Community Civics and Rural Life
by Arthur W. Dunn
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When a thief or vandal takes or destroys another person's property, the loss of the property is not the worst thing that happens, but the attack upon PROPERTY RIGHTS. The right to security in one's possessions is among the most sacred rights of a free people, being classed with the right to life, the right of free speech, the right of petition, the right to freedom of religion. It is by securing these rights that the law makes us free. The sacred right to property is as truly violated by one who steals a nickel as by one who robs a bank of a thousand dollars, by one who ruins our flower bed as well as by one who burns our house. The amount has nothing to do with it. The tax which the English government imposed on tea imported by the American colonists was not a heavy tax, but the colonists objected because it was imposed without their consent.


The citizens of a free country require protection of their property rights against infringement by their government as well as by one another. The Revolutionary War was fought in defense of this and other rights against violation by the English government. When the Constitution of the United States was framed, the people refused to ratify it unless amendments were added guaranteeing these rights. Thus it was provided that "no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law" (Amendment III); that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ..." (Amendment IV); that "no persons shall be ... deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation" (Amendment V. See also Chapter XIV, p. 207). The Constitution also provides that "no state shall ... pass any ... law impairing the obligation of contracts" (Art. I, sec. 10, clause I), and in various other ways protects our property rights. Our state constitutions contain many similar provisions. Our governments have the power to take property in the form of taxes, but under certain restrictions imposed by our constitutions to safeguard the rights of the people (see Chapter XXIII).


It is to protect these RIGHTS, rather than property itself, that communities have their police, that states have their militia, and that the nation has its army and its navy. Among the chief causes that led us into war with Germany was the fact that Germany was violating the property rights of our citizens. While our Constitution provides for state militia and a national army for the defense of our rights, property rights included, it has always been our national policy to maintain as small a standing army as is consistent with the national safety; and this for the very reason that a large standing army and a large navy are not only a great burden of expense, but also, as the founders of our nation believed, a menace to the liberties of the people and to the peace of the world.


We have seen that no person may be deprived of property by the government "without due process of law." This means that the procedure provided by law must be followed, and that the citizen whose property is taken may have his side of the case presented, the value of the property in question appraised by impartial judges, and so on. It is the business of THE COURTS to see that justice is done. They inquire into the facts in the case, and interpret the law bearing on it. The courts are the final safeguard to our liberties. Our government comprises, therefore, not only a law-making branch and a law-enforcing branch, but also a LAW-INTERPRETING, OR JUDICIAL, branch—the courts.


The Constitution guarantees justice to persons accused of violating the property rights, or other rights of citizens, by theft, fraud, or otherwise, as well as to the citizen who has been wronged. "In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed ... and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense" (Amendment VI). "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted" (Amendment VIII).

Investigate and report on:

How are property rights guaranteed in your state constitution? in the national Constitution?

Read the charges made in the Declaration of Independence against the King of England with respect to the violation of property rights.

"Due process of law."

The violation of property rights by Germany as a cause for war.

Are property rights as sacred in time of war as in time of peace?

What property rights has an American in Mexico?

What property rights has a Mexican in the United States?

What became of German property in the United States during the war?

The purpose of the courts.

What courts exist in your community?

The rights of a person accused of crime.


In the Year Book of the Department of Agriculture:

1910, pp. 413-424, Fire prevention and control on the national forests.

1913, pp. 75-92, Bringing applied entomology to the farmer.

1915, pp. 159-172, Animal disease and our food supply.

1915, pp. 263-272, Recent grasshopper outbreaks and methods of control.

1916, pp. 217-226, Suppression of gypsy and brown-tailed moths.

1916, pp. 267-272, Cooperative work for eradicating citrus canker.

1916, pp. 381-398, Destroying rodent pests on the farm.

1918, pp. 303-316, Federal protection of migratory birds.

Farmers' mutual fire insurance, U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 530; also, Year Book, 1916, pp. 421-434.

The Weather Bureau (a pamphlet), Government Printing Office, Washington. Send to the Weather Bureau for list of publications.

How the Weather Bureau forecasts storms, frosts, and floods, Office of Information, U.S. Department of Agriculture; reprinted in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT, March 14, 1914.

Forecasting storms: the Weather Bureau's helpfulness, SUNSET MAGAZINE, vol. 25, pp. 529-532 (Nov., 1910).

