drunkenness, vice, and crime.

279. Easy Explanations.—It is impossible to unravel completely the skein of difficulties in which the people are enmeshed, or to simplify the causes of the tangle. It is easy to blame a person's wretchedness on his individual misconduct and incompetency, to say, for example, that a man's family is sick and poor because he is intemperate. There might be truth in the charge, but it would probably [264]not be the whole truth. It is easy to go back of the circumstance to the weak will of the man that made him a prey to impulse and appetite and kept him primitive in his habits, but that alone would not explain conditions. It is easy to charge misery upon the ignorance of the woman in the home who is wasteful of food and does not know how to provide for her family, or to charge lack of common sense to the home-makers when they try to raise six children on an income that is not enough for two. It is very common to lay all misery at the door of the capitalist who underpays labor and feels no responsibility for the life conditions of his employee. No one of these explains the presence of misery.

It is easy to propose to society a simple remedy like better housing, prohibition, or socialism, when the only correct diagnosis of conditions demands a prolonged and expensive course of treatment that involves surgical action in the social body. It is easy to raise money for charity, to endow hospitals, and to talk about made-to-order schemes for ending unemployment, poverty, and panic, but it is soon discovered that there is no panacea for the evils that infest society. Back of all personal misconduct or misfortune, of all social specific or cure-all, is the fundamental difficulty that misery exists, that its causes are complex, and that all efforts to provide efficient relief on a large scale have failed, as far as history records.

280. Poverty and Its Extent.—Misery appears commonly in the form of sickness, vice, and poverty. One of these reacts upon another, and is both the cause and the result of another. Mental and moral incapacity, ignorance of hygiene, weakness of will, habits that seem incurable, all of these produce the first two in a seemingly hopeless way; poverty appears to be incurable above the rest. It is poverty that prevents fortifying the will by increasing physical stamina and moral courage, it is poverty that drives a man; to drink or desperation, and it is poverty that prescribes the unfavorable surroundings that do so much to keep a man down. Poverty is a danger flag that indicates the probability of deeper degradation and calls for the individual or [265]group that is better off to lend a hand. Poverty is a goad, a thorn in the flesh of society, that is pushing it along the road of social reform. Private philanthropy, legislative enactment, and much talking are being tried as experiments to find a solution of the difficulty, but theorists and practitioners are not yet in full agreement as to the way out.

There are, of course, different degrees of poverty, ranging from the helpless incompetents at the bottom of the scale to those who are in a fair degree of comfort, but who have so little laid aside for a rainy day that they live in constant fear of the poorhouse. Some struggle harder than others, and maintain an existence on or just above the poverty line—these are technically the poor. Charles Booth defines the poor as those "living in a state of struggle to obtain the necessaries of life." A few cease to struggle at all and, if they continue to live, manage it only by living on permanent charity—these are the paupers. This is a distinction that is carefully made by sociologists and is always convenient.

It is difficult to estimate the extent of poverty with any accuracy, but a few estimates of skilled observers indicate its wide extent. Charles Booth thought that thirty per cent of the people of London were on or below the poverty line. Robert Hunter has declared that in 1899 eighteen per cent of the people in New York State received aid, and that ten per cent of those who died in Manhattan received pauper burial. Alongside these statements are the various estimates of 80,000 persons in almshouses in the United States, 3,000,000 receiving public or private aid, with a total annual expense of $200,000,000. The number of those who have small resources in reserve are many times as great, but industrious, frugal, and self-respecting, they manage to take care of themselves.

281. Causes of Poverty.—It is still more difficult to speak exactly of the relative importance of the causes of poverty. Investigation of hundreds of cases in certain localities makes it plain that poverty comes through a combination of several factors, including personal incompetence or misconduct, misfortune, and the effects of environment. [266]In Boston out of one thousand cases investigated twenty-five years ago (1890-91), twenty per cent was due to drink, a figure nearly twice as much as the average found in other large cities; nine per cent more was due to such misconduct as shiftlessness, crime, and vagrancy; while seventy per cent was owing to misfortune, including defective employment and sickness or death in the family. Five thousand families investigated at another time in New York City showed that physical disability was present in three out of four families, and unemployment was responsible in two out of three cases. In nearly half the families there was found defect of character, and in a third of the cases there was widowhood or desertion or overcrowding. Added to these were old-age incapacity, large families, and ill adjustment to environment due to recent arrival in the city.

Taking these as fair samples, it is proper to conclude that the causes commonly to be assigned to poverty are both subjective and objective, or individual and social. It was formerly customary to throw most of the blame on the poor themselves, to charge them with being lazy, intemperate, vicious, and generally incompetent, and it is useless to deny that these appear to be the direct causes in great numbers of instances, but as much of the negro and poor white trash in the South was found to be due to hookworm infection, so very many of the faults of the shiftless poor in the cities are due more indirectly to lack of nourishment, of education, and of courage. Over and over again, it may be, has the worker tried to get on better, only to get sick or lose his job just as he was improving his lot. The tendency of opinion is in the direction of putting the chief blame upon the disposition of the employer to exploit the worker, and the indifference of society to such exploitation; it is the discouraging conditions in which the working man lives, the uncertainty of employment and the high cost of living, the danger of accident and disease that constantly hangs over the laborer and his family, that devitalizes and disheartens him, and casts him before he is old on the social scrap heap.

Summing up, it is convenient to classify the causes of [267]poverty as individual and social, including under the first head ignorance, inefficiency, illness or accident, intemperance, and immorality, and under the second unemployment, widowhood, or desertion, overcrowding and insanitation, the high cost of living versus low wages, and lack of adjustment to environment.

Poverty is one of those social conditions that appear in all parts of the country, even in the smaller villages, but it is more dreadful and wide-spread in the great cities. In smaller communities the cases are few and can be taken care of without great difficulty; to the larger centres have drifted the poor from the rural regions, and there congregate the immigrants who have failed to make good, until in large numbers they drain the vitals of the city's strength. Yet the problem of poverty is not new. It would be difficult to find any ancient city that did not have its rabble or mediæval village without its "ne'er-do-weel"; and in every period church or state or feudal group has taken its turn in providing relief. In recent years the principle of bestowing charity has been giving way to the principle of destroying poverty at the roots by removing the causes that produce it. This is no easy task, but experience has shown that it is the only effective way to get rid of the difficulty.

282. Proposed Methods of Solution.—The solution of the problem of poverty cannot be found in charity. Properly administered charity is a helpful means of temporary relief, but if it becomes permanent it pauperizes. It never will cure poverty. In spite of all charity organization, poverty increases as the cities grow, until it is clear that the causes must be removed if there is to be any hope of permanent relief. A better education is proposed as an offset to ignorance. Women need instruction in cooking, home making, and the care of children, for girls graduating from a machine or the counter of a department store into matrimony cannot reasonably be expected to know much about housekeeping. Such evils as divorce, desertion, intemperance, and poverty are due repeatedly to failure to make a home. Proper hygienic habits, care of sanitation, simple precautions against colds, coughs, and tuberculosis, [268]make a great difference in the amount of misery. It is a question worth considering whether the home end of the poverty problem is not as important as the employment end. For the man's ignorance and inefficiency it is proposed that the vocational education of boys be widely extended.

The social causes of poverty lead into other departments of sociological study, like the industrial problem, and it is useless to talk about a cure for poverty as an isolated phenomenon, yet there are certain principles that are necessarily involved. The whole subject of the poor needs thorough study. Organizations like the charity societies already have much data. The Russell Sage Foundation in New York City is making invaluable contributions to public knowledge. The reports of the national and State bureaus of labor contain a vast amount of statistical information. All this needs digestion. Then on the basis of investigation and digestion of information comes prompt and intelligent legislation for the amelioration of poverty, until the most shameful conditions in employment and housing are made impossible. Only persistent legislation and enforcement of law can make greedy landlords and capitalists do the right thing by the poor, until all society is spiritualized by the new social gospel of mutual consideration and educated to apply it to community life.

283. Pauperism.—Pauperism is poverty become chronic. When a family has been hopelessly dependent so long that self-respect and initiative are wholly gone, it seems useless to attempt to galvanize it into activity or respectability, and when a group of such families pauperizes a neighborhood, heroic measures become necessary. The families must be broken up, their members placed in institutions where they cannot remain sodden in drink or become violent in crime, and the neighborhood cleansed of its human débris. Pauperism is a social pest, and it must be rooted out like any other pest. If it is allowed to remain it festers; nothing short of eradication will suffice. But when once it is destroyed living conditions must be so reformed that pauperism will not recur, and that can be only by constant [269]vigilance to prevent a continuance of poverty. The problem is one, and its solution must involve both poverty and pauperism.

284. Unemployment.—One of the causes of wide-spread poverty is unemployment. This is due sometimes to physical weakness or lack of ability or character, but as often to industrial depression or lack of adjustment between the labor supply and the employer. There is always an army of the unemployed, and it has increased so greatly through immigration and otherwise that it has demanded the serious attention of sociologists and legislators. Charitable organizations have given relief, but it is not properly a question of charity; private agencies have made a business of bringing together the employer and the employee, but not always treating fairly the employee; permanent free labor exchanges are now being tried by governments.

The National Conference on Unemployment, meeting in 1914, recommended three constructive proposals, which include most of the experiments already tried in Europe and America. These are first the regularizing of business by putting it on a year-round basis instead of seasonal; second, the organization of a system of labor exchanges, local and State, to be supervised and co-ordinated by a national exchange; and third, a national insurance system for the unemployed, such as has been inaugurated successfully in Germany and Great Britain.

The problem of unemployment is less complicated than many social problems, and there is every reason to believe that through careful legislation and administration it can be largely removed. The problem of those who are unable to work or unwilling to work is solved by means of public institutions. The whole problem of poverty awaits only intelligent, energetic, and united action for its successful solution.



Devine: Misery and Its Causes, pages 3-50.

Hunter: Poverty, pages 66-105, 318-340.

Henderson: Dependents, Defectives, and Delinquents, second edition, pages 12-97, 160-209.

Carlton: History and Problems of Organized Labor, pages 431-445.

Martin: "Remedy for Unemployment," art. in The Survey, 22: 115-117.

Booth: Pauperism.




285. The Impulse to Charity.—The first impulse that stirs a person who sees another in want is immediately to relieve the want. This impulse to charity makes public begging profitable. It is an impulse creditable to the human heart, but its effects have not been approved by reason, for indiscriminate charity provokes deception, and is certain to result in chronic dependency. Wise methods of charity, therefore, constitute a problem as truly as poverty itself. Experience has proved so conclusively that the old methods of relief are unsatisfactory, that it has become necessary to determine and formulate true principles of relief for those who really desire to exercise their philanthropy helpfully. How to help is the question.

286. History of Relief.—Some light is thrown on the subject from the experience of the past. The whole notion of charity as a social duty was foreign to ancient thought. Families and clans had their own dependents, and benefit societies helped their own members. The Hebrew prophets called for mercy and kindness, Jesus spoke his parable of the good Samaritan, and the primitive Christians went so far as to organize their charity, so that none of their members would fail of a fair share. The church taught alms-giving as a deed of merit before God, and all through its history the Catholic Church has done much for its poor. In the Middle Ages it was a part of the feudal theory that the lord would care for his serfs, but in reality they got most help at the doors of a monastery. In modern times the church has shifted its burden to the state. This was inevitable in countries where there was no state church, and it was in accordance with the modern principle that [272]the state is organized society functioning for the social welfare of all the people.

In America the colonies and then the States adopted the English custom of relieving extreme need. At first it was possible for local committees to take care of their poor by doles furnished sparingly in their homes, and to place the chronic dependents in almshouses. The former practice is known as outdoor relief, the latter as indoor relief. Such relief was not administered scientifically, and did not help to reduce the amount of poverty. The almshouses were the dumping-ground of a community's undesirables, including idiots and even insane, cripples and incurables, epileptics, old people, and orphan children, constituting a social environment that was anything but helpful to human development. After a time it became necessary for the State to relieve the local authorities. The defectives and dependents became too numerous for the local community to take care of, and enlightened philanthropy was learning better methods. The result has been the gradual extension of State care and the segregation of the various classes of incompetents in various State institutions, including hospitals for the insane, the epileptic, and the morally deficient, sanitaria for those who suffer from alcoholic and tuberculous diseases, and schools for the proper training of the youth who have come under public oversight.

287. Voluntary Charity.—Public relief has been supplemented extensively by voluntary charity. This has become increasingly scientific. Indeed popular ideas have been largely transformed during the last generation. In the small towns and villages where there was little destitution, and where all knew one another's needs, there was no special need of scientific investigation or charitable organization, but in the large cities it became necessary. Thomas Chalmers in Scotland and Edward Denison and Octavia Hill in England demonstrated the conditions and the advantages of organized effort. The first charity organization society was organized in 1869 in London. Its fundamental principle was to help the poor to help themselves rather than to give them alms. Its aim was to federate all [273]the charitable efforts of London, and while this has not proved practicable, it has greatly increased efficiency and has helped to bind together philanthropic effort all over England. The income of the various charitable agencies of London alone was reported to be $43,000,000 in 1906.

In the United States the first organization on the English model was the charity organization society of Buffalo, founded in 1877; Boston followed with a similar organization the next year. These were followed by the organization of a National Conference of Charities and Corrections, which holds annual meetings and publishes reports that are a valuable storehouse of information. Many charitable agencies of various kinds contribute to the work of relief, some of them really helpful, others actually blocking the way of genuine progress, but all showing the strength of the philanthropic motive in American cities. The closer their alliance with the associated charities the more effective are their measures of charity. Three stages have marked the history of the charitable organization societies, as they have learned from experience. The first has been called the repressive stage. The fear of pauperizing recipients of charity made the societies too strict in their alms-giving, so that hardships resulted that were unnecessary, but such a course was the natural reaction against the indiscriminate charity that had been in vogue. This stage was succeeded by the discriminative, in which help is given discriminatingly, as investigation shows a real need at the same time that efforts are being put forth to make prolonged giving unnecessary. Closely combined with this discrimination, which is in constant use, is the third method of construction. By this constructive method the worker tries to get at the cause of the particular case of poverty and to alter the social conditions so that the cause shall no longer act. Experience and experiment have produced numerous specific measures of a constructive sort, like the establishment of playgrounds and public parks, kindergartens and schools for specific purposes, social settlements and school centres, municipal baths and gymnasiums, tenement-house reforms and the prevention of disease.

[274]288. Friendly Visiting.—The functions of charity organization societies have been described as the co-ordination and co-operation of local societies rather than direct relief from the central organization, thorough investigation of all cases, with temporary relief where necessary, the establishment of friendly relations between the poor and the well-to-do, the finding of work for those who need it, and the accumulation of knowledge on poverty conditions. The actual contact of charitable societies with the people has been mainly through friendly visitors who voluntarily engage to call on the needy, and who meet at regular intervals to discuss concrete cases as well as general methods. These visitors have the advantage of bringing their spontaneous sympathy to bear upon the specific instances that come to their personal attention, whereas the officials of the charity organization society inevitably become more callous to suffering and tend to look upon each family as a case to be pigeonholed or scientifically treated, but the conviction is growing, nevertheless, that the situation can be effectively handled only by men and women who are genuinely experts, trained in the social settlements or in the schools of philanthropy. Whether a voluntary church worker or a charity expert, it is the business of the visitor to make thorough investigation of conditions, not merely inquiring of landlord or neighbors, or taking the hurried testimony of the family, but patiently searching for information from those who have known the case over a long period, preferably through the charity organization society. Actual relief may be required temporarily and must be adequate to the occasion, but the problem of the visitor is to devise a method of self-help, and to furnish the courage necessary to undertake and carry it through. It is important to consider in this connection the character and ancestry of the family, its environment and the social ideals and expectations of its members, if the steps taken are to be effective. The two principles that underlie the whole practice of relief are, first, to restore the individual or family to a normal place in society from which it has fallen, or to raise it to a normal standard of living which it has never [275]before reached; secondly, to make all charity discriminative and co-operative, that it may accomplish the end sought without pauperizing the recipient.

289. Public and Private Agencies.—Institutions and agencies of relief are of two kinds, public and private. It is one of the functions of every social group to promote the welfare of its members. It is to be expected, therefore, that the church and the trade-union will help their own poor, but it is just as proper to expect that the whole community, and even the whole state, will take care of its own needy. The distinction between public and private agencies is not one of fundamental sociological principle, but one of convenience and efficiency of administration. Where the state has extended its activities, as in Germany, relief by such a method as the Elberfeld system is practicable; where public opinion, as in the United States, is not favorable to remanding as much as possible to the government, it is thought best that private agencies should supplement State aid, and in most cases make it unnecessary.

290. Arguments for and Against Private Agencies of Relief.—Some argue that private agencies should do it all. In spite of the large resources at the command of the state and the frequent necessity of legislation to handle the problem, they claim that public aid humiliates and degrades the recipient, while private assistance may put him on his feet without destroying his self-respect; and that public charity is too often unfeeling and tends to become a routine affair, while private aid can deal better with specific cases, show real interest and try experiments in the improvement of methods. There are those who would have all charity given back to the church. They believe the responsibility would stimulate the church's own life, extend its influence among the unchurched, show that it had an interest in the bodies as well as the souls of the people, and bring about co-operation between churches in the districts of town or city. It is of the genius of true religion to be helpful, and the church could soon learn wise methods. In answer to this argument the reply is that at present the indiscriminate charity of the church is doing [276]real harm; that the church does not like to co-operate with other agencies; that it does not have adequate resources to deal with the problem or legal authority to restrain mendicants or segregate the various classes of dependents; and that all persons in the community ought to share in the responsibility of poor relief, and not all are in the church. They recognize the valuable aid of such organizations as the Hebrew Charities and the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Catholics, but they believe that such as these at best can be only auxiliary to the state.

An illustration of the usefulness of private associations appears in a group of seven boys of foreign parentage in New York City, who organized themselves in 1903 into a quick-aid-to-the-hungry committee. They were only thirteen years old and poor. They lived on the East Side, and pennies and nickels did not make a full treasury. But they knew the need and had an instinct for helping the right people. In seven years these boys helped in more than two hundred and fifty emergency cases; their pennies grew to dollars as they earned more; their charity developed their self-respect; they held weekly meetings for debate, and several of them made their way through college. Funds were supplied, also, from friends outside, who were glad to aid such a worthy enterprise. The great need among private agencies is fuller co-operation with one another and with public boards and institutions. Then duplication of effort, misunderstandings, and wastefulness are avoided, and the hope of a decline in conditions of poverty increases.

