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Warren H. Wilson

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Title: The Evolution of the Country Community
       A Study in Religious Sociology

Author: Warren H. Wilson

Release Date: November 29, 2009 [EBook #30563]

Language: English

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Copyright, 1912,
By Luther H. Cary







New England Towns

[Pg vii]


The significance of the most significant things is rarely seized at the moment of their appearance. Years or generations afterwards hindsight discovers what foresight could not see.

It is possible, I fear it is even probable, that earnest and intelligent leaders of organized religious activity, like thousands of the rank and file in parish work, will not immediately see the bearings and realize the full importance of the ideas and the purposes that are clearly set forth in this new and original book by my friend and sometime student, Dr. Warren H. Wilson. That fact will in no wise prevent or even delay the work which these ideas and purposes are mapping out and pushing to realization.

The Protestant churches have completed one full and rounded period of their existence. The age of theology in which they played a conspicuous part has passed away, never to return. The world has entered into the full swing of the age of science and practical achievement. What the work, the usefulness, and the destiny of the Protestant churches shall henceforth be will depend entirely upon their own vision, their common sense, and their adaptability to a new order of things. Embodying as [Pg viii]they do resources, organization, the devotion and the energy of earnest minds, they are in a position to achieve results of wellnigh incalculable value if they apply themselves diligently and wisely to the task of holding communities and individuals up to the high standard of that "Good Life" which the most gifted social philosopher of all ages told us, more than two thousand years ago, is the object for which social activities and institutions exist.

In one vast field of our social territory the problem of maintaining the good life has become peculiar in its conditions and difficult in the extreme. The rural community has suffered in nearly every imaginable way from the rapid and rather crude development of our industrial civilization. The emigration of strong, ambitious men to the towns, the substitution of alien labor for the young and sturdy members of the large American families of other days, the declining birth rate and the disintegration of a hearty and cheerful neighborhood life, all have worked together to create a problem of the rural neighborhood, the country school and the country church unique in its difficulties, sometimes in its discouragements.

To deal with this problem two things are undeniably necessary. There must be a thorough examination of it, a complete analysis and mastery of its factors and conditions. The social survey has become as imperative for the country pastor as the geological survey is for the mining engineer. And[Pg ix] when the facts and conditions are known, the church must resolutely set about the task of dealing with them in the practical spirit of a practical age, without too much attention to the traditions and the handicaps of an age that has gone by.

It would not be possible, I think, to present these two aspects of the problem of the country parish with more of first hand knowledge, or with more of the wisdom that is born of sympathy and reverence for all that is good in both the past and the present than the reader will find in Dr. Wilson's pages. I welcome and commend this book as a fine product of studies and labors at once scientific and practical.

Franklin H. Giddings.[Pg x]

[Pg xi]


  Introduction XIII
I The Pioneer 1
II The Land Farmer 18
III The Exploiter 32
IV The Husbandman 48
V Exceptional Communities 62
VI Getting A Living 79
VII The Community 91
VIII The Margin of the Community 108
IX Newcomers in the Community 123
X Co-operation 142
XI Common Schools 158
XII Rural Morality 171
XIII Recreation 189
XIV Common Worship 208

[Pg xii]

[Pg xiii]


The church and the school are the eyes of the country community. They serve during the early development of the community as means of intelligence and help to develop the social consciousness, as well as to connect the life within the community with the world outside. They express intelligence and feeling. But when the community has come to middle life, even though it be normally developing, the eyes fail. They are infallible registers of the coming of mature years. At this time they need a special treatment.

Like the eyes, the country church and country school register the health of the whole organism. Whatever affects the community affects the church and the school. The changes which have come over the face of social life in the country record themselves in the church and the school. These institutions register the transformations in social life, they indicate health and they give warning of decay. In a few instances the church or school require the attention of the expert even in the infancy of the community, just as the eyes of a child sometimes need the oculist, but with normal growth the expert[Pg xiv] is called in for problems which have to do with maturity.

In these chapters the center of attention will be the church, regarded as an institution for building and organizing country life. It is not the thought of the writer that the church be treated in ecclesiastical terms. It is rather as a register of the well-being of the community that the church is here studied. The condition of the church is regarded as an index of the social and economic condition of the people. The sources of religion are believed by the writer to be in the vital experiences of the people themselves. In the process of religious experience the church, the Bible, the ministry and other religious methods and organizations are means of disciplining the forces of religion, but they are not the sources of religion.

The church in the country above all other institutions should see what concerns country people as a whole. If vision be not given to the church, country people will suffer. The Christian churches are rich in the experience of country people. The Bible is written about a "Holy Land." The exhortations of Scripture, especially of the Old Testament, are devoted to constructive sociology, the building and organizing of an agricultural people in an Asiatic country. Many of the problems are oriental, but some of them are precisely the same as are today agitating the American farmer. Religion is the highest valuation set upon life, and the country[Pg xv] church should have a vision of the present meaning as well as the future development of country life in America.

The country church ought to inspire. It is the business of other agencies, and particularly of the schools and colleges, to impart practical and economic aims. But these will not satisfy country people. No section of modern life is so dependent upon idealism as are the people who live in the country. Mere cash prosperity puts an end to residence in most country communities. Commercial success leads toward the city. The religious leaders alone have the duty of inspiring country people with ideals higher than the commercial. It remains for the church in particular to inspire with social idealism. Education seems hopelessly individualistic. The schoolmaster can see only personalities to be developed. It remains for the preacher to develop a kingdom and a commonwealth. His ideals have been those of an organized society. The tradition which he inherits from the past is saturated with family, tribal and national remembrances. His exhortations for the future look to organized social life in the world to come. He should know how to construct ideals out of modern life, which are organic and social.

Beyond these two duties I am not sure that the churches in the country have exceptional function. The writer is not a teacher, and what is said in this book about the country school is said solely because[Pg xvi] of the dependence of all else upon this institution. The patient, detailed and extensively constructive work in the country must be done by the educator. It is well for the church to recognize its limits, and to magnify its own function within them. Vision and inspiration are the duty of religious leaders. The application of these in a variety of ways to the generations of young people in the country is an educational task which the church can do only in part.

But the great necessity of arousing the church at the present time to its duty as a builder of communities in the country is this. In all parts of the United States country life is furnished with churches. Perhaps not in sufficient degree in some localities, but in general the task of religious organization is done. These religious societies hold the key to the problem of country life. If they oppose modern socialized ideals in the country, these ideals cannot penetrate the country. If the church undertake constructive social service in the country, the task will be done. The church can oppose effectively; it can support efficiently. This situation lays a vast responsibility upon all Christian churches, especially upon those that have an educated ministry; for the future development of the country community as a good place in which to live depends upon the country church.

This is not the place to discuss whether a population can be improved and whether a community can[Pg xvii] be saved. The pages that are to follow will discuss these questions. It is the writer's belief that a population can be improved by social service, that the community is the unit in which such service should be rendered in the country, and that by the vision and inspiration of the church in the country, this service is conditioned. He believes with those who are leading in the service among the poor in the great cities that the time has come when we have sufficient intelligence to understand the life of country people, in order to deal with the causes of human action; we have sufficient resources wherewith to endow the needed agencies for the reconstruction of country life; and we have a sufficient devotion among men of intelligence and of means to direct this constructive social service toward the entire well-being of country people and of the whole commonwealth.

The writer is indebted for help in the preparation of this book to Miss Florence M. Lane, Miss Martha Wilson and to Miss Anna B. Taft, without whose assistance and criticism the chapters could not have been prepared and without whose encouragement they would not have been undertaken; also to his teachers in Columbia University, especially Professors Franklin H. Giddings and John Bates Clark whose teachings in the Social Sciences furnish the beginning of a new method in investigating religious experiences.

New York, July, 1912.

[Pg 1]




The earliest settlers of the American wilderness had a struggle very different from our own, who live in the twentieth century. Their economic experience determined their character. They appear to us at this distance to have common characteristics, habits and reactions upon life; in which they differ from all who in easier times follow them. They have more in common with one another than they have in common with us. They differ less from one another than they differ from the modern countryman. The pioneer life produced the pioneer type.

To this type all their ways of life correspond. They hunted, fought, dressed, traded, worshipped in their own way. Their houses, churches, stores and schools were built, not as they would prefer, but as the necessities of their life required. Their communities were pioneer communities: their religious habits were suitable to frontier experience.[Pg 2] Modern men would find much to condemn in their ways: and they would find our typical reactions surprising, even wicked. But each conforms to type, and obeys economic necessity.

There have been four economic types in American agriculture. These have succeeded one another as the rural economy has gone through successive transformations. They have been the pioneer, the land farmer, the exploiter and the husbandman. Prof. J. B. Ross of Lafayette, Ind., has clearly stated[1] the periods by which these types are separated from one another. It remains for us to consider the communities and the churches which have taken form in accordance with these successive types.

Prof. Ross has spoken only of the Middle West. With a slight modification, the same might be said of the Eastern States, because the rural economy of the Middle West is inherited from the East. His statement made of this succession of economic types should be quoted in full:

"The agrarian occupation of the Middle West divides itself into three periods. The first, which extends from the beginnings of immigration to about the year 1835, is of significance chiefly because of the type of immigrants who preempted the soil and the nature of their occupancy. The second period, extending from 1835 to 1890, had as its chief objective the enrichment of the group life. It was the [Pg 3]period in which large houses and commodious barns were erected, and in which the church and the school were the centers of social activity. The third period, which began about the year 1890, and which is not yet complete, is marked by a transition from the era of resident proprietors of the land to that of non-resident proprietors, and by the fact that the chief attention of the land owners is paid to the improvement of the soil by fertilization and drainage and to the increasing of facilities for communication and for the marketing of farm products."

Each of these types created by the habits of the people in getting their living, had its own kind of a community, so that we have had pioneer, land farmer, exploiter and husbandman communities. Indeed all these types are now found contemporaneous with one another. We have also had successive churches built by the pioneer, by the land farmer, by the exploiter and by the husbandman. The present state of the country church and community is explained best by saying that it is an effect of transition from the pioneer and the land farmer types of church and community to the exploiter and husbandman types.

The pioneer lived alone. He placed his cabin without regard to social experience. In the woods his axe alone was heard and on the prairie the smoke from his sod house was sometimes answered by no other smoke in the whole horizon. He worked and fought and pondered alone. Self-preservation was[Pg 4] the struggle of his life, and personal salvation was his aspiration in prayer. His relations with his fellows were purely democratic and highly independent. The individual man with his family lived alone in the face of man and God. The following is a description by an eye witness of such a community which preserves in a mountain country the conditions of pioneer life[2].

"It is pitiful to see the lack of co-operation among them. It is most evident in business but makes itself known in the children, too. I regard it as one reason why they do not play; they have been so isolated that they do not allow the social instinct of their natures to express itself. This, of course, is all unconsciously done on their part. However, one cannot live long among them without finding out that they are characterized by an intense individualism. It applies to all that they do, and to it may be attached the blame for all the things which they lack or do wrongfully. If a man has been wronged, he must personally right the wrong. If a man runs for office, people support him as a man and no questions are asked as to his platform. If a man conducts a store, people buy from him because he sells the goods, not because the goods commend themselves to them. And so by common consent and practise, the individual interests are first. Naturally this leads to many cases of lawlessness.[Pg 5] The game of some of our people is to evade the law; of others, to ignore the law entirely."

The pioneer had in his religion but one essential doctrine,—the salvation of the soul. His church had no other concern than to save individuals from the wrath to come. It had just one method, an annual revival of religion.

The loneliness of the pioneer's soul is an effect of his bodily loneliness. The vast outdoors of nature forest or prairie or mountain, made him silent and introspective even when in company. The variety of impacts of nature upon his bodily life made him resourceful and self-reliant; and upon his soul resulted in a reflective, melancholy egotism. His religion must therefore begin and end in personal salvation. It was a message, an emotion, a struggle, and a peace.

The second great characteristic of the pioneer was his emotional tension. His impulses were strong and changeable. The emotional instability of the pioneer grew out of his mixture of occupations. It was necessary for him to practise all the trades. In the original pioneer settlement this was literally true. In later periods of the settlement of the land the pioneer still had many occupations and representative sections of the country even until the present time exhibit a mixture of occupations among country people most unlike the ordered life of the Eastern States. Adam Smith in "Wealth of Nations" makes clear that the practise of many occupations[Pg 6] induces emotional conditions. Between each two economic processes there is generated for the worker at varied trades a languor, which burdens and confuses the work of the man who practises many trades. This languor is the source of the emotional instability of the pioneer.

The pioneer's method of bridging the gap between his many occupations was simple. When he had been hunting he found it hard to go to plowing: and if plowing, on the same day to turn to tanning or to mending a roof. When the pioneer had spent an hour in bartering with a neighbor he found it difficult to turn himself to the shoeing of a horse or the clearing of land. For this new effort his expedient was alcohol. He took a drink of rum as a means of forcing himself to the new occupation. The result is that alcoholic liquors occupy a large place in the economy of every such pioneer people.

In the mountain regions of the South, where the pioneer remains as an arrested type, the rum jug occupies the same place in the economy of the countryman as it occupied in the early settlements of the United States generally. These "contemporary ancestors" of ours in the Appalachian region have all the marks of the pioneer. Their simple life, their varied occupations, and the relative independence of the community and household, sufficient unto themselves, present a picture of the earlier American conditions. It is obvious among them that[Pg 7] the emotional condition of the pioneer grew out of his economy and extended itself into his church.

This emotional instability of the pioneer shows itself in his social life. The well known feuds of the mountain people exhibit this condition. Feeling is at once violent and impulsive. The very reserve of these unsmiling and serious people is an emotional state, for the meager diet and heavy continued strains of their economic life poorly supply and easily exhaust vitality.

The frontier church exhibited emotional variability. It expressed itself in the pioneer's one method; namely, an annual revival of religion. In the pioneer churches there were few or no Sunday schools or other societies. In those regions in which the pioneer has remained the type of economic life Sunday schools do not thrive. Societies for young people, for men, women and children do not there exist. The church is a place only for preaching. Religion consists of a message whose use is to excite emotion. Preaching is had as often as possible, but not necessarily once a week. Essential, however, to the pioneer's organization of his churches is a periodical if possible an annual, revival of religion. The means used at this time are the announcement of a gospel message and the arousing of emotion in response to this message. There is little application of religious imperative to the details of life. There is no recognition of social life, because the pioneer economy is lonely and individual. The whole pro[Pg 8]cess of religion consists in "coming through": in other words, the procuring of an individual and highly personal experience of emotion.

"Beneath the surface of life in these people so conservative, and so indifferent to change as it is, there runs a strain of intense emotionalism. When storms disturb the calm exterior, the mad waves lash and beat and roar. And in religion this is most apparent. With them emotionalism and religion are almost interchangeable quantities,—if they are not identical.[3]

"It is in the revival service that you see the heart of the stolid mountain man unmasked. The local mountain preachers know this fact well and use it with great effect. A word must be said about these men who work all through the week alongside of their fellows and preach to them on Sunday. In some places there is a custom of holding service on Saturday and Sunday. These men have generally 'come through'—a term used to describe the process beginning with 'mourning' and continuing through repenting and being saved. And generally they are men of personality. They have a certain power with men, anyway, and they are keen to see the effect of things on their audiences. Some of them have learned to read the Bible after they have been converted. It is not so much what they say that counts. If people looked for that they would go away unfilled. But they have another thing in mind.[Pg 9] They want to feel right. They go to church occasionally during revival drought, but always during revival plenty. They go to get 'revived up.' The preacher who has the best voice is the best preacher. He sways his audience. The more ignorant he is, the better, for then the Spirit of God is not hindered by the wisdom of man. The spirit comes upon him when he enters the pulpit. He speaks through him to the waiting congregation. Of course they do not know what he is saying for the man makes too much noise. But they begin to feel that this is indeed the place where religion can be found and where it is being distributed among the people.

"Generally revivals occur as they have always done, about three times a year. At these services the method requires that exhorters should be present and perform. Several do so at the same time. The confusion is great but the people breathe an atmosphere that begins to infect them. Sooner or later weeping women are in the arms of some others' husbands begging them to come to the mourning bench. Young girls single out the boys that they like best and affectionately implore them to begin the Christian life. All the time the choir is singing a swinging revival hymn; the preacher is standing over his audience shouting 'Get busy, sinners,' and two or three boys are scurrying back and forth carrying water to the thirsty ones, while little groups of the faithful are hovering over a penitent, smothering sinner, trying to 'pull her through.' During this[Pg 10] kind of a meeting which I attended at one time a woman 'got happy' and went around slapping everyone she could get her hand on, and skipping like a schoolgirl."

The pioneer church has not fully passed away. Its one doctrine and its one method have still a place in the more elaborate life of the modern church. Like the rum jug which is preserved for medicinal purposes, the revival has a use in the pathology of modern church life. The doctrine of personal salvation which is of chief concern, in the ministry to the adolescent population[4] of the modern church, is just as vital as ever; though it is not the only doctrine of the church of the husbandman, which has come in the country.

A relic of the pioneer days is the custom known as the "Group System." By this a preacher comes to a church once a month, or twice, and preaches a sermon, returning promptly to his distant place of residence. The early settlers of this country who originated this system were lonely and individualized. They believed that religion consisted in a mere message of salvation, so that all they required was to hear from a preacher once in a while.

But the districts in which the "Group System" is used have grown beyond this religious satisfaction and the "Group System" no longer renders adequate religious service. Religion has become a greater [Pg 11]ministry than can be rendered in the form of a message, however well preached.

Like all outworn customs, this one breeds abuses as it grows older. Its value having passed away, it has forms of offensiveness. In sections of Missouri where the farmers are rich they say with contempt, "None of the ministers lives in the country." The "Group System," in a territory of Missouri comprising forty-one churches, organizes its forces as follows: these forty-one churches have nine ministers who live in five communities and go out two miles, ten miles, sometimes thirty miles, in various directions, for a fractional service to other communities than those in which they live. Each of the two big towns has more than one minister and none of the country churches has a pastor. Thus the value of the family life of the preacher is cancelled. After all this organization and division of the men into small fractions among the churches, there are sixteen of these churches which have neither pastor nor preacher.

This "Group System" can be improved, as is done in Tennessee, by the shortening of the journeys which must be made by the minister from his home to his preaching point. Nevertheless, it gives to the country community only a fraction of a man's time. He can interpret religion in only three ways; in the sermon, the funeral service and the wedding. Unfortunately mankind has to do many other things besides getting married, buried or preached at.[Pg 12]

The country community needs a pastor. It is better for the minister who preaches to the country to live in the country. There are some parts which cannot support a pastor, but the minister to country churches should know the daily round of country life. Religion can never be embodied in a sermon; and when religion comes to be limited to a formal act it is tinged with suspicion in the eyes of most men. Sermons and funerals and weddings become to country people the windows by which religion flies out of the community. Especially among farmers, religion is a matter of every-day life. What religion the farmer has grows out of his yearly struggle with the soil and with the elements. His belief in God is a belief in Providence. His God is the creator of the sun and the seasons, the wind and the rain. The man who does not with him share these experiences cannot long interpret them for him in terms of scripture or of church.

The policy of the newer territories of the church must be to translate the "Group System" into pastorates. The long range group service should be transformed into short and compact group ministry; the pastor should live in the country community and the length of his journey should never be longer than his horse can drive. A group of churches which are not more than ten miles apart constitute a country parish. Some few active ministers are able to make thirty to forty miles on horseback on a Sunday, among a scattered people. This is[Pg 13] well, but as soon as the railroad becomes an essential factor in the monthly visit of ministers to the country, religion passes out of that community.

The service of the country preacher, in other words, is essentially confined to the country community, and the bounds of the country community are determined by the length of the team haul or horseback ride to which that population is accustomed. Within these bounds religious life and expression are possible. Immersed in his own community, the life of the minister and of his family attain immediate religious value. The whole influence of the minister's home, the service of his wife to the people, which is often greater than his own, and the development of his children's life, these are all of religious use to his people.

A recent speaker upon this matter said, "I doubt if even the Lord Jesus Christ could have saved this world if he had come down to it only once in two weeks on Saturday and gone back on Monday morning."

The pastor, then, is the type of community builder needed in the country. The pastor works with a maximum of sincerity, while sincerity may in preaching be reduced to the lowest terms. He is in constant, intimate, personal contact. The preacher is dealing with theories and ideals not always rooted in local experiences. The pastor lives the life of the people. He is known to them and their lives are known to him. The preacher may perform his oratorical[Pg 14] ministry through knowledge of populations long since dead and by description of foreign and alien countries. It is possible to preach acceptably about kingdoms that have not yet existed. But the work of a pastor is the development of ideals out of situations. It is his business to inspire the daily life of his people with high idealism and to construct those aspirations and imaginations out of the daily work of mankind, which are proper to that work and essential to that people.

An illustrious example of such ministry is that of John Frederick Oberlin,[5] whose pastorate at Waldersbach in the Vosges consisted of a service to his people in their every need, from the building of roads to the organization and teaching of schools. It would have been impossible for Oberlin to have served these people through preaching alone. Being a mature community, indeed old in suffering and in poverty, they needed the ministry of a pastor, and this service he rendered them in the immersion of his life with theirs, and the bearing of their burdens, even the most material and economic burden of the community, upon his shoulders.

The passing away of pioneer days discredits the ministry of mere preaching, through increasing variation of communities, families and individuals. The preacher's message is not widely varied. It is the interpreting of tradition, gospel and dogma. His sources can all be neatly arranged on a book [Pg 15]shelf. One suspects that the greater the preacher, the fewer his books. On the contrary, the pastor's work is necessitated by growing differences of his people. He must be all things to many different kinds of men. In the country community this intimate intercourse and varying sympathy take him through a wider range of human experience than in a more classified community. He must plow with the plowman, and hunt with the hunter, and converse with the seamstress, be glad with the wedding company and bear the burden of sorrow in the day of death. Moreover, nobody outside a country community knows how far a family can go in the path to poverty and still live. No one knows how eccentric and peculiar, how reserved and whimsical the life of a household may be, in the country community, unless he has lived as neighbor and friend to such a household. The preacher cannot know this. Not all the experience of the world is written even in the Bible. The spirit shall "teach us things to come." It is the pastor who learns these things by his daily observation of the lives of men.

The communities themselves in the country differ widely, even in conformity to given types, and when all is said by the general student, the pastor has the knowledge of his own community. It belongs peculiarly to him. No one else can ever know it and there are no two communities alike. In the intense localism of a community, its religious history is[Pg 16] hidden away and its future is involved. The man who shall touch the springs of the community's life must know these local conditions with the intimate detail which only he commands who daily goes up and down its paths. This man is the pastor. Except the country physician, no other living man is such an observer as he.

The end of the pioneer days means, therefore, to religious people, the establishment of the pastorate. The religious leader for the pioneer was the preacher, but the community which clings to preaching as a satisfactory and final religious ministry is retrograde. In this retarding of religious progress is the secret of the decline of many communities. The great work of ministering to them is in supplanting the preacher, who renders but a fractional service to the people, by a pastor whose preaching is an announcement of the varied ministry in which he serves as the curé of souls.

The pioneer days are gone. Only in the Southern Appalachian region are there arrested communities in which, in our time, the ways of our American ancestors are seen. The community builder cannot change the type of his people. He can only wait for the change, and enable his people to conform to the new type. For this process new industries, new ways of getting a living are necessary. The teacher or pastor can do something to guide his people in the selection of constructive instead of destructive industry.[Pg 17]

In East Tennessee and in the mountain counties of North Carolina lumbering industries are for the time being employing the people. The result will be a deeper impoverishment; for the timber is the people's greatest source of actual and potential wealth. The leaders of the mountain people should teach reforestation with a view to maintaining the people's future wealth.

In a mountain county of Kentucky a minister seeing that his people needed a new economic life, before they could receive the religious life of the new type, organized an annual county fair. To this he brought, with the help of outside friends, a breed of hogs better than his mountain people knew. He cultivated competition in local industries, weaving and cooking; and started his people on the path of economic success of a new type.

In conclusion, the pioneer was individualistic and emotional. These traits were caused by his economic experience. While that experience lasted, he could be made no other sort of man than this. To this type his home and his business life and his church conformed. Within these characteristics the efficiency of his social life was to be found.


[1] "The Agrarian Changes in the Middle West," by J. B. Ross, in American Journal of Economics, December, 1910.

[2] Rev. Norman C. Schenck.

[3] Rev. Norman C. Schenck.

[4] "Youth," by G. Stanley Hall.

[5] Story of John Frederick Oberlin by Augustus Field Beard, 1909.

[Pg 18]



I shall use the term land farmer to describe the man who tilled the soil in all parts of the country after pioneer days. He is usually called simply the farmer. This is the type with which we are most familiar in our present day literature and in dramatic representations of the country. The land farmer, or farmer, is the typical countryman who in the Middle West about 1835 succeeded the pioneer, and about 1890 was followed by the exploiter of the land.

In the Eastern States pioneer days ended before 1835. The land farmer was the prevailing type throughout New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as early as 1800. In the South the contemporary of the land farmer was the planter or slave holder. The modified type in the South was due to an economic difference. The labor problem was solved in the South by chattel slavery; in the North by the wage system. It is true that throughout much of the South the small farmer held his own. These men conformed to the type of the land farmer. But in the South they did not dominate social and political life as the slave holder did.[Pg 19] In the Eastern States the whole social economy was, until a generation after the Civil War, dominated by the land farmer.

The characteristics of the land farmer are: first, his cultivation of the first values of the land. His order of life is characterized by initial utility. He lived in a time of plenty. The abundance of nature, which was to the pioneer a detriment, was to the land farmer a source of wealth. He tilled the soil and he cut the timber, he explored the earth for mines, seeking everywhere the first values of a virgin land. As these first values were exhausted, he moved on to new territories. All his ideas of social life were those of initial utility. The rich man was the standard and the admired citizen. The policies of government were dominated by the ideas of a land holding people. Individualism proceeded on radiating lines from any given center. The development of personality is the clue to the history of that period.

The second characteristic of the land farmer was his development of the family group. He differed from the pioneer, whose life was lonely and individual, in the perfection of group life in his period. He differs from the exploiter who succeeds him in the country today in the fact that exploitation has dissolved the family group. The experience of the land farmer compacted and perfected the household group in the country. The beginnings of this group life were in the pioneer period, but there was not peace in which the family could develop nor were[Pg 20] there resources by which it could be endowed. The classic period of American home life is that of the land farmer. The typical American home, as it lives in sentiment, in literature and in idealism, is the home of the land farmer.

Third, the land farmer owned his home. He built upon his farm a homestead which in most cases represented his ideal of domestic and family comfort. He built for permanence. So far as his means permitted he provided for his children and for generations of descendants after them. He consecrated the soil to his people and to his name by setting apart a graveyard on his own land, and there he buried his dead.

Fourth, the land farmer had neighbors. His well-developed family group would not have been possible without other groups in the same community and the independence of the family group was relative, being perfected by imitation and economic competition. The land-farmer type came to maturity only when the whole of the land was possessed, when on every side the family group was confronted with other family groups, and neighborliness became universal. The family group is dependent through intermarriage and relationship upon other groups in the community. Family relationships thus came in the land-farmer communities to be very general. Some rough and crude forms of economic co-operation also grew up in this period, as modifications of the competition on which the land-farmer type is based.[Pg 21]

"The farmer type produced a definite social life," says Prof. Ross. "The second period, extending from 1835 to 1890, had as its chief objective the enrichment of the group life."

Fifth, the land farmer competed, by group conflict, with his neighbors. Property was regarded by the land farmer as a family possession. Competition was between group and group, between household and household. The moral strength as well as the moral deficiencies of this type of man flow from this competition. He considered himself essentially bounden to the members of his own group by obligations and free from moral obligations to others. The son received no wages from his father for work on the farm and the daughter did not dream of pay or of an allowance for her labor in the house. The land farmer conceived of his estate as belonging to his family group and embodied in himself. Therefore he had no wage obligations to son or daughter and he felt himself obliged so to distribute his property as to care for all the members of his household. This economic competition compacted the family group and formed the basis for the social economy of the country community. The land farmer had no ideal of community prosperity. His thought for generations has been to make his own farm prosperous, to raise some crop that others shall not raise, to have a harvest that other men have not and to find a market which other men have not discovered, by which he and his farm and his group may prosper.[Pg 22] It is hard to convince the land farmer, because of his immersion in this group conflict, that the farmer's prosperity is dependent upon the prosperity of other groups in the community.