The Farmer and the Weather Bureau, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Feb. 18, 1911.

Doing business by the weather map, WORLD'S WORK, June, 1914.

Flood control:

Water Supply Paper 234, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, 1919. Write for other publications on this subject. Also, the Office of the Chief of Engineers, War Department.

There has been much magazine literature on this subject.

War and Navy Departments, in the Federal Executive Departments, Bulletin, 1919, No. 74, U.S. Bureau of Education.


Hart, ACTUAL GOVERNMENT, pp. 573-582.




During the years 1910-1915 the Office of Public Roads of the United States Department of Agriculture made a continuous study, year by year, of the methods and results of road improvement in eight selected counties of the United States. [Footnote: Spotsylvania, Dinwiddie, Lee, and Wise counties in Virginia; Franklyn County in New York; Dallas County in Alabama; Lauderdale County in Mississippi; and Manatee County in Florida.] The results of the investigation are described in Bulletin No. 393 (1916) of the Department of Agriculture, which is worth sending for and studying by any school that is interested in the improvement of the community.


One of these counties was Spotsylvania County, Virginia, a map of which is shown on the opposite page. Since the Civil War the farmland in this county had gradually declined from its prosperous condition before the war until it was little better than a wilderness of second-growth timber, valued at from $5 to $15 an acre. For many months of the year the roads were well-nigh impassable. There was much wealth in timber, but it could not be marketed to advantage. The soil was very little cultivated. More farm products were shipped into Fredericksburg, the only city in the county, by rail from outside than were shipped out from the farms of the county.


Nearly one third of the population of the county lived in Fredericksburg; but under the law of the state of Virginia the people of the city could not be taxed for county purposes outside of the city. Moreover, two of the four districts of the county at first took little interest in the matter of road improvement, although they had to use the roads in going to market at Fredericksburg. Courtland and Chancellor districts, however, were determined to have better roads, and voted to raise the necessary money by selling bonds to the amount of $100,000. Three years later the other two districts, inspired by the success of Courtland and Chancellor districts, also voted bonds for road improvement to the amount of $73,000. This debt would of course have to be paid off by levying taxes upon the people of the districts. With a tax rate of $1.70 on every hundred dollars' worth of property, a farmer with a farm assessed at $3000 would pay a total tax of $51, of which $19.48 would be for the roads.


It is not always easy to convince the people of a community that it is worth while to spend so much money on their roads. They have to be shown that the expenditure will in due time pay for itself, as well as add to the convenience and pleasure of the community. Too much money spent in costly improvements on roads that are little used, or in construction that does not stand the traffic and soon wears out, is of course a bad investment. But the results in Spotsylvania County, as well as in the seven other counties studied by the Office of Public Roads, justified the cost.


The law of Virginia provided that all highway construction in the state must be supervised by the STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER. He accordingly appointed an engineer to supervise the work in Spotsylvania County, the engineer's salary being paid by the state. The work of construction, however, was under the direction of a COUNTY BOARD OF PUBLIC ROADS. The board appointed a superintendent who hired all labor and teams and purchased all equipment and materials. Three main highways in Courtland and Chancellor districts, and leading into Fredericksburg, were chosen for improvement. Within two years more than forty miles of road were completed, or about 10 per cent of all the roads in the entire county.


Roads have to be kept in repair after they are constructed. By 1914 money was needed for this purpose. The farmers objected to further increase of the tax rate, so it was decided to charge TOLLS for the use of the improved highways—5 cents for a single horse and vehicle, 10 cents for two horses and a buggy, 15 cents for two horses and a wagon, 25 cents for four horses and a wagon, and from 20 cents to 35 cents for automobiles. More money than was needed was raised in this way in the first month, and the tolls were therefore reduced one half. One advantage to the county of the toll system was that automobilists and others from other districts, counties, and states would contribute to the upkeep of the roads.


On the roads selected for improvement there were 35 farms including 5518 acres. In 1910, the average value of these farms, including buildings, was $14 per acre, and seldom did any one want to buy land in the neighborhood. But within two years after the road improvement seven of the 35 farms had been sold, and a large part of another, as shown in the following:

In the next two or three years a number of other farms were sold at similar increased prices, and some farms that had been abandoned were reoccupied. Large areas of land were cultivated for the first time since the Civil War. The farmers were, however, most interested for the time being in their timber wealth, and between 1909 and 1913 the shipments of forest products from Fredericksburg increased 78.2 per cent.