There are limits, however, to the ability of private agencies to control the situation. There are cases where the organized community or state must take a hand. There are lazy persons who will not support themselves or their families; there are certain persons who are chronically ill or dependent; there are various types of defectives and delinquents. All these need the authority of the public agencies. Then there are constructive activities that require the assistance and sanction of government, like parks and playgrounds, industrial schools, employment bureaus, the establishment and administration of state [277]institutions, and the enforcement of health, sanitary, and building laws. Of course there is often inefficiency in government management. The local almshouse needs reforming, and the overseers of the poor should be trained experts. The organization and superintendence of state institutions is not ideal, and building arrangements need improvement, but there is a steady gain in the efficiency of boards of trustees and local managers. There is a willingness to learn from experience and a disposition to raise the standards in all departments of administration.

291. The Social Settlement.—However efficient an official board may be in the discharge of its duties, it cannot expect to call out from the beneficiary so enthusiastic a response as can a real friend. The best friends of the poor are their neighbors. It is well known that a group of families in a tenement house will help one of their number that is in specific difficulty, and that the poor give more generously to help their own kind than do those who are more well-to-do. It was a conviction of these principles of friendliness and neighborliness that led to the first social settlements. Because a person lives in an undesirable part of the city he is not necessarily a subject for charity, and the settlement is in no sense to be thought of as a charitable agency. It is a home established among the less-favored part of the population by educated, refined, sympathetic people who want to be neighborly and to bring courage and cheer and helpfulness to the struggling masses. The original residents of Hull House in Chicago believed that class alienation could be overcome best by the establishment of intimate social relationships, and they were willing to sacrifice their natural social advantages for the larger good.

Settlements are not exclusively of the city, but the stress of life is sternest in the cities, and most of the experiments have been made there. They are oases in the desert of the buildings and pavements of brick, with their grime and monotony, and if the people of the desert will camp for an hour and drink of the spring, those who have planted the oasis will be well pleased. To attract them the settlement workers have organized clubs and classes for united study [278]and activity in matters that naturally interest the people of the neighborhood; they have music and dancing and amateur theatricals, and often they supply domestic or industrial training in a small way for the young people who frequent the settlement. The residents aim to give the people what they want; they do not impose anything upon them. They try to satisfy economic and social wants. They try to stimulate the people of the neighborhood to desire the best things that they can get. They co-operate with the police and other departments of the city government, with the library, and with the school. They assist in procuring work for those who want it; they encourage the people to be thrifty and temperate; they help them to get baths and gymnastic facilities, playgrounds, and social centres. They frequently carry on investigations that are of great value and assist charitable agencies in their inquiries and beneficence. They call frequently upon the people in their homes and encourage them to ask for counsel and help if they are in trouble.

The settlement idea grew out of a growing interest in the common people. It was stimulated by Maurice's establishment at London of a working man's college, with recent Cambridge graduates as teachers, and by university extension work in Cambridge; it was suggested further by the location of Edward Denison in the East End of London in 1867. In 1885 Canon Barnett, of St. Jude's Church, London, founded Toynbee Hall under Oxford auspices. The first settlement in the United States was established in New York in 1887, and soon became known as the University Settlement. Hull House in Chicago was started two years later; the first settlement in Boston was founded under the auspices of the Andover Theological Seminary. Most settlements avoid church connections, because of the danger of misunderstandings among people of widely differing faiths.

The settlement has existed long enough to become a true social institution. It has remained true to its original principle of neighborliness, but it has increased its activities as occasion demanded. It has been a useful object-lesson [279]to churches and city governments; some of its methods have been imitated, and in some of the cities its efforts have become unnecessary in certain directions because the city government itself has adopted its plans. The settlement has its critics and its devoted supporters; it is one of the voluntary experiments that shows the spirit of its promoters and that helps along social progress, and it must be estimated among the assets of a community. Here and there in the country among certain groups, as lumbermen, miners, or construction workers, or even in a settled town, many of the methods of the settlement are likely to find acceptance, and the settlement idea of neighborliness is fundamental to all happy and successful social life.


Devine: Principles of Relief, pages 10-28, 171-181.

Warner: American Charities, pages 301-393.

Conyngton: How to Help, pages 56-219.

Henderson: Modern Methods of Charity, pages 380-511.

Henderson: Social Settlements.

Addams: Twenty Years at Hull House, pages 89-153.




292. The Schools of the City.—An important function of city government and of other institutions is the education of the people who make their home in the city or come to it to broaden their culture. The city provides for its young people as the country community does, by locating school-buildings within convenient reach of the people of every district, but on a much larger and usually a more efficient scale. Better trained teachers, better grading, a more modern equipment and well-proved methods give an advantage in education to the city child, though there are drawbacks in overcrowded buildings and narrow yards for play. The opportunities for social education are broader in the city, for the child comes into contact with many types of people, with a great variety of social institutions, and with all sorts of activities. It is these advantages, together with the higher institutions for study, that attract hundreds and sometimes thousands of students to the prominent social centres. The colleges and universities, the normal schools, the music and art institutes and lecture systems are numerous and attract correspondingly.

293. The Press as an Educator.—The institutions directly concerned with instruction are supplemented by other educational agencies. Among these is the press. The press is an institution that exerts a mighty force upon every department of the city's life. It is at the same time a business enterprise and a social institution. It is a public misfortune that the newspaper, the magazine, and the book publishing house is a private business undertaking, and often stands for class, party, or sectarian interests before those of the whole of society. There is always a temptation to sacrifice principle to policy, to publish distorted or [281]half-true statements from selfish interest, and to prostitute influence to individuals or groups that care little for the public welfare. The publication of a statement or narrative of a crime or other misdemeanor tends by suggestion to the imitation of the wrong by others; it is a well-known fact that a sensational story of suicide or murder is likely to provoke others in the same manner. It is a grave question whether the realistic fiction so much in vogue and published in such quantities is not a baneful text-book on modern society. But when it chooses the press becomes an instrument of immense value to the public. It can turn the light of publicity on dark and dirty places. It can and does provide a means of wise utterance on questions of the day. It keeps a record of the good as well as the evil that is done. It is a means of communication between local groups everywhere, for it publishes what everybody wants to know about everybody else. It introduces the antipodes to each other, and makes it possible for far-sundered groups to unite even internationally for a good cause. As the railroad binds together portions of a continent, so the press links the minds of human beings.

294. A Metropolitan Newspaper.—Take a metropolitan newspaper and see how it reflects the current life of society. Economic interests of buyer and seller are exploited in the advertising columns. In no other way could a merchant so persuasively hawk his wares or a purchaser learn so readily about the market. The wholesaler and jobber find their interests attended to in special columns provided particularly for them. Financial interests are cared for by stock-exchange quotations, news items, and advertisements. All kinds of social concerns are taken care of in the news columns, items collected at great expense from the four quarters of the globe. Gatherings for a great variety of purposes are recorded. Educational and religious interests are given space, as well as sports and amusements; last Sunday's sermon jostles the latest scandal on Monday morning; weather probabilities and shipping news have their corners, as well as the fashion department and the cartoon. The newspaper is a moving picture of the world.

[282]295. The Value of the Press.—The most valuable service rendered by the press is its education of the public mind, so that public opinion may register itself in intelligent action. It provides a forum for the discussion of issues that divide sects and parties, and helps to preserve religious freedom and popular government. Except that it is so frequently trammelled in uttering itself frankly on important public questions, it gives an indication of the trend of sentiment and so makes possible a forecast of future public action. The very variety of printed publications, from the sensational daily sheet to the published proceedings of a learned society, insures a healthy interchange of ideas that helps to level social inequalities and promotes a mutual understanding among all groups and grades of society. The cheapened process of book publication on a large scale, and the investment of large sums of money in the publishing business, with its mechanics of sale management as well as printing, has made possible an enormous output of literature on all subjects and has widened the range of general information in possession of the public. The whole system of modern life would be impossible without the press.

296. The Library and the Museum.—In spite of the efficient methods used for selling the output of the press, large numbers of books would be little read were it not for the collections of books that are available to the public, either free or at small cost. The public library is an educative agency that serves its constituency as faithfully as the school and the press. Its presence for use is one of the advantages that the city has over the country, though the public library has been extended far within one or two decades. The child goes from home to school and widens the circle of his acquaintances in the community; through the daily newspaper the adult gets into touch with a far wider environment, reaching even across the oceans; in the library any person, without respect to age, color, or condition, if only he possess the key of literacy to unlock knowledge, can travel to the utmost limits of continents and seas, can dig with the geologist below the surface, or soar with the astronomer beyond the limits of aviation, can [283]hob-nob with ancient worthies or sit at the feet of the latest novelist or philosopher, and can learn how to rule empires from as good text-books as kings or patriarchs possess.

What the library does for intellectual satisfaction the museum and art-gallery do for æsthetic appreciation. They make their appeal to the love of beauty in form, color, or weave, and call out oftentimes the best efforts of an individual's own genius. Often the gift of one or more public-spirited citizens, they register a disposition to serve society that is sometimes as useful as charity. Philanthropy that uplifts the mind of the recipient is as desirable as benevolence that plans bodily relief; the soul that is filled has as much cause to bless its minister as the stomach that is relieved of hunger. The picture-galleries of Europe, the tapestries, the metal and wood work, the engravings, and the frescoes, are the precious legacy of the past to the present, not easily reproduced, but serving as a continual incentive to modern production. They set in motion spiritual forces that uplift and expand the human mind and spur it to future achievement.

297. Music and the Drama.—Music and the drama have a similar stimulating and refining influence when they are not debauched by a sordid commercialism. They strengthen the noblest impulses, stir the blood to worthy deeds by their rhythmic or pictorial influence, unite individual hearts in worship or play, throb in unison with the sentiments that through all time have swayed human life. Often they have catered to the lower instincts, and have served for cheap amusement or entertainment not worth while, but concert-hall and theatre alike are capable of an educative work that can hardly be equalled elsewhere. When in combination they appeal to both eye and ear, they provide avenues for intellectual understanding and activity that neither school nor press can parallel. Recent mechanical inventions, such as automatic musical instruments and moving pictures, have added greatly to the range and effectiveness of music and the drama, but they only intensify and popularize the appeal to the senses. It is to be remembered that individual and social stimuli must be [284]varied enough to touch men at all points and call out a response from every faculty of their nature. These arts, therefore, that make life real and socialize it and cheer men and women on their way, play a vital part in the education of society and deserve as serious consideration as the other educational agencies and institutions that find a place in the social economy of the community. Numerous amateur musical and dramatic societies testify to the interest of the people in these refined arts.

298. The Need of Social Centres.—Books and pictures, music and the drama are so many mild stimulants to those who use and appreciate them, but there are large numbers of people who rarely read anything but the newspaper, and who attend only cheap entertainments. These people need a spur to high thoughts and noble action, but they do not move in the world of culture. They need a stronger stimulant, the tang of virile debate about questions that touch closely their daily concerns, discussions in which they can share if they feel disposed. In large circles of the city's population there is a lack of facilities for such public discussion, and for that reason the people fall back on the prejudices of the newspapers for the formation of their opinions on public questions. Disputes sometimes wax warm in the saloon about the merits of a pugilist or baseball-player; questions of the rights of labor are aired in the talk of the trade-union headquarters; but the vital issues of city, state, and nation, and the underlying principles that are at stake find few avenues to the minds of the mass of the people. In the country the town meeting or the gathering at the district schoolhouse provides an occasional opportunity, or the grange meeting supplies a forum for its members, but even there the rank and file of the people do not talk over large questions often enough. In the city the need is great.

299. The City Neighborhood.—It is well understood that large cities have most of their public buildings and business structures in one quarter, and their residences in another; also that the character of the residential districts varies according to the wealth and culture of their [285]inhabitants or the nationality and occupation to which they belong. The city is a coalition of semidetached groups, each of which has a unity of its own. The necessities of work draw all the people together down-town along the lines of streets and railways; now and then the different classes are shaken together in elevators and subways; but when they are free to follow their own volition they flow apart. Those who are on terms of intimacy live in a neighboring street; the grocer from whom they buy is at the corner; the school where their children go is within a few blocks; the theatre they patronize or the church they attend is not far away; the physician they employ lives in the neighborhood. Except the few who get about easily in their own conveyances and have a wide acquaintance, city dwellers have all but their business interests in the district in which they live, and which is seldom over a square mile in extent.

Some municipalities are coming to see that each district is a neighborhood in itself and needs all the democratic institutions of a neighborhood. Among these belongs the assembly hall for free speech. It may well become a centre for a variety of social purposes, but it is fundamentally important that it provide a forum for public discussion. As the rich man has his club where he may meet the globetrotter or the leader of public affairs distinguished in his own country, and as the woman's club of high-minded women has its own lecturers and celebrities of all kinds, so the working man and his wife have a right to come into contact with stimulating personalities who will talk to them and to whom they can talk back.

300. Forum for Public Discussion.—Such democratic gatherings fall into two classes. There is the public lecture or address, after which an opportunity for questions and public discussion is given, and there is the neighborhood forum or town meeting, at which a question of general interest is taken up and debated in regular parliamentary fashion. In a number of cities both plans have been adopted. On a Sunday afternoon or evening, or at a convenient time on another evening of the week, a [286]popular speaker addresses the audience on a theme of social interest, after it has been entertained for a half hour with music; following the address a brief intermission allows for relaxation, and then for an hour the question goes to the house, and free discussion takes place under the direction of the leader of the meeting. Sometimes series of this sort are supplied by churches or other social organizations; in that case many of the speakers are clergymen, and in some forums the topics are connected with religious or strictly moral interests; but even then the discussion is on the broad plane of the common concerns of humanity, and there is a zest to the occasion that the ordinary religious gathering does not inspire. The second plan is modelled after the old-fashioned town meeting that was transplanted from the mother country to New England, and has spread to other parts of the United States. It is a gathering of all who wish to discuss freely some question that interests them all, and it is more strictly co-operative than the first plan, for there is no one speaker to contribute the main part of the debate, but each may make his own contribution, and by the power of his own persuasion win for his argument the decision of the meeting. Besides stimulating the interest of those who take part, such a debate is a most effective educator of the public mind in matters of social weal.


Henderson: Social Elements, pages 228-253.

King: Social Aspects of Education, pages 65-97, 264-290.

Ward: The Social Center, pages 212-251.

Wolfe: The Lodging House Problem, pages 109-114.

Addresses and Proceedings of the National Education Association, 1905, pages 644-650, "Music as a Factor in Culture."




301. The Place of the Church in the Urban Community.—In the city, as in the country, the religious instinct expresses itself socially through the institution of the church or synagogue. Spiritual force cannot be confined within the limits of a single institution; religion is a dynamic that permeates the life of society; yet in this age of specialization, and especially in a country like the United States, where religion is a voluntary affair, not to be entangled with the school or the State, religion has naturally exerted its influence most directly through the church. Charity and settlement workers are inspired by a religion that makes humanitarianism a part of its creed, and a large majority of them are church members, but as a rule they do not attempt to introduce any religious forms or exercises into their programmes. Most public-school teachers have their religious connections and recognize the important place of religion in moulding character, but religious teaching is not included in the curriculum because of the recognized principle of complete religious liberty and the separation of church and state. The result has been that religion is not consciously felt as a vital force among many people who axe not directly connected with an ecclesiastical institution. Those who are definitely connected with the church in America contribute voluntarily to its expenses, sometimes even at personal sacrifice. Most people who have little religious interest realize the value of the mere presence of a meeting-house in the community as a reminder of moral obligations and an insurance against disorder. Its spire seems to point the way to heaven, and to make a mute appeal to the best motives and the highest ideals. The decline of the church is, therefore, regarded as a sign of social degeneracy.

[288]302. Worship and Church Attendance.—The church exists in the city because it has certain specific functions to perform. To maintain public worship, to persuade to definite convictions and inspire to noble conduct, to furnish religious education, and to promote social reform are its essential responsibilities. Worship is a natural attitude to the individual who is prompted by a desire to adjust himself to the universe and to obtain the peace of mind that follows upon the establishment of a right relationship. To most people it is easier to get into the proper atmosphere and spirit of worship in a public assembly, and they therefore are accustomed to meet at stated intervals and bow side by side as if in kinship together before the Unseen. Long-established habit and a superstitious fear of the consequences that may follow neglect keep some persons regular in church attendance when they have no sense of spiritual satisfaction in worship. Others go to church because of the social opportunities that are present in any public gathering.

In recent years church attendance has not kept pace with the increasing population of the city. A certain pride of intellect and a feeling of security in the growing power of man over nature has produced an indifference to religion and religious teachers. Multiplicity of other interests overshadows the ecclesiastical interests of the aristocracy; fatigue and hostility to an institution that they think caters to the rich keeps the proletariat at home. In addition the tendency of foreigners is to throw off religion along with other compulsory things that belonged to the Old World life and to add to the number of the unchurched.

303. Evangelism and the History of Religious Conviction.—A second function of the church is to exert spiritual and moral suasion. It is a social instinct to communicate ideas; language developed for that purpose. It is natural, therefore, that a church that has definite ideas about human obligation toward God and men should try to influence individuals and even send out evangelists and missionaries to propagate its faith widely. Those churches that think alike have organized into denominations, and [289]have arranged extensive propaganda and trained and ordained their preachers to reason with and persuade their auditors to receive and act upon the message that is spoken. Several of the large cities of the United States contain denominational headquarters where world-wide activities receive direction, veritable dynamos for the generation of one of the vital forces of society.