The presence of the small group is the sign of normal social life. The group is not complete in itself, but is a unit in human association. So that the farmer economy had its social life and its own type of communities. The economy of the farmer period represents the ideals born in the pioneer nation. The community of the farmer is the destination of the life of the pioneer. The farmer still practises a variety of occupations. His tillage of the soil and his household economy are the most conservative in all American population. He uses modern machinery in the fields, but to a great degree his wife uses the old mechanisms in the kitchen and in the household. The laborers employed on the farm are received into the farmer's family under conditions of social equality. The man who is this year a laborer may in a decade be a farmer. The dignifying of personality with land ownership has been such a general social experience in the country that every individual is thought of in the farmer period as a potential landowner.

The institutions of the rural community of the land-farmer type are the country store, the rural school, and the church. The country store deals in general merchandise and is a natural outgrowth of the stores of the pioneer period in which barter[Pg 23] constituted the whole of the commerce of the community. In the pioneer store but a few commodities were imported from the outer world. The greater part of the merchandise was made in the community and distributed in the store. But the farmer's rural economy is the dawning of the world economy and the general store in the farming community becomes an economic institution requiring great ability and centering in itself the forces of general as well as local economics.

The general storekeeper of this type in the country is at once a business man, a money lender, an employer of labor and the manager of the social center. He sells goods at a price so low as to maintain his local trade against outside competition. He loans money on mortgages throughout the community, and sells goods on credit. Judgment of men and of properties is so essential to his business that if he can not judiciously loan and give credit he cannot maintain a country store. Around his warm stove in the winter and at his door in summer gather the men of the community for discussion of politics, religion and social affairs. In addition to all else, he has been usually the postmaster of the community.

The one-room rural school which is the prevailing type throughout the country is a product of the land-farmer period. Its prevalence shows that we are still in land-farmer conditions: and the criticism to which it is now subjected indicates that we are conscious of a new epoch in rural life.[Pg 24]

It fits well into the life of the land farmer because it gives obviously a mere hint of learning. It has been the boast of its advocates that it taught only the "three Rs." Its training for life is rudimentary only: it gives but an alphabet. The land farmer expected to live in his group. Secure in his own acres and believing himself "as good as anybody," he relied for his son and daughter not upon trained skill, but upon native abilities, sterling character, independence and industry. Of all these the household, not the school, is the source. So that the one-room country school was satisfactory to those who created it.

In another chapter the common schools are more fully discussed. Here it may be said only that the creation of such a system was an honor to any people. The farmers who out of a splendid idealism placed a schoolhouse at every cross roads, on every hilltop and in every mountain valley, exact a tribute of praise from their successors. The unit of measurement of the school district, on which this system was based, was the day's journey of a child six years of age. Two miles must be its longest radius. The generation who spanned this continent with the measure of an infant's pace, mapped the land into districts, erected houses at the centers, and employed teachers as the masters of learning for these little states, were men of statesmanlike power. The country school is a nobler monument of the land farmer than anything else he has done.[Pg 25]

The rural "academy" was the most influential school of the land farmer's time. Situated at the center of leading communities, in New England, Pennsylvania and the older Eastern States, it was often under the control or the influence of the parish minister. It generally exerted a great influence for the building of the church and the community. Its teachers were men of scholarly ideals. Its students were from the locality, being selected by ambition for learning, and by their ability to pay the tuition.

The development of the high schools has generally resulted in the abandonment of the academies. A few have survived and have adapted themselves to new times. But it is to be doubted whether the common schools have so far done as much for building and for organizing country communities, for providing local leadership, for building churches, as did the rural academies of New England, Pennsylvania and other Eastern States.

The farmer's church is the classic American type of church at its best. The farming economy succeeded to the pioneer economy without serious break. The troubles of the country church have their beginnings in the period of the exploiter which is to follow, but the farmer developed the church of the pioneer with sympathy and consistency. The church of the farmer still values personal salvation above all. The revival methods and the simplicity of doctrine[Pg 26] have remained, but the farmer has added typical methods of his own.

The effect of this individualism is exhibited in the multiplication of churches among farmers. So long as it is admitted that the church is for personal salvation, it does not need to be a social institution. A small group is as effective as a large one for securing salvation for individuals. Two churches or three may as well serve a community as one, if personal salvation be the service rendered. The gospel is for the farmer good tidings,—not a call to social service. The result of the farmer period has been, therefore, the multiplication of competitive country churches. An instance of this competitive condition is: the community in Kansas in which among four hundred people resident in a field, there are seven churches, each of them attempting to maintain a resident pastor. In Centre County, Pa., in a radius of four miles from a given point, there are twenty-four country churches. In the same territory within a radius of three miles are sixteen of these country churches. This condition is satisfactory to the ideals of the farmer. If the farmer type were permanent these churches might serve permanently for the ministry of personal salvation. They are well attended by devout and religious-minded people. Their condemnation is not in the farmer economy but in the inevitable coming of the exploiter and the husbandman with their different experience and different type of mind.[Pg 27]

In this period the minister frequently is himself a tiller of the soil. Many of the older churches had land, ten or twenty or forty acres, which the minister was expected to till, and from it to secure a part of his living. A church at Cranberry, N. J., had a farm of one hundred acres until the close of the nineteenth century. But with the coming of the exploiter and the husbandman the minister ceases to be an agriculturist.

Like unto the tillage of the soil by the minister was the "donation" to the minister, of vegetables, corn, honey and other farm products. At one time this filled a large place in the supply of the minister's living. In various communities the custom has remained with fine tenacity in the presentation to the minister of portions of farm produce throughout the year. But the portions so given are fewer, as years pass, and the total quantity small. The donation of vegetables and farm produce has survived in but a few places. The modes of life which succeeded to the farmer economy are dependent on cash for the distribution of values, and the "donation," if it remain at all, is a gift of money. Frequently the "donation" has survived as a social gathering, being perpetuated in one of its functions only, its earlier purposes and its essential form being forgotten.

The church of the land farmer corresponded by logical social causation to the social economy of this type. It was seated with family pews generally[Pg 28] rented by the family group and sometimes owned in fee. In the South the slave-holding churches, which have all passed away, had galleries for the slaves, who worshipped thus under the same roof with their masters. The preaching of this period was directed to the development of group life. Its ethical standards were those of the household group, in which private property in land, domestic morality, filial and domestic experiences furnished the stimuli.

The land-farmer's church had some organizations to correspond to the differences in social life. The presence of the children in the family group is represented in the Sunday schools and parochial schools built during this period. The schools are in many cases highly organized, with separate recognition of infancy, adolescence and middle life. In Protestant churches the particular concerns of women and the religious service rendered by them take form in women's societies in the churches, mostly charitable and missionary.

Finally, at the close of the land-farmer period, about 1890, there sprang up the young people's societies, which in the ten closing years of the land-farmer period reached a membership of hundreds of thousands among the Protestant churches. These societies of young people were organized in the churches to correspond to the growing self-consciousness among adolescent members of the land-farmer's household. The young men and women in the maturing of the family group came to have a life of[Pg 29] their own. As frequently happens, the family group reached its highest development and perfection just before it was to pass away.

The church of the land-farmer is the typical Protestant church of the United States. So influential has the farmer been in national life that organized religion has idealized his type of church. It has been transported to villages and towns. It has become the type of church most frequent in the cities.

Nearly all the Protestant churches in New York City are land-farmer churches; "and that," says a noted city pastor, "is what ails them."[6] This church centers its activities in preaching, rents or assigns its pews to families, and organizes societies for the various factors of the family group. It has Sunday schools, women's, men's and young people's societies, with only one minister to supervise them all.

The transformation of this type of church, so deeply rooted in the idealism of the whole people, into a church better suited to city, factory, town and mining settlement, has been the problem for Protestant bodies to solve in the past twenty years. The beginning of this transformation, it is striking to observe, came at the end of the land-farmer period, about 1890.

The land-farmer, then, whose period according to Prof. Ross, extended from 1835 to 1890 in the [Pg 30]Middle West, is the best known agricultural type. He is the typical countryman as the countryman is imagined in the cities and recorded in our literature. It has been the American hope that he should be the land-owner of the days to come. In East Tennessee the farmer is still the type of landowner in country communities. In some portions of Michigan and Minnesota the farmer type gives character to the whole population, but generally throughout the country the processes described by Prof. Ross have undermined the integrity of the farmer type and broken his hold upon leadership of the country population. Within the last two decades, since 1890, the farmer has been gradually discouraged and has realized that his economy is not suited to survive. The most representative farming communities today are those of Scotch or Scotch-Irish people, whose instinctive tenacity, their "clannishness," has perpetuated longer than in other instances the rural economy and the country community.

In using the term land-farmer I am aware of its close resemblance to the term exploiter. The word itself points to exploitation of land. The land farmer has used the raw materials of the country. He has tilled the soil until its fertility was exhausted and then moved on to the newer regions of the West, again to farm and to exploit the virgin riches of a plenteous land. The planter in the South, possessing frequently more than a thousand acres, was accustomed to till a portion of one hundred, two[Pg 31] hundred or four hundred acres, until its fertility had been exhausted. Then he moved his slaves to another section, cleared the land and cultivated it until its power to produce had also been exhausted. The difference between land-farming and exploitation is the absence of speculation in land in the former period.


[6] Rev. Charles Stelzle.

[Pg 32]



The third type in American agriculture is the exploiter. Between the farmer and the husbandman there is an economic revolution. In fact the exploiter himself is a transition type between the farmer and the husbandman. "The fundamental problem in American economics always has been that of the distribution of land," says Prof. Ross. The exploiter is, I presume, a temporary economic type, created in the period of re-distribution of land. The characteristic of the exploiter is his commercial valuation of all things. He is the man who sees only the value of money.

It was natural that with the maturing of an American population, the exploitation of the natural resources should come. We have exploited the forest, removing the timber from the hills and making out of its vast resources a few fortunes. We wasted in the process nine-tenths for every one-tenth of wealth accumulated by the exploiter. We have exploited the coal and iron and other minerals. The exploitation of the oil deposits and natural gas reservoirs has been a national experience and a national scandal. The tendency to exploit every[Pg 33] opportunity for private wealth has characterized the past two decades.[7]

There are those who exploit the child vitality of the families of working people, and the States have put legal checks in the way of child labor. The exploitation of the labor of women has gone so far as to threaten the vitality of the generation to be born, and laws have been passed which forbid the employment of women except within limits. The ethical discussion of the past decade is largely a keen analysis of the methods of exploitation of resources, of men and of communities, and an attempt to fix the bounds of the exploitation of values for private wealth.

There are those who exploit the farm. "Farms which from the original entry until 1890 had been owned by the same family, or which had changed owners but once or twice, and whose owners were proud to assert that their broad acres had never been encumbered with mortgages, since 1890 have been sold, in some instances as often as ten times, in more numerous instances four or five times, and a large part of the purchase price is secured by encumbering the estates!"[8]

Agriculture, especially of the Middle West, is affected in all its parts by the exploitation of land. To a traveller from the Eastern States, the selling [Pg 34]and re-selling of farm land, without fertilization or improvement by any of the successive owners, is a source of amazement.

"The new lands opened under the Homestead act of half a century ago were often exploited for temporary profit by soil robbers who were experts of their kind. Owing to such farm management, the yield of the acre in the United States gradually decreased. Very little intensive farming was done."[9]

The commercial exploitation of land dissolves every permanent factor in the farm economy. The country community of the land-farmer type is being undermined and is crumbling away under the influence of exploitation. The pioneers were a Westward emigration, pushing Westward the boundaries of the country at the rate of fifty miles in a decade; but since 1890 emigration has been eastward, and it is made up of farmers who move to ever cheaper and cheaper lands to the East, the tide of higher prices coming from the West. Already in central Illinois the values of land seem to have reached the high water mark. About Galesburg "the Swedes have got hold of the land and they will not sell." Among the last recorded sales in this district were some at prices between two hundred and two hundred fifty dollars per acre.

It is not generally understood that this exploitation of farm lands has extended over nearly the whole [Pg 35]country. Its spread is increasingly rapid in the last two years. In the Gulf States and the Carolinas and in Tennessee and Kentucky prices of farm land have increased in the last five years from twenty-five to one hundred per cent. Even in the most conservative counties in Pennsylvania the prices of farm land have increased twenty to twenty-five per cent.

The sign of this exploitation is a rapid increase in the market values of farm land, due to frequent sale and purchase. This increase is independent of any increase in essential value to the farmer. The net income of the farmer may have been increased only five per cent, as in the State of Indiana, whereas the values of farm land have increased in the same period more than one hundred per cent. That is, the speculative increases have been twenty times as much as the agricultural increase.

Along with this change in farm values goes the increase or decrease in the number of tenant farmers and the shifting of the ownership of land to farm landlords. In some parts of the country this exploitation has taken a purely speculative form. In all parts it is speculative in character, but in some sections of the country the exploiters are themselves farmers and the process is imposed upon the farmers themselves by economic causes. This is true of the Illinois and Indiana lands, which are under the influence of a system of drainage, but there are other portions of the country in which the process is chiefly[Pg 36] speculative. In some Western States the exploitation of farm land is in the hands of speculators themselves, doing real estate business purely as a matter of trade. It would be a mistake, however, to attribute a process so general as this one to the power exerted by a class of real estate agents. Its causes are deeper than the commercial process. They go into the very roots of modern life. This should be clearly understood, because when frankly realized it compels the adjustment of social, educational and religious work to the period of exploitation.

The effect of this process is upon all the life of country people. It has created its own class of men. There was no intention in the mind of earlier Americans that we should ever have a tenant class in America. The assumption on which all our ideals are built has been that we would be a land-owning people, but we are confronted with a tenantry problem as difficult as any in the world. The process of exploiting land has added to the social and economic life of the country the farm landlord, whose influence upon the immediate future of the American country community, church and school, in all sections will be great, and in many communities will be dominating.

The exploitation of land has produced the retired farmer. He is a pure example of the weakness of the exploiter economy. Originally he was a homesteader, or perhaps a purchaser of cheap land in the early days. He expected not to remain a farmer,[Pg 37] but hoped for removal to the East or to a college town. The motives which animated him were varied, but among them none was so prominent as a desire for better education than was provided for his children in the country community of the farmer type. So that at forty or fifty years of age he seized an opportunity to sell his land, as the prices were rising, and retired to the town with a cash fortune for investment.

Immediately the economic forces to which he had submitted himself made of him a new type, for the retired farmer in the Middle West is a characteristic type of the leading towns and cities. Some whole streets in large centers are peopled with retired farmers. The civic policies of scores of small municipalities are controlled in a measure by them, so that journalists, religious leaders, reformers and politicians have very clear-cut opinions as to the value of the retired farmer.

The analysis of this situation is as follows. While the land which he sold continued to increase in value, his small fortune began to diminish in value. The interest on his money has been less every ten years; whereas he formerly could loan at first for six and sometimes seven per cent, he cannot loan safely now for more than five or six per cent.

Meantime the prices of all things he has to buy are expressed in cash,—no longer in kind as on the farm; and these cash prices are growing. In the past decade they have almost doubled. This means[Pg 38] that he is a poorer man. His money has a diminished purchasing power and he has a smaller yearly income.

In addition to this, his wants, and the wants of the members of the family are increased two or three times. They cannot live as they lived on the farm. They cannot dress as they dressed in the country. The pressure of these increasing economic wants, demanding to be satisfied out of a diminished income, with higher prices for the things to be purchased, keeps the retired farmer a poor man. The result is that the retired farmer is opposed to every step of progress in the growing town in which he lives. He opposes every increase of taxation and fights every assessment. He dreads a subscription list and hates to hear of contributions. Although an intelligent and pious man, he has come to be an obstacle to the building of libraries, churches and schools and opposed to all humane and missionary activities. He is suffering from a great economic mistake.

Before leaving the exploiter it is to be said he also has his church. The exploiter has built no community. He has contributed the retired farmer to the large towns and small cities of the Middle West. It is natural, therefore, that few exploiter churches are found in the country. But in the larger centers there are churches whose doctrine and methods are those of the exploiter. Indeed, at the present time the exploiter's doctrine in ethics and[Pg 39] religion is highly popular. It is the doctrine of the consecration of wealth.

There are in the larger cities churches whose business is to give; Sunday after Sunday they hear pleas and consider the cases of college presidents, superintendents of charities, secretaries of mission boards and other official solicitors. These churches have systematized the discipline of giving. Their boards of officers control the appeals that shall be made to their people. Such churches are highly individualist in character, and the preacher who ministers in such a church has a doctrine of individual culture and responsibility.

The exploiter's doctrine of systematic giving has gone into all of the communities in which prosperous people live. It has become a moral code for millionaires, and the response to it is annually measured in the great gifts of men of large means to institutions which exist for the use of all mankind.

But not all the farm exploiters retired from the farm. The stronger and more successful have become absentee landlords. These men have invested their cash in farm lands. Distrusting the investments of the city market, and fearing Wall Street, they have purchased increased acreage in the country, and when the local market was exhausted, they have invested in the Southwest and the far West, buying ever more and more land. They have[Pg 40] proven that "It is possible to maintain a vicious economic method on a rising market."[10]

These landlords have leased their land in accordance with mere expediency. No plans have been made in the American rural economy for a tenantry. The lease, therefore, throughout the United States generally is for only one year. This gives to the landlord the greatest freedom, and to the tenant the least responsibility. Neither is willing to enter into a contract by which the land itself can be benefitted. The landlord is looking for the increase of the values of land, and is ever mindful of a possible buyer. Moreover, he is watchful of the market for the crop and of the size of the crop, so that he desires to be free at the end of the year to make other arrangements.

The tenant on his part is somewhat eager to do as he pleases for a year. He expects to be himself an owner, and he does not expect to remain permanently as a tenant on that farm. He reckons that he can get a good deal out of the land in the year, and is unwilling to bind himself for a long period. "The American system of farm tenantry is the worst of which I have knowledge in any country."[11]

It is true that in some parts of the country leases of three and five years are granted to tenants by the landlords. At Penn Yan, New York, a reliable class of Danes secure such leases from the owners. I am [Pg 41]aware, also, that in Delaware, in an old section dependent upon fertilization for its crops, where the land is in the hands of a few representatives of the old farmer type who have held it for generations, that the tillage of the soil shows specialization. The landlord and the tenant co-operate. The leases, while they are for but a year, specify how the land shall be tilled, how fertilized. They require the rotation of crops and the keeping of a certain number of cattle by the tenants. The landlord personally oversees the tillage of several farms. This seems the beginning of husbandry, instead of exploitation of the land.

Another instance of the landlord who is more than a mere exploiter is that of David Rankin, recently deceased. In the last years of his life Mr. Rankin owned about thirty thousand acres of land in Missouri. It was said in 1910 that he had seventeen thousand acres of corn. He had a genius for estimating the values of land, the expensiveness of drainage, and the possibilities of the market. He was an expert buyer of cattle, and a master of the problems entering into progressive farming on a large scale.

From his vast acreage Mr. Rankin sold not one bushel of corn. All his crops "went off on four legs." "He drove his corn to market," as they say in the Middle West. He bought cattle from the ranches, for none were bred on his own land. He fattened them for the market, translating corn into[Pg 42] beef and he was well aware of the values of pork in the economy of such a farm. Nothing went to waste. According to the formula in Nebraska, "For every cow keep a sow, that's the how." Mr. Rankin made large profits from his cattle and hogs.

It is true that he cared nothing for the community or its institutions. On his wide acres family life was replaced by boarding-houses. Schools and churches were closed, and many farmhouses built by the homesteaders rotted down to their foundations. But David Rankin was a husbandman, if not a humanist. His tillage of the soil was successful in that it maintained the fertility of the soil, that it produced large quantities of food for the consumer, and that it was profitable.

The following is a description of community life under the influence of such great landlords, by a Western observer:—

"The city of Casselton, North Dakota, was originally started about the year 1879. Thirty years ago the first settlers came to this great prairie region from the New England and Central States. It was shortly before this or about this time that the Northern Pacific Railroad was built across this western prairie. The government gave to the road every other section of land on each side of the railroad for thirty miles as a bonus. That land was sold in the early days by the railroad to purchasers for fifty cents an acre. It was some of the finest farming land in the wide world. Out of those sales[Pg 43] grew some of the immense farms that have been so famous over the country and while they are great business concerns managed with fine business ability, yet they are not much of a help in the settling of the country. Here within one mile of Casselton is the famous Dalrymple farm of twenty-eight thousand acres. This farm employs during the busy season what men it needs from the drifting classes and puts no families on its broad acres. These men are here a short season in the summer, then are gone. They are rushed with work for that season, Sundays as well as other days from early morning to late at night, making it almost impossible to touch their religious life or even to count them a part of the community life.

"Another farm is the Chaffee farm of thirty-five thousand acres. Mr. Chaffee is a thorough business man but is a fine Christian and places a good family on each section of land. He allows no Sunday work. Has a little city kept up in beautiful condition in the center of his land where he lives with his clerks and immediate helpers. Here they have a neat little Congregational church and support their own minister. His fine influence is felt all over the country. The partners in this farm also have a land and loan corporation and also a large flour mill in Casselton which employs about twenty-eight men, running day and night during the busy season.

"There are many farms smaller, from one thousand acres and up. Many also of a quarter section.[Pg 44] Casselton was built simply as a center for this beautiful and rich farming region. It is in the center of a strip six miles long and twenty-five miles wide which is said to be one of the finest sections in the land. There are other towns sprung up in the same section also. Through the past thirty years farmers have retired, well to do, and moved into the city. Here are now maintained excellent schools."

In conclusion: the exploitation of farm lands is a process with which the church in the country cannot deal by persuasion. It is an economic condition. They who are engaged in this process or are concerned in its effects are in so far immune to the preacher who ignores or who does not understand these economic conditions. Their action is conditioned by their status. They will infallibly act with relation to the church in accordance with the motives which arise out of their condition. That is, they will act as tenant farmers, as retired farmers or as absentee landlords. They must be treated on these terms. Their whole relation to organized religion will be that of the condition in which they live and by which they get their daily bread. This is a matter independent of personal goodness. The church is dependent not on personal good influences, but upon the response which a man makes in accordance with his economic and social character.

For instance, in Wisconsin a church worker found that thousands of acres in a certain section were owned by a Milwaukee capitalist. He found[Pg 45] that the tenant farmers on these acres were poor and struggling for a better living, and he could not, among them, finance an adequate church. He promptly went to Milwaukee and secured five minutes of the time and attention of the absentee landlord. When he had stated the case and the reasons why this large owner should give to the country church on his acres, the man promptly said, "You have stated what I never before realized and I will give you a contribution of one hundred dollars per year for that church until you hear from me to the contrary."

In contrast to this there is in Central Illinois a large estate of five thousand acres. The owner lives in a distant city and his son tills the land. It is known among the neighbors that the son has orders to oppose all improvements of churches and of schools, "because there is no money for us in the church or the school."

It is useless to complain of the position in which a man is. The minister's duty is to utilize him in his own status and to enable him to practise the virtues which are open to him. The retired farmer can become an active and devoted evangelist, preacher or organizer. He should be made a leader in the intellectual development of the farmer's problem of the region. He has leisure and intelligence and is often a devout man. It is the business of the minister to transform this into religious and social efficiency. The temperance movement in[Pg 46] the Middle West has had generous and devoted support from the retired farmers living in the towns. The families of these one time farmers are seeking after culture. The literary and aesthetic aspects of the community can well be committed to members of these families. Their value for the community is probably in these directions. Above all it is the business of the minister to sympathize with the life they are living and to enable them to live it to the highest advantage.

The energies of the church should be devoted to the tenant farmer. Of this more will be said in another place. He also must be treated in sympathy with his social and economic experience and the religious service rendered to him must be the complete betterment of his life as he is trying to live it. He is not a sinner because he is a tenant and what he does as a tenant is therefore not a misdemeanor, but a normal reaction upon life. The church can help him in purging his life from the iniquities peculiar to a tenant and a dependent. The noblest motives must be brought out and the life he is to live should be given its own ideals.

Above all the period of exploitation must be understood by the teacher and the preacher to be a preparation, a transition through which country people are coming to organized and scientific agriculture. Gradually the influence of science and the leadership of the departments and colleges of agriculture are being extended in the country. Little[Pg 47] by little, whether through landlord or tenant, farming is becoming a profession requiring brains, science and trained intelligence. The country church should promote this process because only through its maturity can the country church in the average community find its own establishment. The reconstruction of the churches now going on corresponds to the exploitation of the land. The duty of the church in the process of exploitation is to build the community and to make itself the center of the growing scientific industry on which the country community in the future will be founded.

The religion of the exploiter moves in the giving of money. Consecration of his wealth is consecration of his world and of himself. The church that would save him must teach him to give. His sins are those of greed, his virtues are those of benevolence. His own type, not the least worthy among men, should be honored in his religion. No man's conversion ever makes him depart from his type, but be true to his type. Therefore the religion for the exploiter of land is a religion of giving, to the poor at his door, to the ignorant in this land, and to the needy of all lands.


[7] The Conservation of Natural Resources in the United States, by Van Hise.

[8] J. B. Ross—"Agrarian Changes in the Middle West."

[9] Secretary of Agriculture, James Wilson at the United States Land and Irrigation Exposition, Chicago, Nov. 19, 1910.

[10] The Rural Life Problem in the United States, by Sir Horace Plunkett.

[11] Dean Chas. F. Curtiss, State College of Iowa.

[Pg 48]



The scientific farmer is dependent upon the world economy. He is the local representative of agriculture, whose organization is national and even international. He raises cotton in Georgia, but he "makes milk" in Orange County, New York, because the market and the soil and the climate and other conditions require of him this crop.

He is dependent upon the college of agriculture for the methods by which he can survive as a farmer. Tradition, which dominated the agriculture of a former period, is a disappearing factor in husbandry of the soil. The changes in market conditions are such as to impoverish the farmer who learns only from the past. Tradition could teach the farmer how to raise the raw materials, under the old economy, in which the farmhouse and community were sufficient unto themselves. But in a time when the wool of the sheep in Australia goes halfway round the world in its passage from the back of a sheep to the back of a man, the sheep farmer becomes dependent upon the scientist. He cannot afford to raise sheep unless the scientific man assures him[Pg 49] that in the production of wool his land has its highest utility. "The American farm land is passing into the hands of those who will use it to the highest advantage."[12]

The dependence of the scientific farmer or husbandman upon the world market and upon the scientists who are studying agriculture enlarges the circle of his life from the rural household to the rural community. In the rural community agriculture can be taught; in the household it cannot. The only teaching of the household is tradition; the teaching of the community is in terms of science. The country school and the country church take a greater place as community institutions just so soon as the farmer passes out of the period of exploitation into that of scientific husbandry.

The husbandman is the economist in agriculture. He is to the farm what the husband was to the household in old times. One is tempted to say also that the husbandman is he who marries the land. American farm land has suffered dishonor and degradation, but it has known all too little the affection which could be figuratively expressed in marriage. The Bible speaks of "marrying the land."—"Thy land shall be called Beulah for thy land shall be married." Side by side in this country we have the lands which have been dishonored, degraded, abandoned, dissolute, and the lands husbanded, fertilized, enriched and made beautiful.[Pg 50]

The husbandman or rural economist cares more for qualities than for quantity. He works not merely for intensive cultivation of the soil, but also for the preservation of the soil and use of it in its own terms, at its highest values.

The principle at work is not the increase in the farmer's material gains or possessions. The husbandry of the soil is not a mere increase in market values. It is a deeper and more ethical welfare than that which can be put in the bank. "Agriculture is a religious occupation." When it sustains a permanent population and extends from generation to generation the same experiences, agriculture is productive in the highest degree of moral and religious values. In the words of Director L. H. Bailey, of Cornell, "The land is holy."