Before the improvement of the roads, the average weight of load for a two-horse team in the winter and spring, when the roads were bad, was about 1200 pounds; when the roads were dry, about 2400 pounds. The cost for hauling at this rate averaged, for the year round, about 30 cents per ton per mile. After the roads were improved, the average load the year round was 4000 pounds, and the cost for hauling only 15 cents per ton per mile.

Investigate and report on:

Results of road improvement in others of the eight counties referred to on page 248 (see Bulletin 393, 1916, Department of Agriculture).

Procure or make a map of your county showing road improvement. Is your county well provided with improved roads?

Do the cities and towns in your county contribute to the improvement of the country roads?

Do the people of the rural districts of your county contribute to the improvement of the streets of the cities and towns?

Bond issues in your county for road improvement. Meaning of "bond issues."

Tax rate in your county for road improvement.

How is road improvement managed in your county?

What help does your county get from your state for road improvement?

What supervision does your state exercise over road improvement?

Are there toll roads in your county or state?

Toll roads were once common in this country. Why have tolls been generally abandoned?

Who has charge of bridge construction in your county?

From what sources does the money come for road repair in your county?

What is the cost of hauling on the roads of your county? How does this cost compare with the cost in neighboring counties and states?

Relation of land values in your county to the character of the roads.


Good roads pay, in dollars and cents, provided they are made of suitable materials and with due regard to the kind and amount of traffic they are to carry. They permit of larger loads, and more loads in a given time; they save wear and tear on horses, harness, wagons, and automobiles; in the case of automobiles they save gasoline; they save the time of the farmer; they make possible a more varied agriculture by making marketing easier; they add to the value of the land.


But good roads pay in many other ways than in dollars and cents. In Spotsylvania County, as in other counties investigated at the same time, the improvement of the roads was followed by a decided improvement in school attendance. In more than one case it led to the improvement of the quality of the schools by the consolidation of a number of poor, one-room schoolhouses into a single larger school with better equipment and better teachers (see Chapter XIX). The relation between good roads and good schools is clearly suggested in one of the illustrations in this chapter. So, also, good roads increase the ease with which the people of the community may associate with one another, attend church or community meetings at the schoolhouse, and enjoy the social life and entertainment of the neighboring city or village. When the road is improved, the farmers along the way are more likely to keep the weeds cut, to repair broken fences or build new ones, and otherwise to beautify the adjoining premises, which adds both to the money value of property and to the enjoyment of life.


Road making is necessarily a cooperative enterprise. In the first place, a public road serves the common interest of the entire community. The community may, through its government, exercise the RIGHT OF EMINENT DOMAIN, taking land from adjacent farms for the purpose of laying out a new road, provided, of course, that the farmers are paid for it. In the second place, the making of a road is far too costly and difficult for an individual farmer to undertake for the benefit he himself would derive from it. It requires a great deal of labor and a high degree of technical skill.


It has been quite common for farmers themselves to work on the roads of their locality—"working out" their road taxes. But roads so made are seldom very good, unless the work is supervised by someone trained in the business. Whether a farmer works on the roads himself or merely pays for having it done, it is to his advantage to know something about road making. The Department of Agriculture and the state agricultural colleges now give extension courses in road making for the benefit of the farmers. It is reported that in one county of Oklahoma the pupils of forty different school districts have built more than forty miles of good roads, of course working under supervision.


Good country roads are of the greatest importance, not only to the farmers and rural communities, but also to the people of cities. The road improvement in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, was of as much benefit to the people and the business of Fredericksburg as to the farmers. An excellent illustration of the recognition of the common interest of city and country in the public roads, and of effective cooperation in improving them, was given in Chapter III, page 32, in the case of Christian County, Kentucky. The wide use of the automobile has done a great deal to awaken the people of cities to their interest in country roads, and associations and journals devoted to the interests of automobilists have been active in advocating the improvement of the public highways.


In Spotsylvania County we saw, also, that the improvement of roads in two districts was a direct advantage to the farmers of the other two districts. Carrying this idea further, we shall see that the roads of one county may be of the greatest importance to other counties in the state; and those of one state of importance to other states. The crossties produced from the timber of Spotsylvania County may be wanted for railroad building in a distant state. The cotton from the plantations of Tennessee or Texas is needed at the mills in New England. The wheat of the great farms of the northwest supplies the whole nation. Most of the freight carried on the railroads and steamships has at some time and in some form been hauled in wagons and trucks over country roads. It is clear, then, that the character of the highways in any locality is a matter of national interest, and even of world-wide interest.