The convictions that prompt evangelism and missionary zeal are the result of centuries of race experience. The Catholic, the Protestant, and the Jewish churches have all grown out of religious experience and religious thinking that have their roots in early human history. The very forms of worship and of creed that constitute the framework of religion in a modern city church date far back in their origins. The religious instinct appears to be common to the whole human race. In primitive times religious interest was prompted by fear, and the early customs of sacrifice and worship were established by the group to bring its members into friendly relations with the Power outside themselves that might work to their undoing. Temples and shrines testified to man's devotion and stirred his emotions by their symbols and ceremonies. A special class of men was organized, a priesthood to mediate with the gods for mankind. Children were taught to respect and fear the higher powers, and their elders were often warned not to stir the anger of deity. As the human mind developed, impulse and emotion were supplemented by intellect. As man ruminated upon nature and human experience he was satisfied that there was intelligence and power in the universe, divine personality similar to but greater than himself, and his reason sanctioned the religious acts to which he had become accustomed. He added a creed to his cult. He did not associate his moral ideas and habits with his religious obligations; these ideas and habits grew out of the customs that had been found to work best in social relations. Pagan religions were slow to develop any kinship between religion and morals. It was among the Hebrews that the loftier idea of a God of holiness and justice, who demanded right and kindly [290]conduct among men, came into prominence, and a few religious prophets went so far as to declare that sacrifice was less important than conduct. The fundamental teachings of Christianity were based on the same conception of social duty and on the religious conception of God as benevolent and loving, calling out loving fealty of heart rather than external rite and sacrifice. In Christian times religion has become a spiritual and moral motive power throughout the world.

304. Church Organization.—Throughout its long history society has adjusted the organization of its religious activities to social custom and social need. The church in any country is a name for an organized system, with its nerve-centres and its ganglia ramifying into the remotest localities. In the local community it binds together its members in mutual relations, even though they live on different sides of a city, or even in the suburbs. It has its relations to young and old, and plans for the spiritual welfare of human beings of every age through its boards and committees, classes and clubs. It presents a variety of group types to match the inclinations and opinions of different types of mind. One type is that of a closely knit, centralized organization, claiming ecclesiastical authority over individual opinions and practices on the principle that religion is a static thing, a law fixed in the eternal order, and not to be improved upon or questioned. Another type is that of loosely federated ecclesiastical units, flexible in organization and creed, cherishing religion as a dynamic thing, suiting itself to the changing mind of man and adjusting itself to individual and social need. It is a social law that both theology and organization conform in a degree to the prevailing social philosophy and constitution, and therefore no type can remain unchanged, but relatively one is always conservative and the other always liberal, with a blending of types between the two extremes. Denominational divisions are due partly to variety of opinion, partly to ancestry, and partly to historical circumstance; some of these divisions are international in extent; but through every communion runs [291]the line of cleavage between conservatism and liberalism in the interpretation of custom and creed. The tendency of the times is to minimize differences and to bring together divergent types in federation or union on the ground that the church needs unity in order to use its strength, and that religion can exert its full energy in the midst of society only as the friction of too much machinery is removed.

305. Religious Education.—A third function of the church is religious education. This function of education in religion belongs theoretically to the church, in common with the home and the school, but the tendency has been to turn the religious education of children over to the school of the church. The minister, priest, or rabbi is the chief teacher of faith and duty, but in the Sunday-school the laity also has found instruction of the young people to be one of its functions. Instruction by both of these is supplemented by schools of a distinctly religious type and by a religious press. As long as society at large does not undertake to perform this function of religious education, the church conceives it to be one of its chief tasks to teach as well as to inspire the human will, by interpreting the best religious thought that the centuries of history have handed down, and for this purpose it uses the latest scientific knowledge about the human mind and tries to devise improved methods to make education more effective. Education is the twin art of evangelization.

306. Promotion of Social Reform.—As an institution hoary with age, the church is naturally conservative, and it has been slow to champion the various social reforms that have been proposed as panaceas. It has been quite as much concerned with a future existence as with the present, and has been prompt to point to heavenly bliss as a balance for earthly woe. It has concerned itself with the soul rather than the body, and with individual salvation rather than social reconstruction. It is only within a century that the modern church has given much attention to promoting social betterment as one of its principal functions, but within a few years the conscience of church people has been goading them to undertake a campaign [292]of social welfare. Other institutions have needed the help of the church, and in some cases the church has had to take upon itself the burden that belonged to other organizations; moral movements, like temperance, have asked for the powerful sanction of religion, and the church has used its influence to persuade men. What has been spontaneous and intermittent is now becoming regular and continuous, until a social gospel is taking its place alongside individual evangelism. The Biblical phrase, "the kingdom of God," is being interpreted in terms of an improved social order. Religion, therefore, becomes a present-day force for progress, and the church an agency for social uplift.

307. Adapting the Church to the Twentieth Century City.—The church in the country has a comparatively simple problem of existence. It fits into the social organization of the community, and in most cases seldom has to readjust itself by radical changes to fit a swift change in the community. It is different with the church in the city. Urban growth is one of the striking phenomena of recent decades; local churches find themselves caught in the swirl, grow rapidly for a time, and then are left high and dry as the current sweeps the crowd farther along. Often the particular type that it represents is not suited to the newer residents who settle in the section where the church stands. It has the option of following the crowd or attempting a readjustment. To decamp is usually the easier way; readjustment is often so difficult as to be almost impossible. Financial resources have been depleted. The existing organization is not geared to the customs of the newcomers. Forms of worship must be improved if the church is to function satisfactorily. The popular appeal of religion must be couched in a new phraseology, often in a new language. Religious educational methods must be revised. Social service must be fitted to the new need. Small groups of workers must be organized to manage classes and clubs, and to get into personal contact with individuals whose orbit is on a different plane. The church must become a magnet to draw them [293]within the influence of religion. It finds itself compelled to adopt such methods as these if it is not to become a mere survival of a better day.

If, however, a locally disabled church can call upon the resources of a whole denomination, it may be able to make the necessary adjustments with ease, or even to continue its spiritual ministry along the old lines by means of subsidies. It is reasonable to believe that society will find a way to adjust the church to the needs of city people. It cannot afford to do without it. The church has been the conserver and propagator of spiritual force. It has supplied to thousands of persons the regenerative power of religion that alone has matched the degenerating influence of immoral habits. It has produced auxiliary organizations, like the Young Men's Christian Association and the Young Women's Christian Association. It has found a way, as in the Salvation Army, to get a grip upon the weak-willed and despairing. Missions and chapels in the slums and synagogues in the ghettos have carried religion to the lowest classes. These considerations argue for a wider co-operation among city people in strengthening an institution that represents social idealism.


Trawick: The City Church and Its Social Mission, pages 14-22, 50-76, 95-99, 122-160.

Strayer: Reconstruction of the Church, pages 161-249.

Menzies: History of Religion, pages 19-78.

Rauschenbusch: Christianizing the Social Order, pages 7-29, 96-102.

McCulloch: The Open Church for the Unchurched, pages 33-164.

Coe: Education in Religion and Morals, pages 373-388.




308. Experimenting in the Mass.—The modern city is a gigantic social experiment. Never before have so many people crowded together, never has there been such a close interlocking of economic and social and religious associations, never has there been such ease of communication and transit. Modern invention has given its aid to the natural effort of human beings to get together. The various interests that produce action have combined to make settlement compact. The city is a severe test of human ability to live peaceably and co-operatively at close quarters. In the country an unfriendly man can live by himself much of the time; in the city he is continually feeling somebody's elbows in his ribs. It is not strange that there is as yet much crudeness about the city. Its growth has been dominated by the economic motive, and everything has been sacrificed to the desire to make money. Dirty slums, crowded tenements, uncouth business blocks, garish bill-boards and electric signs, dumped rubbish on vacant lots, constant repairs of streets and buildings—these all are marks of crudity and experimentation, evidences that the city is still in the making. Many of the weaknesses that appear in urban society can be traced to this situation as a cause. The craze for amusement is partly a reaction from the high speed of modern industry, but partly, also, a social delirium produced by the new experience of the social whirl. Naturally more serious efforts are neglected for a time, and institutions of long standing, like the family, threaten to go to pieces. A thought-provoking lecture or a sermon on human obligation does not fit in with the mood of the thousands who walk or ride along the streets, searching [295]for a sensation. The student who looks at urban society on the surface easily becomes pessimistic.

309. Reasons for Optimism.—This new experience of society will run its course. Undoubtedly there will go with it much of social loss, but there is firm ground for believing that there will be more of social gain. It is quite necessary for human beings to learn to associate intimately, for population is steadily increasing and modern civilization makes all classes and all nations more and more dependent on one another. The pace of life will slow down after a time, there will be less of social intoxication, and men and women will take their pleasures more sanely. Eventually they will listen to a message that is adapted to them, however serious it may be. One of the most hopeful factors in the situation is the presence of individuals and organized groups who are able to diagnose present conditions, and who are working definitely for their improvement. Much of modern progress is conscious and purposeful, where formerly men lived blindly, subject, as they believed, to the caprice of the gods. We know much about natural law, and lately we have learned something about social law; with this knowledge we can plan intelligently for the future. There is less excuse for social failure than formerly. Cities are learning how to make constructive plans for beautifying avenues and residential sections, and making efficient a whole transportation system; they will learn how to get rid of overcrowding, misery, and disease. What is needed is the will to do, and that will come with experience.

310. Reasonable Expectations of Improvement.—Any soundly constructive plan waits on thorough investigation. Such an organization as the Russell Sage Foundation, which is gathering all sorts of data about social conditions, is supplying just the information needed on which to base intelligent and effective action. On this foundation will come the slow process of construction. There will be diffusion of information, an enlistment of those who are able to help, and an increased co-operation among the numerous agencies of philanthropy and reform. The most [296]obvious evils and those that seem capable of solution will be attacked first. Intelligent public opinion will not tolerate the continued existence of curable ills. Pure water, adequate sewerage, light, and air, and sanitary conveniences in every home will be required everywhere. Community physicians and nurses will be under municipal appointment to see that health conditions are maintained, and to instruct city families how to live properly. Vocational schools and courses in domestic science will prepare boys and girls for marriage and the home, and will tend to lessen poverty. Undoubtedly the time will come when it will be seen clearly that the interests of society demand the segregation of those who cannot take care of themselves and are an injury to others. Hospitals and places of detention for mental and moral defectives, and the victims of chronic vice and intemperance, as well as criminals of every sort, will seem natural and necessary. Larger questions of immigration, industrial management, and municipal administration will be studied and gradually solved by the united wisdom of city, state, and nation.

311. Agencies of Progress and Gains Achieved.—An examination of what has been achieved in this direction by almost any one of the larger cities in the United States shows encouraging progress. Smaller cities and even villages have made use of electricity for lighting, transportation, and telephone service. The water and sewerage systems of larger centres are far in advance of what they were a few years ago. Bathrooms with open plumbing and greater attention to the preservation of health have supplemented more thorough efforts to the spread of communicable diseases. Increasing agitation for more practical education has led to the creation of various kinds of vocational schools, including a large variety of correspondence schools for those who wish specific training. There are still thousands of boys and girls who enter industrial occupations in the most haphazard way, and yield to irrational impulse in choosing or giving up a particular job or a place to live in; similar impulse induces them to mate in the same haphazard way, and as lightly to separate [297]if they tire of each other; but the very fact that enlightened public opinion does not countenance these practices, that there are social agencies contending against them, and that they are contrary to the laws of happiness, of efficiency, and even of survival, makes it unlikely that such irrational conduct can persist. As for the social ills that have seemed unavoidable, like sexual vice, current investigation and agitation, followed by increasing legislation and segregation of the unfit, promises to work a change, however gradual the process may be. Numerous organizations are at work in the fields of poverty, immigration, the industrial problem, reform of government, penology, business, education, and religion, and thousands of social workers are devoting their lives to the betterment of society.

312. Conference and Co-operation.—Improvement will be more rapid when the various agencies of reform have learned to pull together more efficiently. It is frequently charged that the friction between different temperance organizations has delayed progress in solving the problem of intemperance. It is often said that there would be less poverty if the various charitable agencies would everywhere organize and work in association. The independent temper of Americans makes it difficult to work together, but co-operation is a sound sociological principle, and experience proves that such principles must be obeyed. If the principle of combination that has been applied to business should be carried further and applied to the problems of society, there can be no question that results would speedily justify the action. Perhaps the greatest need in the city to-day is a union of resources. If an honest taxation would furnish funds, if the best people would plan intelligently and unselfishly for the city's future development, if boards and committees that are at odds would get together, there is every reason to think that astonishing changes for the better would soon be seen.

Suppose that in every city of our land representatives of the chamber of commerce, of the city government, of the associated charities, of the school-teachers, of the [298]ministers of the city, of the women's clubs, of the Young Men's Christian Association and the Young Women's Christian Association, of the labor-unions, and of the agencies that cater to amusement should sit together once in two weeks in conference upon the interests of all the people of the city, and should honestly and frankly discuss the practical questions that are always at the fore in public discussion, and then should report back for further conference in their own groups, there can be no doubt that the various groups would have a far better understanding and appreciation of one another, and in time would find ways and means to adopt such a programme as might come out of all the discussion.

313. The Crucial Test of Democracy.—World events have shown clearly since the outbreak of the European war that intelligent planning and persistent enforcement of a political programme can long contend successfully against great odds, when there is autocratic power behind it all. Democracy must show itself just as capable of planning and execution, if it is to hold its own against the control of a few, whether plutocrats, political bosses, or a centralized state, but its power to make good depends on the enlistment of all the abilities of city or nation in co-operative effort. There is no more crucial test of the ability of democracy to solve the social problems of this age than the present-day city. The social problem is not a question of politics, but of the social sciences. It is a question of living together peaceably and profitably. It involves economics, ethics, and sociological principles. It is yet to be proved that society is ready to be civilized or even to survive on a democratic basis. The time must come when it will, for associated activity under the self-control of the whole group is the logical and ethical outcome of sound sociological principle, but that time may not be near at hand. If democracy in the cities is to come promptly to its own, social education will soon change its emphasis from the material gain of the individual to co-operation for the social good, and under the inspiration of this idea the various agencies will unite for effective social service.



Howe: The Modern City and Its Problems, pages 367-376.

Goodnow: City Government in the United States, pages 302-308.

Eldridge: Problems of Community Life, pages 3-7.

Ely: The Coming City.

Boston Directory of Charities, 1914.





314. Questions of the Larger Group.—In any study of social life we have to find a place for larger groups than the family and the neighborhood or even the city. There are national units and even a certain amount of international unity in the world. How have they come to exist? What are the interests that hold them together? What are the forms of association that are practicable on such a large scale? Is there a tendency to stress the control of the group over its individual members, even its aristocracy 01 birth or wealth? These are questions that require some sort of an answer. Beyond them are other questions concerning the relations between these larger groups. Are there common interests or compelling forces that have merged hitherto sovereign states into federal or imperial union? Is it conceivable that such mutually jealous nations as the European powers may surrender willingly their individual interests of minor importance for the sake of the larger good of the whole? Can political independence ever become subordinate to social welfare? Are there any spiritual bonds that can hold more strongly than national ambitions and national pride? Such questions as these carry the student of society into a wider range of corporate life than the average man enters, but a range of life in which the welfare of every individual is involved.

315. The Significance of National Life.—The nation is a group of persons, families, and communities united for mutual protection and the promotion of the general welfare, and recognizing a sovereign power that controls them all. Some nations have been organized from above in [301]obedience to the will of a successful warrior or peaceful group; others have been organized peacefully from below by the voluntary act of the people themselves. The nation in its capacity as a governing power is a state, but a nation exercises other functions than that of control; it exists to promote the common interests of mankind over a wider area than that of the local community. The historic tendency of nations has been to grow in size, as the transmission of ideas has become easy, and the extension of control has been made widely possible. The significance of national life is the social recognition at present given to community of interest by millions of individuals who believe that it is profitable for them to live under the same economic regulations, social legislation, and educational system, even though of mingled races and with various ideals.

316. How the Nation Developed.—The nation in embryo can be found in the primitive horde which was made up of families related by ties of kin, or by common language and customs. The control was held by the elderly men of experience, and exercised according to unwritten law. The horde was only loosely organized; it did not own land, but ranged over the hunting-grounds within its reach, and often small units separated permanently from the larger group. When hunting gave place to the domestication of animals, the horde became more definitely organized into the tribe, strong leadership developed in the defense of the tribe's property, and the military chieftain bent others in submission to his will. As long as land was of value for pasturage mainly, it was owned by the whole tribe in common. When agriculture was substituted for the pastoral stage of civilization, the tribe broke up by clans into villages, each under its chief and advisory council of heads of families. So far the mode of making a living had determined custom and organization.

Village communities may remain almost unchanged for centuries, as in China, or here and there one of them may become a centre of trade, as in mediæval Germany. In the latter case it draws to itself all classes of people, [302]develops wealth and culture, and presently dominates its neighbors. Small city states grew up in ancient time along the Nile in Egypt, and by and by federated under a particularly able leader, or were conquered by the band of an ambitious chieftain, who took the title of king. In such fashion were organized the great kingdoms and empires of antiquity.

Social disintegration and foreign conquest broke up the great empires, and for centuries in the Middle Ages society existed in local groups; but common economic and racial interests, together with the political ambition of princes and nobles, drew together semi-independent principalities and communes, until they became welded into real nations. At first the state was monarchical, because a few kings and lords were able to dominate the mass, and because strength and authority were more needed than privileges of citizenship; then the economic interest became paramount, and merchants and manufacturers demanded a share in government for the protection of their interests. Education improved the general level of intelligence, and invention and growing commerce improved the condition of the people until eventually all classes claimed a right to champion their own interests. The most progressive nations racially, politically, and economically, outstripped the others in world rivalry until the great modern nations, each with its own peculiar qualities of efficiency, overtopped their predecessors of all time.

317. The Story of the United States.—The story of national life in the United States is especially noteworthy. Within a century and a half the people of this country have passed through the economic stages, from clearing the forests to building sky-scrapers; in government they have grown from a few jealous seaboard colonies along the Atlantic to a solidly welded federal nation that stretches from ocean to ocean; in education and skill they have developed from provincial hand-workers to expert managers of corporate enterprises that exploit the resources of the world; and in population they have grown from four million native Americans to a hundred million people, [303]gathered and shaken together from the four corners of the earth. In that century and a half they have developed a new and powerful national consciousness. When the British colonies asserted their independence, they were held together by their common ambition and their common danger, but when they attempted to organize a government, the incipient States were unwilling to grant to the new nation the powers of sovereignty. The Confederation was a failure. The sense of common interest was not strong enough to compel a surrender of local rights. But presently it appeared that local jealousies and divisions were imperilling the interests of all, and that even the independence of the group was impossible without an effective national government. Then in national convention the States, through their representatives, sacrificed one after another their sovereign rights, until a respectable nation was erected to stand beside the powers of Europe. It was given power to make laws for the regulation of social conduct, and even of interstate commerce, to establish executive authority and administrative, judicial, and military systems, and to tax the property of the people for national revenue. To these basic functions others were added, as common interests demanded encouragement or protection.

