Community Civics and Rural Life
by Arthur W. Dunn
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It is as much the duty of the man who rents a farm as it is of the man who owns one to make his farm produce to its full capacity, to protect the soil from exhaustion and the buildings and fences from destruction. But on the other hand, it is the duty of the landlord, both as a good business man and as a good citizen, to make such terms with his tenant that the latter will take an interest in the farm and will find it profitable to farm properly. There must be team work.

The landlord must be interested not only in his land but in his tenant. The tenant must be interested not only in himself but in his landlord and his land. A system that favors the tenant to the injury of the land is bad. A system that favors the land to the injury of the tenant is equally harmful. Either system will result in the poverty of both the landlord and the tenant. [Footnote: Dr. Seaman A. Knapp, quoted by Dr. Thomas Jesse Jones in "Negroes and the Census of 1910," p 16. (Reprint from THE SOUTHERN WORKMAN for August, 1912.)]

The fact remains, however, that home ownership contributes to the permanence, the stability, and the progress of a community. It is also a fact that conditions have developed in our country, both in cities and in rural communities, which make home ownership increasingly difficult. In another chapter (Chapter XIV) we shall see what some of these conditions are, and what our government has done and may do to overcome them.


One of the most important services performed for the community by the home is that of training its members for citizenship. The family has been called "a school of all the virtues" that go to make good citizenship. It is a school in which not only the children, but also the parents, not only the boys and men, but also the girls and women, receive training by practice. In the home are developed thoughtfulness for others, a spirit of self- sacrifice for the common good, loyalty to the group of which the individual is a member, respect for the opinions of others of long experience, a spirit of teamwork, obedience to rules which exist for the welfare of all. If these and other qualities of good citizenship are not cultivated in the home, it is not in a healthy condition nor performing its proper service to the community.

Moreover, the exercise of these virtues in the home is not only training for good citizenship; it IS good citizenship. If the home is as important a factor in our national life as this chapter has indicated, then one of the greatest opportunities for good citizenship, and one of the greatest duties of good citizenship, is that of making the home what it should be; and in this each member of the family has his or her share.

Make a study of farm tenancy in your locality (neighborhood, township, or county).

How many of the farms of the locality are occupied and operated by their owners? how many by tenants? What is the percentage of tenancy?

To what extent are the tenants men who were formerly farm laborers, but who by renting farms are making a start on their own account? Is this a sign of progress?

What percentage of the tenants are white? negro?

To what extent are the tenants foreigners who have recently come to the locality?

Are the tenant farms usually rented for long periods or for short periods?

What is the system of tenancy in your locality (i.e. cash rental, working on shares, partnership with the owner, etc.)? If more than one exists, which seems to work best? Why?

Is tenancy increasing or decreasing in your locality? What reasons are given for this?

Does experience in your locality support the statement that tenant farmers are less likely than others to interest themselves in community progress?

If you live or go to school in town, make a study of home ownership in the town. (If a small community, the class may study the entire area; if large, different sections may be studied by different groups of pupils.) How many homes are occupied by their owners? how many by tenants? What is the percentage of tenancy? Is tenancy increasing or decreasing? For what reasons?

Is there some section of the community where most of the people own their homes, and another section where most of the people rent? If so, do you notice any difference in the general appearance of the two sections? Do you think that the difference, if any exists, is due in any part to the fact that some own and others rent their homes?

Is there a tendency for the farmers of your locality to move into town? If so, why? What becomes of their farms?

Review the points made in the discussion of topics 4 and 5 on page 38 (Chapter III). Continue to develop plans for cooperation in the home and school.

What does it mean to be "in training" for athletics? In the light of your answer to this question, what would it mean to be "in training" for citizen ship?


See Readings for Chapter IX. Also:

"Housing the Worker on the Farm," Department of Agriculture Year Book, 1918, pp. 347-356.

"What the Department of Agriculture is Doing for the Housekeeper," Department of Agriculture Year Book, 1913, pp. 143-162.

"The Effect of Home Demonstration on the Community and the County," Department of Agriculture Year Book, 1916, pp. 251-266.

"Farm Tenantry in the United States," Department of Agriculture Year Book, 1916, pp. 321-346.

Lessons in Community and National Life: Series C, Lesson 32, "Housing for Workers."




The most conspicuous activities that we see going on in the community are usually those that have to do with earning a living or the production of wealth. [Footnote: The activities by which we earn a living are also the activities by which wealth is produced. It is important to understand that when we speak of "wealth" we do not necessarily mean GREAT wealth. A boy who has a fifty-cent knife, or a girl who has a twenty-five-cent purse, has wealth as truly as the man who owns a well-stocked farm. The difference is merely in kind and amount. Food, clothing, houses, books, tools, cattle, are all forms of wealth. ANY material thing, for which we are willing to work and make sacrifices because it satisfies our wants, is wealth. Earning a living is merely earning or producing wealth to satisfy our wants and those of others.] Indeed, some people become so absorbed in the business of earning a living that they seem to be LIVING TO EARN rather than EARNING TO LIVE. It does not do to forget that not EARNING, but LIVING, is the real end in view. Unless we know how to use what we earn to provide properly for all of our normal wants, the effort we spend in earning is very largely wasted.

Nevertheless, before we can enjoy a living it has to be earned, by ourselves or by someone else; and the activities by which it is earned occupy so important a place in our lives, are so closely dependent upon the community, have so much to do with our citizenship, and receive so much attention from government, that we must give them some consideration in this chapter and several chapters following.


While young people are spending most of their time at school or at play, their fathers and other grown people are usually chiefly occupied in the business of making a living or "earning money."

[Footnote: Gold and silver and paper and wood are forms of wealth. Out of wood we make a yardstick or a peck measure with which TO MEASURE QUANTITIES of cloth or grain. In a similar manner, out of gold, silver, paper, and other materials, we make money, and for a similar reason, viz. to MEASURE THE VALUE of wealth. When we speak of a FIFTY-CENT KNIFE and a TWENTY-FIVE CENT PURSE, we measure the value of these articles. It would take thousands of DOLLARS to measure the value of a well-stocked farm.

When we say that a boy earns a dollar, or that a man earns $4.00 a day, we measure the value of his work or his service. If a man works for a farmer, he very likely receives his "board and lodging" in part payment for his services; he makes a direct exchange of his services for food and shelter. But he also probably receives in addition an amount of money, because with the money he can buy clothes and other things that the farmer cannot give. He takes the money and buys with it these other things that he needs to supply his wants. Thus money becomes something more than a measure of wealth or of services; it is also A MEANS OF EXCHANGING WEALTH OR SERVICES.

These are the two uses of money. Money has value only because of what it represents in wealth, and wealth is useful because it enables us to satisfy wants. These things are mentioned because it is quite important that we should never forget that "money" and "wealth" are worth working for only because of the "living," or life, that they help us to attain.]

Children are, as a rule, wholly dependent upon their parents for their living. But during their period of dependence they are gaining skill and experience, in school and otherwise, that will later enable them to earn their own living and that of other people who may, in turn, become dependent upon them.

As adult life approaches, there comes an increasing desire for independence of others, to have possessions, own property, or accumulate wealth. Our VOCATIONS, or occupations, by which we earn a livelihood, come to occupy a prominent place in our thought, and to a large extent control our activity. Doubtless most of those who read this chapter have begun to think more or less seriously about what they are going to do for a living. Some may be already doing so, in part, or helping to earn that of their families. Boys and girls who live on farms are especially likely to have a share in the work by which the family living is provided; but most boys and girls have more or less regularly "earned money," even if they have not considered it necessary for their living. An inquiry in a large, first-year high school class disclosed the fact that the girls of the class, quite as much as the boys, were thinking of their choice of vocation. More avenues are open to girls to-day than formerly by which to earn their living outside of the family; but even the management of a home is a business as truly as the management of a farm or factory, and is an exceedingly important factor in the earning of the family living.

What part, if any, do you have in helping to earn the family living?

What have you done during the past year to earn money (a) out of school hours on school days, (b) on Saturdays, (c) in vacation time? Tabulate the results for the entire class.

What vocation would you like to follow for life? Why?

If you have not decided upon some one vocation, name several that seem attractive to you. Why are they attractive?

What do you know about the opportunities and the qualifications necessary for success in the vocations you have named? How may you proceed to find out more about them?

What vocations offer special opportunities for girls and women to- day? How do these opportunities compare with those when your mothers were girls?

Make a list of the occupations of the fathers (or other members of the families) of the members of your class.

Make a list of as many occupations in your community (town or county) as you can think of.