When our nation was created, the question of highways at once became very important. The states needed to be bound together, and the public lands must be settled. The Constitution gave Congress the power "to establish post offices and post roads," and "to regulate commerce ... among the several states"; but it was not clear how far these powers could be exercised for "internal improvements." Roads and canals were proposed in great numbers. In 1806 Congress authorized the building of the Cumberland Road, which began at Cumberland, Md., and was finally completed as far west as Illinois. Road building was, however, left chiefly to the states and to private enterprise. The Cumberland Road finally passed under the control of the states through which it ran, and by them was given into the management of the counties. Many "turnpikes" were built by private companies, which charged tolls for their use.


The building of many canals and, later, the coming of railroads caused interest in public highways to decline, and their building was left almost wholly to local initiative, where it remained until very recently. The result is that the United States has had the poorest roads in the civilized world. Under local management the cost of public roads fell chiefly upon the farmers, cities escaping taxation for this purpose, except for their own streets. A road running across a state might be well kept in some localities while allowed to run down in others. A community was reluctant to spend money on a highway only to have the improvements destroyed by through traffic from neighboring communities who had no responsibility for maintaining the road. Local communities could not afford to employ expert officials to plan and supervise road construction.


Under these conditions the road situation became so bad that public sentiment was gradually aroused on the subject, and it was seen that a road was of more than merely local importance. State control was agitated. New Jersey was the first state to pass a law placing the highways within the state under state regulation. This was in 1891. Other states followed New Jersey's example, until by 1914 forty-two states had state highway departments. These differ greatly from one another in organization, powers, and efficiency. Unfortunately, "political influence" has entered into road building and management in many states in such a way as to interfere with efficiency;—that is, those in charge of roads have often been chosen for political reasons rather than for their fitness for the work, and large sums of money have been spent unwisely, if not dishonestly in some cases.


In a number of states, STATE HIGHWAYS have been built. These are wholly state enterprises, paid for and managed by the state. California has two trunk lines running the entire length of the state, with branch lines connecting them with the county seats. To January 1, 1914, Massachusetts had completed more than 1000 miles of state highways. New York has an extensive system, and Maryland is another example. But the plan most commonly in use is state aid and supervision in the construction of roads by counties. This was the New Jersey plan of 1891. By it, plans for road improvement with state aid in any county must be approved by the state highway department, and construction is supervised by state engineers. The cost is divided between the state and the local community.

In New Jersey the property owners along the highway, who of course are most directly benefited, were to pay one-tenth of the cost, the state one-third, and the county the remainder. In Wisconsin, the board of county commissioners in each county is required to plan a "county system" of highways to be a part of the state system. The cost of each county system is divided equally among township, county, and state. The work is directed by a county highway commissioner, but in accordance with plans and specifications of the state highway commission. In Ohio, a system of "intercounty highways" is being built, connecting all the county seats of the state. Counties, towns, and property owners along the highway must provide an amount equal to that provided by the state, and the work is under the direction of the state highway department.

In Virginia the cost of highway construction is divided equally between state and local communities; but the counties often accept from the state the labor of prison convicts instead of money. Convict labor on the roads is quite common in southern states.

The money for state aid in highway building is commonly raised by the sale of bonds by the state. For the maintenance of the roads after they are built, the proceeds from automobile licenses are applied.

Our roads, even in remote rural districts, are of national importance for the reasons stated on page 259. Moreover, they are becoming more and more used for the transportation of freight and passengers over long distances, for which the introduction of the automobile and the motor truck is responsible. Therefore, national cooperation is necessary for adequate road improvement.


The work of the national government on behalf of good roads has heretofore been largely educational and advisory. In 1893 the Office of Road Inquiry (now the Office of Public Roads) was created in the United States Department of Agriculture to investigate methods of road making and management. The results of its investigations have been published for the benefit of the country. Advice was given when asked for. Instruction was given through extension courses (p. 257). Here and there model or experimental roads were constructed to test new methods or to serve as object lessons to the localities where they were built. Good road building has also been greatly stimulated by the extension of the rural free mail delivery, routes not being established unless the roads are in reasonably good condition. The national government has also given to many states public lands within their borders, the proceeds from which were to be used for road construction; and a part of the proceeds from the sale of timber in the national forests is devoted to road building in the locality.