318. Tests of National Efficiency.—Two tests came to the new nation in its first century. The first was the test of control. It was for a time a question whether the nation could extend its sovereignty over the interior. State claims were troublesome, and the selfish interests of individuals clashed with revenue officers, but the nation solved these difficulties. The second test was the test of unity, and was settled only after civil war. Out of the struggle the nation emerged stronger than it had ever been, because henceforth it was based on the principle of an indissoluble union. With its second century have come new tests—the test of absorbing millions of aliens in speech and habits, the test of wisely governing itself through an intelligent citizenship, the test of educating all of its people to their political and social responsibilities. Whether [304]these tests will be met successfully is for the future to decide, but if the past is any criterion, the American republic will not fail. National structures have risen to a certain height and then fallen, because they were not built on the solid foundations of mutual confidence, co-operation, and loyalty. Building a self-governing nation that will stand the test of centuries is possible only for a people that is conscious of its community of interests, and is willing to sacrifice personal preferences and even personal profits for the common good.


Bryce: The American Commonwealth (Abridged Edition), pages 3-21.

Dealey: Development of the State, pages 26-48.

Bluntschli: Theory of the State, pages 82-102.

Mulford: The Nation, pages 37-60.

Bagehot: Physics and Politics, pages 81-155.

Usher: Rise of the American People, pages 151-167, 182-195, 269-281.




319. The Reality of the Nation.—Ordinarily the individual is not pressed upon heavily by his national relationships. He is conscious of them as he reads the newspaper or goes to the post-office, but except at congressional or presidential elections they are not brought home to him vividly. He thinks and acts in terms of the community. The nation is an artificial structure and most of its operations are centralized at a few points. The President lives and Congress meets at the national capital. The departments of government are located there, and the Supreme Court holds its sessions in the same city. Here and there at the busy ports are the custom-houses, with their revenue officers, and at convenient distances are district courts and United States officers for the maintenance of national order and justice. The post-office is the one national institution that is found everywhere, matched in ubiquity only by the flag, the symbol of national unity and strength. But though not noticeably exercised, the power of the nation is very real. There is no power to dispute its legislation and the decisions of its tribunals. No one dares refuse to contribute to its revenues, whether excise tax or import duties. No one is unaware that a very real nation exists.

320. The Social Nature of the Nation.—In thinking of the nation it is natural to consider its power as a state, but other functions belong to it as a social unit that are no less important. Its general function is not so much to govern as to promote the general welfare. The social nature of national organization is well expressed in the preamble to the national Constitution: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, [306]establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." The general welfare is a somewhat vague term, but it includes all the interests of the people, and so indicates the scope of the national function.

321. The Economic Function.—The nation has an economic function. It is its business to encourage trade by means that seem most likely to help, whether by subsidies, tariffs, or expert advice; to protect all producers, distributers, and consumers by just laws and tribunals, so that unfair privileges shall not be enjoyed by the few at the expense of the many, and to provide in every legitimate way for the spread of information and for experimentation that agriculture, mining, and manufacturing may be improved. Evidences of the attempt of the United States to measure up to these responsibilities are the various tariffs that have been established for protection as well as revenue, the interstate and trade commissions that exist for the regulation of business, and the individuals and boards that are maintained for acquiring and disseminating information relating to all kinds of economic interests. The United States Patent Office encourages invention, and American inventors outnumber those of other nations. The United States Department of Agriculture employs many experimenters and expert agents and even distributes seeds of a good quality, in order that one of the most important industries of the American people may flourish. At times some of the national machinery has been prostituted to private gain, and there is always danger that the individual will try to prosper at the expense of society, but the people more than ever before are conscious that it is the function of the nation to promote the general welfare, and private interests, however powerful, must give heed to this.

322. Manufacturing in Corporations and Associations.—Back of all organization and legislation lies a real [307]national unity, through which the nation exercises indirectly an economic function. In spite of a popular jealousy of big business in the last decade, there is a pride in the ability of American business men to create a profitable world commerce, and middle-class people in well-to-do circumstances subscribe to the purchase of stocks and bonds in trusted corporations. Without this general interest and participation such a rapid extension of industrial enterprise could not have taken place. Without the lines of communication that radiate from great commercial and financial centres, without the banking connections that make it possible for the fiscal centres to support any particular institution that is in temporary distress, without the consciousness of national solidarity in the great departments of business life, economic achievement in America would have come on halting feet. This unity is fostered but not created by government, and no hostile government can destroy it altogether.

To further economic interests throughout the nation all sorts of associations exist and hold conventions, from American poultry fanciers to national banking societies. Occasionally these associations pool their interests and advertise their concerns through a national exposition. In this way they find it possible to make an impression upon thousands of people whom they are educating indirectly through the printing-press. It would be an interesting study and one that would throw light on the complexity and ubiquity of national relations, if it could be ascertained locally how many individuals are connected with such national organizations, and what particular associations are most popular. If this examination were extended from purely economic organizations to associations of every kind, we should be able to gauge more accurately the strength of national influence upon social life.

323. Health Interests.—If this national unity exists in the economic field it is natural to expect to find it in the less material interests of society. The sense of common interests is all-pervasive. National health conditions bring the physicians together to discuss the causes and the [308]therapeutics. How to keep well and to get strong, how to dress the baby and to bring up children are perennial topics for magazines with a national circulation. Insurance companies with a national constituency prescribe physical tests for all classes. Government takes cognizance of the physical interest of all its citizens, and passes through Congress pure-food and pure-drug acts. National societies of a voluntary nature also cater to health and happiness. Long-named organizations exist for moral prophylaxis and for the prevention of cruelty to children and animals. Vigilance associations of all sorts stand guard to keep children and their elders from contamination. Society protects itself over wide areas through such associated recognition of the mutual interests of all its members.

324. National Sport.—Recreation and sport also present national features. Every new phase of recreation from playgrounds to philately presently has its countrywide association. There is a conscious reaching out for wide fellowship with those who are interested in the same pursuits. The attraction of like-mindedness is a potent force in every department of life. Certain forms of relaxation or spirited rivalry have attained to the dignity of national sports. England has its football, Scotland its golf, Canada its lacrosse, the United States its baseball. The enthusiasm and excitement that hold whole cities in thrall as a national league season draws to its close, is a more striking phenomenon than Roman gladiatorial shows or Spanish bull-fights. Persons who seldom if ever attend a game, who do not know one player from another, wax eloquent over the merits of a team that represents their own city, while individuals who attain to the title of "fans" handle familiarly the details of the teams throughout the league circuit. Why should Olympic contests held in recent years between representatives of different nations, or international tennis championships, arouse universal interest? It is inexplicable except as evidence of collective consciousness and a national pride and loyalty.

The same spirit has entered into university athletics. The great universities have their "rooters" scattered all [309]over the land, and the whole nation is interested in the Thames or Henley races and the Poughkeepsie regattas. There are intercollegiate tennis championships and chess tournaments, football contests between the leaders East and West, all-America teams, and even international rivalries.

325. The Function of Education.—Nation-wide ties and loyalties in sport do not call for the official action of the nation, though national officials as individuals are often devoted to certain sports, but the nation has other functions that may be classed as social. No duty is more pressing, not even that of efficient government, than the task of education. The National Bureau of Education supplemented by State boards, officially takes cognizance of society's educational interests. In education local independence plays a large part, but it is the function of government to make inquiry into the best theories and methods anywhere in vogue, to extend information to all who are interested, and to use its large influence toward the adoption of improvements. Government in certain States of the American Union even goes so far as to co-operate with local communities in maintaining joint school superintendents of towns or counties. It is appropriate that a democratic nation should give much attention to the education of the people because the success of democracy depends on popular intelligence.

The efforts of the government are seconded by voluntary organization. It is not unusual for college presidents or ordinary teachers to meet in conference and discuss their difficulties and aspirations, but a National Education Association is cumulative evidence that Americans think in terms of a continent, and that their interests are the same educationally in all parts of the land. It is no less true of other agencies of culture than the schools. Cultural associations of all kinds abound. Some of them are limited by State boundaries, not a few are national in their scope. There is a national Chautauqua; institutes with the same name hold their sessions all over the land. Music, art, and the drama, sometimes the same organized group [310]of artists, appeal to appreciative audiences in Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, and San Francisco. Popular songs from the opera, popular dances from the music-halls sweep the country with a wave of imitative enthusiasm. There are national whims and national tastes that chase each other from ocean to ocean, almost as fast as the sun moves from meridian to meridian.

326. National Philanthropy.—So much of national life is voluntary in direction and organization in America, as compared with Germany or Russia, that it is easy to overlook its national significance. As a national state the United States does not attempt philanthropy. The separate States have their asylums as they have penitentiaries and reformatories, but the nation performs no such function. Yet philanthropic organization girdles the continent. The National Conference of Charities and Corrections is one instance of a society that meets annually in the interest of the depressed classes, discusses their problems, and reports its findings to the public as a basis for organized activity. Such an organization not only represents the humanitarian principles and interest of individuals here and there, but it helps to bind together local groups all over the country that are working on an altruistic basis. Whole sections of territory join in discussing still wider human interests. The Southern Sociological Conference appeals to the whole South and calls upon the rest of the country for speakers of reputation and wisdom.

327. The Federal Council of Churches.—It is fundamental to the spirit and word of the American Constitution that church and state shall not be united, but this does not prevent religious interests from being cherished nationally, and ecclesiastical organizations from having national affiliations. Modern churches are grouped first of all in denominations, because of certain peculiarities, but most of the denominations have spread over the country and propagated their type as opportunity offered. National conferences and conventions, therefore, take place regularly, bringing together Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, or Methodists, as the case may be, to consider the [311]interests that are most vital to the denomination as a whole, or which the denomination as a whole, in place of the local churches, holds within its sphere of control. Politics and sectional interests have sometimes divided denominations, large bodies have sometimes split along conservative or radical lines, but the national ideal has never been lost sight of, and national organizations enjoy dignity and prestige. One of the most recent illustrations of a still broader interest and deeper consciousness is the federation of more than thirty evangelical Protestant denominations for better acquaintance and larger achievement. Temporary movements and even a definite Evangelical Alliance have been in evidence before, but now has come a permanent organization, to include all the religious interests that can be held in common, and especially to stress the more ambitious programme of social regeneration. The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America has yet to prove that it is not ahead of the times, but it is an earnest of a religious interest that oversteps the bounds of creed and denominational organization and calls upon the various divisions of the Protestant Church to unite for a national campaign.

328. The Scope of National Life.—Social life in the nation is not confined to any organization. It does not wait upon government to perform its various functions. It goes on because of the constant flow and counterflow of population through all the channels of acquaintance and correspondence, of travel and trade. People feel the need of one another, are in constant touch with one another, and inevitably are continually exchanging commodities and ideas. Barriers of race and language, of tariff walls and national conventions stand in the way of exchange between individuals of different nations, though a strenuous commercial age succeeds in making breaches in the barriers, but opportunity within the nation is free, and such natural barriers as language and race differences speedily give way before the mutual desires of the native and the hyphenated American.



Dealey: Development of the State, pages 63-115.

Reports of the Commissioner of Education.

American Year Book, 1914, passim.

Ward: Year Book of the Church and Social Service, 1916, pages 24-29.




329. The State and Its Sovereignty.—The various economic and social functions that are exercised by the people as a nation can be performed in an orderly and effective way only when the people are organized politically, and the nation has full powers of sovereignty. When the nation functions politically it is a state. States may be large like Russia, or small like Montenegro; they may have full sovereignty like Great Britain, or limited sovereignty like New York; the fact that they exercise political authority makes them states. It is conceivable that this political authority may be exercised through the sheer force of public opinion, but the experience of the newly organized United States under the Articles of Confederation showed that national moral suasion was not effective. History seems to prove that society needs a machinery of government able to legislate and enforce its laws, and the tendency has been for a comparatively small number of states to extend their authority over more and more of the earth's surface. This has become possible through the maintenance of efficient military forces and wise local administration, aided by increasing ease of communication and transportation. Once it was a question whether the United States could enforce its law as far away as western Pennsylvania; now Great Britain bears unquestioned sway over the antipodes. Many persons look forward to the time when the people of all nations will unite in a universal state, with power to enforce its will without resort to war.

330. Why the State is Necessary.—There are some persons, commonly known as anarchists, who do not believe that government is necessary. They would have [314]human relations reduced to their lowest terms, and then trust to human nature to behave itself properly. There are other persons known as Socialists, who would have the people in their collective capacity exercise a larger control than now over human action. Neither of these classes represents the bulk of society. Common sense and experience together seem to demand a government that will exercise a reasonable control, and by reasonable is meant a control that will preserve the best interests of all and make general progress possible. The political function of the nation is both coercive and directive. When we think of a state we naturally think of the power that it possesses to make peace or war with foreign powers, to keep order within the nation, to enforce its authority over any individual or group that breaks the laws that it has made; but while such power of control is essential and its exercise often spectacular, it is paralleled by the directive power. There are many social relations that need definition and much social conduct that needs direction. A man and a woman live together and bring up a family of children. Who is to determine their legal status, the terms of marriage, the rights of parenthood, the claims of childhood, the rights and obligations of the family as a part of the community? The family accumulates property in lands, houses, and movable possessions. Who will make the acquisition legal, insure property protection, and provide legally for inheritance? Every individual has his personal relation to the state, and privileges of citizenship are important. Who shall determine the right to vote and to hold office, or the duty to pay taxes or serve in the army or navy? In these various ways the state is no less functioning politically for the benefit of the people than when coercing recalcitrant citizens, warning or fighting other nations, or legislating in its congressional halls. Its opportunity to regulate the social interests of its citizens is almost illimitable, for while a written constitution may prescribe what a state may and may not do, those who made the constitution have the power to revise it or to override its provisions.

[315]331. Theories of the State.—Archæological and historical evidence point to the family as the nursery of the state. There was a time when the contract theory was popular. It was believed that the state became possible when individuals agreed to give up some of their own individual rights for the sake of living in peace with their neighbors and enjoying mutual protection. There is no doubt that such a mutual arrangement was made in the troublous feudal period of mediæval European history, just as the original thirteen American colonies gave up some of their individual powers to make possible a real American state, but the social-contract theory is no longer accepted as a satisfactory explanation of the origin of government. There was no Mayflower compact with the bushmen when Englishmen decided to live with the natives in Australia.

There is another theory that eminently wise men, with or without divine assistance, formulated law and government for cities and tribes, and that their codes were definitely accepted by the people, but the work of these men, as far as it is historical at all, seems to have been a work of codifying laws which had grown out of custom rather than of making new laws. Still another theory that was once held strenuously by a few was that of the divine right of kings, as if God had given to one dynasty or one class the right to rule irresponsibly over their fellows. Individual political philosophers, like the Greek Aristotle and the German Bluntschli have published their theories, and have influenced schools of publicists, but the political science of the present day, basing its theories on observed facts, is content to trace the gradual changes that have taken place in the unconscious development of the past, and to point out the possibilities of intelligent progress in future evolution.

332. How the State Came to Be.—The true story of the development of the state seems to have been as follows. The roots of the state are in the family group. When the family expanded into the tribe, family discipline and family custom easily passed over to tribal discipline [316]and tribal custom, strengthened by religious superstition and the will of the priest. But not all chieftains and all tribes have the same ability or the same disposition, so that while political custom and religious sanctions tended in the main to remain unchanged, an occasional exception upset the social equilibrium. Race mixture and conflicting interests compelled organization on a civil rather than a tribal basis. Or an ambitious prince or a restless tribe interfered with the established relations, and presently a powerful military state was giving law to subjugated tribes. Egypt, Persia, Rome, Turkey have been such states. On a larger scale, something of the same sort has happened in the conquest of outlying parts of the world by the European Powers, until one man in Petrograd can give law to Kamchatka, a cabinet in London can determine a policy for the government of India, or the United States Congress can change the administration of affairs in the Philippines. Military power has been the weapon by which authority has been imposed from without, legislative action the instrument by which authority has been extended within.

333. The Government of Great Britain.—The government of Great Britain is one of the best concrete examples of the growth of a typical state. Its Teutonic founders learned the rudiments of government in the German forests, where the principles of democracy took root. Military and political exigencies gave the prince large power, but the people never forgot how to exert their influence through local assembly or national council. In the thirteenth century, when the King displeased the men of the nation, they demanded the privileges of Magna Carta, and when King and lords ruled inefficiently, the common people found a way to enlarge their own powers. Representatives of the townsmen and the country shires took their places in Parliament, and gradually, with growing wisdom and courage, assumed more and more prerogatives. Three times in the seventeenth century Parliament demanded successfully certain rights of citizenship, though once it had to fight and once more to depose a king. In the nineteenth century, by a succession of reform acts, [317]King and Parliament admitted tradesmen, farmers, and working men to a full share in the workings of the state, and only recently the Commons have supplanted the Lords as the leading legislative body of the nation. The story of Great Britain is a tale of growing democracy and increasing efficiency.

The story of local government and the story of imperial government might be placed side by side with the story of national government, and each would reveal the political principles that have guided British progress. Social need, patient experiment, and growth in efficiency are significant phrases that help to explain the story. Every nation has worked out its government in its own way, interfered with occasionally by interested parties on the outside, but the general line of progress has been the same—local experimentation, federation or union more often imposed than agreed upon by popular consent, and a slow growth of popular rights over government by a privileged few. Present tendency is in the direction of safeguarding the interests of all by a fully representative government, in which the individual efficiency of prince or commoner alike shall have due weight, but no one sovereign or class shall rule the people as a whole.

334. The Organization of Government.—The political organization depends upon the functions that the state has to perform, as the structure of any group corresponds to its functions. The modern national machinery is a complicated system, and is becoming more so as constitutional conventions define more in detail the powers and forms of government, and as legislatures enter the field of social reform, but the simplest attempt at regulation involves several steps, and so naturally there are several departments of government. The first step is the election of those who are to make the laws. Practically all modern states recognize the principle that the people are at least to have a share in government; this is managed by the popular election of their representatives in the various departments of government. The second step is lawmaking by the representative legislature, congress, or [318]parliament, usually after previous deliberation and recommendation by a committee; in some states the people have the right by referendum to ratify or reject the legislation, and even to initiate such legislation as they desire. The third step is the arrangement for carrying out the law that has been passed. This is managed by the executive department of the government. The fourth step is the actual administration of law and government by officials who are sometimes elected and sometimes appointed, and who constitute the administrative department of the political organization. A fifth step is the passing upon law and the relation of an individual or group to it by judicial officers attached to a system of courts. These departments of the state, with whatever auxiliary machinery has been organized to assist in their working, make up the political organization of the typical modern state.