This is especially true at the present time, when the land is limited in amount. Already the whole nation is dependent upon the farmer in the degree intimated by the statement of Dean Bailey. "The census of 1900 showed approximately one-third of our people on farms or closely connected with farms, as against something like nine-tenths, a hundred years previous. It is doubtful whether we have struck bottom, although the rural exodus may have gone too far in some regions, and we may not permanently strike bottom for sometime to come."[13]

The service of the few to the many, therefore, is the present status of the husbandman. The very [Pg 51]fact that one-third of the people must feed all the people imposes religious and ethical conditions upon the farmer. The dependence of the greater number for their welfare upon those who are to till the soil brings that obligation, which the farmer is well constituted to bear and to which his serious spirit gives response.

This means that with the growing consciousness of the need of scientific agriculture there will arise, indeed is now arising, a new ethical and religious feeling among country people. The church which is made up of scientific farmers is a new type of church.

A notable testimony to the influence of the church in developing husbandry is by Sir Horace Plunkett,[14] who testifies to the religious influence that led to the agrarian revolution in Denmark.

"My friends and I have been deeply impressed by the educational experience of Denmark, where the people, who are as much dependent on agriculture as are the Irish, have brought it by means of organization to a more genuine success than it has attained anywhere else in Europe. Yet an inquirer will at once discover that it is to the 'High School' founded by Bishop Grundtvig, and not to the agricultural schools, which are also excellent, that the extraordinary national progress is mainly due. A friend of mine who was studying the Danish system of state aid to agriculture, found this to be the [Pg 52]opinion of the Danes of all classes, and was astounded at the achievements of the associations of farmers not only in the manufacture of butter, but in a far more difficult undertaking, the manufacture of bacon in large factories equipped with all the most modern machinery and appliances which science had devised for the production of the finished article. He at first concluded that this success in a highly technical industry by bodies of farmers indicated a very perfect system of technical education. But he soon found another cause. As one of the leading educators and agriculturists of the country put it to him: 'It's not technical instruction, it's the humanities.' I would like to add that it is also, if I may coin a term, the 'nationalities,' for nothing is more evident to the student of Danish education or, I might add, of the excellent system of the Christian Brothers in Ireland, than that one of the secrets of their success is to be found in their national basis and their foundation upon the history and literature of the country."

Every observer of these Danish Folk High Schools testifies to their religious enthusiasm, their patriotism and above all to the songs with which their lecture hours are begun and ended. A graduate of these schools living for years in America, the mother of children then entering college, said, "Those songs helped me over the hardest period of my life. I can always sing myself happy with them." The spirit which pervades the schools was influential in Danish[Pg 53] agriculture, as expressed in the title of Grundtvig's best known hymn, "The Country Church Bells." Under such an influence as this has the agricultural life of Denmark taken the lead over its urban and manufacturing life.

The modifying influence of husbandry upon the church and its teaching is illustrated in the following incident. A farmer in Missouri had a good stand of corn which promised all through the summer to produce an excellent crop. Abundance of sun and rain favored the farmer's hope that his returns would be large, but in the fall the crop proved a failure. The farmer at once cast about for the cause of this disappointment. He had his soil analyzed by a scientist and discovered that it was deficient in nitrogen. The next year he devoted to supplying this lack in the soil and in the year following had an abundant return in corn. "Now that experience turned me away," said he, "from the country church, because the teaching of the country church as I had been accustomed to it was out of harmony with the study of the situation and the conquest over nature. I had been taught in the country church to surrender under such conditions to the will of Providence." The country church of the husbandman must therefore be a church in harmony with the tillage of the soil by science. Like the farm households about it, the church will possess a large wealth of tradition, but the church of the scientific farmer must be open to the teachings of science and[Pg 54] must be responsive, intelligent and alert in the intellectual leadership of the people.

A church of this sort is at West Nottingham, Maryland. The minister Rev. Samuel Polk, had been discouraged by the inattention of his people to his message. He had come to feel that this is an unbelieving age and had surrendered himself to the steadfast performance of his duties, the preaching of the truth faithfully and the ministry to his people so far as they would receive it. In addition he had the task of tilling forty acres of land which belongs to the church. This he was doing faithfully, but without much intelligent interest.

An address on the country church in an agricultural college sent him home with new ideas. He saw that his life as a farmer and as a preacher had to be made one. He determined to preach to farmers and to till his land as an example of Christian husbandry. He began as a scholar by studying the scientific use of his land. He found at once that the farmers about him were forced to study the tillage of their soil, because it had been exhausted of fertility by methods of farming no longer profitable. In the first year the preacher raised, by means of a dust mulch through a dry summer, a crop of one hundred and seventy-five bushels of potatoes. Meantime his preaching had been enlivened with new illustrations and he was enabled to enforce, to the amazement of his hearers, new impressions with old truths. The Scripture teaching which had become[Pg 55] dull and scholastic became live and modern, as he preached the Old Testament to a people who were recognizing the sacredness of land. His audiences began to increase. His influence on his people very shortly passed bounds and reserves. When at the end of the season his potato crop came in, the farmers gave sign of recognizing his leadership as a farmer and as a preacher. Within a year this man had taken a place as a first citizen, which no one else in the community could hold. Because he was a preacher he could become the leading authority upon farming and because he must needs be a farmer he found it possible to preach with greater acceptance.

This pastor gave up the methods of bookish preparation for preaching. He preached as the Old Testament men did, to the occasion and to the event. He spoke to the community as being a man himself immersed in the same life as theirs. On a recent occasion when a woman was very sick in one of the farm houses and had suffered from the neglect of her neighbors, his sermon consisted of an appeal to visit the sick. That afternoon the invalid was called on by thirty-eight people and sent a message before night, begging the minister to hold the people back.

There are a few ministers throughout the country who are successful farmers. Many ministers are speculators in farm land. They belong in the exploiter class. One more instance should be given[Pg 56] of the preacher who promotes agriculture. In a recent discussion the writer was asked, "Do you then believe that the minister should attend the agricultural college," and he replied, "No. The agricultural college should be brought to the country church."

At Bellona, New York, the ministers of two churches, Methodist and Presbyterian, united with their officers in a farmers' club, to which others were admitted. This club under the leadership of Rev. T. Maxwell Morrison, makes the nucleus of its work the study of the agriculture of the neighborhood and the improvement of it. Lecturers from Cornell University are brought throughout the year into the country community to take up in succession the various aspects of farming which may be improved. The market is studied, by chemical analysis the nature of the soil is determined, and the possibilities of the community are raised to their highest value by careful investigation.

This farmers' club has social features as well. Other topics besides farming are occasionally studied but the business of the club is economic promotion of the well-being of the community. Incidentally, it has furnished a social center for the countryside. The churches which have had to do with it have been enlarged, their membership extended and even their gifts to foreign missions have been increased in the period of growth of the farmers' club.

The elements of permanent cultivation of the[Pg 57] soil are found in greater numbers among the Mormons, Scotch Irish Presbyterians, Pennsylvania Germans, who are the best American agriculturists, than among the more unstable populations of farmers. Those elements, however, are, simply speaking, the following.

A certain austerity of life always accompanies successful and permanent agriculture. By this is meant a fixed relation between production and consumption.[15] Successful tillers of the soil labor to produce an abundant harvest. They live at the same time in a meager and sparing manner. Production is with them raised to its highest power and consumption is reduced to its lowest. This means austere living. Such communities are found among the Scotch Irish farmers. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is peopled with them and their tillage of the soil has continued through two centuries.

A notable illustration is in Illinois. The permanence of the conditions of country life in this community is indicated by the long pastorate of the minister who has just retired. Coming to the church at forty-eight years of age, after other men have ceased from zealous service, he ministered forty-two years to this parish of farmers, and has recently retired at the age of ninety, leaving the church in ideal condition. "The Middle Creek Church is distinctly a country charge, located in the [Pg 58]Southwest corner of Winnebago Township, of the County of Winnebago.

"The church was organized in June, 1855, in a stone schoolhouse. The present house of worship was erected and dedicated in 1861. Five ministers served the church as supplies until 1865, when the Rev. J. S. Braddock, D. D., became the pastor and carried on a splendid work for forty-two years, when he laid down his pastorate in 1907, at the age of ninety."

"This community was settled by homesteaders and pioneers in the early days of the West. Many of them came from Pennsylvania and some of them were of Scotch descent. The history of the community has been but the history of the development of a fertile Western Prairie country. It was settled by strong Presbyterian men, and their descendants are now the backbone of the community. There has been little change, but steady growth."

The second element in the community of husbandmen is mutual support. Professor Gillin of the University of Iowa has described to me the community of Dunkers whom he has studied,[16] being deeply impressed with their communal solidarity. Whenever a farm is for sale these farmers at the meeting-house confer and decide at once upon a buyer within their own religious fellowship. In the week following the minister or a church member writes back to Pennsylvania and the correspondence is pressed, [Pg 59]until a family comes out from the older settlements in the Keystone State to purchase this farm in Iowa and to extend the colony of his fellow Dunkers. Reference is made elsewhere to the communal support given to their own members who suffer economic hardship. The serious tillage of the soil necessarily involves mutual support and the husbandman's life is in his community.

The third factor in communal husbandry is progress. Everyone testifies to the leadership of the "best families" in the transformation of the older modes of the tillage of the soil to the newer. It is impossible for the scientific agriculturist to make much improvement upon a country community until the more progressive spirits and the more open minds have been enlisted. Thereafter the better farming problem is solved. There can be no modern agriculture in a community in which all are equal. The communities of husbandmen will be as sharply differenced from one another, so far as I can see, as men are in the great cities. Leadership is the essential of progress. Gabriel Tardé has clearly demonstrated that only those who are at the top of the social scale can initiate social and economic enterprises. The cultivation of the soil for generations to come must be highly progressive. To recover what we have lost and to restore what has been wasted will exhaust the resources of science and will tax the intelligence of the leaders among husbandmen.[Pg 60]

For this reason the ministers, teachers, and social workers in the country should be not discouraged, but hopeful, when confronted with rural landlords and capitalists. The business of the community leader is to enlist in the common task those persons whose privileges are superior and inspire them with a progressive spirit. Without their leadership the community cannot progress. Without their privileges, wealth and superior education, no progress is possible in the country.

If these pages tell the truth, then agriculture is a mode of life fertile in religious and ethical values. But it must be husbandry, not exploitation. Religious farming is a lifelong agriculture, indeed it involves generations, and its serious, devoted spirit waits for the reward, which was planted by the diligent father or grandfather, to be reaped by the son or grandson. Men will not so consecrate themselves to their children's good without the steadying influence of religion. So that agriculture and religion are each the cause, and each the effect, of the other.

If this is true, then the country church should promote the husbandry of the soil. The agricultural college should be brought into the country parish, for the church's sake. Indeed the minister would do well if his scholarship be the learning of the husbandman. No other science has such religious values. No other books have such immediate relation to the well-being of the people. The min[Pg 61]ister is not ashamed to teach Greek, or Latin,—dead languages. Why should he think it beneath him "to teach the farmer how to farm," provided he can teach the farmer anything? If he be a true scholar, the farmer, who is a practical man, needs his learned co-operation in the most religious of occupations, that the land may be holy.


[12] Rural Economics, by Prof. Thos. Nixon Carver.

[13] "The Country-Life Movement," by L. H. Bailey.

[14] "Ireland in the New Century," by Sir Horace Plunkett.

[15] Professor Thomas Nixon Carver.

[16] See Chapter V.

[Pg 62]



Most of this volume is devoted to the average conditions which prevail throughout the United States. The attempt is made to deal with those causes which are generally operative. It is the writer's opinion that the causes dealt with in other chapters are the prevailing causes of religious and social experience in the most of the United States. As soon as the community, after its early settlement, becomes mature, these causes show the effects here described. But there are exceptions which should be noted and the cause of their different life made clear. These exceptions are represented in the Mormons, the Scottish Presbyterians and the Pennsylvania Germans.

"The best farmers in the country are the Mormons, the Scotch Presbyterians and Pennsylvania Germans." This sentence expresses a general observation of Prof. Carver of Harvard, speaking as an economist. The churches among these three classes of exceptionally prosperous farmers show great tenacity and are free from the weakness which otherwise prevails in the country church. There is a group of causes underlying this exceptional character of the three classes of farmers.[Pg 63]

These exceptional farmers are organized in the interest of agriculture. The Mormons represent this organization in the highest degree. Perhaps no other so large or so powerful a body of united farmers is found in the whole country. They have approached the economic questions of farming with determination to till the soil. They distrust city life and condemn it. They teach their children and they discipline themselves to love the country, to appreciate its advantages and to recognize that their own welfare is bound up in their success as farmers, and in the continuance of their farming communities. This agricultural organization centers about their country churches. They have turned the force of religion into a community making power, and from the highest to the lowest of their church officers the Mormon people are devoted to agriculture as a mode of living.

This principle of organizing the community consciously for agriculture results in the second condition of the life of these three exceptional peoples.

They build agricultural communities. The Mormons are organized by an idea and by the power of leadership. They have recruited their population through preachers and missionaries. This new population is woven at once into the fabric of the community. They are not merely employed in the community: they are married to the community. The organization on which the Mormon community is based becomes embodied at once in a society,[Pg 64] with its own modes of religious, family, and moral feeling and thought.

These two principles are discovered in the Pennsylvania Germans. For more than two centuries they have continued their settlements in Pennsylvania. They are today a chain of societies loosely related to one another through religious sympathy and a common tradition, but united only in the possession of certain characteristics. They also are an organization for agricultural life, though not so consciously organized as the Mormons. Their societies are older and they have replaced with instinctive processes that which is among the Mormons a matter of logic and shrewd application of principles.

The life of the Pennsylvania Germans is expressed in the community. They have as much aversion to other people as they have fondness for their own. Their religion consists of a set of customs in which to them the character of the Christian is embodied. These customs can be expressed and embodied only in the life of common people working on the land. They make plainness, industry, and patience, austerity of life and other agricultural virtues constitute sanctity. It is impossible to believe sincerely in their mode of life and not be a farmer. It is easy to believe the Pennsylvania Germans' code, if one is a farmer, and it is profitable as well.

The Scotch and the Scotch Irish Presbyterians represent a third principle of agricultural success.[Pg 65] Their churches are tenacious and their country communities outlive those of the average type. In them is represented in the highest degree the principle of austerity. By this I mean, as defined by an economist, the custom of living so as to produce much and consume little. These people look upon life with severity. They have little sympathy with the expansive and exuberant life of the young. The men of the community, who are the producers, occupy a relatively greater position than the women, who are the consumers. They exemplify to a slight degree the conscious organization for agriculture, and in a high degree the resultant social life which we have noted among the Mormons and the Pennsylvania Germans; but to the highest degree the Scottish Presbyterians represent this self-denial and rigidity of life—which appears in the others also—and they embody it in their creed. This austerity gives to them a forbidding character, and robs them of some of the esthetic interest attaching to the other two, but it is possible that they are more nearly the ideal type of American farmer because of certain other traits possessed by them.

The Scotch farmer has not in the United States settled in communities or colonies, as he has in Canada, but the typical farming community of this stock is Scotch Irish. As Prof. R. E. Thompson has shown,[17] the emigrants from the North of Ireland, who are themselves of Scotch extraction, have colonized [Pg 66]extensively. That is, they have settled their populations so as to cover a territory and possess it for themselves. But the Scotch, from whom they derive many characteristics, have settled no colony in the world except in the North of Ireland.[18] The peculiarity of these Scotch Irish farming settlements, as shown especially in Pennsylvania, is their capacity to produce leaders in sympathy with the whole of American life. The Mormons produce leaders, but their influence is compromised by religious prejudices. The Pennsylvania Germans have produced no leaders whom they can call their own, and very few writers or educators. The Scotch Irish, on the other hand, considered as farmers, have contributed an extraordinary proportion of the leadership of the United States. They have been able to maintain their own communities in the country and to find for these communities a sufficient leadership, and they have sent forth into the general population a multitude of men for leadership in the army, in the legislatures, in the colleges and universities, and above all, in the pulpit.

In these three types of successful farmers religion is an essential factor. No history can be written of the Mormons, of the "Pennsylvania Dutch" or of the Scotch Presbyterian without recording their religious devotion, their obedience to leaders, to customs and to creed. One cannot live among them [Pg 67]without feeling the peculiar religious atmosphere which belongs to each of them. They are admirable or obnoxious, according as one likes or dislikes this religious character of theirs, but it pervades the whole life of the community. If it be true that there is no type of farmer—except the scientific farmer of the past few years—who has succeeded as these three types have succeeded, and there is no country community so tenacious as their communities are, and if it be true that these farmers more uniformly than other farmers are religiously organized, then it follows that there is an essential relation so far as American agriculture goes, between successful and permanent agriculture and a religious life. The country church becomes the expression of a permanent and abiding rural prosperity. Agriculture is shown by its very nature to require a religious motive. An element of piety appears to be necessary in the makeup of the successful farmer.

In these three types of successful farmer there appears another principle which is common to them all. They are not only organized for farming, but they are organized as a mutual prosperity association, based on their consciousness of kind. Prof. Gillin has called attention to the habit of the Dunkers in Iowa, who are of the Pennsylvania German sects, by which they extend their farming communities.

"The thing that is needed is to make the church the center of the social life of the community. That is easier where there is but one church than where[Pg 68] there are several, but federation is not essential. Thought must be taken by the leaders to make the church central in every interest of life. I know of a community where that has been done. It is the community located south of Waterloo, Ia., in Orange Township. It is composed of an up-to-date community of Pennsylvania Dutch Dunkers. From the very first they have made the church central. When these great changes of which I have spoken began to occur, the leaders of that community began to take measures to checkmate the attractions of the towns for their young people. For example, Fourth of July was made a day of celebration at the church. When the people of other communities were flocking to town by hundreds, the youth of that community were gathering, in response to plans well thought out beforehand, to the church grounds where patriotic songs were sung, games were played, a picnic dinner was served, and a general good time was provided for the young. They have also arranged that their young people have a place to come to on Sunday nights where they can meet their friends. The elders look to it that provisions are made for the gatherings of the young people on Sunday so that they shall 'have a good time,' with due arrangements for the boys and girls to get together under proper conditions for their love-making. Even their church 'love feasts' held twice a year, are also neighborhood gatherings for the young people. The church is the center of everything. Is a farmers'[Pg 69] institute to be held in the community, or a teachers' institute? The church until very recently was open to it. Is a farm to rent or for sale? At once the leaders get busy with the mail, and soon a family from the East is on their way to take it. This country church has not remained strong and dominant in the country just by accident or even by federation. It has survived because it had wise leaders who have met the changes with new devices to attract the interest of the community and make the church serve the community in all its affairs, but especially on the social side. Such thought takes account of the 'marginal man' too. The hired man and the hired girl, the foreigner and the tramp are welcome there. No difference is made. There is pure democracy. With the growth of the class spirit I do not know how that can survive. These hirelings are not talked down to; they are considered one with the rest. They will some day get enough to buy a farm and become leaders in the community, perhaps. The church is theirs as much as anyone's else. It looks after their interest, not only for the hereafter, but here and now. Under its fostering care they form their life attachments, it provides for their social pleasures, it is the center to which they come to discuss their farming affairs or whatever interests them. And in spite of the fact that the preaching has little contact with life and its interests, so strong is the social spirit that the preaching can be left out of account. What could be accomplished were[Pg 70] the preaching as consciously directed to forwarding the social interests of the community one can only speculate."[19]

Thus they work for the propagation and extension of their own community. The Scotch Presbyterians in like manner favor their own kindred and their kindred in the faith, though, I think, in a lesser degree. The Mormons are consolidated both by formal organization and by instinctive preference for their own in a multitude of co-operating habits, through which they build up their communities and contend with one another against their economic and religious opponents. It is not enough to say that this is clannishness; it is a mingling of kinship and religious preferences. It constitutes the strongest form of agricultural co-operation to be found in the United States.

A Quaker community represents ideal community life. There is none poor. The margin of the community is well cared for by the conscious and deliberate service of the central and leading spirits in the community.

At Quaker Hill, New York, there has been for almost two centuries a community of Friends. The Meeting has now been "laid down" but the customs and manners by which these peculiar people maintain their community life have been wrought into the social texture of the present population of Quaker [Pg 71]Hill. During two centuries this community has cared for its own members in need. It was not beneath the dignity of the Meeting to raise money and purchase a cow, early in the eighteenth century, to "loan to the widow Irish," and at the close of the nineteenth century, the few Quakers and the many Irish and other "world's people" took part more than once in subscriptions by which the burden was borne, which had fallen upon some workingman or poorer neighbor through the death of horse or cow, or even to bear the expense incidental to the death of his child.

These Quakers co-operated in their business life. They made themselves responsible that no member of their Meeting should be long in debt. From 1740 for 100 years and more, the records of the Meeting show that marriage was made impossible and other vital experiences were forbidden by the Meeting, unless the individual Quaker paid his debts and maintained his business on a level dictated by the common opinion of the Quaker body.[20]

In 1767, Oblong Meeting of Quaker Hill, New York, began the legislative opposition of the Society of Friends to the institution of slavery. This great economic movement expressed the degree to which the Quaker discipline merged the religious life in the economic life. This consolidation of religious and economic life was essential in the community building of the Quakers.[Pg 72]

It is surprising to many to discover that the "Pennsylvania Dutch" were part of the same movement of population which brought the Quakers into Pennsylvania. William Penn spoke German as well as English. His mother was a German. When he inherited his father's claim against the British Crown, and received from Charles the Second the grant of that extensive territory in America on which he launched his Holy Experiment, he began to advertise and to seek for settlers on the Continent as well as in England.

William Penn was a Quaker, and on the Continent he found immediate response in the greatest number of cases among the various branches of Mennonites, Anabaptist, and other sects, who shared a common group of beliefs and experienced at this time a common persecution. William Penn, therefore, reaped a harvest of responses in the territory between the mouth of the Rhine and the Alps. His proposal made its own selection, and brought to America a population calculated like the Quaker population for the building of communities. The largest single contribution was made by the Palatinates, who were at that period undergoing extreme persecution.

The communities founded within the first century after the opening of Pennsylvania have remained to the present day, and the earliest establishments of Mennonites and Quaker communities in Pennsylvania have been duplicated in the westward stream[Pg 73] of immigration, especially in Ohio and in Iowa. These people are roughly called the "Pennsylvania Dutch." Even when one meets them in Michigan, Iowa or Minnesota, this name clings to them, and the form of social organization which they elaborated in Eastern Pennsylvania still persists.

This social organization has varying characteristics. It is somewhat difficult to analyze the intricate windings and entanglements of doctrinal and practical belief in custom among the Mennonites, Amish and Dunkers. Old school and new school have been formed in almost every one of these sects. Eccentric and peculiar principles of belief in organization have formed the lesser and the least permanent groups; but there is a common principle in them all. Their ability to form communities in the midst of hostile populations and adverse conditions has been due to the co-operation between their religious and their economic habits.

The "Pennsylvania Dutch" have simple doctrinal characteristics. They have never worked out in detail the logic of their beliefs. They put the weight of their organization upon practical customs, as the Quakers did. In some cases, this applied to clothing; in some or all of these sects to the manner of speech; to family customs; but, the one peculiar principle in it all, which has been vital to the success, to the persistence, to the wide extension of these sectarian groups has been that the religious life has penetrated the economic life. They have not permitted mem[Pg 74]bers of their community to be poor. They have turned the attention of their religious sympathies to the economic margin of the community. They have enforced the payment of debts, and they have governed and controlled marriage conditions. By subtle enforcement of custom having the power of laws, they have governed the community in its vital relations, and perfected the system by which the poorest man shall make his living and by which the richest man shall make his fortune.

Recently, I was in Lancaster, Penn., and passing through a market I was told by a resident that all the truck farming of the market for that city had come into the hands of the Amish, and my friend added, "If you go at an early hour to buy, and ask the price of certain vegetables, you will probably be told, 'We do not know the price yet; we will have to wait until all the farmers come in.'" That is, after two hundred and more years of living as farmers in this section of Pennsylvania, these sectarians maintain their community life, co-operate in the monopolizing of an industry, and in fixing the price of the monopolized product in the markets of a Pennsylvania city.

This survey of community-building peoples in America may throw light upon the recommendations of Sir Horace Plunkett for the organization of country life upon an economic basis. The present writer heartily agrees with him that the center of the community must be economic. He says that "Bet[Pg 75]ter business must come first" in constructive policies for American country life, but "by failing to combine, American and British farmers persistently disobey an accepted law."

Social division is the impending danger which threatens the future of the American community in the country. For if the analysis of agricultural success in this chapter is correct, then the farmer is exceedingly dependent upon his neighbor, and the permanence of rural populations depends upon the social unity of the farmers in the community. The highest expression of this social unity is in the farmer's religion. Worship thus becomes a symbol of agricultural prosperity. The writers and the orators have then truly spoken who symbolized the beauty of rural life in the church steeple. The farmer himself seems to recognize, in the church spire rising above the roofs of the hamlet, the symbol of prosperous and satisfactory life in the country.

As the tillers of the soil come to the necessity of co-operation in the new order of life in the country, as the old isolation passes away and the modern farmer comes to recognize his necessary dependence upon other farmers in the community, a common place of worship will become necessary to the community. One church will of necessity express the life of the community and the periodic meeting of all the people in one house of worship will be the highest and most essential symbol of the feeling[Pg 76] and the thought and the aspirations of that community after true prosperity and permanence.

The purpose of this chapter has been to present the general characteristics of the most exceptional communities in the country. These are Mormon, Scotch Presbyterian and Pennsylvania German. By their very names they indicate religious organization of the community and "birthright membership" associations. They are grouped under the one principle, that in them the religious organization is an expression of their social economy. Their social and economic life is under the domination of their religion.

These farmers are organized in the interest of agriculture. The resultant social life constitutes a most intense organization in which voluntary and conscious combination matures in instinctive union embodied in blood relationship, neighborliness and economic union. These populations show the correspondence between economic and religious austerity. Thrift takes the form of dogmatic repression and finally their organization and their relationship express themselves in organized efforts for the well-being of the community. They deliberately as well as instinctively co-operate.

It is the writer's belief that these exceptional communities exhibit the principles on which American life must be organized, if the farmer is to be a success, if his schools are to progress, his churches to be maintained, and if the country community is[Pg 77] to be a good place to live in. None of these populations can be imitated. It would be impossible for a community to take over their modes any more than it could imbibe their motives. The study of them throws light upon the problem of country life in America. Above all things it illustrates the especial union of the country church with the social economy of the farmer and his household. It shows that the life of country people is co-operative, that it is undermined by division and disunion and that in the open country where man is least seen his society is most evident. The dependence of each man upon his neighbor is increased in modern times by the thinning out of the rural population and the increased economic burden laid upon the farmer.

Finally, the exceptional populations present an exceptional victory over economic and natural forces. They abolish poverty within their own bounds. Every one of the communities just described turns the power of its common organization upon the problem of maintaining the lower margin of the community. They who are in danger of falling behind are sustained and carried on. None in these communities is permitted to fall into pauperism. The workingman without capital, whether he be in their meetings or only employed on their farms, is kept from want. The widow with her little house and one cow is insured against the loss of any feature of her small property. This seems to me to be the greatest triumph of these communities.[Pg 78] It is the test, I am convinced, of their organizations and of their success. In this they demonstrate one of the greatest possibilities of country life. They show that in the open country it is possible for men to live without the suffering and degradation of poverty.


[17] History of American Presbyterianism, by R. E. Thompson.

[18] An exception to this statement must be noted, in the Scotch settlements in Canada and Nova Scotia.

[19] Professor John L. Gillin, in American Journal of Sociology, March, 1911.

[20] Quaker Hill, by Warren H. Wilson.

[Pg 79]



The core of a community must be economic. The main business of life is to get a living.[21] The reason for existence of any community is found in the living which it supplies its residents. Men are attracted to a community by the increases in their living furnished by that community. The first element in the getting of a living is the securing of daily bread, shelter, clothing and the satisfaction of physical needs. It is a mistake to think of the community as beginning in religious institutions—narrowly understood—or in social gatherings or in educational service. The initial human experience is the finding of food.