Our dependence upon others for a living by no means ends with childhood. There is no such thing as an entirely "self-made man," by which is meant a man who has been successful entirely by his own efforts. It is true that the primitive hunter and the pioneer farmer were independent of others to an unusual extent. But their living was a meager one, and they could not accumulate much wealth. The very land that a pioneer occupies, even though it is extensive and fertile, has little value as long as it is remote from centers of population.

Even if a pioneer laid claim to a large tract of land, he could produce little wealth from it in crops if he could get no help to cultivate it, or if he had no improved machinery (made by others); and whatever he produced, he and his family could eat but little of the product. He could feed some to his few animals, and he would save some for seed; but anything that he raised above what he could actually use would have no value unless he could get it to other people who wanted it. If he could not sell what he produced, neither could he buy from others what they produced to satisfy other wants than that for food. So the kind of living a person enjoys, and the amount of wealth he accumulates, depend largely upon other people, and upon the community in which he lives.


Under present-day conditions, a farmer who raises wheat probably uses none of it himself. He sells his entire crop for the use of others, while to supply himself and his family with bread he goes to the store and buys flour that may have been milled in Minnesota from wheat raised by other farmers, perhaps in North Dakota or South Dakota. In exchange for his wheat he also gets clothing manufactured in New York or New England from cotton raised in Georgia or Texas, or from wool grown in Montana. He buys a wagon made in Indiana from lumber cut in the South and iron mined in Michigan and smelted in Ohio. Thus he earns his living by producing food for other people, while the things he uses in living are the product of labor expended by other people in the effort to earn THEIR living. We noticed in Chapter II how many people and occupations were concerned in producing a pair of shoes.


While the farmer or other worker may be interested primarily in providing for his own wants and those of his family, he can do this only by producing something or performing service for others; and while each worker may be most concerned about WHAT HE RECEIVES for his work, the community is most concerned about WHAT HE PRODUCES. Earning a living has two sides to it: rendering service to others and being paid for the service rendered. It is as if the community entered into a sort of agreement with the worker to the effect that it will provide him with a living in return for definite service to the community or for the product of his labor. What we call "business" is SELLING A SERVICE. It may be personal service, such as teaching, or prescribing medicine, or nursing, or giving legal advice, or cutting hair, or driving a team, or running an automobile. Or it may be purchasing, storing, retailing, and delivering things which have been produced perhaps many hundreds or thousands of miles away. Or it may be raising foodstuffs on the farm, or mining fuels and metals from the earth, or cutting timber from the forest. Or it may be manufacturing— buying materials and converting them into products serviceable to others. Whatever it is, every man's business is also the community's business, and the community has a right to expect industry and honest, efficient work from every worker.

Discuss the occupations named in answer to the two questions on page 26, from the point of view of their service to the community.

To what extent is your father's business or occupation dependent upon the business or occupation of the fathers of other members of the class?

Show how your father's business is also the community's business.

What is the price of land in your neighborhood? Consult your father or friends in regard to the increase or decrease in price in recent years and in regard to the reasons for it.


There are exceptional cases where people RECEIVE a living without EARNING it. One class of such people is represented by thieves, gamblers, swindlers, and persons engaged in occupations that are positively harmful to the community. Such people may be very skillful and they may work hard enough, but they take what others have earned without producing anything of value to the community.

Then there are those who are incapable of productive work because of physical defects, or through the feebleness of old age. It is the duty of every citizen to provide, as far as possible, during his productive years, for the "rainy day" of misfortune or advancing age. For those who cannot do so, the community must provide.

Very young children are users of wealth produced by others. It is expected, however, that children will in later years make return to the community for what they have received during their period of dependence.


Some people inherit wealth, or otherwise come into possession of it without effort on their part. The wealth so received, however, has been earned by someone, or has come from the community in some way. If the person who so receives it uses it in a way that is highly useful to the community, he may in a sense earn it even after he receives it; but if he uses it solely for his own enjoyment, without effort to make it highly useful to the community, he does not in any sense earn it, and places himself in the class of those who are wholly dependent upon the community.


On the other hand, there are people who do not get for their work a living that fairly compensates them for the service they render by it to the community. If our community life were perfectly adjusted in all its parts; if all the people clearly recognized their common interests and their interdependence; if they had the spirit of cooperation and were wise enough to devise smoothly working machinery of cooperation;—then the returns that a worker received for his work would be closely proportionate to the service rendered by his work. That is, he would GET what he EARNED, so far as wages or profits were concerned. But this is one of the particulars in which our community life is still imperfect. Where so many different kinds of workers are engaged in producing shoes, for example, it is extremely difficult to determine how much each should be paid for his share of the work. What WAGES should be given to the different classes of workers who care for cattle, make the leather, manufacture the machines with which the shoes are made, operate the machines, mine the coal and iron for the production of the machines, and so on? What PROFITS shall be allowed to the men who raise the cattle, to the merchants who sell the shoes and the machines, and to the transportation companies that carry them from the factories to the dealers? What INTEREST shall be received by the men who furnish the CAPITAL necessary to run the factories and the farms? These questions relating to the DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH that men produce have proved very difficult to answer satisfactorily.

A very useful and interesting, but rather difficult, science has grown up to explain the PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, AND USE OF WEALTH. It is called the SCIENCE OF ECONOMICS. Of all the divisions of this science, that relating to the distribution of wealth is the most perplexing. It is the inequalities in the distribution of wealth, the sense of injustice produced by these inequalities, and sometimes a failure to understand what a fair distribution is, that have caused all the labor disputes referred to in Chapter VII (p. 71), and the discontent sometimes felt by farmers and other producers in regard to the prices of their products.

Have you ever heard any one say, "The world owes me a living"? Is this a true statement? If so, in what sense do you think it is true?

Which do you think is the truer statement: "I have a right to a living," or "I have a right to earn a living"? Discuss the difference.

A thief has been known to say, "I was brought into the world without my own consent; therefore the world owes me a living, and I owe the world nothing." Is this good argument? Did the people upon whom he depends for a living have any more to say about their being brought into the world than he had?

What things are you using to-day that were not provided for you by others?

If a stranger should come to your community to-day to live, what are some of the things that he would find already provided by the community for his use in making a living?

Name five important inventions and state what they have done for you.

Would you say that the world owes Thomas A. Edison and Luther Burbank a living? Why?

How are you indebted for your living to the pioneers who settled your state? to Robert Fulton? to the men who built the first transcontinental railroad?

Can you think of some way in which your family is indebted for its living to the British nation? to France? to ancient Greece? to the Phoenicians? to the people of Brazil?

Which is the greater, the debt of your family to the world or the debt of the world to your family?

What is a "parasite"? Could this term be appropriately applied to any of the people referred to in the last few paragraphs of the text above?


Each citizen has a right to feel that the government is interested in his individual prosperity and happiness; and it is, for unhappy and discontented citizens are seldom good citizens. But the government represents community as a whole, and has the interest of the community as a whole in its keeping rather than the interest of particular individuals. Its interest is primarily in what each citizen PRODUCES, for it is upon this that the strength. of the nation depends.


A few days after war was declared against Germany, the President made an appeal to his fellow producers countrymen, in which he said:

It is evident to every thinking man that our industries on the farms, in the shipyards, in the mines, in the factories, must be made more prolific and more efficient than ever and that they must be more economically managed and better adapted to the particular requirements of our task than they have been; and what I want to say is that the men and women who devote their thought and their energy to these things will be serving the country and conducting the fight for peace and freedom just as truly and just as effectively as the men on the battlefield or in the trenches. The industrial forces of the country, men and women alike, will be a great national, a great international Service Army,—a notable and honored host engaged in the service of the nation and the world ... Thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands, of men otherwise liable to military service will of right and necessity be excused from that service and assigned to the fundamental, sustaining work of the fields and factories and mines, and they will be as much part of the great patriotic forces of the nation as the men under fire.

He then appealed directly to every kind of worker in the country, and to the farmers he said:

The supreme need of our own nation and of the nations with which we are cooperating is an abundance of supplies, and especially of foodstuffs. ... Without abundant food ... the whole great enterprise upon which we have embarked will break down and fail ... Upon the farmers of this country, therefore, in large measure, rests the fate of the war and the fate of nations. Let me suggest, also, that every one who creates or cultivates a garden helps, and helps greatly, to solve the problem of the feeding of the nations; and that every housewife who practices strict economy puts herself in the ranks of those who serve the nation.

The nation needs the productive work of each citizen in time of peace as truly as in time of war, although when it is not fighting for its very life it is more tolerant of those who do not contribute efficiently by their work to the common good. It carries them along somehow. But such members of the community are a burden and a source of weakness at all times. Therefore, for example, there are in most of our communities laws against vagrancy; that is, against willful and habitual idlers "without visible means of support," such as beggars and tramps.