335. The Electoral System.—There is great variety in the degree of self-government enjoyed by the people. In the most advanced nations the electoral privileges are widely distributed, in the backward nations it is only recently that the people have had any voice in national affairs. Usually suffrage is reserved for those who have reached adult manhood, but an increasing number of States of the American Union and several foreign nations have admitted women to equal privileges. Lack of property or education in many countries is a bar to electoral privilege. Pauperism and crime and sometimes religious heterodoxy disfranchise. The variety and number of officials to be elected varies greatly. The head of the nation in the states of the Old World generally holds his position by hereditary right, and he has large appointive power directly or indirectly. In some states the judiciary is appointed rather than elected on the ground that it should be above the influence of party politics. The chief power of the people is in choosing their representatives to make the laws. Most of these representatives are chosen for short terms and must answer to the people for their political conduct; by these means the people are actually self-governing, though the execution of the law may be in [319]the hands of officers whom they have not chosen. Democratic government is nevertheless subject to all the forces that affect large bodies exerted through party organizations, demagogues, and a party press, but even opponents of democracy are willing to admit that the people are learning political lessons by experience.

336. The Legislative System.—Legislation by representatives of all classes of the people is a new political phenomenon tried out most thoroughly among the large nations by Great Britain, France, and the United States. Even now there is much distrust of the ability of the ordinary man in politics, and considerably more of the ordinary woman. But there have been so many extraordinary individuals who have risen to political eminence from the common crowd, that the legislative privilege can no longer be confined to an aristocracy. The old aristocratic element is represented to-day by a senate, or upper house, composed of men who are prominent by reason of birth, wealth, or position, but the upper house is of minor importance. The real legislative power rests with the lower chamber, which directly represents the middle and lower classes, professional, business, and industrial. The action of lawmaking bodies is usually limited in scope by the provisions of a written constitution, and is modified by the public opinion of constituents. Important among the necessary legislation is the regulation of the economic and social relations of individuals and corporations, provision for an adequate revenue by means of a system of taxation, appropriation for the maintenance of departments of government and necessary public works, and the determination of an international policy. In the United States an elaborate system of checks and balances gives the executive a provisional veto on legislation, but gives large advisory powers to Congress. In Great Britain the executive is the chief of the dominant party in Parliament, and if he loses the confidence of the legislative body he loses his position as prime minister unless sustained in a national election.

In all legislative bodies there are inevitable differences of opinion and conflicts of interests resulting in party [320]divisions and such opposite groups as conservatives and radicals. The formulation and pursuance of a national policy is, therefore, not an easy task, and the conflict of interests often necessitates compromise, so that a history of legislation over a series of years shows that national progress is generally accomplished by liberalism wresting a modicum of power from conservatism, then giving way for a little to a period of reaction, and then pushing forward a step further as public opinion becomes more intelligent or more courageous.

337. The Executive Department.—Legislative bodies occasionally take vacations; the executive is always on duty in person or through his subordinates. Popularly considered, the executive department of government consists of the president, the king, or the prime minister; actually it includes an advisory council or cabinet, which is responsible to its chief, but shares with him the task of the management of national affairs. The executive department of the government stands in relation to the people of the nation as the business manager of a corporation stands in relation to the stockholders. He must see that the will of the people, as expressed by their representatives, is carried into effect; he must appoint the necessary administrative officials for efficient service; he must keep his finger upon the pulse of the nation, and use his influence to hold the legislature to its duty; he must approve or veto laws which are sent to him to sign; above all, he must represent his nation in all its foreign relations, appoint the personnel of the diplomatic force, negotiate treaties, and help to form the international law of the world. It is the business of the executive to maintain the honor and dignity of the nation before the world, and to carry out the law of his own nation if it requires the whole military force available.

338. Administrative Organization.—The executive department includes the advisers of the head, who constitute the cabinet. In Europe the cabinet is responsible to the sovereign or the parliament, and the members usually act unitedly. In the United States they are appointed by the [321]President, and are individually responsible to him alone. In their capacity as a cabinet they help to formulate national policy, and their influence in legislation and in moulding public opinion is considerable, but their chief function is in administering the departments of which they have charge. It is the custom for the heads of the chief departments of government to constitute the cabinet, but their number differs in different states, and titles vary, also. In general, the department of state or foreign affairs ranks first in importance, and its secretary is in charge of all correspondence with the diplomatic representatives of the nation located in the world's capitals; the department of the treasury or the exchequer is usually next in importance; others are the departments of the army and navy, of colonial possessions, of manufacturing and commerce, mining, or agriculture, of public utilities, of education or religion, and for judicial business. Each of these has its subordinate bureaus and an army of civil-service officials, some of whom owe their appointment to personal influence, others to real ability. The civil officials with which the public is most familiar are postal employees, officers of the federal courts, and revenue officials. Such persons usually hold office while their party is in power or during good behavior. Long tenure of office tends to conservative measures and the spirit of bureaucracy, while a system by which civil office is regarded as party spoil tends to corruption and inefficiency. The business of administration is becoming increasingly important in the modern state.

339. The Judicial System.—There is always danger that law may be misinterpreted or prove unconstitutional. It is the function of the judicial department of government to make decisions, interpreting and applying the law of the nation in particular cases brought before the courts. The law of the nation is superior to all local or sectional law; so is the national judiciary supreme in its authority and national in its jurisdiction. The judicial system of the United States includes a series of courts from the lowest district courts, which are located [322]throughout the country, to the Supreme Court in Washington, which deals with the most momentous questions of national law. In the United States the judicial system is complicated by a system of lesser courts, State and local, independent of federal control, attached to which is a body of police, numerous judges, juries, and lawyers; the higher courts also have their justices and practising lawyers, but there is less haste and confusion and greater dignity and ability displayed. There has been much criticism in recent years of antiquated forms of procedure, cumbrous precedent, and unfair use of technicalities for the defeat of justice, but however imperfect judicial practice may be, the system is well intrenched and is not likely to be changed materially.

340. The Relation of National to District Governments.—In some nations there are survivals of older political divisions which once possessed sovereignty, but which have sacrificed most, if not all, of it for the larger good. This is the case in such federal states as the German Empire, Switzerland, and the United States. Each State in the American nation retains its own departments of government, and so has its governor and heads of departments, its two-chambered legislature, and its State judiciary. State law and State courts are more familiar to the people than most of the national legislation. In the German Empire each state has its own prince, and in many respects is self-governing, but has been more and more sinking its own individuality in the empire. In the British Empire there is still another relation. England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland were once independent of each other, but military and dynastic events united them. For local legislation and administration they tend to separate, and already Ireland has obtained home rule. Beyond seas a colonial empire has arisen, and certain great dominions are united by little more than ties of blood and loyalty to the mother country. Canada, Australia, and South Africa have gained a larger measure of sovereignty. India is held as an imperial possession, but even there experiments of self-government are being tried. The whole [323]tendency of government, both here and abroad, seems to be to leave matters of local concern largely to the local community and matters that belong to a section or subordinate state to that district, and to centralize all matters of national or interstate concern in the hands of a small body of men at the national capital. In every case national or imperial authority is the court of last resort.


Bliss: New Encyclopedia of Social Reform, art. "Anarchism."

Dealey: Development of the State, pages 127-234.

Wilson: The State, pages 555-571.

Bluntschli: Theory of the State, pages 61-73.

Constitution of the United States.

Bryce: The American Commonwealth (abridged edition), pages 22-242, 287-305.




341. Government as the Advance Agent of Prosperity.—It is common philosophy that society owes every man a living, and it seems to be a common belief that the government owes every man a job. There are, of course, only a few government positions, and these are rushed after by a swarm of office-seekers, but campaign orators have talked so much about a full dinner pail and the government as the advance agent of prosperity, that there seems to be a popular notion that the government, as if by a magician's wand, could cure unemployment, allay panics, dispel hard times, and increase a man's earning power at will. A little familiarity with economic law ought to modify this notion, but it is difficult to eradicate it. Society cannot, through any one institution, bring itself to perfection; many elements enter into the making of prosperity. It depends on individual ability and training for industry, on an understanding of the laws of health and keeping the body and brain in a state of efficiency, on peaceful relations between groups, on the successful balancing of supply and demand, and of wages and the cost of living, on personal integrity and group co-operation. All that the government can do is to instruct and stimulate. This it has been doing and will continue to do with growing effectiveness, but it has to feel its way and learn by experience, as do individuals.

342. How It Has Met Its Responsibility.—This problem of prosperity which is both economic and social, is the concern of all the people of the nation, and any attempt to solve it in the interest of one section or a single group cannot bring success. That is one reason for many of the social weaknesses everywhere visible. Government [325]has legislated in the interests of a group of manufacturers, or the courts have favored the rich, or trusts have been attacked at the demands of a reforming party, or labor has been immune from the application of a law against conspiracy when corporations were hard hit. These weaknesses, which are characteristic of American democracy, find their parallels in all countries where modern industrial and social conditions obtain. But government has lent its energies to the upbuilding of a sound social structure. It has recognized the need of education for the youth of the land at a minimum cost, and the States of the American Union have made liberal grants for both academic and special training to their State universities, agricultural colleges, and normal schools. It encourages the country people to enrich their life and to increase their earnings for their own sake and for the prosperity of the people who are dependent upon them. It stimulates improved processes in manufacturing and mining, and protects business against foreign competition by a tariff wall; it tries to prevent recurring seasons of financial panics by a stable currency and the extension of credits. It provides the machinery for settling labor difficulties by conciliation and arbitration, and tries to mediate between gigantic combinations of trade and transportation and the public. It has pensioned liberally its old soldiers. It has attempted to find a method of taxation that would not bear heavily on its citizens, but that at the same time would provide a sufficient revenue to meet the enormous expense of catering to the multifarious interests of a population of a hundred million people.

343. The Problem of Democracy.—The problem of prosperity is complicated by the problem of democracy. If by a satisfactory method a body of wise men could be selected to study carefully each specific problem involved, could experiment over a term of years in the execution of plans worked out free from fear of being thrown out at any time as the result of elective action by an impatient people, prosperity might move on more rapid feet. In a country where power is in the hands of a few a specific [326]programme can be worked out without much friction and rapid industrial and social progress can be made, as has been the case during the last fifty years in Germany; but where the masses of the people must be consulted and projects depend for success upon their sustained approval, progress is much more spasmodic and uncertain. Everything depends on an intelligent electorate, controlled by reason rather than emotion and patient enough to await the outcome of a policy that has been inaugurated.

This raises the question as to the education of the electorate or the establishment of an educational qualification, as in some States. Is there any way by which the mass of the working people, who have only an elementary education, and never see even the outside of a State university, can be made intelligent and self-restrained? They will not read public documents, whether reports of expert commissions or speeches in Congress. Shall they be compelled to read what the government thinks is for their good, or be deprived of the suffrage as a penalty? They get their political opinions from sensational journals. Shall these publications be placed under a ban and the nation subsidize its own press? These are questions to be considered by the educational departments of State and nation, with a view to a more intelligent citizenship. Democracy cannot be said to be a failure, but it is still a problem. Government will not be any better than the majority of the citizens want it to be; hence its standards can be raised only as the mental and moral standards of the electorate are elevated. Education, a conscious share in the responsibility of legislation, and sure justice in all controverted cases, whether of individuals or classes, are necessary elements in winning even a measure of success.

344. The Race Problem.—The difficulties of American democracy are enormously enhanced by the race problem. If common problems are to be solved, there must be common interests. The population needs to be homogeneous, to be seeking the same ends, to be conscious of the same ideals. Not all the races of the world are thus homogeneous; it would be difficult to think of Englishmen, [327]Russians, Chinese, South Americans, and Africans all working with united purpose, inspired by the same ideals, yet that is precisely what is expected in America under the tutelage and leadership of two great political parties, not always scrupulous about the methods used to obtain success at the polls. It is rather astonishing that Americans should expect their democracy to work any better than it does when they remember the conditions under which it works. To hand a man a ballot before he feels himself a part of the nation to which he has come, before he is stirred to something more than selfish achievement, before he is conscious of the real meaning of citizenship, is to court disaster, yet in being generous with the ballot the people of America are arming thousands of ignorant, irresponsible immigrants with weapons against themselves.

The race problem of America is not at all simple. It is more than a problem of immigration. The problem of the European immigrant is one part of it. There is also the problem of the relation of the American people to the yellow races at our back door, and the problem of the negro, who is here through no fault of his own, but who, because he is here, must be brought into friendly and helpful relation with the rest of the nation.

345. The Problem of the European Immigrant.—The problem of the European immigrant is one of assimilation. It is difficult because the alien comes in such large numbers, brings with him a different race heritage, and settles usually among his own people, where American influence reaches him only at second hand. Environment may be expected to change him gradually, the education of his children will modify the coming generation, but it will be a slow task to make him over into an American in ideals and modes of thinking, as well as in industrial efficiency, and in the process the native American is likely to suffer loss in the contact, with a net lowering of standards in the life of the American people. To see the danger is not to despair of escaping it. To understand the danger is the first step in providing a safeguard, and to this end exact knowledge of the situation should be a part of the [328]teaching of the schools. To seek a solution of the problem is the second step. The main agency is education, but this does not mean entirely education in the schools. Education through social contact is the principal means of assimilating the adult; for this purpose it is desirable that some means be found for the better distribution of the immigrant, and as immigration is a national problem, it is proper for the national government to attack that particular phase of it. Then it belongs to voluntary agencies, like settlements, churches, and philanthropic and educational societies to give instruction in the essentials of language, civics, industrial training, and character building. For the children the school provides such education, but voluntary agencies may well supplement its secular training with more definite and thorough instruction in morals and religion. It cannot be expected that the immigrant problem will settle itself; at least, a purposeful policy wisely and persistently carried out will accomplish far better and quicker results. Nor is it an insoluble problem; it is not even necessary that we should severely check immigration. But there is need of intelligent and co-operative action to distribute, educate, and find a suitable place for the immigrant, that he may make good, and to devise a restrictive policy that will effectually debar the most undesirable, and will hold back the vast stream of recent years until those already here have been taken care of.

346. The Problem of the Asiatic Immigrant.—The problem of the Asiatic immigrant is quite different. It is a problem of race conflict rather than of race assimilation. The student of human society cannot minimize the importance of race heredity. In the case of the European it holds a subordinate place, because the difference between his heritage and that of the American is comparatively slight. But the Asiatic belongs to a different race, and the century-long training of an entirely different environment makes it improbable that the Asiatic and the American can ever assimilate. Each can learn from the other and co-operate to mutual advantage, but race [329]amalgamation, or even a fusion of customs of thought and social ideals is altogether unlikely. It is therefore not to the advantage of either American or Asiatic that much Asiatic immigration into the United States should take place. To agree to this is not to be hostile to or scornful of the yellow man. The higher classes are fully as intelligent and capable of as much energy and achievement as the American, but the vast mass of those who would come here if immigration were unrestricted are undesirable, because of their low industrial and moral standards, their tenacity of old habits, and with all the rest because of their immense numbers, that would overrun all the western part of the United States. When the Chinese Exclusion Act passed Congress in 1882, the Chinese alone were coming at the rate of nearly forty thousand a year, and that number might have been increased tenfold by this time, to say nothing of Japanese and Hindoos. While, therefore, the United States must treat Asiatics with consideration and live up to its treaty obligations, it seems the wise policy to refuse to admit the Asiatic masses to American residence.

A part of the Asiatic problem, however, is the political relation of the United States and the Asiatic Powers, especially in the Pacific. This is less intimately vital, but is important in view of the rapidly growing tendency of both China and Japan to expand in trade and political ambitions. This is a problem of political rather than social science, but since the welfare of both races is concerned, and of other peoples of the Pacific Islands, it needs the intelligent consideration of all students. It is desirable to understand one another, to treat one another fairly and generously, and to find means, if possible, of co-operation rather than conflict, where the interests of one impinge upon another. All mediating influences, like Christian missions, are to be welcomed as helping to extend mutual understanding and to soften race prejudices and animosities.

347. The Negro Problem.—Not a few persons look upon the negro problem as the most serious social [330]question in America. Whatever its relative merits, as compared with other problems, it is sufficiently serious to call for careful study and an attempt at solution. The negro race in America numbers approximately ten millions, twice as many as at the close of the Civil War. The negro was thrust upon America by the cupidity of the foreign slave-trader, and perpetuated by the difficulty of getting along without him. His presence has been in some ways beneficial to himself and to the whites among whom he settled, but it has been impossible for two races so diverse to live on a plane of equality, and the burden of education upon the South has been so heavy and the race qualities of the negro so discouraging, that progress in the solution of the negro problem has been slow.

The problem of the colored race is not one of assimilation or of conflict. In spite of an admixture of blood that affects possibly a third of the American negroes, there never will be race fusion. Assimilation of culture was partly accomplished in slave days, and it will go on. There is no serious conflict between white and colored, when once the question of assimilation is understood. The problem is one of race adjustment. Fifty years have been insufficient to perfect the relations between the two races, but since they must live together, it is desirable that they should come to understand and sympathize with each other, and as far as possible co-operate for mutual advancement. The problem is a national one, because the man of color is not confined to the South, and even more because the South alone is unable to deal adequately with the situation. The negro greatly needs efficient social education. He tends to be dirty, lazy, and improvident, as is to be expected, when left to himself. Like all countrymen—a large proportion live in the country—he is backward in ways of thinking and methods of working. He is primitive in his passions and much given to emotion. He shows the traits of a people not far removed from savagery. It is remarkable that his white master was able to civilize him as much as he did, and it is not strange that there has been many a relapse under conditions of [331]unprepared freedom, but it is only the more reason why negro character should be raised higher on the foundation already laid.