But the getting of a living is a long process. A living is more than bread, and a roof and a coat. In quest of a living men go from the country to the town and from the town to the city. They migrate from the small city to the large. In each of these moves they secure a further element in their living. Each of these communities is characterized by the increase which it contributes to the living of its [Pg 80]citizens, but in every community the initial experience is the securing of daily bread, shelter, clothing and material economic gains. Whatever is done, therefore, for the community in a service to all the people must have initial concern with the purely economic welfare of the people.

Sir Horace Plunkett's book, "The Rural Life Problem of the United States," develops this principle very clearly. He shows that in the Country Life Movement in Ireland it was necessary to go into the very heart of the people's aspirations, and organize their economic needs.

It is necessary to understand the word "economic" if one would read these pages aright. Economic matters are not those of mere money. The word has a greater meaning than has the word finance. It connotes poverty as truly as wealth, and is greater than both. The economic motive animates men in the quest of those vital satisfactions which the individual craves, and the social group requires. Professor John Bates Clark has somewhere described this motive as the desire to preserve the present status, with slight improvement, for oneself and one's children after him; the desire to live on the same economic standard in one's own generation; and to be reasonably assured of the same security for one's children. This is not the desire to get rich, though in individual cases it is changed into a desire for wealth. But it is a far more general, indeed a universal aspiration, which inspires most[Pg 81] of the work of the world. Industry is based on it. Civilization is propelled by it. It is the desire to get a living and the quest of a living.

I believe that this economic motive is religious. It is the quest of what a man has not, but feels to be his. It engages his utmost efforts. It is labor for his wife and children and for all his group fellows, and therefore is involved in his holiest, most self-forgetting feelings. It takes him back to his parents and reminds him constantly of his ancestors. He forms his ideas of justice in his economic experiences. His ultimate conviction as to the goodness or the badness of the world are the outgrowth of his experience in getting a living. Therefore his economic life is his wrestle with nature and with society. It generates in him all the religion he has.

I suppose it was for this reason that Jesus said "I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly." Probably his meaning was economic, in part, in the saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." The quest of a living is a satisfaction of successive economic wants, of which bread is but the first. Every truth that mankind knows involves men in an economic want. Education is one of the most general wants. It comes in the series somewhat later than bread. The love of music is an economic want, which comes generally later than education. But both are a[Pg 82] part of a living. I believe that the quest of education and the love of music are religious, just as much as the desire for daily bread. One might enumerate the whole series of economic wants, to satisfy which is to live, but religion is the total of the reflections, and the complex of customs which result from the lifelong quest for a living among common folk. At its highest it is expressed by St. Augustine, "O God, thou hast made us for thyself, and our souls are not at rest until we find ourselves in thee." Bread is the first economic want, and God is the greatest and the last.

Economic wants among common folk are usually the source of religious feeling. Few people desire to be rich; a lesser number strive to get wealth; and very few attain a fortune. The most of men seek and get a living. The best of men, and the most religious, are those whose economic experience brings them a series of satisfactions, beginning with bread, clothing, shelter, education in the essentials, music and a little aesthetic culture, and gradually extending into higher forms of human enjoyment. The simplest religious craving is for economic assurance of supply. "The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want," is on the most thumbed page of the Bible. The play of these economic aspirations among poor people results in all the simpler and most general religious feelings. With the rise of the aspirations of the individual, and the ideals of the group, toward higher satisfactions, the religious[Pg 83] experiences should become nobler, more refined. The penniless college student who prays for an education should be a nobler worshipper than the fisherman who asks his mud-divinity for a good catch. The group of Oberammergau players who present the Passion Play, a highly complex satisfaction of wants, should be nobler believers and worshippers than herdsmen who out on the hills pray for the increase of their flocks and for a better price for wool.

Communities differ from one another according to the living which they supply, or the wants which they satisfy. Modern men will not live in a community that does not satisfy a pretty long series of wants. For instance, a graduate of the American common schools will desire bread, clothing, shelter—all of comfortable quality—and education for his children better than his own, musical enjoyment, aesthetic culture, the possession of some books, access to many magazines and the reading of a daily paper: and varied opportunities for the exercise of the play spirit. The country community satisfies, in most of the United States, only the first of these. It is a place for securing food, clothing and shelter of a comfortable sort. Country people have in the past ten years secured also a better supply of reading matter. Almost all the rest of the series is lacking. The reason for the rural exodus is in the most of cases the quest of education and of music, the craving for aesthetic culture, and the desire for[Pg 84] recreation. Country towns and small cities therefore have come to be centers of education, of amusement and of "culture." They are the first step upward on the series of economic satisfaction. Men who have made some money on the farm "move into town," for the satisfaction of the later wants in the series.

None of these wants is itself sinful, for all of them make up life. They are the steps on the way from bread to God. The business of the teacher and preacher of religion is to know the wants of his people: study those which are satisfied in his community, and so to build the community that for most of its people and for the most desirable people, all the vital necessities of life shall be satisfied, in the community in which the desire for bread is satisfied. The problem of amusement exhibits these principles clearly. Farming is austere, and few farming communities have recreation adequate to the demand of the young people and the working people who live on the farms. Agriculture is becoming more systematic and more exacting in its demands: and systematic work creates a demand for organized play. As this demand is not satisfied in the country—indeed it is less generally satisfied now than in former times—the youth and workingman from farming communities go to the towns and larger villages for amusement. These centers of population have a disproportionate burden therefore[Pg 85] of cheap vaudeville shows, saloons, professional baseball games, and moving-pictures.

These amusements are, to a degree, abnormal in character because those who enjoy them are away from their home community, and are suffering a reaction from pent-up desires. Just as the lumberman or cowboy or sailor when he comes to town "tears loose and paints the town red," so, in a milder degree, the farmer's son or hired man, because he has at home no recreations supplied by his church or school, patronizes in the town or small city a cheaper and nastier theatre than one would expect to find either in that town, or in his home community. The remedy is to make the country community adequate to the wants of those who live there. The church should promote recreation. The public school should supply entertainment of a high standard, both to satisfy the play instinct and to elevate the youth's ideals of amusement. The community which works should be dependent on no other community for play.

Common-school education is a function which country communities have surrendered to the centers of population. The one-room country school has long been inadequate; but the farmer has not improved it, preferring to rely upon the town schools to which he will remove his family after he has made enough money on the farm. I am told that about Crete, Nebraska, a recent census revealed that half the normal child population is missing from[Pg 86] the country districts; and double the normal child population is found in Crete. The quest of adequate schooling explains the condition, which speaks ill for the country community of Nebraska.

In all these cases religious service consists in completing the community. The supply of wants, which are widely and keenly felt, is a religious act. This has been the reason for the success of the Du Page Presbyterian Church in Illinois.[22] The minister, Mr. McNutt, in a religious spirit so well supplied the recreative life needed in the community, that the community has been made whole. Just as Jesus made sick or maimed men whole, as a religious act, so the community builder who supplies to working farmers something besides labor on the land, is making the community whole.

The perfecting of the common school system in McNabb, by Mr. John Swaney and other Friends, and in Rock Creek by Mr. R. E. Bone and other Presbyterians, was a religious act for their communities in Illinois. The farmers who have money can move to the town, but to complete the country community is to satisfy the economic wants of the poor. The wants of the poor are always of religious value.

Moreover, the satisfaction of all wants in the community itself is a moral gain. If individuals live this life in the bounds to which their group and family associations are confined, the steadying [Pg 87]influence of society is at its greatest. Jacob Riis[23] noted among immigrants the working of a lower sense of obligation due to absence from accustomed home associations. Communities are compacted of the strongest moral bonds. If churches would make men righteous they cannot do better than to complete the community, especially in the country, as a place to live in: making it a place for education as well as profit: of play as well as work, of worship as well as of material comfort.

Unfortunately churches in the country are too often recruiting stations for the cities and colleges. The ministers are respectable pullers-in for the city show. Nothing rejoices them so much as to help their young men and women find a position in the city; unless it be to have a bright lad or girl go off to college. When a country minister was reminded that all these departures weakened the country community, and that very few of them benefitted the lad or girl who goes to the city, he replied "you cannot blame them; there is nothing here to keep them."

"The rural exodus" has had its Moses in the rural college student, its Aaron in the country minister, and its Miriam in the country school teacher. These three have led a generation out of the country to perish in the wilderness. For only a pitiful few of those who leave the country come to prominence in the city. The most gain but a poor living there, [Pg 88]and very many go to ruin. The church should be the savior of the community, as her Master is of the soul.

It seems to me that this is done in a church in Ottumwa, Iowa, of which Dr. W. H. Hormell is minister. It is in a stock-yards district, and the daily occupation of many of the members is unclean, of some revolting. But the church is a dynamo of spiritual forces. It supplies the experiences most opposite to those of the slaughter-house. A half-dozen chapels in surrounding neighborhoods, most of them in the country, are outposts of the church, for each of which a superintendent is responsible: and thus a man who is an underling at the slaughter-house is a leader in the quest of eternal life. The whole company of workers with the pastor, constitute a spiritual cabinet of the district. It is not surprising that this church fascinates men. The minister cannot be persuaded away, and a like devotion pervades his group of workers. The intensity of the industrial labor is matched by the intensity of Bible study, prayer and evangelism. The degradation and repulsion of the leading industry of the place are equalled by the unworldly nobility and optimism of the leading church. This church does not attempt to mend the community—which might be found impossible—but only to serve the community by supplying the satisfaction for spiritual wants.

According to the law of diminishing returns, the[Pg 89] first satisfactions of any want have infinite value. What does this mean but that they have religious value? The first drink of water to a famished man calls forth a fervent "Thank, God." The first book printed is a Bible. The first landing on American soil was a solemn religious occasion—and still is for the immigrant. So the first gains of money are of religious value to the poor. The first hundred dollars to a mechanic's family is invested in a dozen benefits. The first thousand dollars which a working farmer saves go into a home, a piano or books, or an education for a child. It is all moral and spiritual good. Later thousands have diminishing moral and spiritual values. Most of the churches and homes in America were paid for out of the tithes of men and women who owned at the time a margin of less than a thousand dollars.

This is the reason for the religious character of economic life. The most of people spend their lives with less than a thousand dollars. They are poor, and money does them good, not harm. They need to know how to use it. But the getting of their living is a process prolific in religious feeling, because economic matters have to them the infinite value of first satisfactions of all the simplest wants of life.

The salvation of the community will be accomplished in satisfying the higher wants of those whose lower wants are satisfied. For those who "have made money" supply schools; for those who work supply recreation; for the sick hospitals; for the[Pg 90] invalid build sanitariums; and for all men supply social life, the greatest need of human life on earth. For those who are thus united to the community, and to one another in the intricate network of associations, the opportunity of worship together, and of sharing common spiritual interests becomes the highest economic want


[21] "I come that they may have life, and may have it abundantly."—Jesus, in John 10:10.

[22] "Modern Methods in the Country Church," by Matthew Brown McNutt.

[23] "The Making of an American," by Jacob Riis.

[Pg 91]



The country community is defined by the team haul. People in the country think of the community as that territory, with its people, which lies within the team haul of a given center. Very often at this center is a church, a school and a store, though not always, but always the country community has a character of its own.[24] Social customs do not proceed farther than the team haul. Imitation, which is an accepted mode of social organization, does not go any farther in the country than the customary drive with a horse and wagon. The influence of leading rural personalities does not extend indefinitely in the country, but disappears at the boundary of the next community. Intimate knowledge of personalities is confined to the community and does not pass beyond the team haul radius. Within this radius all the affairs or any individual are known in minute detail; nobody hopes to live a life apart from the knowledge of his neighbors; but beyond the community, so defined, this knowledge quickly disappears.[Pg 92]

Men's lives are housed and their reputations are encircled by the boundary of the team haul.

The reason for this is economic and social. The life of the countryman is lived within the round of barter and of marketing his products. The team haul which defines the community is the radius within which men buy and sell. It is also the radius within which a young man becomes acquainted with the woman he is to marry. It is the radius of social intercourse. Within this radius of the team haul families are accustomed to visit with ten times the frequency with which they pass outside this radius. Indeed, for most of them, one might say that social intercourse is a hundred times as frequent within the team haul as without it.

The average man would define the community as "the place where we live." This definition contains every essential element, locality, personal and social relations, and vital experiences. The community is that complex of economic and social processes in which individuals find the satisfactions not supplied in their homes. The community is the larger social whole outside the household; a population complete in itself for the needs of its residents from birth to death. It is a man's home town.

This conception of the community as a vital common possession explains the relation of religious, educational, ethical, economic institutions to one another. The community is the clearing-house of all these influences. It is the medium by which they exchange[Pg 93] with one another, in the interest of human life. The perfection of this exchange and the abundance of communal influences makes the community good and desirable, or poor and undesirable.

Sometimes one says that the community is "a good place to live in." When it is ample for the needs of individual lives men move into it, and the average man finds there a contented and satisfied life. The decay of the community is indicated by the departure of individuals and of families in quest of a better centre for the supply of vital human needs. Some go to make more money elsewhere, some depart for educational advantages and some move away because social life is lacking or religious privileges are not suitable. But these four vital essentials, economic, ethical, educational and religious, make up the elements in the community's service to the individual.

The community is sometimes corrupted by vicious principles in its construction; and then its members are in proportion defective. It produces in excessive degree idiots, blind, deformed, neurotic, insane or criminal individuals.

The community, thus defined, is normally furnished with certain institutions essential to the life of the people. In earlier days the community was sufficient unto itself. Very little was imported. Everything for use in the community was raised therein and manufactured in the households. A system of exchange gradually was effected through the coun[Pg 94]try store. The country store of 1770 in Duchess County, New York, had an amazing relation to a wide population. The radius of the life dependent upon it was the same as the radius around the Quaker Meeting, beside which this store was placed, and all the goods used in the community with few exceptions were produced and manufactured in this radius of the team haul of ten miles.[25]

Nowadays the country community has normally a store, a blacksmith shop, a church and a school. In the recent past certain classes of peddlers regularly visited the country community, though their place in the rural economy is diminishing. The country store in many communities is already closed and its maintenance is surrounded with increasing difficulty. So long, however, as the horse drawn vehicle is the type of transportation in the country, the elements of the country community must remain substantially the same.[26]

The economic life of the community is necessarily a part of the general economic life of the population as a whole. The world economy has in the past hundred years, with the perfection of the means of transportation, taken the place of the communal economy. In 1810 every country community was [Pg 95]obliged to manufacture its own raw products so far as possible within its own limits. In 1910 it was no longer profitable for even a country community to do so. The result is that the economic life of the community is usually expressed in a specified industry to which the whole community is primarily devoted. If it be a rural community this organization takes the form of a "money crop." In the corn belt there are other products raised from the soil besides corn, but the world economy assigns to that fertile section the producing of corn as the most profitable and the simplest task. In the coal region it tends to the highest efficiency for the labor of the region to be concentrated upon the supply of this fuel, although in addition the surface of the soil may be cultivated and in the larger population centers other industries are coming in to exploit the superfluous labor. None of these competes with the primacy of the coal industry, which the world economy assigns to that community.

It is essential that in every community there should be one or more industries by which men may live. It tends to the highest well-being of the community, that is, to its possession of a maximum of vital attraction for individuals, that this industry should supply a variety of sources of income; that is, wages, profits and interest. If the community can retain in its own bounds the owners of its industries, at least in some numbers, and the capitalists whose wealth is invested in these industries, it is[Pg 96] of great service. If it can make life attractive for wage-earners in these industries, the completeness of that community has its testimonial in this variety and wealth of attraction. The weakness of many American communities is shown in their inability to retain within their bounds the owners of the businesses and the employers of labor. The ideal character of some communities in Massachusetts is due to the fact that in the same streets there daily meet capitalists, superintendents, foremen and wage-earners who are alike interested in the local industries.

This power of the community to attract and hold individual lives, supplying them with the vital necessities for which the individual craves, is dependent in America upon educational institutions more than upon any other factor. The French philosopher Desmoulin has said that the Anglo-Saxon supremacy is due to the Anglo-Saxon love of the land and of education. The American represents these two passions, and of the two the love of education is at present, the stronger. The community which is weak in its schools will not hold its people. The generation who at present are the largest owners of American wealth are eager for educational advantage: and the incoming stream of immigration promises that in the days to come this craving for education will not diminish, but will increase.

The country community has been peculiarly weak in its educational facilities, by a strange dullness and[Pg 97] inertia due to the economic prostration of the farming industry. For the two decades following 1880 the country schools have failed to keep pace with the city schools. Prof. Foght says, "While the public attention has been centered on work and plans for the improvement of the city schools a great factor for or against the public weal has been sadly neglected. This is the rural school. One-half of our entire school population attend the rural schools, which are still in the formative stage. The country youth is entitled to just as thorough a preparation for thoughtful and intelligent membership in the body politic as is the city youth. The State, if it is wise, will not discriminate in favor of the one as against the other, but will adjust its bounties in a manner equitable to the needs of both. Heretofore the rural schools have received very little attention from organized educational authority."[27]

The effect of this neglect of the country school in the face of the constructive statesmanship which has led in perfecting the city school is seen in the exodus from the country community of very large numbers of the most successful farmers. Evidences are abundant that this exodus from the country community is primarily a quest of educational advantage. Not in every case would the departing family confess that they were seeking better schools: but it is probable that the majority of them while [Pg 98]giving a variety of primary reasons for moving would assign the desire for education as the uniform secondary reason for departing from the country community.

It is impossible for the country church to retain its best ministers. Many reasons enter into this, but always at the top of the list is the desire for better educational opportunities for the ministers' children. The advice has become proverbial in theological seminaries, "Go to the country for five years." It is said that in New England there are three classes of country ministers and the first of them is the bright young man who will not long be in the country.

The ethical, sometimes called the social factor in the community's life, is no less essential. Organized work requires organized recreation. Every community which has a systematic economy by which its residents get their living is found to have a systematic though usually informal and unrecognized provision for recreation. Somewhere in the bounds of every working town in America is a playground. It is not the result of "the playground movement," but of the play necessity in human nature. The open lots where the town is not built up, the railroad yard, the yard of a factory or the town common are used by common consent by the young people and the working-people of the town as a playground.

The departure of many persons from country communities is due to the lack of social life: and the[Pg 99] fascination of the city for bright and energetic young men and women is due to the variety of recreation and interest which it provides to those who expect to work and are willing to work. Regular work means regular play. This fact cannot be too well learned by those who study the religious and moral life of modern men. The need of play is as real as the need of food or of sleep.

This recreational life is highly ethical. The craving of the young and of working-people for common places of recreation is a normal craving due to the development of conscience as well as to weariness of body. The exactions of modern labor create a craving for free and voluntary movement. Those who are hired to work, and those who if they are employers are bound to the routine of the desk or of the bench, seek to breathe deeply the air of happy and self-expressive action. The result is that play, especially team work, is highly moral. It is not only personal and self-expressive, but it involves co-operation, self-surrender, obedience and the correlation of one's own life with other lives in a glorious complex of experiences, unexampled elsewhere in modern life for their ethical value in developing adolescent minds in the common humanities and moralities. The playground is an essential field in the preparation of good citizens and it is not to be wondered at that in country communities, where all provision of recreation is difficult, and no public provision of playgrounds is thought of by those in[Pg 100] authority, that young people and working people, indeed all classes of the population, tend to move away.

The religious attraction of the community has just as real a value for the satisfaction of individual life as the economic or ethical or the educational. "Mankind is incurably religious," and the life from birth to death cannot be complete in average cases without religious experience. Indeed the conscious testimony of men to the community's religious value for them is greater than any of the others. Religious experience is indeed a form of community conscience. To many men the church and the community are one. We cannot within our definition grant this; but the testimony to the religious character of the country community is a classic in American thought. The early days of every community are hopeful and optimistic. The tendency has been therefore for each religious communion to establish its own church. These early Protestant churches were expressions of the community sense on behalf of these people. The average American can best think of the community in terms of a church and a school. For building up the community, therefore, the maintenance of religious institutions is essential.

We are concerned in these chapters most of all with the American community in the country. Not because it is more important, but because it is easier to understand and affords a better model for interpreting other communities more complex and highly[Pg 101] organized. In it one may see the processes which affect the town and city communities; shifting of population, economic changes, educational improvement or retrogression and the processes of social life which express themselves in moral conditions. The community is the field in which may be observed the prosperity of the people as a whole. It is the local exhibit in which the average man shows what has come to pass throughout the commonwealth as a whole.

American rural communities have been under the influence of swift and sudden changes during the years of railroad development. This is exhibited in the country community very clearly. There almost all the causes which are at work in the city are seen and their operation is easier to observe and to measure than in a city community. It is the general impression that the country community has suffered greatly though the loss of population. This is probably due to the diminishing agricultural activity of the country. Thirty-four counties in Ohio are producing less than the same counties were producing before the Civil War. It is natural that the population of these counties should be on the whole smaller than at that time. But it is more probable that the social, educational and moral life of the people of these counties who stayed in the country is slacker and less vigorous than in 1860. Sometimes the population of a community remains[Pg 102] stationary but the economic weakness expresses itself in a retarded social, ethical and religious life.

There is high authority for the statement that the sifting of the country community in recent years has on the whole improved it. Wilbert L. Anderson says, "If this emigration of the best were the whole story, it would be impossible to refute the charge of degeneracy. There is, however, another aspect of the matter. The industrial revolution has put a pressure upon rural life that is more important even than the attraction of cities. That pressure has aggravated the severity of the struggle for existence, and this grinding of the mill of evolution has crushed the weaker strata of the population. Among those who have gone are laborers and their families, the owners and occupants of the poorest lands—the famous abandoned farms, and the weaklings and dependents. Many of these have swollen the crowds of the factory towns; others have supplied unskilled labor to the cities; in not a few cases they have gone to their destruction in the slums, where residues of decadent folk finally disappear. The human material that was most susceptible to alcohol has gone into the mills of the gods. When all is summed up, the clearance at the bottom is not less significant than the loss at the top of the social scale. Natural selection works as effectually in toning up the species by weeding out the worst as 'natural selection reversed' works for degeneracy through the removal of the best. This purgation[Pg 103] has been overlooked; whether it offsets the injury in the highest stratum is a fair question, but obviously no man is wise enough to answer it. The opinion may be hazarded that when the two influences are compounded, it will be found that the average child has moved but a little way up or down the scale. This is a local question to which there are as many answers as communities. The net result of these changes is a gain in homogeneousness; in the country town the dream of equality is nearer realization to-day than ever before."[28]

It is the writer's belief that, allowing for local variation, this statement is the best generalization of the condition throughout the country. The rural population has been specialized. The country community is finding its own kind of people. It has not yet, through suitable institutions, learned to cultivate its problems and to train its own leaders. That is precisely what will be accomplished through the building up of the country community with which we are here concerned. But already the country population is homogeneous and is selected with a view to fitness for the environment of the rural community. As the city is breeding its own stock, who are possessed with the problem of city life and devoted to the interests of the city, so the country in the shifting of modern populations is coming to have its own kind of people; among whom the problems of the country community are beginning [Pg 104]to be discussed and the interests of the country community are being provided for by suitable organizations.

The building of communities, therefore, will provide the positive agencies requisite for the needs of the present population in the country. The purpose of those who serve the country population shall be the construction of suitable institutions by which country life shall be made worth while. These institutions must be economic, for the securing of prosperity to country people, social institutions which shall build up their moral character and life, educational institutions whereby the problems of country life shall be understood in the light of all human life, and religious institutions which shall crown the life of country people with hope and animate the individual with the spirit of self-sacrifice on behalf of all the people of the community and of the world.

The church should be a community center. There may be other centers of the community where other functions are assembled, but the church should lift up her eyes to the horizon in which she lives and comprehend all the people in her service and affection. This does not mean that they shall all be members of that church. The community spirit is itself growing. Frequently the country community has attained a unity which the churches ignore. For the church to become a community center means that it represents in itself the united life of the people.[Pg 105] Whatever be their common interest that interest dwells in the church.

In Hernando, Mississippi, the people are united. The interest of one is the concern of all. Under the leadership of the families of old land-owners the whole community responds to common impulses and is organized under common ideals. No poor child of either a white or a negro household is neglected or is overlooked. Yet in this community churches have no federation and ministers have no regular means of working together. A charity organization was recently formed in this community as an organ by which the community should care for its poorer members. This society was formed outside of the churches, no one of which had the right to be a center for the community. It is true that ministers and members of these churches were leaders in this community enterprise, but the churches as organizations were not a part of it, although its purposes are purely Christian.

Prof. Alva Agee insists that "The country church does not serve the community's needs as the community sees those needs." His meaning is that when a community enterprise is to be launched the promoter of it finds it necessary in the country to avoid the churches, lest his enterprise be entangled in their differences. He is embarrassed also by their lack of a community spirit. Frequently the same persons who to the church contribute no[Pg 106] community spirit are in the community itself leaders of common enterprises.

In contrast to these conditions the instance of Du Page Church at Plainfield, Illinois, of which Rev. Matthew B. McNutt was recently the minister, exhibits the power of a country church to make itself the center of a whole community. This church, which in a year became famous throughout the land, has earned its repute by ten years of devoted service of its minister and the growing affection and union of its people. The church serves so well the social needs of the community that a social hall once popular has been closed and three granges in succession have attempted to organize in the community and have failed. Yet Du Page Church is passionately devotional and intensely missionary. Its social life is but a legitimate expression of its community sense. The minister and his people have had the power to see and to inspire a common life among the people in the countryside.

This chapter has been intended as a definition of the country community. Its radius is the team haul, because the horse has been the means of transportation in the country. The community is the round of life in which the individual in the country passes his days: it is his larger home. The definition of this greater household of the country must be flexible, but however it be defined, it is the characteristic unit of social organization among country people. The map of the United States outside the[Pg 107] great cities is made up of little societies bordering sharply upon one another, differing from one another socially and religiously. These little societies are the proper fields in which the life of the church and the school is lived. Of these small societies the church and the school are the expressions. In church and school the country community has its highest life.>


[24] The author expresses his indebtedness for this definition to Dr. Willet M. Hays of the Department of Agriculture at Washington.

[25] Quaker Hill, by Warren H. Wilson.

[26] Professor C. J. Galpin of University of Wisconsin has done precise work of great value, in defining the country community, as it centers in the village. See his pamphlet, "A Method of Making a Social Survey of the Rural Community," a bulletin of the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Wisconsin.

[27] "The American Rural School," by Harold W. Foght.

[28] "The Country Town," by Wilbert L. Anderson, D.D.

[Pg 108]



The change of ethical consciousness among church people in recent years takes the form of a transference of interest from the individual to the community. The literature of religious and ethical thought is full of appeal to "serve the community." The working out of any religious or ethical force in modern society is guided by the closely compacted and highly organic character of present-day social life.

In the old times in America, which have so recently gone, men were of one class; the community was homogeneous; universal acquaintance prevailed.

The unit of value in American life until recent years was the successful man, because we faced a continent unexplored. Unpossessed commercial resources were before the people. The standard of the time of Horace Greeley was the standard of individual success, of initial utility. The town boasted of the man it had "turned out." The church measured its value by the rich and benevolent farmer or merchant, and by the individuals whose piety or literary success seemed to express[Pg 109] the life of the church. There was an opportunity for all, because crude resources, numberless openings offered themselves to every one who had character, industry and brains.

Within a decade the American people have become conscious that their resources are numbered. The free lands of the West are assigned. The tons of coal under the ground are estimated. The amount of timber, of copper and of iron still unexploited is known, and public discussion is centered upon the limits to the growth of the American population, and the possibilities of more economical organization of life. We can no longer waste as once we could. The problem is now a problem of economy. Instead of the standards of a time of plenty we are confronted with problems of bare subsistence.

In times of plenty, when resources are not yet exhausted, men's lives diverge and the individual is the unit of thought and feeling. The natural result of a time of plenty is the development and the endowment of personality. But in times when a bare subsistence is the condition with which many are confronted, men are drawn together and the community becomes the unit of thought and feeling. Industry as it matures brings men together. It becomes evident that they depend upon one another.