There are times when many men are "out of work." In times of business depression the number may become very great, while in prosperous times the number dwindles; but always there are some. It is often through no fault of their own; it is another result of the imperfect adjustment of our community life. It often happens that while large numbers of men are unable to find work in industrial centers, the farmers may be suffering for want of help. This may be merely because there is no way by which to let workmen know where they are needed, or of distributing them to meet the need. Or, many of the unemployed may be unskilled, while the demand is for skilled workmen; or they may be skilled in one line, while the demand is in another line. Whatever the causes, the "problem of the unemployed" is one of the most serious that the community has to deal with. During the war the national government sought to overcome these difficulties by the organization of an employment service in the Department of Labor, and state and local communities established employment bureaus.

Who have been some of the builders of your own community by reason of their business life? Explain.

So far as you have observed, what boys have been most successful after leaving school—those who make it a practice to do all they can for their employers, or those who have tried to do the least possible?

Is it true in your community that the most useful citizens are those who care more about the excellence of their work than about what they receive for it?

Are there many vagrants in your community? Are there laws against vagrancy? If so, what are they?

Are there often many men out of work in your community? If so, why is it?

Is it ever difficult to get farm labor in your locality? If so, how do the farmers explain it?

What experience have the farmers of your locality had during and since the war in getting labor when it was needed? Did the government help them at that time? How?

It is of the greatest importance both to the individual and to the community that every citizen: (1) should be continuously employed in a useful occupation, (2) should be free and able to choose the occupation for which he is best fitted, and in which he will be happiest, and (3) should be thoroughly efficient in his work, whatever it is.


(1) The community has a right to expect every citizen to be industrious and productive, for only in this way can he be self- sustaining and at the same time contribute his share to the well- being of the community. Doubtless all who read this chapter are desirous of doing useful work. At the same time, it is easy for any of us to fall into the habit of thinking more about what we can GET than about what we can GIVE. There ARE people who habitually seek to do as little as possible for what they receive, or to get all they can for the least possible service. This applies not only to idlers who live entirely off the community without any service on their part, but also to those who have employment, but who seek to evade, by "time-serving" and otherwise "slacking," the full responsibility of service. We sometimes hear complaint in regard to public officials who draw good salaries without rendering adequate or honest public service in return, and to such we frequently apply the term of "grafter." But the principle is exactly the same when any person who has undertaken to do a piece of work fritters away his time or "loafs on the job."


After all, the chief return that we get for our work is not the wages or the profits, important as they are to us, but the satisfaction of doing something that is worthwhile. If this pleasure is absent from the work we do, no amount of money returns can compensate us for it. The happy man is a busy man, an industrious man; and his happiness is more in the doing than in the mere fact of money returns.


(2) The value of our work to the community and the pleasure that we derive from it both depend to a large extent upon our fitness for it. It is important to choose our work carefully. There are four important considerations in choosing a vocation: (a) its usefulness to the community, (b) one's own fitness for it, (c) one's happiness in it, and (d) whether it offers an adequate living to one's self and dependents. The last of these is, of course, a most important consideration. What a person receives for his work ought to be determined by the first two considerations, i.e. the usefulness of the work to the community and one's fitness for it. We have seen that this is not always true. In such cases it often becomes necessary to make a further choice—a choice between working primarily for one's own profit and working primarily for the satisfaction that comes from important service well rendered. It is not always easy to make this choice; but there are many people who have sacrificed large incomes for the sake of doing work that the community needs and for which they consider themselves well fitted.


Many people seem to have little choice in the matter of vocation. The farmer's boy has to work on the farm whether he wants to or not; and many a man is a farmer apparently for no other reason than that he was raised on the farm and has seen no opportunity to do anything else. Other people seem to be forced into other occupations by circumstances or drift into them by chance. But even in these cases there is something of a choice. The farmer's boy "chooses" to remain on the farm rather than to take the chances involved in running away, or because he would rather be at home than in a strange city. The discontented farmer might have chosen to be a lawyer if he had been willing to make enough sacrifices to get ready for it; and even now he "chooses" to remain on the farm in spite of his dislike for it because to do otherwise would mean sacrifice of some kind or other that he is unwilling to make.


The pleasure and effectiveness of ANY work, however, are increased if its importance to the community or to the world is clearly understood; for ALL productive work is important. There is no more terrible work than that of the soldier in the trenches. No man would voluntarily choose it for his own pleasure. But millions of men have gone into it joyfully because of the results to be attained for their country and the world. Other millions of men and women, and even children, on the farms, in the mines, in the shops, and in the homes, worked and sacrificed during the war with Germany as they had never worked and sacrificed before, produced results such as had never been produced before, and doubtless experienced a satisfaction in their toil that they had never experienced before, because each one saw more definitely than before the relation of his work to the great national and world purpose. An understanding of the meaning of our work in its relation to community welfare goes a long way toward "transmuting days of dreary work into happier lives."


The opportunity to choose one's calling, to decide what service one will fit himself for, the right of "self-determination" with regard to what one's work shall be—this is what "freedom" means. This is why men are happier when they are free. The "equality" and "justice" that all men want mean EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE that which they like to do, and AN EQUAL CHANCE TO MAKE A LIVING, or to obtain compensation for their labor or enterprise. It is for these things more than for anything else that people have left old-world conditions and come to America. The ability to make a living under conditions of freedom and justice depends in part upon the common wants of the community, and upon the willingness of members of the community to pay for the satisfaction of their wants enough to enable those who perform service for them also to satisfy theirs. But it also depends upon the ability of the individual to make a choice, and upon his willingness to spend years in preparation, if need be, to enable him to offer a service of the kind he likes to render, and for which others are glad to pay well.


We are living in a day of specialists. The very nature of our interdependent life makes it necessary for each worker to do one thing and to do it exceedingly well. Even farming is broken up to a considerable extent into special kinds of farming. Moreover, since the worker must be a specialist, requiring long, special training, it is more difficult than it used to be for him to change from one occupation to another after he has once started. Each person, therefore, owes it both to himself and to the community to choose his vocation carefully, so far as he has opportunity to make a choice. The schools are more and more making it their business to give boys and girls the knowledge and the experience that will enable them to choose wisely their mode of earning a living.


(3) Whether a citizen follows a vocation of his own voluntary choice, or one into which he has fallen by chance or by force of circumstances, he is under obligation to the community as well as to himself to do his work well. In these days of specialization this inevitably means preparation, training. If the community expects the citizen to perform efficient service, it must afford him a fair opportunity for preparation. During the war the government made special provision for training, not only for military service, but also for the industrial occupations that the nation needed. Vocational training is now receiving great attention from the schools and from government.


As in the choice of a vocation, so in preparation for it the individual has his share of responsibility. It is always a temptation for young people to get out into the active work of the world at the earliest possible moment. The desire to be independent, to earn one's own living, to "make money," is strong. It leads many boys and girls to leave school even before they have finished their elementary education. In the great majority of cases this results in serious economic loss both to the boy or girl and to the community. The charts on page 137 furnish evidence of this.


We call it patriotism when a man gives all that he has, even his life if necessary, for the good of his country, without stopping to consider whether or not he will receive an equal benefit in return. There is no higher type of patriotism than that which prompts a citizen to perform his best service for the community in his daily calling, not for what he can get for it, but for what he can give. This patriotism is shared by the young citizen who is willing to defer an apparent immediate gain to himself in order to prepare himself thoroughly for more effective service later.

If your father had his life to live over again, would he choose the same vocation that he is now following? Consult him as to his reasons.

What special kinds of farming exist in your locality? Is there a tendency in your community toward specialization in farming, or toward general farming? Reasons?

To what extent is "scientific farming" practiced in your locality? What does it mean?

Make a study of the extent to which specialization is necessary in the industries of your town.

Does your school offer any vocational training or vocational guidance?

Is there a tendency in your school for boys and girls to quit before completing the course? At what grades do pupils begin to drop out in considerable numbers? Why do they leave? What sort of work do they do when they leave school?

At what ages does the law in your state permit boys and girls to go to work? Show how this restriction of freedom now increases freedom later on.


In Lessons in Community and National Life:

Series A: Lesson 3, The cooperation of specialists in modern society. Lesson 5, The human resources of a community. Lesson 7, Organization. Lesson 8, The rise of machine industry. Lesson 9, Social control. Lesson 10, Indirect costs. Lesson 11, Education as encouraged by industry. Lesson 23, The services of money. Lesson 28, The worker in our society.

Series B: Lesson 8, Finding a job. Lesson 11, The work of women. Lesson 28, Women in industry.

Series C: Lesson 9, Inventions. Lesson 11, The effects of machinery on rural life. Lesson 21, Before coins were made. Lesson 22, The minting of coins. Lesson 23, Paper money. Lesson 24, Money in the community and the home. Lesson 29, Child labor.