The task is not very different from that which is presented by the slum population of the cities of the North. The children need to be taught how to live, and then given a chance to practise the instruction in a decent environment. They need manual and industrial training fitted to their industrial environment, and every opportunity to employ their knowledge in earning a living. They need noble ideals, and these they can get only by the sympathetic, wise teaching of their superiors, whether white or black. They and their friends need patience in the upward struggle, for it will not be easy to socialize and civilize ten million persons in a decade or a century. Such institutions as Hampton and Tuskegee are working on a correct basis in emphasizing industrial training; these schools very properly are supplemented by the right kind of elementary schools, on the one hand, and by cultural institutions of high grade on the other, for the negro is a human being, and his nature must be cultivated on all sides, as much as if he were white.

348. The Race Problem a Part of One Great Social Problem.—The race problem as a whole is not peculiar to America, but is intensified here by the large mixture of all races that is taking place. It is inevitable, as the world's population shifts in meeting the social forces of the present age. It is complicated by race inequalities and race ambitions. It is fundamentally a problem of adjustment between races that possess a considerable measure of civilization and those that are not far removed from barbarism. It is discouraging at times, because the supposedly cultured peoples revert under stress of war or competition or self-indulgence to the crudities of primitive barbarism, but it is a soluble problem, nevertheless. The privileged peoples need a solemn sense of the responsibility of the "white man's burden," which is not to cultivate the weaker man for the sake of economic exploitation, but to improve him for the weaker man's own sake, and for the sake of [332]the world's civilization. The policy of any nation like the United States must be affected, of course, by its own interests, but the European, the Asiatic, the negro, and every race or people with which the American comes in contact ought to be regarded as a member of a world society in which the interlocking of relationships is so complete that the injury of one is the injury of all, and that which is done to aid the least will react to the benefit of him who already has more.


Dealey: Development of the State, pages 300-314.

Usher: Rise of the American People, pages 392-404.

Mecklin: Democracy and Race Friction, pages 77-122.

Commons: Races and Immigrants in America, pages 17-21, 198-238.

Coolidge: Chinese Immigration, pages 423-458, 486-496.

Gulick: The American Japanese Problem, pages 3-27, 90-196, 281-307.




349. The New World Life.—The social life that started in the family has broadened until it has circled the globe. It is possible now to speak in terms of world life. The interests of society have reached out from country to country, and from zone to zone, just as a child's interests as he grows to manhood expand from the home to the community and from the community to the nation.

The idea of the social solidarity of all peoples is still new. Ever since the original divergence of population from its home nest, when groups became strange and hostile to one another because of mountain and forest barriers, changing languages, and occasionally clashing interests, the tendency of the peoples was to grow apart. But for a century past the tendency has been changing from divergence to convergence, from ignorance and distrust of one another to understanding, sympathy, and good-will, from independence and ruthlessness to interdependence and co-operation. Numerous agencies have brought this about—some physical like steam and electricity, some economic like commerce and finance, some social like travel and the interchange of ideas through the press, some moral and religious like missions and international organizations for peace. The history of a hundred years has made it plain that nations cannot live in isolation any more than individuals can, and that the tendency toward social solidarity must be the permanent tendency if society is to exist and prosper, even though civilization and peace may be temporarily set back for a generation by war.

350. The Principle of Adaptation vs. Conflict.—This New World life is not unnatural, though it has been slow in coming. A human being is influenced by his physical [334]needs and desires, his cultivated habits, his accumulated interests, the customs of the people to whom he belongs, and the conditions of the environment in which he finds himself. While a savage his needs, desires, and interests are few, his habits are fixed, his relations are simple and local; but when he begins to take on civilization his needs multiply, his habits change, and his relations extend more widely. The more enlightened he becomes the greater the number of his interests and the more points of contact with other people. So with every human group. The process of social development for a time may intensify conflict, but there comes a time when it is made clear to the dullest mind that conflict must give way to mutual adaptation. No one group, not even a supernation, can have everything for itself, and for the sake of the world's comfort and peace it will be a decided social gain when that principle receives universal recognition. World federations and peace propaganda cannot be effective until that principle is accepted as a working basis for world life.

351. The Increasing Recognition of the Principle of Adaptation.—This principle of adaptation has found limited application for a long time. Starting with individuals in the family and family groups in the clan, it extended until it included all the members of a state in their relations to each other. Many individual interests conflict in business and society and different opinions clash, but all points of difference within the nation are settled by due process of law, except when elemental passions break out in a lynching, or a family feud is perpetuated among the hills. But war continued to be the mode of settling international difficulties. Military force restrained a vassal from hostile acts under the Roman peace. But the next necessary step was for states voluntarily to adjust their relations with one another. In some instances, even in ancient times, local differences were buried, and small federations, like the Achæan League of the Greeks and the Lombard League of the Middle Ages, were formed for common defense. These have been followed by greater alliances in modern times. But the striking instances of [335]real interstate progress are found in the federation of such States as those that are included within the present United States of America, and within the new German Empire that was formed after the Franco-Prussian War. Sinking their differences and recognizing one another's rights and interests, the people of such united nations have become accustomed to a large national solidarity, and it ought not to require much instruction or persuasion to show them that what they have accomplished already for themselves is the correct principle for their guidance in world affairs.

352. International Law and Peace.—This principle of recognizing one another's rights and interests is the foundation of international law, which has been modified from time to time, but which from the publication of Hugo Grotius's Law of War and Peace in the seventeenth century slowly has bound more closely together the civilized nations. There has come into existence a body of law for the conduct of nations that is less complete, but commands as great respect as the civil law of a single state. This law may be violated by a nation in the stress of conflict, as civil law may be derided by an individual lawbreaker or by an excited mob, but eventually it reasserts itself and slowly extends its scope and power. Without international legislative organization, without a tribunal or a military force to carry out its provisions, by sheer force of international opinion and a growing regard for social justice it demands attention from the proudest nations. Text-books have been written and university chairs founded to present its claims, international associations and conventions have met to define more accurately its code, and tentative steps have been taken to strengthen its position by two Hague Conferences that met in 1899 and 1907. Large contributions of money have been made to stimulate the cause of peace, and as many as two hundred and fifty peace societies have been organized.

353. Arbitration and an International Court.—Experiments have been tried at settling international disputes [336]without resort to war. Great Britain and the United States have led the way in showing to the world during the last one hundred years that all kinds of vexatious differences can be settled peacefully by submitting them to arbitration. These successes have led the United States to propose general treaties of arbitration to other nations, and advance has been made in that direction. It was possible to establish at The Hague a permanent court of arbitration, and to refer to it really important cases. Such a calamity as the European war, of course, interrupts the progress of all such peaceful methods, but makes all the plainer the dire need of a better machinery for settling international differences. There is reasonable expectation that before many years there may be established a permanent international court of justice, an international parliament, and a sufficient international police force to restrain any one nation from breaking the peace. Only in this way can the dread of war be allayed and disarmament be undertaken; even then the success of such an experiment in government will depend on an increase of international understanding, respect, and consideration.

354. Intercommunication and Its Rewards.—The gain in social solidarity that has been achieved already is due first of all to improved communication between nations. In the days of slow sailing vessels it took several weeks to cross the Atlantic, and there was no quicker way to convey news. The news that peace had been arranged at Ghent in 1814 between Great Britain and the United States did not reach the armies on this side in time to prevent the battle of New Orleans. Even the results of the battle of Waterloo were not known in England for several days after Napoleon's overthrow. Now ocean leviathans keep pace with the storms that move across the waters, and the cable and the wireless flash their messages with the speed of the lightning. Power to put a girdle around the earth in a few minutes has made modern news agencies possible, and they have made the modern newspaper essential. The newspaper requires the railroad and the steamship for its distribution, and business men depend upon [337]them all to carry out their plans. These physical agencies have made possible a commerce that is world-wide. There are ports that receive ships from every nation east and west. Great freight terminal yards hold cars that belong to all the great transportation lines of the country. Lombard Street and Wall Street feel the pulse of the world's trade as it beats through the channels of finance.

Improved communication has made possible the unification of a great political system like the British Empire. In the Parliament House and government offices of Westminster centre the political interests of Canada, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, and India, as well as of islands in every sea. Better communication has brought into closer relations the Pan-American states, so that they have met more than once for their mutual benefit.

Helpful social results have come from the travel that has grown enormously in volume since ease and cheapness of transportation have increased. The impulse to travel for pleasure keeps persons of wealth on the move, and the desire for knowledge sends the intellectually minded professional man or woman of small means globe-trotting. In this way the people of different nations learn from one another; they become able to converse in different languages and to get one another's point of view; they gain new wants while they lose some of their professional interests; they return home poorer in pocket but richer in experience, more interested in others, more tolerant. These are social values, certain to make their influence felt in days to come, and by no means unappreciable already.

355. International Institutions.—These values are conserved by international institutions. Societies are formed by like-minded persons for better acquaintance and for the advancement of knowledge. The sciences are cherished internationally, interparliamentary unions and other agencies for the preservation of peace hold their conferences, working men meet to air their grievances or plan programmes, religious denominations consult for pushing their campaigns. The organizations that grow out of [338]these relations and conferences develop into institutions that have standing. The international associations of scholars are as much a part of the world's institutional assets as the educational system is a recognized asset of any country. They are clearing-houses of information, as necessary as an international clearing-house of finance. The World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the International Young Men's Christian Association are moral agencies that bring together those who have at heart the same interests, and when they have once made good they must be reckoned among the established organizations that help to move the world forward. Not least among such institutions are the religious organizations. The closely knit Roman Catholic Church, that has held together millions of faithful adherents in many lands for centuries, and whose canon law receives an unquestioning obedience as the law of a nation, is an illustration of what an international religious institution may be. Protestant Churches, naturally more independent, have moved more slowly, but their world alliances and federations are increasing to the point where they, too, are likely to become true institutions.

356. Missions as a Social Institution.—Those institutions and movements are most useful that aim definitely to stimulate the highest interests of all mankind. It is comparatively simple to provide local stimulus for a better community life, but to help move the world on to higher levels requires clear vision, patient hope, and a definite plan on a large scale. Christian missionaries are conspicuous for their lofty ideals, their personal devotion to an unselfish task, their persistent optimism, and their unswerving adherence to the programme marked out by the pioneers of the movement. It is no argument against them that they have not accomplished all that a few enthusiasts expected of them in a few years. To socialize and Christianize half the people of the world is the task of centuries. With broad statesmanship missionary leaders have undertaken to do both of these. Mistakes in method or detail of operation do not invalidate the whole [339]enterprise, and all criticism must keep in mind the noble purpose to lift to a higher level the social, moral, and religious ideas and practices of the most backward peoples. The purpose is certainly no less laudable than that of a Chinese mission to England to persuade Great Britain to end the opium traffic, or a diplomatic mission from the United States to stop civil strife in Mexico.

357. Education as a Means to Internationalism.—Internationalism rests on the broad basis of the social nature of mankind, a nature that cannot be unsocialized, but can be developed to a higher and more purposeful socialization. As there are degrees of perfection in the excellence of social relations, so there are degrees of obligation resting upon the nations of the world to give of their best to a general levelling up. The dependable means of international socialization is education, whether it comes through the press, the pulpit, or the school. Every commission that visits one country from another to learn of its industries, its institutions, and its ideals, is a means to that important end. Every exchange professor between European and American universities helps to interpret one country to the other. Every Chinese, Mexican, or Filipino youth who attends an American school is borrowing stimulus for his own people. Every visitor who does not waste or abuse his opportunities is a unit in the process of improving the acquaintance of East and West, of North and South. Internationalism is not a social Utopia to be invented in a day; it is rather an attitude of mind and a mode of living that come gradually but with gathering momentum as mutual understanding and sympathy increase.


Strong: Our World, pages 3-202.

Foster: Arbitration and the Hague Court.

Faunce: Social Aspects of Foreign Missions.

Maurenbrecker: "The Moral and Social Tasks of World Politics," art. in American Journal of Sociology, 6: 307-315.

Trueblood: Federation of the World, pages 7-20, 91-149.





358. Constant Factors in Social Phenomena.—Our study of social life has made it plain that it is a complex affair, but it has been possible to classify society in certain groups, to follow the gradual extension of relations from small groups to large, and to take note of the numerous activities and interests that enter into contemporary group life. It is now desirable to search for certain common elements that in all periods enter into the life of every group, whether temporary or permanent, so that we may discover the constant factors and the general principles that belong to the science of society. Some of these have been referred to already among the characteristics of social life, but in this connection it is useful to classify them for closer examination.

First among these is the physical factor which conditions human activity but is not a compelling force, for man has often subdued his environment when it has put obstacles in his way. This physical element includes the geographical conditions of mountain, valley, or seashore, the climate and the weather, the food and water supply, the physical inheritance of the individual and the laws that control physical development, and the physical constitution of the group. A second factor is the psychic nature of human beings and the psychical interaction that goes on between individuals within the group and that produces reactions between groups.

359. The Natural Environment.—The early sociologists put the emphasis on the physical more than the psychic [341]factors, and especially on biological analogies in society. It seemed to them as if it was nature that brought men together. Mountains and ice-bound regions were inhospitable, impassable rivers and trackless forests limited the range of animals and men, violent storms and temperature changes made men afraid. Avoiding these dangers and seeking a food-supply where it was most plentiful, human beings met in the favored localities and learned by experience the principles of association. Everywhere man is still in contact with physical forces. He has not yet learned to get along without the products of the earth, extracting food-supplies from the soil, gathering the fruits that nature provides, and mining the useful and precious metals. The city-dweller seems less dependent on nature than is the farmer, but the urban citizen relies on steam and electricity to turn the wheels of industry and transportation, depends on coal and gas for heat and light, and uses winter's harvest of ice to relieve the oppressive heat of summer. Rivers and seas are highways of his commerce. Everywhere man seems hedged about by physical forces and physical laws.

Yet with the prerogative of civilization he has become master rather than servant of nature. He has improved wild fruits and vegetables by cultivation, he has domesticated wild animals, he has harnessed the water of the streams and the winds of heaven. He has tunnelled the mountains, bridged the rivers, and laid his cables beneath the ocean. He has learned to ride over land and sea and even to skim along the currents of the air. He has been able to discover the chemical elements that permeate matter and the nature and laws of physical forces. By numerous inventions he has made use of the materials and powers of nature. The physical universe is a challenge to human wits, a stimulus to thought and activity that shall result in the wonderful achievements of civilization.

360. The Human Physique.—Another element that enters into every calculation of success or failure in human life is the physical constitution of the individual and the group. The individual's physique makes a great difference [342]in his comfort and activity. The corpulent person finds it difficult to get about with ease, the cripple finds himself debarred from certain occupations, the person with weak lungs must shun certain climates and as far as possible must avoid indoor pursuits. By their power of ingenuity or by sheer force of will men have been able to overcome physical limitations, but it is necessary to reckon with those limitations, and they are always a handicap. The physical endowment of a race has been a deciding factor in certain times of crisis. The physical prowess of the Anakim kept back the timid Israelites from their intended conquest of Canaan until a more hardy generation had arisen among the invaders; the sturdy Germans won the lands of the Roman Empire in the West from the degenerate provincials; powerful vikings swept the Western seas and struck such terror into the peaceful Saxons that they cried out: "From the fury of the Northmen, good Lord, deliver us."

361. Biological Analogies.—The physical factor in society received emphasis the more because society itself was thought of as an organism resembling physical organisms and dependent upon similar laws. As a man's physical frame was essential to his activity and limited his energies, so the visible structure of social organization was deemed more important than social activity and function. Particularly did the method of evolution that had become so famous in biology appeal to students of sociology as the only satisfactory explanation of social change. The study of animal evolution made it clear that heredity and environment played a large part in the development of animal life, and Darwin pointed out that progress came by the elimination of those individuals and species least fitted to survive in the struggle for existence and the perpetuation of those that best adapted themselves to environment. It was easy to find social analogies and to reach the conclusion that in the same way individuals and groups were creatures of heredity and environment, and the all-important task of society was to conform itself to environment. Of course, history disproved the universality of such a [343]law, for more than once a race has risen above its environment or altered it, but it seemed a satisfactory working principle.

Biological analogies, however, were overemphasized. It was a gain to know the workings of race traits and the relation of the individual to his ancestry, but to excuse crime on the ground of racial degeneracy or to despise a race and believe that none of its members can excel because it is conspicuous for certain race weaknesses has been unfortunate. Similarly there was advantage in remembering that environment is either a great help or a great hindrance to social progress, but it would be a social calamity to believe in a physical determinism that leaves to human beings no choice as to their manner of life. The important truth to keep in mind is that man and environment must be adapted to each other, but it often proves better to adapt environment to man than to force man into conformity to environment. It is the growing independence of environment through his own intellectual powers that has given to civilized man his ascendancy in the world. It is a mistake, also, to think that a struggle for existence is the only means of survival. As in the animal world, there comes a time in the process of evolution when the struggle for selfish existence becomes subordinated to effort to preserve the life of the young or to help the group by the sacrifice of the individual self, so in society it is reasonable to believe that the selfish struggle of individuals will give way by degrees to purposeful effort for social welfare, and that the solidarity of the group rather than the interest of the individual will seem the highest good. Then the group will care for the weak, and all will gain from the strength and prosperity of the whole.

362. The Importance of the Individual.—While it is true that individual interests are bound up with the prosperity of the group, and that the food that he eats, the clothes that he wears, and the money that he handles and uses are all his because social industry prevails, there is some danger of overlooking the importance of the individual. Though he does not exist alone, the individual [344]with his distinctive personality is the unit of society. Without individuals there would be no society, without the action of the individual mind there would be no action of the social mind, without individual leadership there would be little order or progress. The single cell that made up the lowest forms of animal life is still the unit of that complex thing that we call the human body, and the well-being of the single cell is essential to the health and even the existence of the whole body; so the single human being is fundamental to the existence and health of the social body. No analysis of society is at all complete that does not include a study of the individual man.

363. The Psychology of the Individual.—Self-examination during the course of a single day helps to explain the life forces that act upon other individuals now and that have forged human history. In such study of self it soon becomes apparent to the student that the physical factor is subordinate to the psychic, but that they are connected. As soon as he wakes in the morning his mental processes are at work. Something has called back his consciousness from sleep. The light shining in at his window, the bell calling him to meet the day's schedule, the odor of food cooking in the kitchen, are physical stimuli calling out the response of his sense-perceptions; his mind begins at once to associate these impressions and to react upon his will until he gets out of bed and proceeds to prepare himself for the day. These processes of sensation, association, and volition constitute the simple basis of individual life upon which the complex structure of an active personality is built.