Men who in a time of plenty would seek an independent fortune, under conditions of bare subsistence are contented to secure employment and to become dependent upon others. The problems of subsis[Pg 110]tence open opportunities for exploitation and the stronger become related to great numbers of weaker members of the community. Thus men's lives are intensified, and the conditions out of which thought and feeling arise are social conditions rather than individual.

The country community under these circumstances rises into new significance. In the early pioneer days the country community for a similar reason was much in thought and feeling, because then men were seeking a bare subsistence in the contest with nature. This consciousness was lost as soon as the pioneer days were past and the abundance of nature began to enrich mankind instead of antagonizing him. Now, again, the country community has come into prominence because men are confronted with a struggle to maintain an acceptable standard of living.

In dealing with a social whole, to accomplish certain purposes one must deal with it in social terms. Social service is not quantitative, but qualitative. Ministry to a community is not uniformly applied to all the members. In social service there is no such thing as equality of all the population. The differing values of men in a social population are determined, as other values are measured, by the working of the law of diminishing returns.

Roughly stated, this law is that successive additions of any valued thing bring ever diminished returns. The first quantity of anything is of infinite value. For later increments the value is measurable,[Pg 111] and ever less with the increase. The application of this law in economics is stated as follows by Professor John Bates Clark:

"Labor, as thus applied to land, is subject to a law of diminishing returns. Put one man on a quarter section of land, containing prairie and forest, and he will get a rich return. Two laborers on the same ground will get less per man; three will get still less; and, if you enlarge the force to ten, it may be that the last man will get wages only."

"Modern studies of value, show that doses of consumer's goods, given in a series to the same person have less and less utility per dose. The final utility theory of value rests on the same principle as does the theory of diminishing returns from agriculture; and this principle has a far wider range of new applications."

"We have undertaken to generalize the law that is at the basis of the theory of value. In reality, it is all-comprehensive. The first generalization to be made consists in applying the law, not to single articles, but to consumers' wealth in all its forms. The richer man becomes, the less can his wealth do for him. Not only a series of goods that are all alike, but a succession of units of wealth itself, with no such limitation, on its forms, becomes less and less useful per unit. Give to a man not coats, but 'dollars,' one after another, and the utility of the last will still be less than that of any other. The[Pg 112] early dollars feed, clothe and shelter the man, but the last one finds it hard to do anything for him."[29]

By this law successive deposits of immigrants and successive gains in the American population are reducing the valuation of men for religious, moral and educational use. The first man in any historic experience is of infinite value. The first American, Columbus, will be famous forever, but not because of any talents or enterprises of his. As a matter of fact he blundered in discovering America and died ignorant of the feat he had actually accomplished. But because he was the first white man on a new continent he had infinite historical value. When the early Europeans were increased to ten or to one thousand each of them entered into fame, though men like John Smith were commonplace enough in their performances. Their fame is measurable, but still great. When the number of Americans was increased to eight millions everyone thought himself a great citizen, the founder of a family and a potential millionaire. Those were still the days of exceptional personality. The type of man in those times was the landowner, the pioneer and the statesman. But now there are ninety million Americans, all the valuable lands are assigned, all the best positions are filled, every job is taken, and ten million of the population are concerned about the problem of daily bread. These ten million people are the marginal Americans. They are breadwinners, and [Pg 113]the breadwinner is the unit of value on whom the standard of American social and religious life is measured. So far as there can be an American type on whom policies in public life are measured, that type is today the breadwinner. In the city the breadwinner is a working man or an immigrant. In the country the marginal man is the tenant farmer; or a working farmer, though he be the owner. The marginal man represents the value of all men in the community.

The law of diminishing returns works in the factory for fixing the wages in any scale which prevails throughout a level of pay. It is equally efficient in leveling men in the community. The employer does not pay the working man on any level of wages in accordance with the value of the few brilliant, trusty or inventive men in that group, but he pays each man just that wage which he must offer to the last man he hires. The marginal man standardizes the wage. The religious values of men are standardized not upon the brilliant or saintly or accomplished, not upon the well-to-do members of the community, but upon the poor who are just able to stand and maintain themselves in the life of that community.

The working of this law is not a matter of persuasion. It is the inflexible condition with which religious and ethical institutions are confronted. Churches should therefore estimate their policies by the responses of the marginal people of the com[Pg 114]munity. Religious standards of value should be measured by final utility, not initial utility. The complaint against the church today is reducible to this: that she standardizes her ideals and her policies in accordance with the prosperous and well-to-do. The eloquence and the character of her ministers, the kind of music with which God is worshipped, the comfortable pews, the carpets on the floor, are all of them unlike the public hall which is supported by the dues of the poor. The taste expressed in church matters is rather literary and aesthetic than popular. The church which would appeal to the whole community must standardize her work upon the poor man, and make her appeal to him.

This principle is not only scientifically correct, but it works out in practise. A minister who came into a well organized country community, where there were a few land-holders, many tenants and numbers of farm lands, found that the only appeal by which the whole community could be reached was an appeal directed to the marginal people in the community. When he sought the tenant farmer, he secured with him the land-holder, and when he went after the hired man on the farm, he secured the farmer who employed him. When he gained the adherence of the boys and girls he secured the support of their parents, and when he rendered service to little children, he could safely rely upon the gratitude and loyalty of their mothers and fathers.

This was the kind of work which Jesus did. He[Pg 115] frankly made a selection of the people to whom he should minister.[30] He knew no phrases about all men being equal, and he made no profession of impartiality such as today causes many ministers to loiter among the well-to-do, who care not for them. Jesus said he had no time to spend with well people, because he was sent to the sick. But the philosophy of his action was seen in the fact that when he ministered to the sick he himself helped the well. He "preached the gospel to the poor," but not because he had any prejudice against the rich. By ministering to the poor he applied his gospel to the margin of the community. That gospel has been of equal value to the rich man, because the spiritual experiences of the poor are the experience also of the rich. The modern minister who goes after rich men specifically, or who goes after them with the same vigor with which he seeks the poor, will receive but a grudging welcome. But if he awakens the gratitude and support of the poor, he will find himself sought by the rich, and sustained by their abundant gifts.

Mr. Gilbert K. Chesterton, the English critic, has somewhere finely said that the Master in his words to Simon Peter, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church," clearly recognized that Peter was a shuffler and a weakling and a coward and it was upon just such common material that the church was founded. It was not to be an aristocratic [Pg 116]organization. Its foundations were not laid upon skill and genius in human character, but upon the weaker and commonplace traits, which universal mankind possesses.

So definite was the appeal of Jesus to the marginal people of his time, that he has been twice criticized unjustly; once in his own time by the Pharisees, and again in our time by the Socialists. The latter have claimed that Jesus was "class conscious," that he was a partisan of the poor, a proletarian radical. The unscientific character of Socialism is displayed in this comment upon Jesus. His appeal was to the whole community, as through Christian history his message has come uniformly to men of all degrees, rich and poor, ignorant and learned, bad and good. The religious genius of Jesus is shown in the fact that he recognized what the Socialist does not, that to appeal to the whole community a prophet must address his plea to the people on the margin of the community. His measure of value must be final utility.

One may go at large into this tempting field in illustrations. The artistic experience of mankind is abundant in illustration of it. There is no beauty of the ocean save in its shores—the margin of the boundless expanse. Literary descriptions of the experiences of human love are made up of descriptions of the margins of love. Married life is depicted in courtship, and the sentiments of affection are[Pg 117] described in scenes of parting and meeting, which are the margins of companionship.

This principle should be fundamental in all policies of reconstruction of religious and ethical institutions. In the training of men for religious service and for ethical leadership they should be accustomed to think in terms of communal wholes, and this thinking will use as its units of measure the characteristics of the marginal life. It is for this reason that temperance reform in America has been so influential within the past two decades. It is a communal form of ethics. It demands that the community should act together in safeguarding the weaker members of the community, the young men, and the working people. The old temperance propaganda was individualistist. It recorded its results in the number of persons who signed the pledge. Its results were almost as gratifying if the pledges were signed by well-doing and orderly people as if they were signed by drunkards. The modern temperance movement draws its influence from its proposed effect upon the agricultural laborer.

The theological seminary of the past has been a literary institution. During the period of its development the typical Christian was the bright and aspiring young man in a community of boundless resources. To such a man books are the interpreters of life. But in the modern period with the congested population and close social organization, human fellowship is an experience of greater value to most[Pg 118] men than books. Since the time of the invention of printing successive quantities of literature have been given to the world, and under the law of diminishing returns literature has come to have for many very small returns. At the time of the Protestant Reformation the value of books in the hands of the common people was infinite. For several generations along with the extension of universal education this infinite value of books continued for the people on the margin of the educated world. But nowadays everybody in American progressive communities can read and write: and in a universally educated population we arrive at the final utility of books in human use. Great masses of poor people and also many people of means use books within narrow limits only. They do not buy them, they do not read them, they do not think in literary terms. Yet they have access to books and they turn from them with a clear sense of intelligent preference for other human values. Books are to them but an alphabet and social life is the story.

My own impression is that the life of the marginal man is social rather than literary. His religion will be a social religion rather than a biblical religion. The weakness of Protestantism is that it stubbornly insists upon literary interpretation of God and upon a biblical ministry, while the population around these Protestant churches exemplifies the diminished value of literature for spiritual uses.

The religious and ethical service of the days to[Pg 119] come must interpret the social life of the people. The great mass of the people care as little for wealth as they do for books. The same argument as to the diminished returns of literature may be repeated to describe the diminished returns of private property. The economic revolution since feudal days has exhausted the values of private property in satisfying human need. The time was when property had an infinite value for expressing personality. In days to come private property will still have this value for many individuals. But among common folks generally private property does not seem to have boundless value for human satisfaction. Working men as I have known them do not take pains to get rich. They know the way to wealth by economy and accumulation, but they do not take it. They have a vast preference for the social intercourse, friendly interchanges and mutual dependence by which their life is refreshed, strengthened and sustained. Ethical policies of the future while using literature and private property as efficient implements must interpret social life itself as a flowing spring of religion and morality.

The training of religious and ethical leaders should be undertaken in the theological seminary and in the university in such manner as to standardize the influence of these institutions, by the life not of the exceptional man, but of the common man. The influence of educated men must be used to reconstruct churches and societies upon the standards[Pg 120] not of the wealthy, the learned, the genius and the well-to-do, but by the experiences of the poor, the workingman and the immigrant. The standard in all religious and ethical institutions which profess to represent the community is today graded up to the professional and exceptional. The reconstruction necessary is to grade down so that the appeal shall be to the poor and struggling man whose condition is in jeopardy, and whose status in the community is as yet undetermined. Institutions which appeal to the community as a whole must standardize their policy to the level of the margin of the community.

The reconstruction of the theological seminaries is necessary, if they are to fit men for service in communities. They render now a service which is so valuable that one cannot pass over them lightly. They train the candidate for the ministry by a process which develops and engages his piety. Other university courses either ignore his religious feeling, or if they develop it, do not harness it to the task of social improvement. The theological seminary lays the yoke of service upon the neck of prayer. This alone justifies its existence as a servant of the church in the community. However, the instruction in the seminary is rigidly grouped around courses in dead languages; which are jealous of instruction in a living tongue. The history of discarded doctrines and of discredited teachers is minutely taught through months, to the exclusion of courses upon modern, living people, whose religious experience[Pg 121] is rich and striking. The purpose of seminary instruction is personal culture instead of efficiency. It is the theory of the teachers wherein they disagree with all other professional teachers, that "We do not make preachers: the Lord makes them." They try therefore to impart culture and personal distinction.

The seminaries need first of all flexibility of courses. The whole traditional schedule should be made elective. The demands of the time would then have free course in the seminary, and would rearrange the instruction according to actual present need. The cultivation of practical piety should receive more attention. The social life of the students, in close association with their professors and under religious stimuli, should be made a more powerful force than it usually is, in creating a common ideal of service to which the seminary should commit itself. Above all, the seminary of theology should teach sociology and economics, as a religious interpretation. Students should after a year's class-room work be made to investigate and report upon actual conditions, should be delegated to study social movements, report upon them, and to lead in discussing them. They should be trained in the use of statistics, in graphic display of conditions, and in the use of public reports. In the senior year they should be employed definitely in practical work for populations, under instructors. After graduation the young minister should, more generally than[Pg 122] now, be employed as an assistant to an older minister, in a large organization.

The influence of such social training would itself reform seminary instruction. Thrust into a present-day curriculum, social science is a foreign and alien intruder; but its value would soon be demonstrated and other courses would be made over in new harmony with it. If some courses be dropped, even if whole chairs be abandoned, it is better than that the whole theological seminary be abandoned by students—which is the apparent fate hanging over certain seminaries! What has here been said is true of the schools of theology in all denominations, and applies alike to both the conservative and the liberal.

In conclusion, the writer believes that the church's future is with the self-respecting poor. Jesus and nearly every leader of a great religious movement was of the poor and labored with the poor. The sources of religion are those named in the Beatitudes: poverty, meekness, sorrow, hunger, ostracism; and those are all social experiences. The service of the church should be to these; and in serving the marginal people, whose life is composed of the Beatitudes, the church will serve all men.


[29] "The Distribution of Wealth," by John Bates Clark.

[30] Luke, 6:20 ff; 15:1 ff.

[Pg 123]



One general cause is bringing new people into the average country community. The exploitation of land expresses the transition from the period of the land farmer to that of the scientific farmer or husbandman. The signs of this exploitation are the retirement of farmers from the land, the incoming of new owners in some numbers and of tenant farmers in a large degree, into the country community. The influence of the absentee landlord begins to be felt in communities in which the landowner was until 1890 the only type. In most of the older states immigration from foreign lands has not greatly affected the country community. In Wisconsin, Minnesota and other states of the Northwest substantial sections of the community are invaded by people of sturdy Germanic and Norse extraction. In New England the Poles, French, Portuguese and some Jews are settling in the country. But throughout the states of the Union as a whole the population, both the newcomers and older stock, are American.

The dates of this exploitation of land are, generally, from 1890 onward. Reference is made elsewhere[Pg 124] to the description of this process in the Middle West.[31]

Independent of these causes the same process has appeared in the South, in Georgia, Mississippi and in West Tennessee, as well as other states. In sections in which the values of land have not been doubled, as in Illinois and in Indiana they have, the same exodus from the farm and invasion of the country community by new people has taken place.

One cause of this exploitation of land is the shrinkage in size of the older families. Everywhere the exploitation of land is the greatest where the soil is the richest and the farmers the most prosperous. Even in the exceptional populations such as the Scotch Presbyterians and Pennsylvania Germans, this effect of agricultural prosperity is slowly at work.

In Chester County, Pennsylvania, and in Washington County, where the most substantial farmers in the country are found, the families in the present generation are small. Many of the older stock have no children. Families which have retained the title of their land for eight generations are losing their hold upon the soil, by the fact that they have none to inherit after them.

Another cause of this exploitation of land is the increasing number of small farms in certain regions. This means that in certain sections the farming [Pg 125]population has a new element, for the holders of these small farms are many of them new to the community.

The process, which is made clear by the census of 1910, is this. The earlier retirement from the farms was by sale, the farmer taking money instead of land. The second stage of retirement from the farm was through absentee landlordism and the placing of tenants on the farm. This process has come to an end in many sections of the Middle West, with the return of the sons of the landlord to the family acres in the country, so that there is a sort of rhythm in the flow of population from the country into the town and backward to the land. In this process there is no invasion by new people, except the temporary residence of the tenant farmer in the country, and some of these have in the process gained a footing by ownership of land. But this ebb and flow of population out of the country community and back again has weakened and strained the country church and school and has not yet begun to strengthen them. There is every evidence that with a pleasant and agreeable country life the country community can retain the best elements of this population, which comes and goes. The country church and school ought to take measures to retain the best of the country population through these changes.

Through all these causes the presence of a large proportion of aliens in the community who are American born, but locally unattached by birth or ownership, has effected great changes in the country church,[Pg 126] and other community institutions. The State of Illinois, which has a tenant farmer population of more than 50 per cent in its richest sections, has suffered severely through the loss of many country churches. There is no precise measure of this loss, but a sociological survey recently made in Illinois indicates that in the past twenty years more than fifteen hundred country churches have been abandoned in the State. This statement must be accepted as approximate, but the number is likely to be greater rather than less. This abandonment of country churches has come in the same period in which the proportion of tenant farmers has greatly increased. Reference is made elsewhere to a similar condition in the State of Delaware, in which the churches of the old land-owners have been abandoned and replaced at heavy expense with poorer churches built by the incoming tenant farmers.

Everywhere in the United States this process has in some measure affected the country. It does not much matter whether the proportion of tenants is increasing or decreasing, the present effect is one of instability. In New England where in the past ten years tenantry has been diminished ten per cent, the country churches are weakened as elsewhere. The churches have not yet had time to recover while the population is in a state of change.

The old order in the country is crumbling. The church is an expression of stability. The people on whom the church always depends for its audiences,[Pg 127] its enthusiasm and its largest accessions, are marginal people, working men, adolescent youths and those who are coming to a position in the community. The exodus of these from the country community, or the incoming of persons in these classes into the country community, has been unfavorable to the country church at the present time.

It may be said at this point that a state of transition is for the time being unfavorable to ethical and moral growth. Moral conditions are sustained by custom, and where customs are in change, moral standards must themselves be in transition. The country community is moral so far as adhering to the standards of the past is concerned. But the population themselves who have to do with the country are undergoing extraordinary moral change, with incidental loss, and many of the problems of the United States as a whole are made more acute by the waste of the country community. Among these should be cited the amusement question in the small town, the decadence of the theatre in the cheaper vaudeville, the white slave traffic and the social disorders peculiar to unskilled laborers, many of whom come from country communities of the United States and Europe.

It must be remembered, too, that the rural free delivery and the telephone have entered the country community in the past twenty years and their effect has not yet been recorded. It has probably been in the direction of chilling instead of warming the[Pg 128] social life of the country. The old acquaintance and the intimate social relations of the country community have not been helped by the telephone: and along with the presence of aliens in the community, one-fourth or one-half or three-fourths of the population, the telephone has had the effect of lowering the standards of intimacy and separating the households in the country one from another. The rural free delivery has put country people into the general world economy and for the time being has loosened the bonds of community life.

In those states in which the trolley system has been extended into the country, for instance Ohio and Indiana, the process of weakening the country population has been hastened. Sunday becomes for country people a day of visiting the town and in great numbers they gather at the inter-urban stations. The city and town on Sunday is filled with careless, hurrying groups of visitors, sight-seers and callers, who have no such fixed interest as that to be expressed in church-going or in substantial social processes. For the time being inter-urban trolley lines have dissipated the life of the country communities.

The duty of the church in the country under these conditions can be accomplished only under a widened horizon. The minister and the leaders of the church must lift up their eyes. They need not be discouraged if for the time being they accomplish little, for the period of exploitation must come to an end[Pg 129] normally with the exhaustion of its forces, before the better day can come. But this period is one of enlargement. The units of social life will be spaced farther apart. The country community will advance as soldiers say, "in open order." This is true for the family life, in which the father, the mother and the children have greater freedom from one another; as well as in the community, in which neighbors become less intimately dependent on one another. The church must therefore preach the world idea. At this time of transition the country church should undertake its foreign missionary service. The great causes of the Kingdom which are world-wide should be presented to country people when they are lifting up their eyes from local confines to look at the world and the city and the nation. As the daily paper comes into the farmer's household the farmer's church should interpret the history of the time in missionary terms. The literature of the great missionary agencies should be distributed in the farm household. Wherever the catalogue of the big store in Chicago or New York is found on the center table, beside it should be placed a modern book expressive of missionary evangelism. As the mind of the countryman develops to comprehend the world in his daily thought under the impetus of a daily newspaper, his conscience and his religious experience should be expanded correspondingly.

In a time of exploitation of land the country church should regenerate its financial system. The[Pg 130] system of barter passes away in the day of speculation in farm land; and the country church which can find means to endure the period of exploitation must put its financial system on a new basis. The tenant farmer is crudely striving through problems of scientific agriculture. He may, indeed, be a soil robber, but by his waste of economic values he and other men are learning to conserve. The financial system of the church should be placed at this time on a basis of weekly contribution, for with the tenant farmer comes system, cash payments, regular commercial processes. The business administration of the church must be made to correspond.

The country minister and schoolteacher must therefore become prophets of the intellect and of the spirit, in the new order. If they cannot minister to the new intelligence of the farmer and his children, their institutions will necessarily decay. The farmer who succeeds in the new social economy of the country will not endure old sermons which were appropriate in his father's time. The emphasis must not be placed on tradition, but upon inductive study. The preacher must not feed the people on special instances, but upon representative cases. The intelligence of the new type of farmer will not be satisfied with sensations and with the unusual; but he demands to be trained in standards of the new day, when science, system, organization and world economy are making their demands on him[Pg 131] and his very soul is concerned in his response to those demands.

The task of dealing with newcomers in the country community is educational, financial and recreative. One should add that it is also evangelistic, but I have in mind the possibility that these newcomers may be Catholics with whom Protestant evangelism will not be successful. It is possible also that they will be of another Protestant sect from that of the reader of this chapter, so that to evangelize them would mean proselyting. The writer believes very heartily in rural evangelism. It is an essential process in building the country church. These chapters are devoted primarily to the building of the country community and in that process the securing of members for the country church is preliminary only. Leaving, therefore, the question of rural evangelism for treatment in another place, let us take up the educational treatment of the newcomer in the country community.

The proper machinery for this education is the common school and the Sunday school. As the common school is treated elsewhere, the use of the Sunday school in organizing the rural population belongs here. Few churches realize the power and value of Sunday-school training. I am insisting that the life of country people is religious. The use of the Sunday school is to train the young of the community in religion. All country people accept the Bible as a holy book. They all believe in the edu[Pg 132]cation of their children and in much greater numbers than they will respond for a church service their children will respond to the work of religious culture on Sunday at the church. The Sunday-school organization is interdenominational. Its lessons and its methods are a common heritage of the churches at the present time. The machinery is perfect, but the Sunday-school leaders lack vision and they lack the progressive spirit. If only the teachers and ministers realized the value of the Sunday school and its acceptance with the people, there would be needed no other machinery for building the country community.

The Sunday-school should be a close parallel to the day school. If the day school in the community has any progressive features, the Sunday school should use these and improve them. Between the two there should exist the closest sympathy, not formal or definitely organized, but actual and expressed in parallel lines of work. Where the day school is graded, the Sunday school should accept the same grading, strongly organizing all its classes. The pupils in the Sunday school should pass by successive promotions from teacher to teacher and from grade to grade.

If the day school in the country is unprogressive and is taught by a succession of indifferent persons, the Sunday school should practise under the guidance of religious leaders those principles of modern pedagogy which should be used in the common schools.[Pg 133] Graded lessons, the organization of material and progressive development of religious truth from the simpler to the more complex, should find their place in every Sunday school. The opportunity for service to the whole community thus offered through the Sunday school is excelled by none in the country community.

The upper classes of the Sunday school should be organized. Young men and women especially, who are in danger of finding the Sunday school irksome because their intelligence has passed beyond its control, should be organized in classes which on week days have a club or society character. The Sunday school should use as an ally their tendency to organization and should satisfy their social needs by giving them regular and approved opportunities for meeting and for pleasure.

Another principle which the Sunday school can practise for the benefit of the community is the centralization of religious teaching. Even if the common schools are not centralized, the children for the Sunday school should be brought to the church from outlying regions in hired wagons every week. It is better that a large Sunday school be maintained under efficient leadership than that a number of small schools with indifferent teachers should be maintained in various school districts. The larger body can have better leadership. It is more closely under the supervision of the minister, who is generally the superior in education of the laymen, and the[Pg 134] social value of the meetings of the Sunday school will be greater in the larger body. All the arguments which make for the centralization of the day school have force for the consolidation of Sunday schools in one large school.

The Sunday school offers a basis for church federation. In the community it is frequently possible for Sunday schools to be united and for the advantages of this common teaching to be made even greater because all the children of the various churches are in one body. The best leadership and the best teachers are thus secured and the community spirit is cultivated through the young people and more loosely attached members of the community.

The older classes of the Sunday school on a basis of study of the Bible should be organized for practical ends. The adult Bible class can be made to have all the influence of the grange in the country community. The fathers and mothers of the community may meet throughout the week socially. They may undertake together the study of the economic life of the community. Lecturers from the agricultural college, representatives of the Play Ground Movement, of the county work of the Y. M. C. A., of historical societies interested in the community's past and other representatives of national movements, may be welcomed and heard by this organized class, the basis of which is religious education.

What I am urging may be accomplished by any[Pg 135] church in some measure, however divided the community may be. It is the business of the individual church which has a vision of the community as a whole to act as if it were a federation of churches. Frequently ministers are in favor of church federation, as if that process were an end in itself. The writer believes that the individual church can accomplish the ends of federation if the union of churches can do so. The best means for effecting federation of churches is to practise the program of federation until it shall come about.

The community made up in a degree of new families and the community in which the newcomers are young men and women, children of the residents, are bound to educate these invaders of the community, whether they come from without or whether they come by "birthright membership," in the spirit of benevolence. The giving of money to public uses is one of the cherished social forces of our time. The country community is just entering into the day of cash. The period of barter is over. The farmer therefore needs in his ethical and his religious training, to have definite culture as a philanthropist. The future of the farm-hand in America is still very hopeful. The tenant farmer expects to be an owner. The farmer's son believes himself to have a future. These hopes from earliest years should be disciplined by the practise of giving. For this end the church is a rarely well fitted means. The financial system of the church must be made democratic. The cus[Pg 136]tom of renting pews belonged in the land-farmer period. The writer does not suggest that it be abolished because it can often serve a more democratic purpose in its mature forms under careful supervision than any substitute, but it is all important that the country church be a training-school in the consecration of money to the uses of the community and of the kingdom of God.

For the average countryman the kingdom of God should be embodied in the country community. This is not to say that his vision should be narrow. On the contrary his vision is often of the spread-eagle sort. He overlooks the opportunities for benevolence which are near at hand. He believes in foreign missions sometimes, and contributes impulsively to the support of men in China who are paid a better salary than the pastor in his own community. He applauds the gifts of millionaires and of city people generally to hospitals, but he ignores the ravages of disease in his own community. The divine imperative is that the country community be first organized, by those who live there, for local well-being. For this, contributions of money are necessary and they must be made by all in the community.

The question has been raised frequently whether an endowment is not necessary for the country church. The writer began his ministry in a country church which was generously endowed. He still believes in the value of endowment for some country commu[Pg 137]nities. Ex-President Eliot of Harvard recently commended the principle of endowment to the New England Country Church Association, as a solution of the rural problem. President Butterfield of Massachusetts Agricultural College has emphasized the same principle. It is quite likely that in the Eastern States where the country community has been depleted by the departure of an extraordinary number of families and individuals, an endowment would be of value for the country church. One must not hold to a theoretic opposition to such a method. The important thing is to provide a trained pastor for the country community. In these Eastern communities a larger proportion of the former members of the community have prospered than in Western communities. Many of them are very rich. In these cases it is but natural that an endowed church in the country community express the ministry of the more prosperous citizen to his poorer brethren, but everybody knows that these depleted communities—I will not say these excessive fortunes—are among the most lamentable factors in American life.

The endowment of the church, however, is a very poor apology for a bad situation. It has but limited use, and the creation of a large fund to be used in the country community necessitates careful supervision by men of such business ability as are not usually found in a country community. To remedy such conditions as those with which President Eliot[Pg 138] and President Butterfield are most familiar is a specific problem. It is not the general situation throughout the United States. The purpose of these chapters is to make plain the way by which the average American community may escape depletion, may retain the leadership of its best minds and may prosper in a democratic way. I am interested more in training the country population for the future than in mending the mistakes of the past. But I believe that for depleted country communities in New England, New York and Pennsylvania an endowment of the country church would in many instances be effective: and for them alone.

Let the country church undertake its financial problem in a business-like way. At the beginning of the year make a budget of all the monies needed for the year's work. Face the issues of the year frankly. Pay to the minister and to other employees of the church a sufficient amount to provide them with needful things throughout the year. A living wage is not enough. The minister especially needs a working salary. With little variation throughout the country as a whole the minister in the rural community should have in order to minister to his people, to educate his children and to look forward without fear to old age, twelve to fourteen hundred dollars a year and a house. Many country communities have a more expensive standard, and there are a few in which less is required. But in Southern States and in Western communities I have found the[Pg 139] conditions, created by the prices which prevail throughout the country as a whole, at this standard.