In Long's American Patriotic Prose:

Frank A. Vanderlip, "Service Leads to Success," pp. 347-348.

Charles M. Schwab, "Opportunity is Plentiful in America," pp. 348- 350.

Tufts, The Real Business of Living, Chapters viii-x; xv-xxviii.

The following books relating to vocational life may be helpful and stimulating if available:

Gowin and Wheatley, Occupations (Ginn & Co.).

Giles, Vocational Civics (Macmillan).

Gulick, The Efficient Life (Doubleday, Page & Co.).

Reid and others, Careers for the Coming Men (Saalfield Pub Co., Akron, Ohio).

Marden, Choosing a Career (Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis).

Marden, Talks with Great Workers (Thos. Y. Crowell).

Bok, Successward (Doubleday, Page & Co.).

Williams, How it Is Made, How it Is Done, How it Works (Thos. Nelson & Sons).

Fowler, Starting in Life (Little, Brown & Co.).

Parsons, Choosing a Vocation (Houghton Mifflin Co.).

Carnegie, The Empire of Business, (Doubleday Page & Co.).




According to the census of 1910, somewhat more than 38 million of the 92 million people of our country at that time were engaged in "gainful occupations"; that is, in earning their living and that of the remaining 54 million people who were dependent upon them. Of the 38 million, more than 13 1/2 million were producing wealth directly from the land, in agriculture, forest industries, mining industries, and fishing. About 10 1/2 million were engaged in manufacturing and mechanical trades, by which the materials extracted from the land are transformed into articles of use. The remainder of the "breadwinners" were engaged in trade and transportation, and in professional, personal, and public service.


Of the 13 1/2 million people gaining their living directly from the land, more than 12 1/2 million were engaged in agricultural pursuits. At the present time (1919) probably one half of the population, including women and children, is directly dependent upon agriculture as a means of livelihood, while the other half, as well, is dependent upon it for food supply and the materials for clothing.

In view of the fact that agriculture is the source of the nation's food supply and of a large part of the national wealth, and that so large a part of the people are engaged in it as a means of livelihood, it is not surprising to find our government deeply interested in it and performing a vast amount of service for its promotion.


The government of every state in the Union has an organization to protect and promote the farming industry and the welfare of the farmer. This organization differs in its form and in the extent of service performed in the several states, due partly to the varying importance of agriculture in the different states, and partly to the varying success with which the people and their representatives have dealt with the problem. In some of the states there are departments of agriculture, equal in dignity and power with the other main divisions of the government. In others agricultural interests are placed in the hands of subordinate boards, bureaus, or commissions. In some cases the officials in charge of the organization, such as the commissioner of agriculture, are elected directly by the people, while in others they are appointed by the governor of the state or by the legislature. Often the department is organized in numerous branches with specialists at the head of each. Thus, there are dairy commissioners, horticultural boards, livestock sanitary boards, foresters, entomologists (specialists in insect life in its relation to agriculture), and others, to look after every aspect of farming. In a constantly decreasing number of states the powers of the agricultural officers are slight and their work ineffectual; but in others the organization is thorough and the work efficiently done and of the greatest value to the state.


In general, state departments of agriculture have had two kinds of duties: first, regulative and administrative duties, such as the enforcement of laws relating to agriculture passed by the state legislature, enforcing quarantine against diseased animals, establishing standards for the grading of grain, making and enforcing rules for the control of animal and plant diseases, and similar matters. Second, investigative and educational duties, such as the investigation of animal and plant diseases, crop conditions, and other agricultural problems; and the distribution of information to the farmers and to the people of the state generally, relating to agricultural matters. Reports and bulletins on special subjects are published and farmers' institutes are conducted.


The practice is growing, however, to transfer the work of investigation and education to the STATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGES AND EXPERIMENT STATIONS which have been established and are conducted with the cooperation of the national Department of Agriculture. These institutions have a corps of highly trained specialists and educators and are equipped with laboratories and experimental farms where research may be carried on under the most favorable conditions. The agricultural colleges not only educate young men and women within their walls in agriculture and related subjects, but carry on EXTENSION WORK throughout the state for the benefit of the farmers and the people of rural communities. With the development of these institutions the state department of agriculture is left with almost purely administrative and regulative duties. This seems to be the wiser plan of organization.

Write to your state commissioner of agriculture or to the secretary of your state board of agriculture for a copy of the law, or other published document, containing a description of the organization of your state department of agriculture and its work. Also ask for, if available, a list of publications issued by the department, from which you may later select such as may seem to be useful.

Write to your state agricultural college, or to the experiment station, for its latest report showing the work that it has done, and for a list of available publications.

In writing to public officials for materials for class use, it is well to send but ONE letter for the class or school, and to request THE SMALLEST NUMBER OF COPIES that will serve the purposes of the class. Public officials are busy people, and the publications for which you ask cost the people of the community money.

The members of the class may compete, if desired, in formulating a suitable letter, and a class committee may select the best, or formulate one on the basis of suggestions from the class.

Materials collected in this way should become school property, and the class should be conscious that it is accumulating a library for later classes as well as for themselves. Study and report on the following:

The organization of your state department of agriculture, its officers and how chosen, its divisions and their work.

The work done at your state experiment station (individual reports may be made on the several important lines of work, or on particular investigations or discoveries of interest).

The character of the extension courses offered by your state agricultural college. Courses given in your own community.

Instances of regulative work done in your state and county by your state department of agriculture.

Instances in which your county or locality has been served by your state agricultural college or by the experiment station.

The difficulty of the farmer in coping with animal disease or plant disease by his own effort.

Facts to show that money has been saved to your community by the state agricultural department or experiment station.

Why the people of the cities of your state should pay taxes to support the department of agriculture.

Facts to show that your state department of agriculture and your experiment station are really "means of cooperation" in your state and county.

Extent to which the farmers of your locality actually cooperate through the governmental machinery of the department of agriculture.

Consult your parents or farmer friends as to ways in which the work of your state department of agriculture, agricultural college, or experiment station should be extended.

Sentiment among the people of your locality, especially the farmers, as to the usefulness of your department of agriculture, experiment station and agricultural college.

Get information from your county agent, or from your state agricultural college, as to the states having the best organized departments of agriculture, and then get information as to their points of excellence.

The advantage of a state fair (A) to the farmer, (B) to the state. The fair as a means of cooperation.

The management of your county fair (if any).


It does one state very little good to fight hog cholera or the boll weevil unless neighboring states do likewise. Inferior service in one state by its department of agriculture is a detriment not only to the farmers of that state, but to those of other states and of the country as a whole. States gradually learn from one another and frequently adopt from one another the best methods that are developed. This is a slow process. The agriculture of our nation must be considered as a great national enterprise, and not as forty-eight separate enterprises. This was made evident during the recent war. Hence the necessity for national control.


Washington and Jefferson, like other founders of our nation, took the keenest interest in agriculture. But in the early years of our history little was done by the national government for its promotion, except by a rather generous policy of disposing of the public lands (see Chapter XIV). In 1820 a committee on agriculture was for the first time created in the House of Representatives, and in 1825 a similar committee in the Senate. In 1839 Congress made its first appropriation for agricultural purposes, $1000, to be spent in gathering information about crops and other agricultural matters. This was a small beginning when compared with the $37,000,000 appropriated by Congress for agricultural purposes in 1918.


The United States Department of Agriculture was created by Congress in 1862, though it was not placed on an equality with the other executive departments of the national government, with a member of the President's cabinet at its head, until 1889. While it has some very important regulatory powers, that is, powers to enforce laws and otherwise to control the practice of the people, its service has been largely by way of scientific investigation of the problems of agriculture and the distribution of the information so acquired. Its policy has been one of cooperation with state authorities.


In 1862 Congress gave to the several states portions of the public lands, the proceeds from which were to be used for the establishment and support of the agricultural colleges of which mention has been made. Again, in 1887, Congress made appropriations for the establishment of the agricultural experiment stations, which are conducted cooperatively by the state and national governments. In 1914 the Smith-Lever Act was passed by Congress, making appropriations for agricultural extension work to be conducted by the state agricultural colleges with the cooperation of the Department of Agriculture. By the terms of this act each state must appropriate a sum of money for the extension work equal to that received from the national government.

THE STATES RELATIONS SERVICE of the Department of Agriculture supervises and administers these cooperative relations with the states under the terms of the Smith-Lever Act. In each state there is a director of extension work who represents both the United States Department of Agriculture and the state agricultural college. Under him there is usually a state agent or leader, district agents, county agents, and specialists of various kinds. The county agents conduct agricultural demonstration work in their counties and assist in organizing rural communities for cooperation. Women county agents, or home demonstration agents, are rapidly being installed also, to conduct extension work in home economics and organize cooperation among the women.