The individual will is moved to activity by many agencies. There is first the instinct. As a person inherits physical traits from his ancestors, so he gets certain mental traits. The demand for food is the cry of the instinct for self-preservation. The grimace of the infant in response to the mother's smile is an expression of the instinct for imitation. The reaching out of its hand to grasp the sunshine is in obedience to the instinct for acquisition. All human association is due primarily to the instinct for [345]sociability. These instincts are inborn. They cannot be eradicated, but they can be modified and controlled.

Obedience to these native instincts produces fixed habits. These are not native but acquired, and so are not transmitted to posterity, in the belief of most scientists, but they are powerful factors in individual conduct. The individual early in the morning is hungry, and the appetite for food recurs at intervals through the day; it becomes a habit to go at certain hours where he may obtain satisfaction. So it is with many activities throughout the day.

Instincts and habits produce impulses. The savage eats as often as he feels like it, if he can find berries or fruit or bring down game; impulse alone governs his conduct. But two other elements enter in to modify impulse, as experience teaches wisdom. The self-indulgent man remembers after a little that indulgence of impulse has resulted sometimes in pain rather than satisfaction, and his imagination pictures a recurrence of the unhappy experience. Feeling becomes a guide to regulate impulse. Feeling in turn compels thought. Presently the individual who is going through the civilizing process formulates a resolve and a theory, a resolve to eat at regular times and to abstain from foods that injure him, a theory that intelligent restraint is better than unregulated indulgence. In a similar way the individual acts with reference to selecting his environment. Instinct and habit act conservatively, impelling the individual to remain in the place where he was born and reared, and to follow the occupation of his father. But he feels the discomforts of the climate or the restrictions of his particular environment, he thinks about it, bringing to bear all the knowledge that he possesses, and he makes his choice between going elsewhere or modifying his present environment. Discovery and invention are both products of such choices as these.

364. Desires and Interests.—These complexes of thinking, feeling, and willing make up the conscious desires and interests that mould the individual life. Through the processes of attention to the stimuli that act upon human nature, discrimination between them, association of [346]impressions and ideas that come from present and past experience, and deliberate judgments of value, the mind moves to action for the satisfaction of personal desires and interests. These desires and interests have been classified in various ways. For our present purpose it is useful to classify them as those that centre in the self, and those that centre in others beyond the self. The primitive desires to get food and drink, to mate, and to engage in muscular activity, all look toward the self-satisfaction which comes from their indulgence. There are various acquired interests that likewise centre in the self. The individual goes to college for the social pleasure that he anticipates, for intellectual satisfaction, or to equip himself with a training that will enable him to win success in the competition of business. In the larger society outside of college the art-lover gathers about him many treasures for his own æsthetic delight, the politician exerts himself for the attainment of power and position, the religious devotee hopes for personal favors from the unseen powers. These are on different planes of value, they are estimated differently by different persons, but they all centre in the individual, and if society benefits it is only indirectly or accidentally.

As the individual rises in the scale of social intelligence, his interests become less self-centred, and as he extends his acquaintance and associations the scope of his interests enlarges. He begins to act with reference to the effect of his actions upon others. He sacrifices his own convenience for his roommate; he restrains his self-indulgence for the sake of the family that he might disgrace; he exerts himself in athletic prowess for the honor of the college to which he belongs; he is willing to risk his life on the battle-field in defense of the nation of which he is a citizen; he consecrates his life to missionary or scientific endeavor in a far land for the sake of humanity's gain. These are the social interests that dominate his activity. Mankind has risen from the brute by the process that leads the individual up from the low level of life moulded by primitive desires to the high plane of a life directed by the broad interests of society at large. It is the task of education [347]to reveal this process, and to provide the stimuli that are needed for its continuance.

365. Personality.—No two persons are actuated alike in daily conduct. The pull of their individual desires is not the same, the influence of the various social interests is not in the same proportion. The situation is complicated by hereditary tendencies, and by physical and social environment. Consequently every human being possesses his own distinctive individuality or personality. Variations of personality can be classified and various persons resemble each other so much that types of personality are distinguished. Thus we distinguish between weak personality and forceful personality, according to the strength of individuation, a narrow or a broad personality according as interests are few and selfish or broadly social, a fixed or a changing personality according to conservatism or unsettled disposition. Personality is a distinction not always appreciated, a distinction that separates man from the brute because of his self-consciousness and power of self-direction by rational processes, and relieves him from the dead level that would exist in society if every individual were made after the same pattern. It is the secret of social as well as individual progress, for it is a great personality that sways the group. It is the great boon of present life and the great promise of continued life hereafter.


Ross: Foundations of Sociology, pages 165-181.

Ellwood: Sociology in its Psychological Aspects, pages 94-123.

Dealey: Sociology, pages 96-98, 200-230.

Nearing and Watson: Economics, pages 60-98.

Darwin: Descent of Man, chap. XXI.

Drummond: Ascent of Man, pages 41-57, 189-266.

Giddings: Inductive Sociology, pages 249-278.




366. The Social Mind.—As individual life is compounded of many psychic elements that make up one mind, so the life of every group involves various factors of a psychic nature that constitute the social mind. The social mind does not exist apart from individual minds, but it is nevertheless real. When emotional excitement stirs a mob to action, the unity of feeling is evidence of a social mind. When a congregation recites a creed of the church the unity of belief shows the existence of a social mind. When a political land-slide occurs on the occasion of a presidential election in the United States, the unity of will expresses the social mind. The emotional phase is temporary, public opinion changes more slowly; all the time the social mind is gaining experience and learning wisdom, as does the individual. Social consciousness, which at first is slight, increases gradually, until it fructifies in social purpose which results in achievement. History is full of illustrations of such development.

367. How the Social Mind is Formed.—The formation of this social mind and its subsequent workings may be illustrated from a common occurrence in frontier history. Imagine three hunters meeting for the first time around a camp-fire, and analyze their mental processes. The first man was tired and hungry and camped to rest and eat. The second happened to come upon the camp just as a storm was breaking, saw the smoke of the fire, and turned aside for its comfort. The third picked up the trail of the second and followed it to find companionship. Each obeying a primal instinct and conscious of his kind, came into association with others, and thus by the process of aggregation a temporary group was formed. Sitting about the [349]fire, each lighted his pipe in imitation of one another; they communicated with one another in language familiar to all; one became drowsy and the others yielded to the suggestion to sleep. Waking in the morning, they continued their conversation, and in sympathy with a common purpose and in recognition of the advantages of association, they decided to keep together for the remainder of the hunt. Thus was constituted the group or social mind.

With the consciousness that they were congenial spirits and shared a common purpose, each was willing to sacrifice some of his own habits and preferences in the interest of the group. One man might prefer bacon and coffee for breakfast, while a second wished tea; one might wish to break camp at sunrise, another an hour later; each subordinated his own desires for the greater satisfaction of camp comradeship. The strongest personality in the group is the determining factor in forming the habits of the group, though it may be an unconscious leadership. The mind of the group is not the same as that of the leader, for the mutual mental interaction produces changes in all, but it approaches most nearly to his mind.

368. Social Habits.—By such processes of aggregation, communication, imitation, and association, individuals learn from one another and come to constitute a like-minded group. Sometimes it is a genetic group like the family, sometimes an artificial group like a band of huntsmen; in either case the group is held together by a psychic unity and comes to have its peculiar group characteristics. Fixed ways of thinking and acting are revealed. Social habits they may be called, or folk-ways, as some prefer to name them. These habits are quickly learned by the members of the group, and are passed on from generation to generation by imitation or the teaching of tradition. There are numerous conservative forces at work in society. Custom crystallizes into law, tradition is fortified by religion, a system of morals develops out of the folk-ways, the group life tends to become static and uniform.

369. Adaptation.—Two influences are continually at work, however, to change social habits—the forces of the [350]natural environment and interaction between different groups. Both of these compel adaptation to surroundings if permanence of group life is to be secured. Family life in the north country illustrates the working of this principle of adaptation. In the days of settlement there was a partial adaptation to the physical environment. Houses were built tight and warm to provide shelter, abundant food was supplied from the farm, on which men toiled long hours to make a living, homespun clothing was manufactured to protect against the rigors of winter, but ignorance and lack of sufficient means prevented complete adaptation, and society was punished for its failure to complete the adaptation. Climate was severe and the laws of health were not fully worked out or observed, therefore few children lived to maturity, although the birth-rate was high. Economic success came only as the reward of patient and unremitting toil, the shiftless family failed in the struggle for existence. Tradition taught certain agricultural methods, but diminishing returns threatened poverty, unless methods were better adapted to soil and climate. Thus the people were forced slowly to improve their methods and their manner of living to conform to what nature demanded.

No less powerful is the influence of the social environment. The authority of custom or government tends to make every family conform to certain methods of building a house, cooking food, cultivating land, selling crops, paying taxes, voting for local officials, but let one family change its habits and prove conclusively that it has improved on the old ways, and it is only a question of time when others will adapt themselves better to the situation that environs them. The countryman takes a city daily and notes the weather indications and the state of the market, he installs a rural telephone and is able to make contracts for his crops by long-distance conversation, he buys an improved piece of machinery for cultivating the farm, a gasolene engine, or a motor-wagon for quick delivery of produce; presently his neighbors discover that he is adapting himself more effectually to his environment than they are, [351]and one by one they imitate him in adopting the new methods. By and by the community becomes known for its progressiveness, and it is imitated by neighboring communities.

This process of social adaptation is a mental process more or less definite. A particular family may not consciously follow a definite plan for improved adaptation, but little by little it alters its ways, until in the course of two or three generations it has changed the circumstances and habits that characterized the ancestral group. In that case the change is slow. Certain families may definitely determine to modify their habits, and within a few years accomplish a telic change. In either case there are constantly going on the processes of observation, discrimination, and decision, due to the impact of mind upon mind, both within and outside of the group, until mental reactions are moving through channels that are different from the old.

370. Genetic Progress.—The modification of folk-ways in the interest of better adaptation to environment constitutes progress. Such modification is caused by the action of various mental stimuli. The people of a hill village for generations have been contented with poor roads and rough side-paths, along which they find an uneasy way by the glimmer of a lantern at night. They are unaccustomed to sanitary conveniences in their houses or to ample heating arrangements or ventilation in school or church. They have thought little about these things, and if they wished to make improvements they would be handicapped by small numbers and lack of wealth. But after a time there comes an influx of summer visitors; some of them purchase property and take up their permanent residence in the village. They have been accustomed to conveniences; in other words, to a more complete adaptation to environment; they demand local improvements and are willing to help pay for them. More money can be raised for taxation, and when public opinion has crystallized so that social action is possible, the progressive steps are taken.

[352]What takes place thus in a small way locally is typical of what is going on continually in all parts of the world. Accumulating wealth and increasing knowledge of the good things of the city make country people emigrate or provide themselves with a share of the good things at home. The influence of an enthusiastic individual or group who takes the lead in better schools, better housing, or better government is improving the cities. The growing cosmopolitanism of all peoples and their adoption of the best that each has achieved is being produced by commerce, migration, and "contact and cross-fertilization of cultures."

371. Telic Progress.—Most social progress has come without the full realization of the significance of the gradual changes that were taking place. Few if any individuals saw the end from the beginning. They are for the most part silent forces that have been modifying the folk-ways in Europe and America. There has been little conception of social obligation or social ideals, little more than a blind obedience to the stimuli that pressed upon the individual and the group. But with the awakening of the social consciousness and a quickening of the social conscience has come telic progress. There is purpose now in the action of associations and method in the enactments of legislatures and the acts of administrative officers. There are plans and programmes for all sorts of improvements that await only the proper means and the sanction of public opinion for their realization. Like a runner poised for a dash of speed, society seems to be on the eve of new achievement in the direction of progress.

372. Means of Social Progress.—There are three distinct means of telic progress. Society may be lifted to a higher level by compulsion, as a huge crane lifts a heavy girder to the place it is to occupy in the construction of a great building. A prohibitory law that forbids the erection of unhealthy tenements throughout the cities of a state or nation is a distinctly progressive step, compulsory in its nature. Or the group may be moved by persuasion. A board of conciliation may persuade conflicting industrial [353]groups to adjust their differences by peaceful methods, and thus inaugurate an ethical movement in industry greatly to the advantage of all parties. Or progress may be achieved by the slow process of education. The average church has been accustomed to conceive of its functions as pertaining to the individual rather than to the whole social order. It cannot be compelled to change by governmental action, for the church is free and democratic in America. It cannot easily be persuaded to change its methods in favor of a social programme. By the slower process of training the young people it can and does gradually broaden its activities and make itself more efficiently useful to the community in which it finds its place.

373. Criticism as a Means of Social Education.—Education is not confined to the training of the schools. It is a continuous process going on through the life of the individual or the group. It is the intellectual process by which the mind is focussed on one problem after another that rises above the horizon of experience and uses its powers to improve the adaptation now existing between the situation and the person or the group. The educational process is complex. There must be first the incitement to thought. Most effective in this direction is criticism. If the roads are such a handicap to the comfort and safety of travel that there is caustic criticism at the next town meeting, public opinion begins to set definitely in the direction of improvement. If city government is corrupt and the tax rate mounts steadily without corresponding benefits to the taxpayers, the newspapers call the attention of citizens to the fact, and they begin to consider a change of administration. Criticism is the knife that cuts to the roots of social disease, and through the infliction of temporary pain effects a cure. Criticism has started many a reform in church and state. The presence of the critic in any group is an irritant that provokes to progressive action.

374. Discussion.—Criticism leads to discussion. There is sure to be a conflict of ideas in every group. Conservative and progressive contend with each other; sometimes it is a matter of belief, sometimes of practice. Knots of [354]individuals talk matters over, leaders debate on the public platform, newspapers take part on one side or the other. In this way national policies are determined, first by Congress or Parliament, and then by the constituents of the legislators. Freedom of discussion is regarded as one of the safeguards of popular government. If social conduct should be analyzed on a large scale it would be found that discussion is a constant factor. In every business deal there is discussion of the pros and cons of the proposition, in every case that comes before the courts there are arguments made on both sides, in the maintenance of every social institution that costs money there is a consideration of its worth. Even if the discussion does not find voice, the human intellect debates the question in its silent halls. So universal is the practice of discussion and so prized is the privilege that this is sometimes called the Age of Discussion.

375. Decision.—Determination of action follows criticism and discussion in the group, as volition follows thinking in the case of the individual. One hundred years ago college education was classical. In the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation a revival of interest in the classics produced a reaction against mediævalism, and in time fastened a curriculum upon the universities that was composed mainly of the ancient languages, mathematics, and a deductive philosophy and theology. In the nineteenth century there began a criticism of the classical curriculum. It was declared that such a course of study was narrow and antiquated, that new subjects, such as history, the modern languages, and the sciences were better worth attention, and presently it was argued that a person could not be truly educated until he knew his own times by the study of sociology, politics, economics, and other social sciences. Of course, there was earnest resentment of such criticism, and discussion ensued. The argument for the plaintiff seemed to be well sustained, and one by one the governing boards of the colleges decided to admit new studies to the curriculum, at first grudgingly and then generously, until classical education has become [355]relatively unpopular. Public opinion has accepted the verdict, and many schools have gone so far as to make vocational education supplant numerous academic courses. Similarly criticism, discussion, and change of front have occurred in political theories, in the attitude of theologians to science, in the practice of medicine, and even in methods of athletic training.

Criticism and discussion, therefore, instead of being deprecated, ought to be welcome everywhere. Without them society stagnates, the intellect grows rusty, and prejudice takes the place of rational thought and volition. Feeling is bottled up and is likely to ferment until it bursts its confinement and spreads havoc around like a volcano. Free speech and a free press are safety-valves of democracy, the sure hope of progress throughout society.

376. Socialized Education.—A second step in the educational process is incitement to action. As criticism and discussion are necessary to stimulate thought, so knowledge and conviction are essential to action. The educational system that is familiar is individualistic in type because it emphasizes individual achievement, and is based on the conviction that individual success is of greatest consequence in life. There is increasing demand for a socialized education which will have as its foundation a body of sociological information that will teach individuals their social relations, a fund of ideas that will be bequeathed from generation to generation as the finest heritage, and a system of social ethics that will produce a conviction of social obligation. The will to do good is the most effective factor that plays a part in social life. This socializing education has its place in the school grades, properly becomes a major subject of study in the higher schools, and ideally belongs to every scheme of continued education in later life. The social sciences seem likely to vie with the physical sciences, if not eventually to surpass them as the most important department of human knowledge, for while the physical sciences unlock the mysteries of the natural world the social sciences hold the key to the meaning of ideal human life.



Ellwood: Sociology in Its Psychological Aspects, pages 329-340.

Giddings: Principles of Sociology, pages 132-152, 376-399.

Giddings: Descriptive and Historical Sociology, pages 124-185.

Cooley: Social Organization, pages 3-22.

Ward: Psychic Factors of Civilization, pages 291-312.

Blackmar and Gillin: Outlines of Sociology, pages 329-348.

Dealey: Sociology, pages 67-68, 84-87, 243-257.

Ellwood: Sociology and Modern Social Problems, revised edition, pages 354-367.




377. Theories of Social Order and Efficiency.—Out of social experience and social study have emerged certain theories of social order and efficiency which have received marked attention and which to-day are supported by cogent arguments. These theories fall under the three following heads: (1) Those theories that make social order and efficiency dependent upon the control of external authority; (2) those theories that trust to the force of public opinion trained by social education; (3) those theories that regard self-control coming through the development of personality as the one essential for a better social order.

378. External Authority in History.—The first theory rests its case on the facts of history. Certain social institutions like the family, the state, and the church have thrown restraint about the individual, and when this restraint is removed he tends to run amuck. From the beginning the family was the unit of the social order, and the authority of its head was the source of wisdom. Self-control was not a substitute for paternal discipline, but was a fact only in presence of the dread of paternal discipline. The idea of absolute authority passed over into the state, and absolutism was the theory of efficiency in the ancient state, down to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. It was a theory that made slavery possible. It strengthened the position of the high priest of every religious cult, created the thought of the kingdom of God and moulded the Christian creeds, and made possible the mediæval papacy. It has been the fundamental principle of all monarchical government. It has remained a royal theory in eastern Europe and Asia until our own day, [358]and survives in the political notion of the right of the strongest and in the business principle that capital must control the industrial system if prosperity and efficiency are to endure.