When the budget of the year is prepared, including missionary and benevolent gifts, it should be distributed by the officers through consultation with all the members of the church, young and old, rich and poor, in such way as to secure a gift from every one and to meet the obligations of the church as a whole. For the moral values of the situation the small gift of the poor and of the child are even more important than the large gift of the well-to-do. For the securing of these gifts the envelope system, especially the so-called duplex envelope, is the best means which can be generally used by churches. It is a method flexible enough to reach every member and it represents in its duplex form the double motive of giving to the community itself and to those larger national and missionary enterprises to which the country should contribute.

The third method of developing the country community is recreative. I mention it here for completeness of statement. Another chapter is devoted to recreation in the country community. The amusements and recreations of the country community are immersed in moral issues. The ethical life of the community is the atmosphere in which social pleasure is taken. Therefore the recreations of the community are to be provided and supervised by those who would undertake to create a wholesome community life. A maximum of provision and a[Pg 140] minimum of supervision are required. Country life is devoid of means for recreation. Some one must provide it. Usually it is either neglected altogether, and the result is dullness and monotony; or it is provided for a price, and the result is an organized center of immorality. Recreation requires but little supervision. The presence of older persons, and those of a humane friendly spirit, is usually necessary to the games. These are based on honor and with a few simple principles the young people and working people of the community will organize their own play and find therein a great benefit.

To summarize this chapter, the acute problem in many communities today is the merging of the life of newcomers in the community into the organized social life which is older and more settled. This task belongs above all to the country church. Many of the detailed applications are for the school to follow out, but the business of the church is to see and to inspire. If the church is not democratic, the community will be hopelessly divided. If the church welcomes the newcomer and finds him a place, the community will be inspired with a democratic spirit. The task of the church is indicated in the new prosperity of the country which tends from the first to remove from the community those who prosper. The church's business is to win to the community all who come into it and to release from its hold as few as possible.[Pg 141]

In a discussion of country life in a Tennessee college town the question was asked of a professor of agriculture who was speaking about farm tenantry, "What should the church do for the tenant farmer?" "Borrow money for him and help him to buy land," said the professor.

Such a solution might be the church's task, but the example of England's policy for Ireland shows that the professor commended a governmental rather than a religious service. For it is found that the Irish farmer—a tenant on land whereon his ancestors have for centuries been tenants—when he secures the land in fee through the new policies of the British Government, frequently deserts the country community, selling his land to a neighbor. Some sections of Ireland are said to have a new kind of small tenantry and a new sort of small landlord. The task of the country community begins where the task of government leaves off. It is to inspire the resident in the country with a vision, and to lay upon him the imperative, of building up the country community out of the newcomers, who enter it by birth or by migration.


[31] "The Agrarian Changes in the Middle West," by J. B. Ross.

[Pg 142]



In contrast to other classes of the population country people have a marked preference for individual action and an aversion to co-operative effort. The causes of this are historical. In general these causes are of the past and they are not a matter of persuasion. The American farmer has not co-operated in the past because: first, the necessities of his life made him independent and impatient of the sacrifices necessary in co-operating with his fellows. We have still many influences of the pioneer in modern life. So long as agriculture is solitary work and its processes take a man away from his fellows, co-operation will be retarded. So long as the countryman has to practise a variety of trades, he will be emotional, and the social life of the country will be broken up by feuds, divisions, separations and continued misunderstandings. No mere education as to alleged right and wrong can plaster over the old economy with new ethical standards. Until the loneliness and the emotion are taken out of farming country people cannot co-operate.

A good part of the United States is still in the land farmer period. The characteristic of the land[Pg 143] farmer is his cultivation of group life. The historical process by which this group life is broken up is exploitation. Farmers whose lands have not been exploited and whose group life has not suffered the undermining influence of exploitation will not normally co-operate. I am convinced that in most farming territories the loyalty of the countryman to his group is the second reason for his refusal to co-operate. Again, this refusal of his is not subject to persuasion. He is obeying an economic condition which shapes his life and controls his action. Striking instances are furnished in many regions of the amazing disloyalty of farmers to one another, and to their own pledged word. These are to be explained by the type to which the farmer in these sections conforms. We must not expect the land farmer to obey the ethical standards of the husbandman.

A good instance of this conformity to type was furnished in the case of meetings held in Louisiana and Western Mississippi among the farmers who raise cotton. The occasion of the meetings was the approach of the boll weevil to their districts. The attendance upon the meetings was large, indeed universal. The situation was clearly understood and the speakers secured from the farmers present a promise quite unanimous to refrain from cultivating cotton for a year. The purpose of this was to meet the boll weevil with a territory in which he would find no food. Thus his march eastward across the cotton field would be arrested.[Pg 144]

The farmers having made their promise and agreed heartily in the proposal, adjourned. Weeks and months passed and the time approached for planting cotton. Farmer after farmer, who had attended these meetings and given his promise, privately decided that he would plant a cotton crop and secretly expected that he would secure a larger price that year because so many of his neighbors were to raise other crops. When the full season for planting cotton had come it was discovered that so many farmers had planted cotton that the plan of co-operation was a failure, and the whole district went back to cotton, with full prospect of assisting the boll weevil in his course toward the East. The reasons for this action lie in the type of farmer who thus found it impossible to co-operate. Each of these farmers regarded above all other things the success of his own farm and his own family group. In contrast to this interest no other claim, no exhortation and not even his word given in public had any lasting influence upon his action.

The third element in the inability of country people to co-operate is the ideal of level democratic equality which prevails in the country. Where universal land-ownership has been the rule every countryman thinks himself "as good as anybody else." So long as this ideal prevails, that subjection of himself to another, and the controlling of his action by the interests of the community, are impossible. The farmer cannot co-operate when he[Pg 145] thinks of social life in terms of pure democracy. There must be a large sense of team work, a loyal and instinctive obedience to leaders, a devoted spirit which looks for honest leadership, before there can be co-operation. These things come not by persuasion, but by experience. Co-operation is the act of a mature people. Not until country people have passed through earlier stages and discarded earlier ideals can the preacher and the organizer and the teacher successfully inculcate a spirit of co-operation.

Country churches are highly representative in their present divided condition. This multiplication of churches in the country is lamentable chiefly because it registers the divided state of country life. It is true that divided churches are religiously inefficient, but it is vastly more important that divided churches are embodiments of what one country minister calls "the tuberculosis of the American farmer, individualism."

It was natural for the pioneer to desire a religion in terms of a message of personal salvation. Personality in his lonely life was the noblest, indeed the only form of humanity known to him, therefore the herald was his minister and emotion was his religion. It is very natural for the land farmer to organize religion in terms of group life. His churches were only handmaids of his household. They had but the beginnings of social organization. They taught the ethics of home life, of the separate farm and of a land-owning people. Obviously the church[Pg 146] for the pioneer and for the land farmer could be a very weak and indifferent organization, but efficient for the religious needs of those independent, self-reliant types of countrymen.

For these reasons in all parts of the country the pitiful story is heard of divided communities. One need not recite it here. It usually is the account of three hundred or four hundred people with five or six country churches. At its worst there is a small community in which missionary agencies are supporting ministers who do not average one hundred possible families apiece in the community. The condition of Center Hall, Pennsylvania, has been described in another chapter, in which there are within a radius of four miles from a given point twenty-four country churches. This community represents a condition of transition from the land-farmer type to that of exploitation. Some of these churches are the old churches of the land-owning resident farmers, but the most of them are said to be the newer churches of tenants who have come into the community. Our present concern is to recognize the relation of the divided churches to the divided social life of the community. The criticism of the country community must be made on an understanding of the stage of development to which that community has attained. Whatever is planned for the upbuilding of the country community must be planned in harmony with the well-known facts of rural development.

Business life introduces into the community a new[Pg 147] standard of values. Cash and credit take the place of barter. The exchange in kind on which originally the community depended comes to an end. Business life very shortly induces combination. The whole of modern business presents a spectacle of universal combination and co-operation. The farmer who is most conservative is surrounded on all sides by the aggressive forces of business. Combined in their own interest they compete with him on unequal terms. He stands alone and they stand combined.

Americans are looking with growing interest on the experience of Denmark where a multitude of co-operative associations represent the spirit of the people. This spirit has been deliberately cultivated in the land for forty years. It is the universal testimony of observers that the prosperity of Denmark is dependent on these co-operative agencies and upon this united spirit. The exodus from the country has been arrested, agriculture has been made a desirable occupation, profitable for the farmer and most probable for the state, and the people as a whole have taken front rank in social and economic welfare. Essential to this constructive period of Denmark's life is co-operation.[32]

In Sir Horace Plunkett's recent book, "The Rural Life Problem in The United States," he develops [Pg 148]this principle clearly. He says that in the organization of country life in Ireland it was necessary to go into the very heart of the people's experience and organize their economic and social processes in forms of co-operation.

"When farmers combine, it is a combination not of money only, but of personal effort in relation to the entire business. In a co-operative creamery for example, the chief contribution of a shareholder is in milk; in a co-operative elevator, corn; in other cases it may be fruit or vegetables, or a variety of material things rather than cash. But it is, most of all, a combination of neighbors within an area small enough to allow of all the members meeting frequently at the business center. As the system develops, the local associations are federated for larger business transactions, but these are governed by delegates carefully chosen by the members of the constituent bodies. The object of such associations is primarily, not to declare a dividend, but rather to improve the conditions of the industry for the members.

"It is recognized that the poor man's co-operation is as important as the rich man's subscription. 'One man, one vote,' is the almost universal principle in co-operative bodies.

"The distinction between the capitalistic basis of joint stock organization and the more human character of the co-operative system is fundamentally important.[Pg 149]

"In this matter I am here speaking from practical experience in Ireland. Twenty years ago the pioneers of our rural life movement found it necessary to concentrate their efforts upon the reorganization of the farmer's business.

"1. We began with the dairying industry, and already half the export of Irish butter comes from the co-operative societies we established.

"2. Organized bodies of farmers are learning to purchase their agricultural requirements intelligently and economically.

"3. They are also beginning to adopt the methods of the organized foreign farmer in controlling the sale of their butter, eggs and poultry in the British markets.

"4. And they not only combine in agricultural production and distribution, but are also making a promising beginning in grappling with the problem of agricultural finance. It is in the last portion of the Irish programme that by far the most interesting study of the co-operative system can be made, on account of its success in the poorest parts of the Island. Furthermore, the attempt to enable the most embarrassed section of the Irish peasantry to procure working capital illustrates some features of agricultural co-operation which will have suggestive value for American farmers.

"A body of very poor persons, individually—in the commercial sense of the term—insolvent, manage to create a new basis of security which has been[Pg 150] somewhat grandiloquently and yet truthfully called 'the capitalization of their honesty and industry.' The way in which this is done is remarkably ingenious. The credit society is organized in the usual democratic way explained above, but its constitution is peculiar in one respect. The members have to become jointly and severally responsible for the debts of the association, which borrows on this unlimited liability from the ordinary commercial bank, or, in some cases, from Government sources. After the initial stage, when the institution becomes firmly established, it attracts local deposits, and thus the savings of the community, which are too often hoarded, are set free to fructify in the community. The procedure by which the money borrowed is lent to the members of the association is the essential feature of the scheme. The member requiring the loan must state what he is going to do with the money. He must satisfy the committee of the association, who know the man and his business, that the proposed investment is one which will enable him to repay both principal and interest. He must enter into a bond with two sureties for the repayment of the loan, and needless to say the characters of both the borrower and his sureties are very carefully considered. The period for which the loan is granted is arranged to meet the needs of the case, as determined by the committee after a full discussion with the borrower. Once the loan has been made, it becomes the concern of every member of the as[Pg 151]sociation to see that it is applied to the 'approved purpose'—as it is technically called. What is more important is that all the borrower's fellow-members become interested in his business and anxious for its success.

"The fact that nearly three hundred of these societies are at work in Ireland and that, although their transactions are on a very modest scale, the system is steadily growing both in the numbers of its adherents and in the turnover,—this fact is, I think, a remarkable testimony to the value of the co-operative system. The details I have given illustrate one important distinction between co-operation, which enables the farmer to do his business in a way that suits him, and the urban form of combination, which is unsuited to his needs."

The traditional economy that centered in the farm household was independent. The ethical standards of country life recognized but small obligations to those outside the household. Farmers still idealize an individual, or rather a group, success. They entertain the hope that their farm may raise some specialty for which a better price shall be gained and by which an exceptional advantage in the market shall be possessed. The conditions of the world economy are imposing upon the farmer the necessity of co-operation.

The prices of all the farmers' products are fixed by the marginal goods put upon the market. For instance, the standard milk for which the price is[Pg 152] paid to dairy farmers, is the milk which can barely secure a purchaser. The poor quality, relative uncleanness, and the low grade of the marginal milk dominate the general market in every city, and the farmer who produces a better grade gets nothing for the difference. It is true that there is a special price paid by hospitals and a limited market may be established by special institutions, but we are dealing here with general conditions such as affect the average milk farmer and the great bulk of the farmers. It is on these average conditions alone that the country community can depend.

Co-operation is the essential measure by which the producer of marginal goods can be influenced. To raise the standard of his product it is necessary to have a combination of producers. So long as the better farmer is dependent by economic law upon those prices paid for marginal goods, the only way for the better farmer to secure a better gain is to engage in co-operation which shall include the poorer and the marginal farmer.

In the Kentucky counties which raise Burley tobacco, a few years ago the tenant farmer was an economic slave. He sold his crop at a price dictated by a combination of buyers. He lived throughout the year on credit. His wife and his children were obliged to work in the field in summer. He had nothing for contribution to community institutions. Indeed, he very frequently ended the year without paying his debts for food and clothing.[Pg 153]

The organizations of these farmers which have been formed in recent years for self-protection have been blamed for some outrageous deeds. Persons in sympathy with these organizations have burned the barns of farmers unwilling to enter the combination. They have administered whippings and threats right and left in the interest of the farmers' organization. In their contest with the buyers to secure a better price they have reduced to ashes some of the warehouses of the monopoly to which they were obliged to sell their tobacco. These public outrages are worthy of condemnation. The writer believes that they were not essential to the process of co-operation by which the farmers fought their way to better success, though the effect of these acts is a part of the historical process.

But the combination of farmers has redeemed the poorer, the tenant farmer and the small farmer from economic slavery. His representatives now fix the price of the product. There is one buyer and one seller, competition being eliminated; and the price at which the tobacco is sold is the farmers' price, not the manufacturer's price. As a result the farmers are able to hire help. The wife and children no longer work in the field. The bills are paid as they are incurred, instead of credit slavery binding the farmer from year to year. Last of all this prosperity has taken form in better roads, better schools and better churches. It remains only to be said that among the farmers engaging in this co-operative[Pg 154] union there were many preachers and pastors of the region. They took a large part in the combinations of farmers which affected this great gain. They recognized that the fight of the farmers for self-respect and for free existence was a religious struggle and that the church had a common interest in the well being of the population to which it ministered.

Another instance of co-operation is seen in Delaware and on the "Eastern Shore" where the soil had been exhausted. Methods of slavery days were unfavorable to the land and after the War it was long neglected. In recent years a new type of farmer has come into this territory. By intensive cultivation with scientific methods, he is raising small fruits, berries, vegetables and other products, for the nearby markets in the great cities. The success of these farmers has been dependent upon their produce exchanges. They have learned, contrary to the traditional belief of farmers, that there is a greater profit for the individual farmer in raising the same crop as his neighbor, than there is in an especial crop which competes in the market for itself. That is to say, in shipping a carload of strawberries the farmer gets a better price when the car is filled with one kind of berry than he would receive if the car was made up of a number of separate consignments under different names and of different varieties. Co-operation has been better for the individual than competition.

It at once becomes evident that co-operation is an[Pg 155] ethical and a religious discipline. As soon as the farming population is saturated with the idea, which these farmers fully understand who have prospered by co-operation, the religious message in these territories will be a new message of brotherhood. The old gospel of an individual salvation apart from men and often at the expense of other men will be enlarged and renewed into a gospel of social salvation. No man will be saved to a Heaven apart or to a salvation which he attains by competition or by comparison, but men shall be saved through their fellows and with their fellows. The country church, of all our churches, will teach in the days to come the gospel of unity.

The writer's own experience as a country minister was a perfect illustration of this union of all members of a community. In the community Quakers, Irish Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Baptists were represented in nearly equal numbers. With people widely diverse in their economic position, though dependent upon one another, it became evident to all that the only religious experience of the community must be an experience of unity. Under the leadership of an old Quaker who supplied the funds and of two others of gracious spirit and broad intellect, the whole community was united, on the condition that all should share in that which any did. One church was organized to receive all the adherents of Protestant faith and one service of worship united all, whether within or without the church. Even[Pg 156] the Roman Catholics once or twice a year for twenty years have been brought together in meetings which express the unity of the countryside.

Other instances there are of co-operation among churches in the country, but their number is not great. There is a supplementary co-operation in the division of territory in some states. The church at Hanover, N. J., has a territory six miles by four, in which no other church has been established. This old Presbyterian congregation has peopled its countryside with its chapels and has assembled the chapel worshippers regularly at its services in the old church at the graveyard and the manse.

In Rock Creek, Illinois, the Presbyterian Church has a community to itself, and ministers in its territory with the same efficiency with which the Baptist church across the creek ministers to its territory, in which it also has a religious monopoly. These two congregations respect one another and have a sense of supplementing one another, which is a form of co-operation. The ideal expressed in these two instances is cherished by many. It is hoped that religious bodies may agree in time to divide the territory, to give up churches, to sell or transfer property rights and to shift their ministers from communities which have too many to those communities not served at all. But the way for this co-operation as an active principle has not yet opened. Its value is in those communities which have had it from[Pg 157] the first as an inheritance. It has so far not proven a remedy to be applied for the cure of existing evils.

The writer believes that the path of co-operation is the efficient and slow one of economic and social organization rather than the delusive short-cut of religious union. People cannot be united in religion until they are united in their social economy. The business of the church is to organize co-operative enterprises, economic, social and educational, and to school the people in the joy, to educate them in the advantages, of life together. Co-operation must become a gospel. Union requires to be a religious doctrine. It will be well for a long time to come to say but little about organic union of churches and to say a great deal about the union in the life of the people themselves.


[32] "Rural Denmark and Its Lessons," by H. Rider Haggard. See also the Bulletins of the International Institute of Agriculture at Rome, Italy.

[Pg 158]



The weakness of the common schools in American rural communities shows itself in their failure to educate the marginal people of the community, in their failure to train average men and women for life in that community, in their robbing the community of leadership by training those on whom their influence is strongest, so that they go out from the community never to return; and in their general disloyalty to the local community with its needs and its problems.

It is the boast of the people of the country school district that their school has "sent out" so many people of distinction. On a rocky hillside in a New England town there stands, between a wooded slope and a swamp, an unpainted school building. Within and without it is more forbidding than the average stable in that farming region. But the resident of that neighborhood boasts of the number of distinguished persons who have gone forth from the community, under the influence of that school. This is characteristic of country places and country schools. The influence of the school, so far as it has any, is that of disloyalty to the neighborhood. It robs the[Pg 159] neighborhood of leadership. It does nothing to cultivate a spirit of sympathy with the life that must be lived there. For every one whom it starts upon the exodus to other places it leaves two at home uninspired, indifferent and mentally degenerate.

Another fault of the one-room country school, which makes it a weak support of the country community, is its lack of professional support. Among four hundred teachers in such schools, throughout the country, not one in a hundred expects to remain as a country schoolteacher for a lifetime. There is no professional class devoted to the country school. Its service is incidental in the lives of men devoted to something else. It is a mere side issue.

Besides, its building is inadequate. Too many needs, impossible to satisfy, are assembled in a single room. Too many grades must be taught there for any one child to receive the intense impression necessary for his education.

The third great fault of the country school is its total lack of intelligent understanding of the country. Its teaching is suited to prepare men for trade, but not for agriculture. Instead of making farmers of the sons of farmers, the majority of whom should expect to follow the profession of their fathers, the country school prepares them for buying and selling, for calculation and for store keeping. It starts the stream of country boys in the direction of the village store, the end of which is the department store or clerical occupation in a great city.[Pg 160]

The improvement of the one-room rural school is possible within narrow limits only. A recent book[33] gives most sympathetic attention to this problem of improvement, while asserting that reorganization alone will be adequate to the situation. But there are improvements which, within the limitations of the one-room school, are possible. The supervision of these schools may be made closer and more efficient. By bringing to bear upon them the oversight of experts in education the grade of teaching may be elevated. The important principle is to discover the proper unit of supervision. The town is too small and the county unit too large. It is probable that with some rearrangement the county can be made the proper unit of supervision, but the school should determine its problems on a principle independent of political divisions. The first need of the country school at the present time is to be adapted, by such supervision of the district as shall correlate the country school with the units of population resident in the country. In some places the district to be supervised by one superintendent should be not much larger than a township, in other places it might approach the bounds of a county, but in all instances the supervising officer should have the relation of an employed expert to the problems of the country. It is not enough that untrained farmers or tradesmen occasionally visit the school in an indifferent manner. Their indifference is [Pg 161]the natural attitude of men untrained in the task assigned to them. The officer who supervises should be well adapted to his task and should visit with frequency, criticize with trained intelligence, and train his teachers in a constructive educational policy suitable to the district.

Another improvement in rural schools may be had in a better normal training of the teachers. At the present time the normal schools are inadequate to the task of supplying teachers and beyond the supplying of teachers for the city, they stop short. The training of teachers for country schools must become a part of the normal provision for the states.

The minimum salary for teachers is a most important consideration. A primary difficulty in the present situation is that the country school teacher is ill paid. It is therefore impossible to secure and to retain in the country persons of adequate mental and cultural value. In order to secure funds for better payment of teachers, a readjustment of the taxation in the various states is probably necessary, but this will be slow of accomplishment. Some results may be effected in another way by a minimum salary for teachers throughout the State. In this manner a better grade of teachers can be secured for all schools.

The most important improvement, however, in the country schools is almost impossible in the one-room school. It is the teaching of the gospel of the[Pg 162] land. Out around the country school lies the open book of nature. First of books the pupils should learn to read the book of nature. The life of the birds and animals, so familiar to the children yet so little known; the growth of plants, their beauty and their use, and the nature, the tillage and the maintenance of the soil, are all lessons easy to impart to those who are themselves instructed, yet the present system of shifting teachers makes such instruction impossible. It is the opinion of expert educators that the study of agriculture is impossible in the one-room country school. With this opinion the writer agrees, yet so great is the necessity of this very improvement and so slow will be the changes which look to consolidation of schools, that effort should be made at once by those in charge of the country school to teach the children the lesson of the soil, of plant life, of animal and bird life and of the world about them. These lessons are necessary to their economic success. They are the very beginning of their happiness in the country and of love for the country. In teaching them the country school can best perform its duty to the present generation.

The centralizing of country schools is the adequate solution of the present situation. By this means the children from a wide area are brought to a modern school building suitably placed in the country. When necessary they are transported to and from the schools in wagons hired for that purpose, in charge of reliable drivers. In this consolidated[Pg 163] school building, which has taken the place of three, five or even seven one-room district schools now abandoned, there shall be at least two and it may be five teachers. This group of teachers forms a permanent nucleus and a center for the life of the country. The children are assembled in a sufficient number to provide a large group, and their social life is enjoyable as well as mentally stimulating. The weaknesses of the one-room district school are in this institution corrected. There is permanence in the teaching force, professional service, cumulative influence, and the interests of the community find in the school a loyal center of discussion. The consolidated rural school is an institution for the first time adequate to the task of building up the whole population.

The first use to which the centralized rural school is adapted is to halt the exodus from the country. The country community has now no check upon the departure of its best people. The sifting of the country community is done, not by the community itself, but by outside forces, unfriendly and unintelligent as to the interests of the country. The centralized rural school will retain in the country those who should be interested in the country community. This will be accomplished by the study of agriculture, which can adequately be taught only in a graded school in the country. But much can be done even by the supply of an adequate system of education in the country community.[Pg 164]

At Rock Creek, Illinois, the retirement of farmers to the cities and towns had gone so far in 1905 that the intelligent and devoted members of the community, who did not desire to leave the place where their grandfathers had first broken the prairie sod, took counsel as to the welfare of the community. The superficial fact of most consequence was the presence of tenant farmers in the community. These tenants, however desirable personally as neighbors, were of a short term of residence. From one to five years was their longest term on one farm. The social life of the community and its religious interests were beginning to suffer. The sons of the early settlers, therefore, laid their plans by which to control the selection of tenants.

Their first plan was to form a farmer's union or syndicate, which should undertake to run the farms of those who were retiring from the land. This plan seemed promising and the makers of it congratulated themselves upon controlling the future of the community. But reflection showed that this method would have the effect of retiring more farmers from the land and turning over the hiring of tenants to the few remaining loyal owners, who would come in a short time to constitute the local real estate agencies; while the majority of the owners would enjoy themselves in towns and villages round about.

The result was that the farmers undertook not to control the tenancy, but to build up the community itself. They deliberately undertook the[Pg 165] reconstruction of the schools. Three school districts were merged in one. An adequate building in which a group of teachers is employed was erected. The children are transported in wagons hired for that purpose. The grounds about the school building are made pleasant; and the school, located near the manse and the church which had most influenced the change, forms now a strong community center for a wide region.

The result is all that could be desired. The retirement from the farms has been checked; the neighborhood has become specially desirable for residence. Farmers who had gone to the town find now that as good or better schools are to be had in the community where their property lies and where they pay their taxes. The rental price of land has increased and it is difficult for tenants to come into the community unless they are willing to pay an added rental in return for better school privileges. The whole countryside has received an impetus and the depression of country life has for this community departed. Mr. R. E. Bone, "the fourth red-headed Presbyterian elder Bone in the Rock Creek Church," takes great pride in the building up of the community which has been effected through the consolidated school.

A more mature example is the John Swaney Consolidated School in Illinois. Here the leadership and generosity of John Swaney, a member of the Society of Friends, have effected the consolidation[Pg 166] of four school districts at a point two miles from the village of McNab. This purely rural consolidation was not effected without a contest. Indeed the McNab school has had to fight for the gains it has made from the very beginning. The school-house stands by the roadside, not even surrounded by a group of residences. The grounds are peculiarly beautiful, being shaded by great trees and extending in ample lawn about the building. In the rear are stables for the horses which transport the children daily from the outer bounds of the consolidated district.

The school building contains four class-rooms with physical and chemical laboratories. In one room are apparatus for cooking and sewing. In the basement is a well-lighted shop where benches for manual training are placed at the use of the boys. In the third story is an auditorium so ample as to accommodate a basket-ball game and about two hundred spectators. Frequent gatherings occur here in a simple spontaneous way. This common school has all the social and intellectual power of the old-fashioned country academy which once was so useful in the Eastern States. A principal and four women teachers form the faculty of the John Swaney school. The number of scholars in 1910 was one hundred and five, the number of boys slightly exceeding that of girls. Of these about half were in the primary and the grammar grades and about half in the high school. Of the latter some twenty-five were tuition pupils[Pg 167] from outside of the district, so that the actual school group of the McNab consolidated school, the children of the tax-payers, was in that year eighty in number.

The difference between the social life of eighty young people and eight or eighteen young people, which one may find in a one-room school in the country anywhere, is very great. Needless to say that the John Swaney school has athletic teams, tennis tournament, baseball games, literary and debating contests and is a strong aggressive force lending life and vitality to the whole countryside. The older families of the neighborhood are Quakers. The newer half of the population is of Germanic stock. The influence of the school is upon all its pupils. The high school retains practically all the sons of the Quaker families and some of the newer population whose interest in education is less.