In the Southern States during 1915 about 110,000 farmers carried out demonstration work under the supervision of county agents. Each such farm demonstration serves as an object lesson for the entire community. These demonstrations included corn raising in 446,000 acres, cotton in 202,000 acres, tobacco in 2630 acres, small grains in 196,000 acres, and many other products in hundreds of thousands of acres. Stumps were removed from more than 70,000 acres, 220,000 acres were drained, and there were 29,000 demonstrations in home gardens. Sixty-four thousand improved implements were bought. Work was done with orchards involving more than 2,000,000 trees, 29,000 farmers were instructed in the care of manure with an estimated saving of more than 3,000,000 tons. Farmers in 678 cooperative community organizations were advised with regard to the purchase of fertilizers with a saving in cost of $125,000. One thousand six hundred fifty-four community organizations were formed to study local problems and to meet local business needs. Nearly 63,000 boys were enrolled in corn clubs.

There were also in the Southern States 368 counties with home demonstration agents, who gave instruction to 32,613 girls and 6871 women. Each of the girls produced a one tenth acre home garden of tomatoes and other vegetables. They put up more than 2,000,000 cans of fruit and vegetables worth $300,000. There were nearly 10,000 members in poultry clubs and 3000 in bread clubs. Two hundred fifty women's community clubs were formed.

Similar work was done in the Northern States, where 209,000 boys and girls were enrolled in club work. Nearly 25,000 of these were engaged in profit-making enterprises in which they produced food worth more than $500,000. Reports from 3155 homes show 546,515 quarts of fruits and vegetables canned, about half of which consisted of vegetables, windfall apples, and other products that frequently go to waste.

How much money does your state receive from the national treasury under the terms of the Smith-Lever Act? (Discuss at home, consult your county agent.)

Find out from your county agent, and from your home demonstration agent (if there is one), what their work includes and how it is done. Invite them to speak to your school on the subject.

What demonstration work is being carried on in your county for men and women? Results achieved?

With the help of your county agent, make a map of your county showing the distribution of his demonstration work.

Report on boys' and girls' club work in your county. Describe particularly any such work in which you are engaged.

What are some of the problems in regard to which the farmers of your community need help?

Make a report on George Washington the Farmer; on Thomas Jefferson's contributions to agriculture.

THE OFFICE OF MARKETS AND RURAL ORGANIZATION promotes the organization of rural communities for cooperation in buying and selling, in obtaining rural credits and insurance (see Chapter XIII), in developing means of communication (Chapter XVIII), and in providing for social needs. It investigates markets and methods of marketing, and transportation and storage facilities.

It seeks to establish standards for grading and packing fruits, vegetables, and other products.

THE OFFICE OF FARM MANAGEMENT investigates and promotes the application of business methods to farm management and farm practice. It studies the cost and profitableness of producing particular crops, livestock, and dairy products, the use of the woodlot, the most economic and effective farm equipment. It investigates the cost of the farmer's living, methods of keeping accounts, the methods and results of tenantry.

THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY investigates the causes, prevention, and treatment of diseases of domestic animals, and has done much to eradicate them. It studies methods of dairying and dairy manufacturing, of breeding and feeding livestock, of producing wool and other animal fibers, of poultry raising. It cooperates with the States Relations Service and the state agricultural colleges in educational work, conducting livestock demonstration work and advising with regard to the establishment and management of creameries and cheese factories. It promotes the organization of pig clubs to stimulate interest in swine production.

THE BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY investigates the causes, prevention, and treatment of plant diseases, including those of fruit, shade, and forest trees. It has introduced over 43,000 varieties of foreign seeds and plants, from which many new industries have grown up amounting in value to many millions of dollars each year. Its explorers have brought new varieties of cereals from Russia and Siberia; alfalfas from Siberia; date palms from North Africa, Arabia, and Persia; the pistachio nut from Greece and Sicily; vanilla and peaches from Mexico; barleys and hops from Europe; rices and matting rushes from Japan; forage grasses from India; tropical fruits from South America. It experiments in the breeding of hardy and disease-resisting grains, fruits, and vegetables, studies soil fertility, investigates the medicinal qualities of plants, tests seeds, and improves agricultural implements. Its experiments are conducted in experimental gardens in Washington, D.C., at Arlington, Va., and at the experiment stations distributed widely over the United States.

This bureau does much educational work, instructing farmers how to control plant diseases and how to organize for cooperation in the breeding of disease-resisting plants, and conducting demonstrations on reclaimed lands in arid regions. During 1916 it distributed, through members of Congress, 356,000 tulip and narcissus bulbs, 96,000 strawberry plants of 15 varieties, 14,000 packages of lawn grass seed, and more than 16,000,000 packages of vegetable and flower seeds.

THE BUREAU OF CHEMISTRY studies the influence of environment on crops and plants; investigates the quality of mill products, the methods of bread making, of tanning leather, and of paper making. It tests the food values of all kinds of products, the keeping quality of poultry, eggs, and fish in the course of transportation, and the composition of drugs. It is called upon by other departments of government to make chemical analysis of many articles.

THE BUREAU OF SOILS investigates the quality of soils and their adaptation to different kinds of crops, and the fertilizer sources of the country.

THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY is concerned with the study of insects and their relation to agriculture, including those that are destructive to fruit, shade, and forest trees. Its work includes the study and promotion of bee culture. It has carried on a campaign for the eradication of such diseases as spotted fever, malaria, and typhoid which are carried by ticks, mosquitoes, flies, and other insects (see Chapter XX).

THE BUREAU OF BIOLOGICAL SURVEY maintains game, mammal, and bird reservations, including among others the Montana National Bison Range, the winter elk refuge in Wyoming, the Sully's Hill National Game Preserve in South Dakota, and the Aleutian Islands Reservation in Alaska. It studies the food habits of North American birds and mammals in relation to agriculture, horticulture, and forestry, and the habits, geographical distribution, and migrations of animals and plants. It conducts experiments and demonstrations in destroying animals harmful to agriculture and animal husbandry and in connection with rearing fur-bearing animals. It cooperates with local authorities in the protection of migratory birds.

THE BUREAU OF CROP ESTIMATES gathers and publishes data regarding agriculture, and particularly estimates relating to crop and livestock, production.

THE WEATHER BUREAU is in charge of the forecasting of the weather, the issuing of storm warnings, the display of weather and flood signals for the benefit of commerce, agriculture, and navigation (see Chapter XVI).

THE FOREST SERVICE has in its keeping the great national forests (see Chapter XV).

THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC ROADS AND RURAL ENGINEERING administers the work of the federal government for road improvement, and studies farm engineering problems such as those relating to sanitation and water supply (see Chapters XVII and XX).


The Department of Agriculture has certain important powers of regulation and control. Animals are inspected at market centers to discover the presence of disease, and localities infected are quarantined.

In 1915 more than 15 million sheep were inspected and nearly 4 million dipped to cure scabies. As a result nearly one and one half million square miles of land were released from quarantine. In the same year more than a million square miles were released from quarantine against scabies in cattle.

In quarantining a state, or portion of a state, the Department acts by authority of laws passed by Congress under its power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce (Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 3). By the same authority, all cattle for export and all imported from foreign countries are inspected and those diseased excluded. Slaughter houses and meat-packing establishments where meat is packed for interstate or foreign commerce are inspected; meat that is unfit for use being condemned, while that which is good has the government stamp placed upon it. Such measures are primarily health measures (see Chapter XX), but they have great economic value.

In a similar manner imported seeds, plants, and plant products are inspected to prevent the importation of plant diseases and plant pests, and also to prevent adulteration of plant products. Warehouses are inspected and licenses granted to those that are suitable for the proper storage of cotton, grains, tobacco, flaxseed, and wool. The Department enforces the laws that fix the standards for grading cotton and grain, and licenses grain inspectors. It also enforces the Food and Drugs Act (see Chapter XX).

Topics for investigation:

Difficulties experienced by farmers in your locality in marketing produce or livestock.

Assistance received from the United States Department of Agriculture to overcome the difficulties.

Experiments in cooperative marketing in your locality.

Products of your locality that require storage facilities. Adequacy of storage facilities.

Transportation needs of your locality. Improvements in transportation facilities in recent years.

Consult your county agent, or write to the Office of Farm Management, for publications relating to farm management, farm accounting, etc.

Discuss with farmers of your acquaintance the extent to which they find farm accounts and farm records useful.

Diseases of livestock prevalent in your locality and state. Experiments in cooperation to eradicate these diseases. Assistance received from the Department of Agriculture.

Crops of foreign origin raised in your locality. Countries from which introduced.

Destructive plant diseases and plant pests of your locality. Efforts to combat them.