In 1916, however, Congress passed the law known as the Federal Aid Road Act. This law places the national government in the same relation to the states, in the matter of road building, that the state governments have borne to the counties in granting state aid.

The Federal Aid Road Act appropriated 75 million dollars to aid states in improving their "rural post roads," and 10 million dollars for the construction and maintenance of roads in the national forests. Of the 75 million dollars for state aid in building post roads, 5 million dollars were to be available the first year, 10 million the second, 15 million the third, and so on for five years, when the total amount will have been used. The money is given to the states only on their request, and on condition that each state shall provide an amount equal to that received from the national treasury. The money is apportioned among the states on the basis of area, population, and the extent of post roads in the state.


The administration of the law is in the hands of the Office of Public Roads. The entire country is divided into ten districts, over each of which is a district engineer. When a state desires aid from the national government, its highway department must draw up plans for the improvements proposed and submit them to the district engineer, who in turn submits them with recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture, whose approval they must have. Having obtained this approval, the work is carried on by the state as in the case of other roads entirely under state control.


It is too soon yet to tell what the results of this new cooperative enterprise of the national government will be. But the first important effect has been to cause the organization of state highway departments in the few states that did not already have them, and the reorganization of such departments in the states where they were weak; for the Federal Aid Road Act provides that aid may be given to the states only on condition that they have effective highway departments. The result is that every state in the Union now has an active highway department, and road improvement is going on at a rate never before known.

Investigate and report on:

The amount of time saved in a year by a farmer in your locality because of good roads; or lost because of unimproved roads.

The wear and tear on vehicles and equipment because of unimproved roads.

Effect of improved or unimproved roads in your county on school and church attendance, social life, etc.

Instances of the exercise of the right of eminent domain in your county for road improvement.

Materials used in road making in your county. Relative merits of different materials as shown by experience in your county.

Methods of road construction in your county.

Extension courses in road making by your state agricultural college.

The amount of traffic on the roads of your community by non- residents.

The sentiment of farmers of your locality with regard to road improvement.

Organization of the state highway commission of your state.

The state highway system of your state.

History and use of canals in your state (if any).

Influence of rural mail delivery upon road improvement in your county.

The extent to which federal aid for road improvement has been taken advantage of by your state.


Those who live in the most remote rural communities have a vital interest in the nation's transportation system, including railways and steamship lines. As we have seen (p. 203), there was the closest relation between the building of railroads and the opening of the public lands. The market of the farmer and the source of his supplies are not merely the neighboring trading center, but in far distant parts of the country and of the world. Without railroads, the farmer, the manufacturer, and the city merchant would alike be helpless.


While our government has at times given direct aid to encourage the building of railroads, as by the gift of public lands, they have been developed chiefly by private enterprise. They are owned by private corporations which do business under charters granted by the state governments (rarely by the national government) and regulated by law. Control over them has been exercised chiefly by the state governments, except in matters affecting interstate commerce, which falls under the control of Congress. As the parts of our country have become more closely bound together and interdependent, largely by the influence of the railroads themselves, an increasingly large part of commerce has become "interstate" in character, and railway transportation has become more and more a national concern. The result is an increasing control by the national government


In 1887, Congress created an Interstate Commerce Commission with power to inquire into the management of the business of "common carriers," such as railroads, steamship lines, and express companies. It was later given power to fix rates which such carriers could charge. Other laws were passed, such as the Sherman Act, or "Anti-Trust Law," of 1890, which made unlawful any "contract, combination ... or conspiracy in restraint of trade." These and other laws checked abuses that characterized railroad management at that time, but, on the other hand, they are said in some respects to have hampered the economic and efficient development of the country's transportation system. The Sherman Law, for example, absolutely forbade the consolidation of competing railroad lines under one management, although such consolidation often makes for efficiency and economy.