But the crowning distinction of the John Swaney school is in its study of agriculture, or broadly speaking in its industrial training. For with agriculture must be classed manual training and domestic science. By John Swaney's generosity twenty acres of land were presented to the State for an experiment farm. This land adjoins the school grounds and a regular part of the curriculum for the young men is the study of agriculture. The result of this interpretation of country life in forms of scholarship is that substantially all the graduates of the high school annually go to the State University for training in scientific[Pg 168] agriculture, expecting to return to the farms and become rural residents of Illinois. At the present time no more profitable training could be given these young men and women. But aside from this economic consideration, the social and moral value to the community in the return of these young men and women to their own soil and the scenes of their childhood is beyond estimation. The Quaker Meeting in this community is not "laid down;" the church is not abandoned. Indeed all the activities of the community are built up and the best of the community perpetuated through the medium of this modern consolidated school.

To sum up this chapter, the improvement of the one-room common schools is possible, but for the satisfaction of the needs of the modern country community that improvement is inadequate. The one-room country school is an institution which in itself cannot be made to minister to modern community life. It is simple and modern life is complete. It is casual and irregular while the forces with which it has to deal are steady-going and cumulative in their power. It is inexpert and served by no specialized professional class, while modern life calls for the service of experts in every direction. It has no social value, while modern life is always social in its forms of action and requires social interpretation for its best effects.

A closing word should be said for a type of schools which has been perfected in Denmark. They are[Pg 169] known as the "Folk High Schools." These are popular schools, adapted to the teaching of adults to get a living. Denmark has an adequate supply of technical schools, and these latter are not established to train scholars or scientists. Their use is to fit men and women to meet the issues of life, at home, hand in hand, with skill and enthusiasm. They use few text-books and have no examinations, and six months are sufficient for a course of study. The schools are religious and their foundation was the work of Rev. N. F. S. Grundtvig. In songs and in patriotic exercises, all their own, they idealize country life and the work of the mechanic.

The academies of earlier days in rural America were centers of a similar influence. But with the growth of the public-school system these have been generally abandoned. It is a question whether some of them would not serve a need which is felt today, if only they would train men for modern country life with the same success which they once had in training leaders for a former period.

Then all the people lived in the country. Now only a third of the people are concerned with the farm. So that the education of the modern country boy or girl would require to be carried on in a different manner, in order to retain the best of them in the country. The example of the "Folk Schools" offers an analogy to what might be done in American country life, if the academy could be transformed[Pg 170] into an institution for the education of the young in the country.

All observers testify that the "Folk High Schools" have been the first influence in transforming Denmark in the past forty years, from a nation economically inferior to a nation rich and prosperous. This change has been wrought through the betterment of the farmers and other country people, by means of education in country life; and this education has been economic, patriotic, co-operative and religious. So perfect has it been that it is hard to analyze; but the acknowledged center of it has been a system of schools in which the problem of living is taught as a religion, an enthusiasm and a culture.


[33] "The American Rural School," H. W. Foght.

[Pg 171]



The moral standards of the pioneer type and of the land-farmer type prevail in the country. The world economy has precipitated on the farm an era of exploitation which has not yet reached its highest point. Meantime, according to the ethical ideals of the pioneer and of the farmer, country people are moral.

The investigations of the Country Life Commission brought general testimony to the high standards of personal life which prevail in the country. In such a representative state as Pennsylvania the standard of conduct between the sexes was found to be good. The testimony of physicians, among the best of rural observers, was nearly unanimous, in Pennsylvania, to the good moral conditions prevailing in the intercourse of men and women in the country. This indicates that the farmer economy had superseded the economy of the pioneer.

The moral problem of the pioneer period consisted of a struggle for honesty in business contracts, and purity in the relation of men and women. The story of every church in New England and Pennsylvania, until about 1835 at which Professor Ross[Pg 172] dates the beginning of the farmer period, shows the bitter struggle between the standard accepted by the church and that of the individuals who failed to conform. The standard was inherited from the older communities of Europe. The conduct of individuals grew out of the pioneer economy in which they were living. Church records in New England and New York State are red with the story of broken contracts, debt and adultery. The writer has carefully studied the records of Oblong Meeting of the Society of Friends in Duchess County, New York, and from a close knowledge of the community through almost twenty years of residence in it, it is his belief that there were more cases of adultery considered by Oblong Meeting in every average year of the eighteenth century than were known to the whole community in any ten years at the close of the nineteenth century. The farmer economy in which the group life of the household prevailed over the individual life had by the nineteenth century superseded the pioneer period, in which individual action and independent personal initiative were the prevailing mode.

The coming of the exploiter into the farm community brings a new set of ethical obligations concerning property and contracts. The farmer has perfected the individual standards of the pioneer but he is not yet endowed with social standards. He knows that it is right to give full measure when he sells a commodity, but he does not yet see the evil of breaches of contract. Farmers of high[Pg 173] standing in their communities for their personal character, who are truthful and "honest" in such contractual relations as come down from their fathers, have been known to use the school system of the town for their own private profit, or that of members of their families, and to ignore financial obligations which belong to the new period, in which money values have taken the place of barter values.

A good illustration is that of a deacon in a country church, whom I once knew. His word was proverbially truthful. As widely as he was known his reputation for piety and simple truthfulness, for honesty and purity of life were universal. I do not think that he was consciously insincere, but as a trustee in administering a fund devoted to public uses he seemed to have a clear eye for only those enterprises through which he or members of his family could indirectly secure incomes. Entrusted with a public service which involved the improvement of the school system, so far as he acted individually and without prompting by those who had been accustomed all their lives to modern methods, his action was that of loyalty to his own family and relationship. In so doing he regularly would betray the community and the public interest. Yet he seemed to do this ingenuously and without any conception of the moral standards of people used to the values of money.

I have known the same man, whose standing among farmers was that of a blameless religious man, to borrow money, and in the period of the loan so to[Pg 174] conduct himself as to forfeit the respect of people used to handling money. To them he seemed to be a conscious and deliberate grafter. The explanation in my mind is that he suffered from the transition out of the pioneer and farmer economy into the economy of the exploiter.

The history of the sale of lands in the country, in the recent exploitation of farm-lands, contains many stories of the breach of contract of farmers, and the inability of the farmer to sell wisely and at the same time honestly. Contrasting the farmer in his knowledge of financial obligation with the broker in the Stock Exchange, the latter type stands out in strong contrast as an admirable example of financial honesty to contracts, even if they be verbal only. The farmer on the other hand has no conception of the relations on which the financial system must be built. He is not an exploiter to begin with, but a farmer.

The transition from the older economy to the new is illustrated in the dairy industry which surrounds every great city. The dairy farmer has ideas of right and wrong which are purely individualistic. He believes that he should not cheat the customer in the quantity of milk. He recognizes that it is wrong, therefore, to water the milk, but he has no conception of social morality concerning milk. He gives full measure: but he cares nothing about purity of milk. He is restless and feels himself oppressed under the demands of the inspector from[Pg 175] the city, for ventilation of his barns and for protection of the milk from impurity. I have known few milk farmers who believed in giving pure milk and I never knew one whose conscience was at ease in watering milk. That is, they all believe in good measure and none believes in the principle of sanitation. They stand at the transition from the old economy to the new.

A story is told among agricultural teachers in New York State to the effect that an inspector following the trail of disease in a small city traced it to impure milk supplied by a certain farm. In the absence of the man he insisted on inspecting the dairy arrangements, being followed from room to room by the farmer's indignant wife. Finally he said, "Show me the strainer which you use in the milk," and she brought an old shirt, very much soiled. Looking at it in dismay the inspector said, "Could you not, at least, use a clean shirt?" At this the woman's patience gave way and she declared, "Well, you needn't expect me to use a clean shirt to strain dirty milk!"

The packing of apples for market illustrates the transition from the farmer economy in which the ethical standards are those of the household, or family group, to the world economy in which the moral standards are those of the world market. Apples are packed by all classes of farmers, regardless of varying religious profession, in an indifferent manner. The typical farmer hopes by competition[Pg 176] with his neighbors to gain a possibly better price. Instances of such successes as come to certain family groups are endlessly discussed by farmers; and the highest ideal that one meets among farmers who sell apples throughout the Eastern States is expressed in the instance of some family who have improved their own farm and their own orchard, so as to win for the family or the farm a reputation in some particular market and thus to gain a higher price.

Contrast with this the marketing of apples by the Western fruit growers' Associations. Among them, as for instance in the Hood Valley, Oregon, apples are packed not by the farm owner with a view to competing with his neighbors, but by the committee representing the whole district. The individual farmer has no access to the market. He cannot hide his poor fruit in an envelope of his best fruit, so as to deceive the buyer. The committee has a reputation to maintain on behalf of the association, not of the individual. The apples are marketed on their merits in accordance with a certain standard. The impersonal demands of the world economy are kept in mind. The individual farmer and farm are forgotten. The result is that these far western growers, whose fruit is said in the East to be inferior in flavor to the apples of New York and New England, can sell their product in the eastern market at a higher price per box than the New York or New England farmer can secure per barrel.

The transition from farming to exploiting has[Pg 177] brought out in full view the wastefulness of the farmer economy which is being succeeded by exploitation. The whole doctrine of conservation belongs in this transition. Economy means, literally, housekeeping. The same meaning appears in the word husbandry. It is a principle of saving. Its extraordinary value at the present time is due to our sudden sense of the wastefulness of farm life in recent years. Edward van Alstyne, an agricultural authority in New York, says, "We farmers think we are most economical, but we are the most wasteful of all men." The wastefulness of American farming begins in the tillage of too many acres. The farmer prefers wide fields even at the cost of poor crops.

The New York Central Railroad, which is carrying on a propaganda of husbandry, has appointed a man as expert farmer who increased the yield of potatoes on his land from sixty to three hundred bushels per acre. This brings out clearly that his neighbors are still producing sixty bushels per acre, wasting four-fifths of their land values. This waste is a wrong that should be denounced in the country church just as sternly as doctrinal sins, which have occupied the attention of country ministers in the past.

Expert farmers say that if corn-stalks for fodder are left out in the field until they are fed to the cattle they lose forty to fifty per cent of their food values. This waste is sinful, but the sin is visible only in the[Pg 178] new economy of exploitation which counts all values in terms of cash. No sooner is the sinfulness of waste observed than its connections with moral delinquencies of country people becomes clear. In the improvement of rural morality due to the sifting of country people during the farmer period, it becomes evident that among a people so serious-minded some delinquencies still remain. The immoralities that still lurk and fester in the country are due very largely to waste. This waste of human things is parallel to the waste of economic values.

In a conference there was some difficulty in persuading a certain country minister to speak. When finally he arose he said, "I am not much interested in the scientific analysis of the country church. All I am interested in is sin." One wonders whether he was dealing with the sins of the country in their causes or in their effects, or was he simply concerned with the sins which consist in opposing the doctrines of his particular denomination, whatever it was. This wastefulness of the values in the soil enters into the social life of the country. Farmers care as little for the social values as for land values. Young men and women ignore the moral importance of little things. They are not taught that coarseness is wrong. They are not made to realize that cleanliness and courtesy and reverence for the human body are of vital importance in life.

Country people are prudish and they cover with a strict reserve all discussion of the moral relations[Pg 179] of men and women. Yet in the same communities there is loose private conversation and coarse references are common. The strict standard of the household prevails within its limits. Books and magazines must not discuss, however seriously, the problems of life. But in the intercourse of the community there is not the same care. The moral life of country people requires cultivation of the leisure hours, the casual talk, the occasional meetings of men and women, and especially of young people.

The sale of votes in every election is a fixed quantity in the life of certain country towns. It is to be counted on each year. The number of votes for sale in each town is a known proportion of the whole, and through certain counties the selling of votes is the political factor everywhere present. These uniform facts point to a common cause. That cause is the degeneration of a proportion of the rural population into peasantry.

The growth of a peasant population in America is surely our greatest danger. A peasantry is a rural population whose moral and spiritual state are controlled by their material states. There may be rich peasants, though most peasants are poor. Peasants are a specialized class, incapable of self-government and controlled by some political masters who exercise for them essential rights of citizenship. The peasants in Europe are the last to receive the ballot. In America they are the first to surrender the ballot by selling their votes.[Pg 180]

A young minister called to a country parish denounced the sale of votes, in his first year, and publicly fixed the whole blame on a prominent political leader of the town, who was there present in the church. His criticism was resented by the whole community. He was right, and so were they. It is well to denounce the purchase of votes, but the duty of the country church to Americanize the peasant class is the greater duty. The presence of such a class in a town infallibly leads to this iniquity. The sale of votes is as bad as the sale of woman's virtue, and both have an automatic tendency to degrade the population.

The danger sign of peasantry is a degraded standard of life. In this town there is one household in which nobody works but the mother. "How they live beats me," is the public comment of the neighbors. Through the winter into that house are crowded the father and mother, two sons and two daughters, the husband of one daughter and their two children, with three other small children, whose presence in the house is due to the loose good nature of the family. There is an indolent uncle of these children. None of the household follows any gainful occupation. The table is furnished with potatoes and pork. The attraction of the household is the easy, loose, good-nature of all its members. There is no one to complain of the indolence of the five grown men who lounge about through the winter days.[Pg 181]

The presence of such a household in a town means degradation. Three of these men can be purchased for money to vote, though they cannot be hired for money to work. The daughters of the household are an equally dangerous factor in the countryside. The cause of this moral peril is the low grade of living to which the family has sunk. There is no known state of ill-health to account for their indolence. The first duty of the church in such a community is to regenerate such a household and to lift the standard of ambition of its members.

Slowly the country town is coming to realize that its reputation as well as its progress is determined by this grade of citizen. No exceptional success on the part of one or more families and no substantial goodness by a whole grade of the population can compensate for the lowering of the standard of the whole town by these people. The life and death, the reputation and the progress of the town are dependent upon the extinguishment of these peasant conditions.

This is illustrated by the fact that where votes are for sale in a town those purchased votes determine the election in the majority of cases. They constitute the movable margin between the two parties; and by shifting them one way or the other the political policy of the town is determined. This fact illustrates the whole moral situation of the town, for just by the same flexible margin is the moral life of the town determined. The duty of the church[Pg 182] therefore is with the people upon the economic and social margin of the life of the rural community.

The farmer's moral standards are opposed to combination. He believes in personal righteousness and family morals. He does not believe in the moral control of the individual or the household by the economic group. It has been impossible, therefore, to combine the farmers in the East in any general way so as to control their markets by maintaining a high standard of product. The only control that is dreamed of by the leaders of the farmers is the control of the quantity of their products. They do not think of combination which will control themselves, and so maintain a higher quality of product in order that thus they may dominate the market in the great city.

The present state of ethical opinion among Eastern farmers is not in sympathy with the ethical demands of city populations. The Western fruit growers' associations have fixed the standard for the farmers who raise the fruit, first of all, and by means of this standard they have conquered the market in distant cities. The standard to which they compel their members to conform is the standard of the demand in the world market. If the milk farmers about New York City are to combine they must first impose a self-denying ordinance upon their own members and furnish the city with a quality of milk in harmony with the demands of modern sanitary experts. This is an ethical principle not of the[Pg 183] pioneer or the farmer economy, but of the new husbandry to which very few farmers have conformed.

In the building of country communities, therefore, the ethical teaching must be of a new order. There is already a general teaching of morality in the country churches. The temperance reform is a moral propaganda born of the farmer economy. The expulsion of the saloon from country places has been in obedience to the farmer's conscience. The temperance reform exhibits the transformation from individual ethics which were advocated in 1880 to communal ethics which are represented in the local option aspects of this reform. In 1880 the individual was asked to sign the pledge of total abstinence. In those days it was as important that innocent children sign the pledge as that drunkards sign it. The lists of pledge signers were padded with the names of persons who had never tasted strong drink. In 1893 the Anti-Saloon League began its agitation, which has proceeded among country people with increasing influence. The individual is ignored and the pledge is signed now by the community, by the county or by the state. The attack is not upon the individual drunkard, but upon the community institution, the saloon. This is a great gain in the direction of social ethics. It illustrates the transformation from the pioneer whose impact was upon the individual to the standards of the exploiter period in which the impact is upon the commercial institution. The local option movement has had its[Pg 184] growth in the period of exploitation dated by Prof. Ross from 1890. In this movement the country churches have been distributing centers, the places of discussion and nuclei of moral energy.

If the general moral standards of country people are to be transformed from the pioneer formulae to those of the modern world economy, the country churches must be led by men trained in economics and reinforced by a thorough knowledge of social processes. The temperance movement already begins to show the deficiencies of a propaganda purely negative. Its leaders have shown no conspicuous sympathy with the play-ground movement, which is an essential part of the same ethical process. If the saloon is expelled something must be put in its place, but the temperance reformers have not been wise enough for substitution: they have only been skilful in expulsion. Country life, in its representative communities, suffers today from monotony and emptiness.

The ministers, teachers and other rural leaders need the training which will equip them in positive and aggressive social construction. As the economy of the exploiter comes in to transform the country community it is necessary for the preacher and the teacher to train the population in the ethical standards of the new time. Naturally new contractual relations will prevail in business, and trusts will be committed to the leading men in the farming community, for which they need definite moral prepara[Pg 185]tion. There is many a farmer in the United States who may be safely entrusted with the honor of a woman, but cannot be entrusted with a million dollars to spend in the interest of the community. In many a country community it is perfectly safe to leave the door unlocked, but it is not safe to purchase a quart of milk for a child. There is many a farmer from whom it is morally safe to purchase an acre of ground, but one cannot be sure in purchasing a cow from him that she will not be tuberculous. These are new standards not required by the old economy and not taught in the old meeting-house.

One defect of the country church at the present time is that it has for the countryman no message appropriate to the struggle in which he is actually attempting to do right. Many churches in the country teach only the standards of right and wrong to which the farmers already conform. For a short time a new minister is popular with them because his new voice and his fresh elocution contain a subtle flattery. He denounces the sins to which they are not inclined and praises the virtues which they have learned to practise from their fathers. But after about six months of such preaching the farmer wearies of a preacher with no new message. Indeed the countryman is puzzled and perplexed by modern situations about which the minister has no knowledge. The farmer is forced to be an economist, but the minister has never studied economics. The farmer is face to face with problems of exploitation. The[Pg 186] values not merely of land but of money are in his thought. But the preacher has had no training in finance and he cannot speak wisely or surely upon the marginal problems with which the farmer is perplexed.

The household economy of the farm is no longer sufficient. The sins are not merely those of adultery and disobedience and disloyalty. They are the sins of the world market and the world economy. In these moral situations the minister is silent. He knows nothing about them. He is inclined merely to object if the farmer purchases an automobile. He does not see what the automobile is to do for the agriculturist. Sunday observance, total abstinence, family purity, honesty as to personal property, these are his stock in trade and these alone. It requires, therefore, a genius to preach in the country, because only the most brilliant preaching can render traditional moral standards interesting among country people.

It is proverbial among ministers that "the best preachers are needed in the country." The reason for this is that none of the preachers has any but an outworn standard to preach. They must reinforce it with extraordinary eloquence in order to keep it attractive. Very ordinary men, however, if they understand the modern spirit, can hold the attention of country people. The grange has ministered to the farmer's conscience. Yet its leaders have been commonplace men, unknown to the nation at large.[Pg 187] The great movements which have influenced the farmer in the past twenty years have most of them been pushed to success by men unknown to any but farmers. What orator has come into national prominence out of the enterprises of agricultural life in the past two decades? The farmer does not need great eloquence, but he does need a thorough understanding of the moral and spiritual situations arising out of the exploiter process in which he is immersed. He needs moral teachers for the era of husbandry which is dawning in the country.

"There is an actual and most conspicuous dearth of leadership of a high order in rural life. This is evident when we consider the economic and social importance of the agriculturists. The agriculturists constitute about half of our population, they owned over 21 per cent of the total wealth in 1900, and in 1909 their products had a value of $8,760,000, or just about one-third that of the entire nation for that year. Yet this vast and fundamental element of our nation elects no farmer presidents, has scarcely any of its members in congress, but few in state legislatures as compared with other classes; it has no governors nor judges. In fact, this class is almost without leadership in the sphere of political life and must depend on representatives of other classes to secure justice. Economically it is relatively powerless likewise, possessing practically no control over markets and prices through organization in an age when organization dominates all economic[Pg 188] lines, accepting interest rates and freight rates offered it without the ability to check or regulate them, and buying its goods at whatever prices the industrial producers set. Its leadership up to the present time has been of the sporadic and discontinuous sort. It has been individualistic, lacking social outlook and vision. Consequently for community purposes its significance has been slight."[34]


[34] Prof. John M. Gillette, in American Journal of Sociology, March, 1910.

[Pg 189]



The time has passed in which the amusements of the community can be neglected or dismissed with mere condemnation. In the husbandry of the country every factor must be counted. We are dealing no longer with a fatalistic country life, but with the economy of all resources. Therefore the neglecting of the play life and ignoring the leisure occupations of a country people are inconsistent with the new economy.

Moreover the ancient method of condemning all recreations passed away with the austere economy of earlier days. The churches in the country no longer discipline their members for "going to frolics." The country community no longer is of one mind as to the standard by which recreation shall be governed. Yet every event of this sort is closely inspected by the general attention.

The experience of the cities, in which social control has gone much farther than in the country under the deliberate harmonizing of life with economic principles, has much to contribute for the building up of rural society through various means, among which is recreation.[Pg 190]

The need of recreative activities in the country is shown by recent surveys undertaken in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky by the Presbyterian Department of Church and Country Life. Generally, throughout the farming population, it was discovered that no common occasions and no common experiences fell to the lot of the country community. In the course of the round year there is, in thousands of farming communities in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois, no single meeting that brings all the people together. The small town has its fireman's parade, to the small city comes once a year the circus and to the great city comes an anniversary or an exposition. Every year there is some common experience which welds the population, increases acquaintance and intensifies social unity. The tillage of the soil in those farming communities from which the blacksmith, the storekeeper, the peddler and the shoemaker have departed, is very lonely.

The telephone is the new system of nerves for the rural organism, but the telephone is a cold, steel wire instead of the warm and cordial personal meetings with which the countryside was once enlivened. In eighty country towns in Pennsylvania, of which fifty are purely agricultural, we found in our survey only three that had a common leadership and a common assembling. The life of the people in these communities is so solitary as to be almost repellent. Their social habits are those of aggressive loneliness.[Pg 191] This isolation in the pioneer days made the country people cordial to the visitor: but in the coming of the new economy the farmer shrinks from strangers, because he has become accustomed to social divisions and classifications in which he feels himself inferior; so that the loneliness of country life has become not merely geographical, but sociological. The farmer is shut in not merely by distances in miles, but by distances of social aversion and suspicion. Difference has become a more hostile influence in the country than distance.

Organized industry necessitates organized recreation. The subjection of mind and body to machine labor requires a reaction in the form of play. All factory and industrial populations, without exception, provide themselves with play-grounds of some sort. In the city where no public provision is made the streets are used by the boys for their games, even at the risk of injury or death from the passing traffic. Jane Addams has shown, in a fine literary appeal in her "The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets," the necessity of some provision for the recreations of the young and of working people in a great city.

This necessity is not primarily due to congestion of the population. Its real sources are in the system and organization by which modern work is done. This necessity is as characteristic of the rural community as it is of the city, for on the farms as well as in the factory towns labor is performed by machinery. This means that through the working[Pg 192] hours of the day, from eight to twelve in number, the attention of the worker must be concentrated upon one task, patiently and steadfastly pursued. The machine worker exerts himself in the control of great powers, horse power or steam power, committed to his charge. He has no opportunity for languor or rest. He has no choice. His job drives him. His movements are fixed and regulated by the nature of the machine with which he is working, and of the task to be accomplished. At the end of the day he has acted involuntarily and mechanically until his own powers of will and choice are accumulated. Being repressed through long hours of prescribed labor he is ready for a rebound. His nature demands self-expression. This self-expression takes the form of play.

The recreation which results is organized. The laborer in a factory or on a railroad is conscious of organization by the very nature of his work. He labors with a machine driven by powers unseen but of whose operation he is aware, in a great plant wherein his own labor is co-ordinated with that of other workers like unto himself. The hours of self-devotion and prescribed attention leave him free for sympathy with the other workers, whose action and whose toil are organized with his own, and on whose skill and devotion his life and limb and the continuance of his job are dependent. When he turns to recreation he naturally seeks to continue the silent communion with his fellow-workers. The[Pg 193] repressed personal energies are already prepared for team work. He comes out of the factory bubbling over with good fellowship and seeking for comradeship in the self-expression which the long hours of the day have denied him.

The result is that in every factory town the open spaces are devoted to playground uses. Vacant lots, unoccupied fields, and the open street are used by men and boys for their games.

Exactly the same experience results from school and college organization of education work. The student in the common schools does not choose his course; it is prescribed for him by his family and by society. He does not go to school because he is mentally ambitious, but because the standards of universal education require it of him. Especially in the colleges which inherit a great name and attract young men and women for social advantage, the students are characterized by an involuntary subjection to the routine of modern pedagogy. Educational discipline is imposed upon them through the long hours of lectures and laboratory and recitations. The students in high school and college are accumulating a rebound of voluntary action. This organized self-expression takes the form of school and college athletics, which has long since been adopted as a part of the educational routine. No considerable number of educators are in favor of abolishing it, and only a few venture to believe in restricting college athletics. Its moral value is[Pg 194] everywhere tacitly recognized, and pretty generally it is consciously accepted by college and school faculties.

Play of this sort has great moral value. We are hired to work, and we do it without choice or enthusiasm, but in play the natural forces and the personal choice are at their maximum. Every action is chosen and is saturated with the pleasure of self-expression. The result is that play has high ethical value.

Especially has organized recreation great moral power, because it involves team work, and the subjection of the individual to the success of the team. Organized recreation teaches self-denial in a multitude of experiences which are all the more powerful because they are not prescribed by any teacher or preacher, but are the free natural expression of the human spirit under the government of chosen associates working out together a common purpose.

Therefore it is necessary to use play for the recreation of country life. The word is literal, not figurative. It is not a problem merely of games, nor the question of gymnasium, but a profound ethical enterprise of disciplining the whole population through the use of the play spirit. This question must be approached on the high plane of the teaching of modern theorists, and the experience of such practical organizations as the Young Men's Christian Association.

The Christian Associations began their work in the lifetime of present generations and for accom[Pg 195]plishing certain purposes they have used recreation. They provided a gymnasium, at first, in order to get men into the prayer-meeting. They offered social parlors in which young men could always hear the sound of sacred song. But the Young Men's Christian Association has traveled far from its crude and early use of recreation. Some of the early Association leaders are still living and still leading. They have steadily advanced with care and wisdom in the use of recreation. Within very recent years the leaders of the Associations have countenanced the use of billiard tables. No longer is the gymnasium an annex to the prayer-meeting. It has values of its own. Without moralizing, these practical men have discovered that the social parlors were good for ends of their own and not merely as a place for hearing the distant sound of hymns. In other words, recreation is a form of ethical culture.

Rev. C. O. Gill, who was captain of the Yale football team in 1890, has had an extended experience among farmers. He says, "The reason why farmers cannot co-operate is in the fact that they did not play when they were boys. They never learned team work. They cannot yield to one another, or surrender themselves to the common purpose." The writer, observing Mr. Gill coaching a university team, commented upon the good spirits with which a player yielded his place on the team just before the victory. Mr. Gill had removed him, as he explained to him, not because he played poorly, but because a new[Pg 196] formation required a rearrangement of the team. In reply to comment upon the player's self-forgetfulness, Mr. Gill said, "Football is the greatest school of morals in the country. I learned more ethics from the coaches when I was an undergraduate in Yale, than from all other sources combined."

It is this high ethical value of recreation which causes the working man to defend his amateur baseball team, and makes it so hard to repress Sunday games. The working man admits the high value of the Sabbath, but he sets a value also upon recreation, and without analysis of the philosophy either of the Sabbath or of the play-ground, stoutly maintains the goodness of recreation and its necessity for those who have labored all the week. "I work six days in the week, and I must have some time for recreation," is the working man's answer to all Sunday reformers. Waiving for a moment the question of the Sabbath, the human process to which the working man testifies is exactly as he describes it. Organized labor and systematic industry will react on any population in the form of systematic recreation.