Importance of bird migrations to the farmers of your locality. Extent of protection afforded birds. How you cooperate in this matter.

Importance of these various farmers' problems to the people in town—the housekeeper, the merchant, the manufacturer, the railroad companies.

Cases of animal quarantine occurring in your locality.

Why warehouses for food products, cotton, etc., should be licensed. What "licensing" means.

How grain, cotton, or other products are "graded." The reason for grading. Why there needs to be a law on the subject.


While the business interests of the farmer, and indeed many of his other interests, such as health, education, and social life, are especially looked after by the Department of Agriculture, he shares with all other citizens the services of all the other departments of government, each of which also has its elaborate organization (see Chapter XXVII). It is the Treasury Department, for example, acting under authority given to it by Congress, that provides the people with their system of money and with a banking system, both of which are great cooperative devices. The Department of Commerce serves the farmer directly by discovering markets for his products in every part of the world, and indirectly by everything it does to promote the country's commerce. The rural mail delivery, the parcel post, and the motor truck service of the Post Office Department are of untold value to the farmer (see Chapter XVIII). The Department of the Interior has supervision over the public lands, the reclamation of arid lands, and the development of mineral resources (Chapters XIV, XV).


The question of labor supply is one of the most serious questions which the farmer has to face. It is one that he must help to solve for himself:

As soon as work on the farms is organized, and employment is made steady for all help, just so soon will a better class of laborers be attracted to the farm. As the farm-owner wishes life to be free from eternal drudgery for himself and family, yielding the fruits of happiness, leisure, and culture, he would do well to consent and arrange to give the farm hand who shares the shelter of his roof a fair chance at the same benefits. The laborer wants regular hours, a chance for recreation, a good place to live in, and enough wages to maintain a family according to American standards. [Footnote: W.J. Dougan and M.W. Leiserson in "Rural Social Problems," Fourth Annual Report Wisconsin Country Life Conference, quoted in Nourse, AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS pp. 258-260.]

But there are aspects of the labor problem over which the farmer by his own unaided efforts can have little control. One of these is the problem of bringing the laborer and the job together (see Chapter XI, p. 133). The work of the Employment Service in the Department of Labor during the recent war affords a striking illustration of cooperation secured through an agency of government.


The Employment Service had been created in 1914, but was rapidly developed during the war to meet the demand for farm labor to provide a food supply adequate to war needs. The main offices of Employment Service were with the Department of Labor in Washington. But each state had a federal director of employment, and branch offices were established in local communities. The success of the whole scheme depended, first of all, upon cooperation between national, state, and local governments.

Thousands of county agents and local rural community organizations discovered and reported local needs to local employment offices, which in turn distributed the information by means of the district, state, and national organizations. Fifty-five thousand post offices became farm-labor employment agencies, postmasters and rural carriers acting as agents. Railroads cooperated both in reporting needs for the districts through which they run and in distributing labor to the points where needed. Newspaper offices served as employment bureaus. The operators of nearly 8000 rural telephone companies weekly called up the homes of two million farmers to inquire as to needs. State and county councils of defense, chambers of commerce, labor unions, farmers' organizations, and other volunteer agencies afforded channels through which the farmer and the laborer were brought together.

From January to the end of October 1918, approximately 2,500,000 workers were directed to employment (not all farm workers). In that year the enormous wheat crop of the western states was entirely harvested by labor forces organized and moving northward as the harvest ripened. "Teamwork between the county agricultural agents and farm-help specialists of the Department of Agriculture and the harvest emergency force of the United States Employment Service is considered largely responsible for the excellent results." In a similar manner assistance was given in harvesting the corn and cotton crops, the fruits of orchards and vineyards, and the vegetable crops of the country.

The Boys' Working Reserve constituted one division of the Employment Service. In 1918, 210,000 boys between the ages of 16 and 20 were enrolled for work on the farms during the summer. The Reserve was responsible in 1917 and 1918 for saving millions of dollars worth of crops. It is estimated that in 1918 it raised enough food to feed a million soldiers for one year.


With the passing of the war emergency, the elaborate machinery of the Employment Service was in large measure allowed to fall to pieces through lack of appropriations for its maintenance. This is true of much of the emergency organization of government developed during the war period. It illustrates the tendency in our country to leave business control as fully as possible to individual initiative excepting in times of great emergency. So important is the problem of bringing the worker and the job together that many believe that the Employment Service organization should be revived and continued.

The central office at Washington is still maintained. In most states there are still (1919) state directors. The local machinery has been largely discontinued except in cities where volunteer agencies, such as the Red Cross and other welfare organizations, have taken over the work, chiefly to find employment for discharged soldiers and sailors. A few states have made appropriations to continue the Boys' Working Reserve.


One division of the Employment Service is the Junior Section, for the guidance of boys and girls from 16 to 21 years of age seeking employment. Local junior sections were organized as branches of local employment offices and in schools. A "junior counselor" was placed in charge of each local junior section to study the needs and qualifications of those who applied for employment, and to give them advice. The Junior Section is still maintained with a director in the Washington office. The duties of the junior counselor are stated as follows:

To influence boys and girls to remain in school as long as possible.

To give aid toward the right start for those who have to leave school to go to work.

To arouse the ambitions of the boys and girls to fit themselves for definite careers.

To direct youth who are employed toward some form of trade, technical, or business school for special training.

To promote the opportunities for vocational education.

To follow up all applicants in their training and at their work to see that they have the best available advantages of study and labor.


The array of facts contained in the foregoing paragraphs is given, not with the expectation that those who read will memorize them, but to suggest the enormous amount of work that the United States government is doing in the interest of agriculture and the farmer, and the extensive machinery necessary to do it. The facts given are only a few of those that might be given. The detailed story of how much of this work is done is fascinating, and often of thrilling interest. All around us may be seen, if our eyes are open, the evidences of the work of our government. Always the governmental machinery is at hand to serve us in a thousand ways, if we are wise enough to use it. The more we study its work, the more we shall be impressed by the fact that its greatest service is in opening the way for cooperation, and in providing the organization and the leadership for such cooperation.

Topics for investigation:

How money serves as a means of cooperation.

How a bank serves as a means of cooperation.

The attractiveness of the conditions of living for farm laborers in your community. How they could be improved.

The farm labor supply in your locality and state.

The work of the United States Employment Service in your state and community.

Employment agencies in your community at the present time. By whom conducted. Are they free, or run for profit? Advantages and disadvantages of the two kinds.

Harvesting the wheat crop in war time.

The Boys' Working Reserve in your locality. The experience of the farmers of your locality as to its value. Possible objections raised to it. Its continuance since the war.

The Junior Section of the Employment Service.

Junior counselors in your community.


Procure from the State Department of Agriculture, the State Agricultural College, and the State Experiment Station, publications relating to their work.

Send to the U. S. Department of Agriculture for its List of Publications Available for Distribution; or for publications relating to particular topics. Among the useful publications of the Department are:

Farmers' Bulletins (covering a wide variety of subjects).

States Relations Service Circulars.

The Year Book.

Annual Reports of the Secretary of Agriculture.

Program of Work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1917 or later years).

Report on Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Agricultural Extension Work (1915 or later years).

A very useful publication is the "Guide to United States Government Publications," published by the U.S. Bureau of Education as Bulletin, 1918, No. 2. It not only describes the publications of each department of government, but also the organization and work of each department and its subdivisions. (Government Printing Office, 20 cents.)

More recent and equally useful is "The Federal Executive Departments as Sources of Information for Libraries," also published by the Bureau of Education, Bulletin, 1919, No. 74 (Government Printing Office, 25 cents). The work of each Department and its subdivisions is described in some detail.

In Lessons in Community and National Life:

Series B: Lesson 30, Employment agencies.

Series C: Lesson 12, Patents and inventions. Lesson 13, Market reports on fruits and vegetables.





This definition is taken from "Ten Lessons in Thrift," issued by the Treasury Department of the United States Government (February, 1919). The United States Government sent out these lessons because "America to-day stands in the position in which all her economic problems must be solved through thrift ... Unless our people gain a deep, sincere appreciation of the absolute necessity for thrift, we cannot hope to hold the proud position we occupy as the flag bearer of nations ..." [Footnote: S.W. Strauss, President American Society for Thrift, in "The Patriotism of War Savings" (National Education Association pamphlet, THRIFT, 1918)]


The great war taught us some lessons about the importance of thrift to the nation. The enormous expenses of the war were paid and the armies and the civilian populations of the countries at war were fed very largely by the combined small savings of our people. Nearly 20 million people contributed to the fourth liberty loan, by which almost seven billion dollars were raised, an average of about $350 for each contributor. Almost every one bought war savings stamps, by which about a billion dollars were raised in 1918. Practically all this money came from savings. Enormous sums were also given to the Red Cross and other causes. To do this people saved and sacrificed "until it hurt." The provisioning of our armies and of the needy peoples of Europe was made possible by the saving, in American homes, of slices of bread, of teaspoonfuls of sugar, of small portions of meat and fats.