Irresponsible absolutism has been giving way slowly to paternalism. This showed itself first in a growing conviction that kings owed it to their subjects to rule well. Certain enlightened monarchs consulted the interests of the people and, relying on their own wisdom, instituted measures of reform. This type of paternalism was not successful, but it has been imitated by modern states, even republics like the United States, in various paternalistic measures of economic and social regulation. Those who hold the theory that external authority is necessary have been urgent in calling for the regulation of railroads, of trusts, and of combinations of labor, until some have felt that the authority of representative democracy bore more heavily than the authority of monarchy. It is the principle of those who favor government regulation that only by governmental restraint can free competition continue, and everybody be assured of a square deal; their opponents argue that such restraint throttles ambition and is destructive of the highest efficiency that comes as a survival of the fittest in the economic struggle.

379. Socialism.—Socialism is a third variety of the theory that social order and efficiency depend on external authority. Socialists aim at improving the social welfare by the collective control of industry. While the advocates of government regulation give their main attention to problems of production, the Socialists emphasize the importance of the proper distribution of products to the consumers, and would exercise authority in the partition of the rewards of labor. They propose that collective ownership of the means of production take the place of private ownership, that industry be managed by representatives of the people, that products be distributed on some just basis yet to be devised by the people. All that will be left to them as individuals will be the right to consume and the possession of material things not essential [359]to the socialistic economy. Certain Socialist theories go farther than this, but this is the essence of Socialism. Socialists vary, also, as to the use of revolutionary or evolutionary means of obtaining their ends.

The main objections that are made to the theory of Socialism are: (1) That it is contrary to nature, which develops character and progress through struggle; (2) that private property is a natural right, and that it would be unjust to deprive individuals of what they have secured through thrift and foresight, even in the interest of the whole of society; (3) that an equitable distribution of wealth would be impossible in any arbitrary division; (4) that no government can possibly conduct successfully such huge enterprises as would fall to it; (5) that Socialism would destroy private incentive and enterprise by taking away the individual rewards of effort; (6) that a socialistic régime would be as unendurable an interference with individual liberty as any absolutist or paternal government that the past has seen.

380. Educated Public Opinion.—The second group of theorists is composed of those who would get rid of prohibitions and regulations as far as possible, and trust to the force of an educated public opinion to maintain a high level of social order and efficiency. It is a part of the theory that constraint exercised by a government established by law marks a stage of lower social development than restraint exercised by the force of public opinion. But it must be an educated public opinion, trained to appreciate the importance of society and its claims upon the individual, to function rationally instead of impulsively, and to seek the methods that will be most useful and least expensive for the social body. This training of public opinion is the task of the school first and then of the press, the pulpit, and the public forum. Public and private commissions, organized and maintained to furnish information and suggest better methods, make useful contributions; public reports, if presented intelligibly, impartially, and concisely, are among the helpful instruments of instruction; reform pamphlets will again perform [360]valuable service, as they have in past days of moral and social intensity; but it is especially through the newspapers and the forums for public discussion that the social thinker can best reach his audience, and through these means that commission reports can best be brought to the attention of the people. It may very likely be necessary that press and platform be subsidized either by government or by private endowment to do this work of social training.

381. Individualism.—The third group of theorists rejects all varieties of external control as of secondary value, and has no faith in the working of public opinion, however well educated, unless the character of the individuals that make up the group is what it should be. These theorists regard self-control coming through the development of personal worth as the one essential for a better social order. This individualist theory is held by those who are still in bondage to the individualism that has characterized social thinking in the last four hundred years. There is much in the history of that period that justifies faith in the worth of the individual. Along the lines of material progress, especially, the individualist has made good. Looking upon what has been achieved the modern democrat expects further improvement in society through individual betterment.

The arguments in defense of the individualist theory are: (1) That natural science has proved that social development is achieved only through individual competition, and that the best man wins; (2) that experience has shown that progress has been most rapid where the individual has had largest scope; (3) that it is the teaching of Christian ethics that the individual must work out the salvation of his own character, must learn by experience how to gain self-reliance and strength of will, and so has the right to fashion his own course of conduct.

382. The Development of Personal Worth.—It is evident, however, that the usefulness of the individual, both to himself and to others, depends on his personal worth. The self-controlled man is the man of personal worth, but self-control is not easy to secure. Defendants of the first [361]two theories may admit that self-control is an ideal, but they claim that in the progress of society it must follow, not antedate, external authority and the cultivation of public opinion, and that time is not yet come. Only the few can be trusted yet to follow their best judgment on all occasions, to be on the alert to maintain in themselves and others highest efficiency. Human nature is slowly in the making. One by one men and women rise to higher levels; social regeneration must therefore wait on individual regeneration. Seeing the need of a dynamic that will create personal worth, the individualist has turned to religion and preached a doctrine of personal salvation. He has seen what religion has done to transform character, and he believes with confidence that it and it alone can create social salvation if we give it time.

At the present time there is an increasing number of social thinkers who regard each of these three theories as containing elements of value, but believe that there is something beyond them that is necessary to the highest efficiency. They consider that external authority has been necessary, and look upon a strong centralized government with power to create social efficiency as essential, but they expect that an increasing social consciousness will make the exercise of authority gradually less necessary. They have great confidence in trained public opinion, but do not forget that opinion must be vitalized by a strong motive, and mere education does not readily supply the motive. They look for a time when individual worth will be greater than now, and they recognize religion as a powerful dynamic in the building of character, but they regard religion as turned inward too much upon the individual. They would develop individual character for the sake of society, and make a socialized religion the motive power to vitalize public opinion so that it shall function with increasing efficiency. A socialized religion supplies a principle, a method, and a power. The Hebrew prophets and Jesus laid down the principle that there is a solidarity of interests to which the claims of the individual must be subordinate and must be sacrificed on occasion. The [362]prophets and Jesus taught a method of experimentation, calling upon the people whom they addressed to test the principle and see if it worked. The prophets and Jesus showed that power comes in the will to do and in actual obedience to the principle. They looked for an improved social system reared on this basis which would be a real "kingdom of God," not merely the economic commonwealth of the Socialist, but a commonwealth governed by the principle of consecration to the social welfare, spiritual as well as physical.

383. Social Ideals.—At the basis of every theory lies the individual with social relations. To socialize him external authority is the primitive agent. This authority may give way in time to the restraint of public opinion made intelligent by a socialized education, but effective public opinion is dependent on the development of personal worth in the individual. The most powerful dynamic for such development and for social welfare in general is a socialized religion. If all this be true, what is it that comprises social welfare? In a word, it is the efficient functioning of every social group. The family, the community, the nation, and every minor group, will serve effectually the economic, cultural, social, and spiritual needs of the individuals of whom it is composed. Perfect functioning can follow only after a long period of progress. Such progress is the ideal that society sets for itself. In that process there must be full recognition of all the factors that enter into social life. There is the individual with his rights and obligations, who must be protected and encouraged to grow. There are the institutions like the family, the church, and the state that must receive recognition and maintenance. There must be liberty for each group to function freely without arbitrary interference, as long as its privileges and acts do not interfere with the public good. Ideal social control is to be exercised by an enlightened and self-restrained public opinion energized by a socialized religion. All improvements must not be looked for in a moment, but can come only slowly and by frequent testing if they are to be permanently [363]accepted. The system that would result would be neither absolutist, socialistic, nor individualistic, but would contain the best elements of all. It would not be forced upon a people, but would be worked out slowly by education and experiment. Social institutions would not be tyrannous but helpful, and human happiness would be materially increased.


Ellwood: Sociology in Its Psychological Aspects, pages 352-381.

Nearing and Watson: Economics, pages 443-493.

Blackmar and Gillin: Outlines of Sociology, pages 373-392.

Dealey: Sociology, pages 351-361.

Skelton: Socialism, pages 16-61.

Carnegie: Problems of To-day, pages 121-139.




384. Sociology vs. Social Philosophy.—Sociology is one of the recent sciences. It had to wait for the scientific method of exact investigation and the scientific principle of forming conclusions upon abundant data. Naturally, theories of society were held long before any science came into existence, but they were of value only as philosophizing. Some of these theories were published and attracted the attention of thoughtful persons, but they did not affect social life. Some of them developed into philosophies of history, based on the preconceived ideas of their authors. Now and then in the first part of the nineteenth century certain social experiments were made in the form of co-operative communities, which it was fondly hoped would become practical methods for a better social order, but they almost uniformly failed because they were artificial rather than of natural growth, and because they were based on principles that public opinion had not yet sanctioned. The story of the predecessors of modern sociology naturally is preliminary to the history of sociology itself.

385. Philosophers and Prophets.—Two classes of men in ancient time worked on the problems of society, one from the practical standpoint, the other from the philosophic. One group of names includes the great statesmen and lawgivers, like Moses, who laid the foundations of the Hebrew nation and gave it the nucleus of a legal system; Solon and Lycurgus, traditional lawgivers of Athens and Sparta, and several of the earlier kings and later emperors of Rome. The other group is composed of men who thought much about human life and disseminated their opinions by writing and teaching. For the most part they were idealistic philosophers, but their influence was far-reaching in time. In the list belong Plato, who in his [365]Republic outlined an ideal society that was the prototype of later fanciful commonwealths; Aristotle, who made a real contribution to political science in his Politics; Cicero, who himself participated actively in government and wrote out his theories or spoke them in public, and Augustine, who gave his conception of a Christian state in the City of God.

During the period when ancient ways were giving place to modern, and a transition was taking place in the realm of ideas, Thomas More, in his Utopia, and Campanella in his City of the Sun, published their conceptions of an ideal state, while Machiavelli took society as it was, and in his Prince suggested how it might be governed better. These are all evidences that there was dissatisfaction with existing systems, but no unanimity of opinion as to possible improvements. Later theories were no more satisfactory. The French Revolutionary philosophers, especially Rousseau, with his theory of voluntary social contract, and the Utopian dreamers who followed, were longing for justice and political efficiency, but their theories seem crude and visionary from the point of view of the social science of the present day.

386. Experimenting with Society.—Robert Owen in England and Fourier and Saint-Simon in France were prophets of an ideal order which they tried to establish. Believing that all men were intended to be happy, and that happiness depended on a reorganization of the social environment in which property should be socialized, at least in part, they organized volunteers into model communities, expecting that their success would attract men everywhere to imitate the new organization. The arrangement of industry was planned in detail, a co-operative system was organized that would keep every man busy at useful labor without working him too hard, would take away the profits of the middleman by a well-planned system of distribution, and would allow liberty in social relations as far as consistent with the general good, but would subordinate the individual to the community. Certain of the Utopians thought that it would be necessary for the [366]state to determine the minutiæ of daily life, and for a few directors to prescribe activities, and they introduced a uniformity in dress, food, and houses that savored of the old-fashioned orphan asylum. These features, together with the failure to understand that social institutions could not be made to order, and that human nature was not of such quality as to make an ideal commonwealth at once actual, soon wrecked these utopian schemes and brought to an end the first period of socialistic experiments.

387. Biological Sociologists.—Not a few writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, before sociology was born, recognized the need and the possibility of a true science of society. Scholars were studying and writing upon other sciences that are related to sociology—biology, history, economics, and politics. Scientific information about the various races of mankind was accumulating. At length Auguste Comte, a Frenchman, found a place for sociology among the sciences and declared it to be the highest of them all. In 1842 he completed the publication of the Positive Philosophy, in which he maintained that human society is an organism similar to biological organisms, and that its activities can be systematized and generalizations be deduced therefrom for the formation of a true science. In his Descriptive Sociology and later works Herbert Spencer in England amplified the theory of Comte and arranged a mass of facts as evidence of its truth. He put too much emphasis on biological resemblances in the opinion of present-day sociologists, but his emphasis on inductive study and his generalizations from biology were important contributions to the development of the new science.

388. Psychological Sociologists.—Comte and Spencer were followed by other biological sociologists whose names are well known to students of the science. Interest was aroused in Great Britain, on the continent of Europe, and in America. Students were influenced by conclusions that were being reached in biology, in economics, and in other allied departments of thought, but the one science which became most prominent to the minds of sociologists was psychology. Ward's Dynamic Sociology, published in 1883, [367]marked an epoch, because it called special attention to the psychic factors that enter into social life. After him it became increasingly clear that the true social forces were psychic, though physical conditions affected social progress. A younger school of sociologists has come into existence, and the science is being developed on that basis. More than one individual thinker has made his special contribution, and there is still a variety of opinion on details, but the general principles of the science are being worked out in substantial agreement. It is not to be expected that such a complex and comprehensive science could be completed in its short history of approximately half a century, or that it can ever be made exact, like mathematics or the natural sciences, but there is every reason to expect the development of a body of classified facts that will be of inestimable value in attacking social problems, and of principles that will serve as a guide through the labyrinth of social life. The value of any science is not in the perfection of its system, but in the practical application which can be made of it to human progress.

389. Relation of Sociology to the Natural Sciences.—Sociology has relations to an outer circle of general sciences and to an inner circle of social sciences. It is itself but one of the social sciences, though it is regarded as chief among them. Man looks out upon the universe, of which he is but an atom, and asks questions. Astronomy brings to him the findings of its telescopes and spectrum analyses. Geology explains the transformations that have taken place in the earth on which he lives. Physics and chemistry analyze its substance and reveal the laws of nature. Biology opens up the field of life. Psychology investigates the structure and functions of the human mind, and shows that all activity is at base mental. At last the new sociology discloses human life in all its complex relationships, the function of the social mind, and the channels through which it works. Since social life is lived in a world where physical and mental factors are constantly in action, there is a close connection between all the [368]sciences. Although social life is not so closely similar to animal life as was thought previously, the principles of biology are important to the sociologist because biology is the science of all life. Psychology is important because it is the science of all mind.

390. Relations of Sociology and Other Social Sciences.—There are many phases of human experience and differences of relationship. Obviously the specific sciences that deal with them have a still closer relation to sociology. Economics, for example, has as its field the economic relations and activities that are connected with the business of making a living. The production, distribution, and use of material things is the subject that absorbs the economist. The sociologist makes use of the facts and principles of economics to throw light on the economic functions of society, but the economic field is only one sector of his concern. In a similar way political science is related to sociology. It deals with the organization and development of government and embraces the departments of national and international law, but the governmental function of the social group is but one of the divisions of the interests that absorb the sociologist. He uses the data and conclusions of the political scientists, but in a more general way. It is the same with the sociologist and history. History supplies much of the data of the sociologist from the records of the past. It deals with social life in the concrete, and historical interpretation is essential to an understanding of social phenomena, but sociology takes the past with the present, analyzes both, and generalizes from both as to the laws of the social process. Pedagogy deals with the history and principles of education. Sociology is interested in the educational function of the family, of the community, and of the nation, but again its interest is from the standpoint of abstraction and generalization. Ethics is a science that treats of the right and wrong conduct of human beings. It is very closely associated with sociology, because the valuation of conduct depends on social effects, but the moral functioning of the group is but one phase of social life, and, therefore, ethics is far [369]narrower in its range than sociology. Theology, the science of religion, has sociological implications. As far as it is a science and not a philosophy, it rests upon human interest and human experience, and it is becoming increasingly recognized that these human interests depend on social relationships, but all the religious interests of men are but one part of the field of sociology.

It is clear that each of the social sciences holds a relation to sociology of the particular to the general. Sociology seeks out the laws and principles that unify all the rest. It does not include them all, as does the term social science, but it correlates and interprets them all. It is not the same as philosophy, for that subject has for its field all knowledge, and especially tries to probe to the secrets of all being, and to learn the meaning of the universe as a whole, while sociology is restricted to social life. Each has its distinct place among the studies of the human mind, and each should be distinguished carefully from its rivals and associates.

391. Social Classification.—When we enter into the field of sociology itself we find other distinctions to be necessary. The novice frequently confounds similar terms. Not infrequently sociology and socialism are used as synonymous terms by persons who know little of either, so that it is necessary to point out that socialism is a particular theory of social organization and functioning, while sociology is the general science that includes all varieties of social theory, along with social fact, and especially is it necessary to explain that any fallacies of socialistic theory do not invalidate well-established conclusions of social science. Another common error is to identify sociology with social reform. Social pathology is too important a branch of sociology to be omitted or minimized, but it is only one division of the subject, and all measures as well as theories of social reform are only a small part of the concern of sociology. Such terms as philanthropy, criminology, and penology all have connection with sociology, but they need to be carefully differentiated from the more general term.

[370]Sociology itself has been variously classified under the terms pure and applied, static and dynamic, descriptive and theoretical. Terms have changed somewhat, as the psychological emphasis has supplanted the biological. It is important that terms should be used correctly and should be sanctioned by custom, but it is not necessary to make sharp distinction between all the different divisions, old and new. Classification is a matter of convenience and technic; though it may have a scientific basis, it is entirely a matter of form. There is always danger that a particular classification may become a fetich. It is the life of society that we study, it is the improvement of social relations at which we aim. Whatever method best contributes to this end is valid in classification for all except those who delight in science for science's sake.

392. The Permanent Place of Sociology.—The study of the science of social life is eminently worth while, for it deals with matters that are of vital importance to the human race and every one of its individual members. For that reason it is likely to receive growing recognition as among the most important subjects with which the human mind can deal. It is vast in its range, exacting in its demand of unremitting investigation and careful generalization, stimulating in its intense practicality. Its abstractions require the closest reasoning of the scholar, but its basis in the concrete facts of daily life tends to make it popular. Once understood and appreciated, sociology is likely to become the guide-book by which social effort will be directed, and the standard by which it will be measured. As progress becomes in this way more telic it will become more rapid. Social life will approach more nearly the norm that sociology describes, but until the day that society ceases to be pathological, sociology will teach a social ideal as a goal toward which society must bend its energies. As human life is the most precious gift that the world bestows, so the science of that life is worthy of being called the gem of the sciences.



Dealey: Sociology, pages 19-40.

Blackmar and Gillin: Outlines of Sociology, pages 13-47, 541-564.

Giddings: Principles of Sociology, pages 3-51.

Ellwood: Sociology in Its Psychological Aspects, pages 29-65.

Ross: Foundations of Sociology, pages 15-28, 256-348.

Small: General Sociology, pages 40-97.



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