The Play-ground Movement, therefore, is extending itself throughout the country by the very influence of modern industry. Given intelligence to interpret it, and one understands at once the desire of philanthropic and public spirited men and women to provide "a playground beside every school building, open for all the people."[Pg 197]

Dr. Luther H. Gulick, who was born of missionary parents, was trained in religious schools, graduated as a physician, employed for years in the Young Men's Christian Association, and then made Play-Ground Director in the New York Public Schools, has become legitimately the heir of the experiences of the modern social conscience. He has summed up the philosophy of working men, students, and of the people whose lives are systematized, in a sentence: "There is a higher morality in the reactions of play than in the experiences of labor."

The tradition of the church has been opposed to amusement and recreation. The church of our fathers recognized the moral possibilities of play by calling all play immoral. The early Quakers filled their records in the eighteenth century with denunciations of "frollicks." Consciously they denounced amusement, acting no doubt in a wise understanding of the rude, boisterous character of the pioneer's social gatherings. Only unconsciously did the Quakers cultivate the spirit of recreation in their social gatherings. It was permitted to have but few and repressed opportunities. The decadence of the Quaker church is probably due, in a considerable measure, to their stubborn unwillingness to see both sides of this question. They saw that recreation was immoral. They refused to see that its possible moral value was as great as its moral danger.

Extensive correspondence with working pastors, by means of a system of questions sent out from a[Pg 198] New York office, has brought this result. In answer to the question, "What amusements of moral value are there in the community?" the answer, "Baseball, boating, tennis, golf, bicycling, etc." A smaller number of recreations was named in answer to the inquiry for immoral sports. The subsequent question, "What is your position before the community?" brought from the minister very often this answer: "I am known to be opposed to all sports." Few ministers realize the inconsistency of this position. They stand before the community as the professed advocates of public and private morality, and they stand also before the community as the professed and violent opponents, often, of the public sports which are known to the young men and workingmen generally as promoters of ethical culture and moral training. Is it any wonder that the churches, in these communities, are often deserted by the common people?

In Lewistown, Pa., the old Presbyterian Church there, seeing the congested character of the town population and the need of breathing-places for the young people and working people, looked about for a recreation field. The only available ground is the old cemetery, in which the earlier members of the congregation have buried their dead. This, the only open spot in the center of the town, it has been proposed to turn into a playground, the bodies of the dead to be disinterred and laid reverently away in a quieter place, and the ground newly consecrated[Pg 199] to the needs of the living, and of the young. The action contemplated by this fine old church is emblematic of the modern spirit. Christianity is no longer a mere reverence for death and the other world. But it is an energetic service to the young, and the working people, in this present world. It is no longer a solemn reverence for the salvation of the individual soul in a heaven unseen, but it is a social service, no less serious, unto the living and unto the young and the employed.

Certain modern sports, such as baseball, are free from the corruption which has attached itself to horse-racing and pugilism. This corruption is not in racing a horse, or punching an opponent. It is in the dishonesty of the race, for horsemen believe that "there never was an honest horse-race," and the followers of the prize ring are constantly suspicious that the fight will be "fixed." The first question they ask after the decision of the referee is generally, "Was it a frame-up?" The moral power of baseball, tennis, football and the other most popular sports, is in the confidence that the game is fairly played. This fairness of the game is the widest extended school of ethical culture that the American and British population know. Honorable recreation trains in courage, manliness, co-operation, obedience, self-control, presence of mind, and in every other of the general social virtues. It makes men citizens and good soldiers when need comes. This was the meaning of the remark of the Duke of Wellington,[Pg 200] when, after the conquest of Napoleon, he returned to view the playground at Eton, and said, "Here the Battle of Waterloo was won."

For the building up of a community, therefore, the promotion of recreation is an essential. Just as necessary as the providing of common schools for all the people, is the provision of public play-grounds for all the people. As many as are the school houses so many, generally speaking, should be the play-grounds accessible to all, under the care of trained and responsible leaders, in which, without too much government, the free movements of the young and the abounding self-expression of the great mass of the employed shall have opportunity to work out their own education through play, into public righteousness.

The training of citizens for days to come demands exactly the qualities which are imparted on the play-ground. Morality is not taught and ethical culture is not imparted by precept, though precept and exhortation have their due place in the analysis of moral and spiritual matters, for the thoughtful. But the great number of people are not ethically thoughtful, and in the acquirement of righteousness all people are unconscious. The desired action in moral growth is universally spontaneous. The most sober and intellectual of men must be caught off his guard and must be lured into voluntary actions before any moral habits can be formed in him. Mere analysis of truth or self-examination makes no man[Pg 201] good. But men become good by doing things first, and thinking of them afterward. They can be just as good if they never think about them, though thinking about ethical matters renders a service to the community as a whole.

It should be the duty, therefore, of the churches, who are acknowledged before the whole community as repositories of the conscience of men, to promote public recreation. Where necessary the church should even provide a play-ground. In Galesburg, Ill., fifteen churches are co-operating, through their men's societies, in a central council of forty members. This Council is made up in the form of four Committees of ten. Each Committee considers one great interest of the community. One of these interests is recreation. It is the duty of this Committee in winter to provide musical and literary entertainment and lectures. In the summer this Committee has secured the use of the Knox College recreation field, and employing a trained man, has opened it throughout the summer as a play-ground for all the children of the city.

The use of recreation for the building up of a community seems to involve expensive apparatus and sometimes does so. Mrs. Russell Sage at Sag Harbor, Long Island, has expended many thousands of dollars in the experiment. Interested in the children, of whom there are about eight hundred in the town, through the experience of giving them a Christmas tree, she determined to devote to their use a[Pg 202] piece of land on the borders of the village, formerly used as a fair ground. This work is to have local value for the children of this community, and has been used as a demonstration center of the efficiency of recreation as a moral discipline among the young.

But most communities have not so much money to spend. The proposal of a play-ground or of a gymnasium is itself sufficient to condemn the doctrine of play. "We cannot afford it," settles the whole question. In the country expensive apparatus is not necessary; nor do the farmer's son and daughter require in recreation so much physical exercise. The gymnasium is an artificial and expensive machinery for inducing sweat, but the farmer needs no such artificial machine. The problem is purely one of play, not of exercise. For this purpose a careful study of the community, and of its tendencies and inclinations, is necessary. The great essential of recreation in the country is the opportunity to meet and to talk. Therefore the social life of gatherings in the church, and in the schoolhouse, no matter what their program, provided it be innocent, is valuable. Farmers will attend an auction, and go a long way to a horse-race, or gather at a fair, without any intention of buying or selling. The fundamental service rendered by the county fair and the auction is an opportunity afforded to converse. This exercise of the tongue is far more important in rural recreation than the exercise of the biceps. But country people cannot talk without an occasion which unlocks their[Pg 203] tongues. They must not be directly solicited to converse or they are silent. If the occasion is provided and is made to be sufficiently plausible its greatest success will be in conversation.

In almost every country community, therefore, there should be revival, in various forms, of the old "Bees," which had so much of a place in the former economy. If there is a widow who has no one to cut her wood, the men of the country church should assemble to do it. If there is a household whose bread winner and husbandman has died at the time of planting corn, let the men of the community gather at an appointed day and till the ground for the family, whose grief is greater at that moment than their need. Let the women of the community assemble at noon to provide an abundant repast. This was recently done by a countryside, at the instigation of the minister, and the effect of it was lasting in its values as well as intense in the joy of the day's work. It seems, in view of the need of recreation, that no other quality is so important in the country community as a lively leader. Resourceful, energetic and fertile men in the rural ministry can accomplish vastly more than conventional, orderly and proper men.

The church in which I began my ministry used to have a play every Christmas. We built out the pulpit platform with boards, we hung it around with curtains, giving dressing-room space, and we placed lanterns in front for foot-lights. The first play we gave made us anxious, for the neighborhood was an[Pg 204] old Quaker settlement; but we found that the Quakers enjoyed the play immensely and were the best actors. We made it a genuine expression of the Christmas spirit. We abolished the old "speaking pieces." Our little stage offered the young people team work, instead of individual elocution. The rehearsals filled a whole month with happy and valuable meetings. Everybody co-operated in the labor necessary to prepare the decorations and to take them down, during Christmas week, and on the night of the play everybody was on hand, Catholic, Protestant and heathen.

The holidays of the passing year suggest the recreations of the country church. These should not necessarily be productive of sweat, but the country boy and girl do need the recreation of laughter and happy meeting and social liveliness. Farm work is lonely and monotonous. Such immorality as there is in the country has direct connection with the tedium and dullness of long hours out-doors, alone. The recreations of country life should be meetings for the celebration of great events of the year. Easter expresses ideas which are age-old among country people: it is both a pagan festival and a Christian anniversary. If Easter is developed in a celebration of song or procession, of sermon and of decoration, with full use of its symbolic value, it is sure to bring the whole countryside together, in an experience of the New Year rising from the grave of winter and of the divine Lord risen from the dead.[Pg 205]

Most country communities have no such celebration. In very many the whole year passes without neighbors meeting for a common social experience. This is why people move to the city, because every city, great and small, has in the course of the year some events which bring all the people to the curbstone. Country life has few such times and therefore it is dull, because the richest experience of mankind is the experience of common social joy. The best recreation is acquaintance and conversation. The farmer's son spends many hours in silence. He wants someone to help him to talk, and to talk unto some purpose.

The Fourth of July is celebrated in Rock Creek, an Illinois community, by a "wild animal show." Instead of explosives, which are discouraged, the boys of the community bring together in small cages their animal pets. The boys are encouraged to make small carts for the transportation of their pets, and the crowning event of the day is the procession of these carts, in an open place, before the great dinner, at which the countryside sits down together.

Recreation in the country, above all, should revolve about something to eat. The farmer's business is to feed the world, and country people love, above all things, the social joy of eating. Farmers' wives are the best cooks and the country household perpetuates its culinary traditions. Especially does a permanent farm population enrich its household tradition with[Pg 206] delicious recipes and beautiful customs of the table. Thanksgiving Day should be the great celebration of the round year in the country. What a comment upon the country community it is that so few communities in the country meet together, in response to the President's proclamation of thanksgiving, to express gratitude unto the bountiful Father of all.

The country church should minister to country people in some effective gathering of all the countryside. A most fruitful method now in use is a corn judging contest for the boys.

In the Middle West the Corn Clubs for boys have had an extraordinary value, and in the South, also, the Farmer's Co-operative Demonstration Work has made use of the boys in the country community for demonstrating progressive methods on the farm. Thanksgiving Day can be prepared for in the preceding spring, and the boys and girls who have managed a garden, or half acre, through the summer can make their showing at that time. Such a competitive showing in the country, in the production of the staple crop, is sure to bring together the whole countryside.

The local history of the country community is a fruitful source of recreation. Farmers look to the past, and even the new people in the country are keen to hear the story of the old settlers and of the early pioneers. Nothing is of greater value in developing and refreshing country life than to enrich it by celebrating its early history.[Pg 207]

Recreation is essential to the moral life of any people. It is the constructive method of making individuals into good citizens. Especially valuable is it as a means of educating the young people and the working people of the community. The craving for this social training and ethical experience drives many out of the country community. Conversely, training in social morality is to be undertaken especially by the church, which possesses the conscience of the country community. This training is expressed in the one phrase; the promotion of recreation.

[Pg 208]



The worship of God is an expression of the consciousness of kind. "This consciousness is a social and a socializing force, sometimes exceedingly delicate and subtle in its action; sometimes turbulent and all-powerful. Assuming endlessly varied modes of prejudice and of prepossession, of liking and disliking, it tends always to reconstruct and dominate every mode of association and every social grouping."[35] This description by Professor Giddings is so near to a description of worship, that it is startling.

Of all human acts of the conscientious man worship is the most highly symbolic. They who worship are alike, and in their likeness are unlike to others. It is an expression of their awareness of resemblance and of difference. The definitions of consciousness of kind, as a sociological process, go a long way to explain without further comment, both the strength and the weakness of the churches in America.

The churches have to struggle with a narrow and small social horizon. Few people are so conscious [Pg 209]of their kinship with all others in their community that they desire those others to worship with them. The sense of unlikeness to others is, unfortunately, as strong in their feelings as the sense of likeness unto their own. In the American community with many newcomers, and some foreigners, this sense of unlikeness is natural. It is not to be wondered that men should think themselves more like unto their old neighbors than unto the new. It is not surprising that with new economic processes men should ignore their unity with those who co-operate with them in getting a living, and should be conscious of their unity with those whose living comes in the same form. As a result, we have working men's churches and "rich men's clubs," "college churches," "student pastors," churches which minister to old families, and new chapels built by tenant farmers. But these phases of worship are peculiar to the times of transition in which we live. The immaturity of our economic processes, and the greater immaturity of our economic knowledge, explain the failure of worshiping people to assemble by communities; but the process which assembles men of kindred mind to worship together now is capable of bringing men together in larger wholes.

The spirit of federation is in the air. The longing for religious unity is a response to the stimuli of common experience in the same locality. Men who meet throughout the week, if they worship at all, discover a desire to worship together. The coming[Pg 210] of great occasions and the celebrations of anniversaries, train them in some common assemblies. I remember how the tidings of the death of President McKinley brought together all the people of the community in an act of worship. Their response to a profound sense of danger was a community response, and the church which was prompt to open its doors, found men of all faiths within.

At a recent meeting of the National Body of one of the greatest Protestant churches, proceedings were halted by the moderator, who read a telegram announcing the friendly action of another religious body. This action looked toward union of the two denominations. It was a response to overtures from the body there in session. Instantly the whole assembly sprang up, applauding and cheering, and led by a clear, musical voice, broke out in a hymn. That hymn is profoundly sociological in its language, and its use is increasing among Christian people. It expresses that worship which is a consciousness of kind. Its words are

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love:
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father's throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims, are one,
Our comforts and our cares.[Pg 211]
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear,
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

It would be hard to find a member of a Protestant church in America, among the older denominations, who does not know these words, and is not accustomed to use them in response to the stimuli of kinship with other Protestant Christians.

The consciousness of kind is an awareness of differences and resemblances. It is a finding of one's self among those to whom one is like, and an aversion to those unto whom one is not like. Worship is an expression of this common likeness. It is an enjoyment of fellowship.

The experience of worship is impossible in an atmosphere of difference. This is a reason for the cleavage of denominations, and the splitting of congregations. Without this separating, men could not enjoy the uniting, and without the aversion, men could not taste the sweets of fellowship.

This brings us very near to the sacred experiences in which men find God. A very early chapter in the Bible describes God as the "Friend" of a man. In the succeeding pages he becomes the King, the Priest, the Prophet, and the Father of men. In every one[Pg 212] of them the mind of the worshiper has expressed a profound sense, that God is found by the soul in society. Herbert Spencer has insisted that all religion is ancestor worship, that is, it grows out of the family group.

Simmel teaches that religion is the resultant of the reactions of the individual with his group fellows, and with the group as a whole. Christian folk are accustomed to express this by calling one another "brothers" and "sisters," meaning clearly that religion is a social experience.

This is not the place for extended biblical interpretation, but I am convinced that the whole course of scripture will testify to this, that in the peaceful, continuing, social unities men have found God, and in the differences, in their group conflicts, in their wars, and in the oppositions to their enemies, there has been found no religious experience. That is, such conflict has intensified unity, and the resulting unity has been ever richer in religion: but the thoughts for God have come forth clothed always in terms and titles of fellowship, unity and kinship.

In country communities this principle explains the divisions and the unities of religious life. In many towns, the Presbyterian church, for instance, is the church of the old settler and the earlier farmers. A new denomination has come in with the tenants and the invaders. That is, men have found it impossible to worship in a constant experience of difference. It is true that their difference is an element[Pg 213] in their religion, because the consciousness of difference is an element in the consciousness of kind.

In the Southern States, the white slave-holders worshiped, before the war, in the same congregations with their negro slaves. They were conscious of the plantation group, and of the economic unity with their work-people. When emancipation came and the slaves were made free, they must needs worship apart; and today, throughout the whole South, the negro churches have been erected to express the consciousness of kind, both on the part of the white and of the black.

If this argument has force, it goes to prove that religion is, in a small community, the strongest organizing force. The seeking after God requires as a vehicle the consciousness of likeness and difference. It can only proceed along those lines.

The earnest desire of many common folk to know God is a working force, which follows the cleavage of social classification. The churches become expressions of social forms. In the country particularly, where life is simpler and changes are slower, the church becomes an almost infallible index of the social condition of the people.

The duty, then, of the religious worker, and the task of the prophet and the seer, is to enlarge the consciousness of kind. Worship is to be placed on a larger plane. Americans must be taught to see their unity with immigrants. Owners of land must be made to recognize that they are one with their[Pg 214] tenants. The employer must be shown that his alliances are with those who help him to get his living. At once, when this task is put before us, we see the futility of the ideals of our time. Church workers and other teachers have played up before the eyes of the people those ideals which separate men into artificial classes. The consciousness of kind has been a consciousness of money and consciousness of belonging to old families, or a consciousness of the ideals of higher education. A great many American families live in the ideal of sending their boys and girls to college. This leads them to feel a difference between themselves and the larger number of people who do not care for higher education, and who discover no energies in themselves that move on the path of learning. The result is that their worship is narrow; churches become culture clubs: the preachers are exponents of literature: the service of worship is a liturgy of esthetic pleasure.

The true consciousness of kind must be economic and social. There is no escape from this for religious people. They must go deep down to the unities with men who co-operate with them in getting a living. The Pittsburgh mill owner has no other unity by which he can find himself at one with his foreign born mill-hand, than the fact that he and the mill-hand are fellow workers in the mill.

What other bond of union is there between the farm landlord and the farm tenant? They have no common idealism. The one reads books, the other[Pg 215] does not. The one sends his son to college, the other sends his into the stable and the field. The one is enjoying a life of leisure and his hands are clean; the other sweats, saves, and produces, in soiled clothing, and with hard, coarse hands. They have only one basis of unity, namely, that they co-operate in tilling the soil, and in the producing of food and raw materials. The teacher, or preacher, who attempts in this case to escape the economic unity, will find no other.

The trouble with most of the ideals which express themselves in diversified worship, is that they are peculiar to the life of leisure, they are a part of "the leisure class standard." Many teachers and preachers reiterate similar demands which can only be responded to by people who do not have to work.

From this leisure class standard our ideals must be changed to the standard of work, and the man who has vision is he who shall see the economic, the industrial unities, and who with compelling voice, will call men together to worship in a new consciousness of kind.

Ministers in the country are feeling this very deeply. The pastor who ministers to a whole community, boasts of it. He realizes he is serving a true social unit. This is the joy of many country churches which might be named, and the lack of it is the blight of many other country communities. It must be clearly born in mind, however, that the church can not organize a unity that is apart from[Pg 216] the life of men. Religion is the expression of social realities. There can be no "federation" of those who are not conscious of their likeness and of their resemblances. This means that the religious teaching of days to come must be a teaching of the real unities of mankind. For in these true bonds of union men are brought together. The efforts to assemble them in artificial bonds, however ideal, will be futile.


[35] "Descriptive and Historical Sociology," by Prof. Franklin H. Giddings, p. 275.

[Pg 217]



The Conservation of Natural Resources in the United States,
Chas. R. Van Hise,      The Macmillan Co.

The Rural Life Problem of the United States,
Sir Horace Plunkett,      The Macmillan Co.

Principles of Rural Economics,
Thomas Nixon Carver,      Ginn and Company

The Country Life Movement in the United States,
L. H. Bailey,      The Macmillan Co.

Ireland in the New Century,
Sir Horace Plunkett,      E. P. Dutton

The American Rural School,
Harold W. Foght,      The Macmillan Co.

The Country Town. A Study of Rural Evolution,
Wilbert L. Anderson,      The Baker & Taylor Co.

Descriptive and Historical Sociology,
Franklin H. Giddings,      The Macmillan Co.

Rural Denmark and Its Lessons,
H. Rider Haggard,      Longmans, Green & Co.

Quaker Hill, A Sociological Study,
Warren H. Wilson,      Privately printed

G. Stanley Hall,      D. Appleton & Co.

The Presbyterian Church in the United States,
Robert E. Thompson,      Chas. Scribner's Sons

Chapters in Rural Progress,
Kenyon L. Butterfield,      The University of Chicago Press

The Country Church and the Rural Problem,
Kenyon L. Butterfield,      The University of Chicago Press

The Story of John Frederick Oberlin,
Augustus Field Beard,      The Pilgrim Press

The Church of the Open Country,
[Pg 218]Warren H. Wilson,      Missionary Education Movement

The Day of the Country Church,
J. O. Ashenhurst,      Funk & Wagnalls Co.

The Distribution of Wealth,
John Bates Clark,      The MacMillan Co.

Articles Referred to in the Text

The American Journal of Sociology, March, 1911,
Statement by John L. Gillin.

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

Modern Methods in the Country Church,
Matthew B. McNutt,      Missionary Education Movement

A Method of Making a Social Survey in a Rural Community,
C. J. Galpin,      University of Wisconsin
Circular of information No. 29

Bulletins of International Institute of Agriculture,
Rome, Italy

The Political Science Quarterly, December, 1910,
The Agrarian Changes in the middle West,
J. B. Ross

[Pg 219]


Abandoned country churches, 126

Absentee landlords, 32-39

Academy,—Old New England, 25

Addams, Jane, 191

Adult Bible Class, 134

Agee, Prof. Alva, 105

Agriculture, teaching of, 167

Amish, 74

Amusement, problem of, 84

Anabaptist, 72

Anderson, Wilbert L., 102

Anti-Saloon League, 183

Apples, marketing of, 175

Augustine, Saint, 82

Austerity, 57

Bailey, L. H., 50

"Bees", 203

Bellona, N. Y., 56

Boll weevil, 143

Bone, R. E., 86

Braddock, Rev. J. S., 58

Breach of contract, 174

Breadwinner, type, 113

Butterfield, Kenyon L., 137

Casselton, N. D., 42

Centralized school, 163

Chaffee, farm, 43

Chester County, Pa., 124

Chesterton, Gilbert K., 115

Christmas play, 203

Church, Budget, 138
Envelope system, 139
Financial system, 130
Records, 172

Clark, John Bates, 80, 111

College athletics, 193

Columbus, Christopher, 112

Community center, 104

Consciousness of kind, 208, 213

Corn Clubs, 206

Country Fair, promoted, 17

Country Life Commission, 171

Cranberry, N. J., church at, 27

Crete, Nebraska, 86

Danish Folk Schools, 52, 169

Delaware, produce exchanges, 154

Demonstration work, 206

Denmark, 51, 147

Desmoulin, 96

Diminishing returns, law of, 88, 110

Donation, system, 27

Dunkers,58, 67

Du Page Church, 106

Eliot, Ex-President of Harvard, 137

Endowment of churches, 136

Exploitation of land, 32-33, 123, 124

Family group, 19
[Pg 220] Shrinkage of, 124

Farm laborers, 22

Federation of churches, 135, 209

Foght, Harold W., 97, 160

Fourth of July celebration, 205

Galesburg, Ill., 201

Galpin, Prof. C. J., 94

Giddings, Prof. Franklin H., 208

Gill, Rev. C. O., 195

Gillette, Prof. John M., 188

Gillin, Prof., 57, 58, 67

Greeley, Horace, 108

Group system, 10, 11, 12

Grundtvig, Bishop, 51, 53, 169

Gulick, Dr. Luther H., 197

Haggard, H. Rider, 147

Hanover, N. J., 156

Hays, Willet M., 91

Hernando, Mississippi, 105

Holidays, celebration of, 204

Homestead act, 34

Hood River Valley, Oregon, fruit growers, 176

Hormell, Dr. W. H., 88

Illinois, 126
Survey of, 190

Immigrants, in country districts, 123

Indiana, survey of, 190

Ireland, Christian Brothers, 52
Co-operative organizations, 147-151
Country Life Movement, 80

John Swaney Consolidated School, 165-166

Kentucky, co-operative organizations, 152
Survey of, 190

Lancaster County, Pa., 57

Land values, 34

Leadership, 187

Lewistown, Pa., 198

McNab, Ill., 166

McNutt, Rev. Matthew B., 86, 106

Marginal man, 113

Massachusetts communities, 96

Mennonites, 72

Middle Creek Church, 58

Minimum salary, 161

Missouri, survey of, 190

Money crop, 95

Mormons, 57, 62-78

Morrison, Rev. T. Maxwell, 56

Mountain community, 4

Mountaineers, 6, 8, 16

New England Country Church Asso., 137

New York Central R. R., 177

Oberammergau, 83

Oberlin, John Frederick, 14

Oblong meeting, 71, 172

Ohio, counties less productive, 101

Ottumwa, Iowa, 88

Over churching, 26, 145, 146

Palatinates, 72

Pastor, need of, 13

Passion Play, 83

[Pg 221] Penn, William, 72

Penn Yan, N. Y., 40

Pennsylvania Germans, 57, 62-78

Pennsylvania, survey of, 190

Planters, south, 18

Playground, 98

Playground movement, 134, 196

Plunkett, Sir Horace, 51, 147

Polk, Rev. Samuel, 54

Poor, ministry to, 115

Protestantism, 118

Quaker Hill, 70, 94, 155

Quaker meeting, McNab, 168

Quakers, 70, 197, 204

Rankin, David, 41

Recreation, importance of, 139, 194

Retired farmers, 36-38

Retirement from farm, process described, 125

Revivals, 7, 8, 9

Riis, Jacob, 87

Rock Creek, Ill., 156, 164, 205

Ross, Prof. J. B., 2, 21, 29, 32, 184

Rural evangelism, 131

Rural exodus, 87, 97

Rural free delivery, 128

Sag Harbor, L. I., 201

Sage, Mrs. Russell, 201

Schenck, Norman C., 4

School, country, 23, 85, 60, 159

Scientific farming, 48

Scotch-Irish, 30, 57, 62-78

Simmel, 212

Slave-holding churches, 28

Smith, Adam, 5

Smith, John, 112

Socialism, 116

Social service, 110, XVI

Spencer, Herbert, 212

Store, country, 22, 94

Sunday Schools, 131, 134

Swaney, John, 86

Tardé, Gabriel, 59

Teachers, training of, 161

Team play, ethical value, 99

Telephone, rural, 128, 190

Temperance movement, 46, 117, 183

Tenant farmers, 35
Tenants' lease, 40

Thompson, R. E., 65

Theological seminaries, 119-120

Trolley, inter-urban, 128

Types, economic, 3

Utility, initial, 108
Marginal, 109

Van Alstyne, Edward, 177

Vote selling, 179

Washington County, Pa., 124

Waterloo, Iowa, community church, 68

Wealth, conservation of, 47

West Nottingham, Md., church at, 54

Winnebago, Ill., 58

Young Men's Christian Association, 134, 194

Young People's Societies, 28

Transcriber's note

The following changes have been made to the text:

Page xi: "IX" changed to "XIII".

Page 2: "are separated form" changed to "are separated from".

Page 6: "langour" changed to "languor".

Page 17: "this be brought" changed to "this he brought".

Page 22: "desti-period" changed to "destination".

Page 29: "estended" changed to "extended".

Page 30: "recorded in out literature" changed to "recorded in our literature".

Page 86: "individiuals" changed to "individuals".

Page 94: "In 1910 every country community" changed to "In 1810 every country community".

Page 105: "embarassed" changed to "embarrassed".

Page 107: Footnote 24: "Willett" changed to "Willet".

Page 116: "proletarean" changed to "proletarian".

Page 123: "Portugese" changed to "Portuguese".

Page 150: "gradiloquently" changed to "grandiloquently".

Page 191: "Addam" changed to "Addams".

Page 192: "elf-expression takes the form" changed to "self-expression takes the form".

Page 197: "inmoral" changed to "immoral".

Page 198: "disintered" changed to "disinterred".

Page 206: "frutiful" changed to "fruitful".

Page 208: "expresssion" changed to "expression".

Page 209: "immaturity of our ecnomic" changed to "immaturity of our economic".

Page 220: "Lewiston" changed to "Lewistown".

Page 221: "XII" changed to "XVI"

Page 221: "Tard" changed to "Tardé".

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Evolution of the Country Community, by 
Warren H. Wilson


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