Thrift, however, is not merely a war necessity. "The time when thrift shall not be needed—needed as vitally as food itself—will never come ... Through thrift alone can the rebuilding come—the rebuilding of America—the rebuilding of the world ... Thrift is patriot ism because it is the elimination of every element that tends to retard..." [Footnote: S W Strauss, "The Patriotism of War Savings"]

Thrift is necessary both for individual success and for good citizenship. It is only by thrift that the individual may in some measure repay others for the care he himself received during dependent childhood, and provide, during his productive years, for the "rainy day" of sickness and old age. It is by thrift that CAPITAL is accumulated with which to carry on the world's work. The citizen who saves and invests his savings in a home, in business enterprises, in bonds or savings stamps, not only makes his own future secure, but becomes identified with the community and takes a greater interest in it. The thrifty citizen inspires the confidence of the community, and acquires an influence in community affairs that the unthrifty citizen does not enjoy. Finnish farmers in a certain section of New England are said to be able to obtain credit from neighboring bankers and businessmen more easily than many of their neighbors, and to be considered as especially desirable citizens, because of their reputation for thrift and honesty. Thrift is often confused with stinginess and selfish ness. On the contrary it alone makes generosity and service possible.


"Thrift is the very essence of democracy." For democracy means freedom, equality of opportunity, "self-determination." No man is a greater slave than one who is bound and driven by financial necessity. By thrift the mind is "unfettered by the petty annoyances that result from improvident ways." Thrift means providing for the future. There is nothing in the world that will so establish one's faith in the future and that will, therefore, give that freedom of spirit upon which democracy depends, as the wise use of to-day and of to-day's resources.


"Every man must practice thrift and every man must have the CHANCE of practicing it." It is a RIGHT as well as a duty. Before the war it was said that four fifths of the wage earners of our country received less than $750 a year for their labor. Studies in various cities also showed that an average family of five could not maintain health and efficiency on an income of less than from $750 to $1000. Under such circumstances thrift is the strictest necessity, but it is a thrift that means pinching economy and the sacrifice of health and efficiency. It is not the thrift that provides for the future and gives freedom to the individual, the thrift that is "the essence of democracy itself." Every man should have an opportunity to earn a "living wage," which includes an opportunity to provide for the future. Democracy is not complete until that opportunity is afforded.

Thrift, or the good management of the business of living, is shown (1) in earning, (2) in spending, (3) in saving, and (4) in investing.


(1) Since the earning of a living was the subject of Chapter XI, we need not dwell upon it now except to note that a thrifty person is an industrious person—he makes wise use of his time; and also to note that many of those who are now in want, or who, in advanced years, are receiving small wages, owe their condition to a failure at some time or other to make use of the opportunity for thrift. Many people do not recognize the opportunity when it is presented, or lack the wisdom or the courage to seize it. Thrift involves MAKING A CHOICE, and in many cases a wise choice requires courage as well as wisdom. It is a choice between the satisfaction of present wants and the sacrifice of present enjoyment for the sake of greater satisfaction and service in the future.

When a boy in school has a chance to take a job that will pay him wages, he has to make a choice between it and remaining in school. It may seem to be the thrifty thing to go to work; but real thrift is shown by careful choice of vocation, and by thorough preparation for it, even though it requires sacrifices that seem difficult (see pp. 137, 139).

We may note here, also, that physical fitness is essential if earning power, which means power to perform service, is to be fully developed. The "conservation" of health and life is so important that a chapter is devoted to it later (Chapter XX).


(2) After money has been earned, thrift shows itself first of all in the way the money is spent; and many of us have the spending of the money that some one else has earned. Every time we spend a nickel or a dollar we make a choice—we choose to spend or not to spend, how much we shall spend, for what we shall spend.

A lawyer in a small town reports that in one month he made out the necessary papers to enable 75 men to mortgage their homes to buy automobiles.

Butchers say that during the war they more often sold expensive cuts of meat to wage earners who were by no means well-to-do, but who happened for the time to be getting good wages, than to people of larger means. One reason, perhaps, for extravagance in food and clothing on the part of unintelligent people who find themselves unusually prosperous, is that they see no better way to spend their money. Those who find pleasure in books, in education for their children, in travel, in investing money in serviceable enterprises, and in the higher things of life, have to make A CHOICE in regard to what they shall enjoy, and as a rule prefer to sacrifice the grosser pleasures.


People, and especially young people, need a certain amount of sweets in their diet. But when we know that the candy bill of the people of the United States amounts to $400,000,000 a year, that this is almost as much as the total amount spent for public education, that it is about double the amount used to keep Belgium supplied with food for a year during the war, or that it will buy 234 million bushels of corn at $1.70 a bushel, we may well think twice before deciding to spend MUCH money for candy.


The few cents difference in the price of two articles between which we must choose, and the nickels we spend for immediate enjoyment, may seem to amount to very little; but the New York City street railways collected in a year $95,000,000 in five-cent fares, and the Woolworth Building in New York, one of the largest office buildings in the United States, was built from the profits of "5 and 10 Cent Stores." One thrift stamp a week amounts in five years to $65, and 14 cents a day at 4 per cent interest amounts in twenty years to more than $1500. In one of the "Ten Lesson in Thrift," the following "tests in buying" are given:

Do I need it?

Do I need it now?

Do I need something else more?

Will it pay for itself in the end?

Do I help or injure the community in buying this?

Do you have instruction in your school in home economics that relates to wise spending or buying?

If you do not have such instruction, apply to the home demonstration agent in your county (if there is one), or write to your state agricultural college, or to the States Relations Service, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., for circulars or bulletins relating to thrift in buying food, clothing, etc.

In writing for such material, why is it an example of thrift to ask for ONE copy of EACH publication for your CLASS or for your SCHOOL, rather than to ask for a copy for each pupil?

In what ways is thrift shown by having a class committee write one letter making the request for the class instead of having each member of the class write?

Has any home demonstration work relating to thrift been conducted in your community? What methods were employed, and what results achieved?

Who in your family makes most of the expenditures for the family living?

For what items in the family living is most of the money spent?

What are some of the things that have to be considered in buying food? clothing? house furnishings? books? amusements?

Discuss the topics mentioned in the following statement of "values in buying" (from "Ten Lessons in Thrift"):

Food: nutrition, healthfulness, cleanliness, attractiveness, flavor, quality, price, economy in preparation (of time, strength, fuel, utensils), buying from bulk or in package, buying in quantity or small unit, buying for the day or laying in stores, calculation of portions, calculation of meals, varied diet.

Clothing: design related to material, color, and becomingness; style, durability; adaptability to fine or rough wear, to repair and remaking; suitability to season, health, occupation, comfort; home-made VERSUS ready-made; conditions of manufacture, use of child labor, the sweat shop, the living wage, health.

Make a study at the grocery of the relative prices of articles bought in small and large quantities: for example, laundry soap by the bar, by the quarter's worth, by the box; canned goods by the can, by the dozen, and by the case; flour by the pound, by the 25- pound sack, 50-pound sack, by the barrel; etc.

Make a study of the relative prices of articles in bulk and in package; for example, vinegar by the bottle and by the gallon; bacon in bulk and in jars, etc.

Why may it be economy to buy some food articles in packages rather than in bulk, even at a higher price? Give examples.

Which is likely to be more economical, to buy groceries by telephone or in person? To buy by mail order or at the store in town? Why?

At Christmas time the Park View community center in Washington, D.C., ordered 140 turkeys from a rural neighborhood center in Maryland. The turkeys were brought by the producers to the schoolhouse of the rural neighborhood, taken by a postal service motor-truck to the schoolhouse of the Park View center in Washington, and from there distributed to the 140 families. The city buyers paid an average of 15 cents a pound less than the price prevailing in the Washington markets, and the producers received 6 cents a pound more than the Washington markets were paying.

Why was there a saving to both producer and consumer in the above case? What costs of marketing were cut out or reduced?

What is the "middleman"? Does he perform a real service to the community? Should he be paid for his service? Why? Is it just that the middleman should be "eliminated" by cooperative marketing and buying organizations? Why?

Is there any cooperative buying organization in your community? If so, how has it benefited the community? If not, why? (Consult your parents, your county agent, and others.)

Get publications from your state agricultural college relating to cooperative buying and selling.


Wise expenditures depend not only upon knowledge of prices and qualities, but also upon good management, as in planning ahead. One plan that has been the means of lifting many individuals and families out of financial difficulties and of enabling them to lay by as savings a portion of their income, however small the latter may be, is the BUDGET, which means the apportionment of expenditures according to a plan laid out in advance. No budget can apply to all families alike, but the following illustrates the principle:

House (rent, taxes, insurance, repairs)........................25%

Food (all expenditures for the table, ice, etc.)...............30%

Clothing (materials and making, repairing, cleaning, pressing, millinery, shoes)..............................................13%

Housekeeping (labor and materials for laundry, fuel and light, telephone, supplies, and furnishings)..........................12%

Educational (school and school books, club dues, church and charity contributions, gifts, books, magazines, newspapers, amusements, medical and dental treatment)...................................6%

Luxuries (all items not necessaries and not coming under "educational," such as candies, etc.)...........................4%



Before a budget can be planned, and in order to know whether it is being lived up to, it is necessary to keep accounts of receipts and expenditures. With such accounts, it is possible to determine where savings can be made under some heads and where, perhaps, it is necessary or advisable to spend more.

Is a budget used in your home? Find out from your parents their reason for using, or not using it.

Could you use a budget in your own personal affairs?

Find out whether a budget system is used by your local government and your state government in apportioning expenditures.

How may we "budget" our time? Is the time you spend in school "budgeted"? Make a daily time budget for yourself.

When is clothing a necessity and when a luxury? [Footnote: This and the following topics are adapted from "Ten Lessons in Thrift."]

When is food a necessity and when an amusement?

When is amusement education and when a frivolity?

When is fuel an item in rent and when current housekeeping expense?

When are club dues education and when amusement?

When is vacation health and when amusement?

When is the theater amusement and when indulgence?

When is rent a necessity and when an extravagance?

[Footnote: From "Suggestion for Home Demonstration Agents regarding Methods of Teaching Thrift," States Relations Service Circular, Dec. 27, 1918.]


(3) The object of thrift in spending is both to get the greatest value for our money now and to insure savings that will provide for the future. Every budget should make as definite provision for savings as for rent or clothing. The purpose of a budget and of accounts is to assure a surplus rather than a deficit. Successful men and women make it a practice always to spend less than they earn, no matter how little they earn, and they cannot be sure of this without planning ahead and keeping accounts. Saving in this way is largely a matter of habit; but it is astonishing how many fail to form the habit. Court records show that out of every 100 men who die, 82 leave no income-producing estates, or that about 85 per cent who reach the age of 65 are dependent upon relatives or upon the community. "Out of every 100 widows, only 18 are left in comfortable circumstances, while 47 are obliged to go to work and 35 are left in absolute want." [Footnote: S.W. Strauss, "The Greater Thrift," National Education Association PROCEEDINGS, 1916, p. 278.]


Wise buying means saving money; and so does the wise use of what we buy. It is said that an American ship can be distinguished from the ships of other nations in harbor by the flocks of gulls that hover around to feast on the food thrown overboard. Whether this is true or not, Americans have a reputation for wastefulness. It has been called our chief national sin. It is said that a family in France can live in comfort on what an American family in the same circumstances ordinarily throws away. An average load of garbage in New York City has been shown to contain fifty dollars' worth of good food materials.


Investigations by the Food Administration showed that there is enough glycerine in a ton of garbage to make explosives for 14 shells, enough fat and acid to make 75 bars of soap, and enough fertilizer to grow 8 bushels of wheat. It is said that 24 cities wasted enough garbage to make 4 million pounds of nitroglycerine, 40 million cakes of soap, and fertilizer for 3 million bushels of wheat. On the other hand, 300 cities produced 52 million pounds of pork by feeding their garbage to hogs.

The Department of Agriculture has shown that the waste of a half- cup of milk daily by each of the 20 million families in the United States would equal in a year the total production of 400 thousand cows; that one ounce of meat or fat saved daily would in a year mean 875 thousand steers, or a million hogs; and that if 81 percent of the whole wheat were used in bread instead of 75 percent, the saving in a year would feed 12 million people. During the war our government organized a campaign for the salvage of "junk," and the total amount collected had a value of 1 1/2 billion dollars. The school children of Des Moines, Iowa, are reported to have gathered and sold two thousand dollars' worth of waste paper in one week, and those of many other communities obtained similar results.


Every successful business man is constantly vigilant to discover and remedy waste in his business—waste of materials, time, and effort. Many of the most valuable products in certain industries are "by-products,"—that is, products produced as an incident to the main industry and from materials that otherwise would have been wasted. In the manufacture of gas from coal, for example, important by-products are coke, tar, and ammonia. There has been great waste in the lumber industry, but now practically every scrap from the tree may be used. In the Forestry Products Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, a process has been discovered of producing from 15 to 25 gallons of wood alcohol from a ton of sawdust—and sawdust has many other uses. These are only illustrations. Scientists and inventors, many of them employed by the government, are constantly at work finding uses for waste products.


Wastefulness is found in great variety in farming activities. For example:

Why plant seed only 60 or 70 per cent of which will germinate when, for a few dollars extra and a little work, seed may be procured that will average 90 to 95 per cent in the germination test? Why purchase or cultivate a worthless crab apple tree or a hybrid when Rome Beauty, Northern Spy, or Grimes Golden, and other standard varieties of apples may be secured for a few additional cents? Why feed and care for a "scrub" pig, calf, or colt when it will bring at maturity only half or two thirds the price of a thoroughbred? ... It is not thrift to invest money in second-rate products.

Some farmers are so careless ... that they do not husk their corn in the fall but leave it standing in the field until late winter or early spring. By this time the fodder is somewhat decayed and unfit for feeding purposes. Possibly a third of the corn has been eaten by the birds, a third of it has rotted, and a third of it remains in a damp and moldy condition. ... Many boys could make good wages by going over the corn field at cutting time and collecting the ears lying on the ground. ... Often a farmer will cut down his hay, paying no attention whatever to the reports of the weather bureau ... Apples shaken from the trees by the wind decay on the ground ...

The bearings of mowing machines and reapers often suffer excessive wear because the owner neglects to keep them properly oiled. Often a wheat drill, a mowing machine, a threshing machine, or an engine is left out of doors for a whole year, or for several months after the farmer has ceased to use it. A good piece of machinery, if judiciously used, properly lubricated, and put away in a dry place, may last from ten to twenty years, while the life of such machinery will only be about half as long without proper care. If a wooden handle rots loose from its fastenings it is an indication that the handle has not been thoroughly dried after it has been used. Tools rust out very readily if they are not kept dry and thoroughly oiled ... So careless are some farmers that hoes, shovels, mattocks, wrenches, saws, and axes are thrown down in the field or woods to lie there until it is again necessary to use them. It often takes hours to find an article thus misplaced or thrown aside. It is economy of time to know just where to find everything on the farm. [Footnote: The Teaching of Thrift, by H. R. Bonner, Assistant State Superintendent of Schools, West Virginia, pp. 22, 23.]

The topics on page 180 from publications of the States Relations Service of the Department of Agriculture are suggestive:

Preventing loss of food in the home: Suitable food storage places and equipment. Essentials of a good refrigerator. The care of winter vegetables and fruit. The care of perishable vegetables and fruit. Prevention of spoilage of milk, meat, and fish. Preservation of eggs. Care of bread and other baked products. What should not go into the garbage pail. Good cooking and attractive serving. Failure to use perishable food promptly. Failure to use left-overs completely. Failure to use all food materials (fats, meat and fish bones, etc.). Leaving small portions of food in mixing and cooking dishes. Lack of accurate measuring and mixing, so that food is not palatable. Allowing food to be scorched or otherwise spoiled in preparation. Providing over-generous portions in serving. Failure to eat all food served. Preventing loss of food in the market: Sanitary display cases for food. Prevention of "sampling" and handling of food. Food protection in food carts and delivery wagons. Proper care of milk. Proper care of meat and fish. Prevention of cereal products from deterioration. Protection of fruits and vegetables. The care of bread and bakery products. Careful selection of food. Following are special points which might be discussed: The well-planned house. Saving steps by better arrangement of equipment. Lessening work by systematizing it. Menu-planning for lessened work in preparation. Household lighting. Labor-saving equipment in the laundry, the kitchen, and the sewing room. Labor-saving devices for house cleaning. Leading a simple life.

Apply to your home demonstration agent, or write to States Relations Service, for publications relating to thrift in food, clothing, fuel, etc.


(4) Thrift involves a wise use of savings. They may be invested in a home, a wise use because of the satisfaction that a home produces. If the home is well located, well built, and well kept up, it will probably also increase in money value. Savings may be invested in machinery for farming, manufacturing, or mining; in a stock of goods to be sold at a profit; in houses or office buildings to be rented to others; or they may be lent to others who pay interest for their use. In all these cases money represents CAPITAL—capital being the machinery or tools and other equipment with which wealth is produced.

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