When the United States entered the recent war, the weakness of our transportation system quickly became apparent, and the need for the most effective transportation service led the government to take unusual steps to secure it. The President issued a proclamation by which, in the exercise of his WAR POWERS, he "took possession and assumed control of each and every system of transportation in the United States and the appurtenances thereof." This meant assuming control over 397,000 miles of railways owned by 2905 corporations and employing more than 1,700,000 persons. The management of this great transportation system was intrusted to a Railroad Administration with a Director General of Railroads at its head. The ownership of these railroads, however, remained with the private companies, which were to receive compensation for the use of their property, and were to receive back the railroads after the war was over.


The whole purpose of the government in its management of the railroads was to win the war, the convenience of the public being a minor consideration. The people cheerfully put up with inconveniences of travel and with rates that they had not experienced while the roads were under private management. On the other hand, there were certain decided advantages in the management of all railroads as one great system. It meant the consolidation of competing lines that the law itself prevented the railway companies from effecting, it meant shortening routes in many cases, the use of common freight terminals by different lines, the increase of track facilities and storage areas at seaport terminals, the selling of passenger tickets good over any one of several roads running between two points.

There are those who believe that the railroads should be managed, or even owned, by the government in time of peace as well as during war. There are others who believe as strongly in private ownership and direction. Many of the latter believe, however, that a more perfect control should be exercised over the privately owned roads by the government under laws that protect the interests of the public and that at the same time permit, or even require, greater cooperation among the roads than has heretofore existed. Since the war, bills have been introduced in Congress looking to these ends, and doubtless the experience of the war will result in an appreciable improvement in our country's railway transportation system.


In the early days of our nation, rivers were used for transportation to a large extent, and canals were proposed in great numbers, some of them being built and carrying a large amount of traffic. The coming of the railroads caused water transportation to decline, to the nation's great loss. The war stimulated the use of our waterways to a considerable extent, and any scheme for transportation control in the future should provide for their fullest development as a means of marketing the products of our farms, forests, mines, and factories.

There was also a time, in the early part of our history, when our seaports swarmed with American ships that sailed every sea. Our shipping afterward declined because other nations built and manned ships more cheaply than we could do. We allowed these other nations to carry our commerce. We deplored the fact that our merchant marine had disappeared and discussed ways and means to restore it. But all to no purpose, until the great war came; then we HAD to have ships.


When we entered the war we had almost no ships. Congress created the United States Shipping Board and its Emergency Fleet Corporation. As a result, and within a year's time, the United States took rank as the leading shipbuilding nation in the world. It has more shipyards, more shipways, more ship workers, more ships under construction, and is building more ships every month during the war than any other country. Prior to the war the United States stood a poor third among the shipbuilding nations. Since August, 1917, more seagoing tonnage has been launched from American shipyards than was ever launched before in a similar period anywhere. [Footnote: "Shipping Facts," issued by the U.S. Shipping Board, September, 1918.]

Moreover, under the stress of necessity methods of shipbuilding and operation were developed that ought to make it possible for the United States to compete successfully in the future with other nations, even though our workmen and sailors are paid more than those of other nations.

The chairman of the shipping board said, "The American community must think of ships as a local improvement." This means that the business and welfare of every American community, whether a seaport or a remote farming community, are dependent upon ships. By our merchant marine the American farmer and the American businessman are brought into touch with the remotest parts of the earth.

Investigate and report on:

The service of the railroads to the farmers of your county. To the merchants of your town.

The story of the building of the first transcontinental railway.

State control of railroads in your state.

Experiences of your community with respect to railroad rate discrimination.

The work of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The work of the United States Railway Administration during the war.

Advantages and disadvantages of government control of railroads during the war.

The war powers of the President.

Arguments for and against government ownership of railroads.

Electric interurban railways in your county and state. What they mean to the farmer and to the city resident.

The work of the United States Coast Survey.

The history of the American merchant marine.

The development of the American merchant marine during the recent war.

The building of "fabricated ships."

The life of a sailor to-day, as compared with that of 100 years ago.

The dependence of the American farmer upon the merchant marine.


County reports relating to road construction and improvement.

Reports of State Highway Commission.

State management of public roads, YEAR BOOK, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1914, pp. 211-226.

Publications of Office of Public Roads, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Write also to Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, for price list of documents relating to the subject of roads.

Farmers' Bulletins relating to marketing and transportation facilities, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Series A: Lesson 26, Concentration of control in the railroad industry.

Series B: Lesson 27, Good roads.

Series C: Lesson 25, A seaport as a center of concentration of population and wealth.

Lesson 27, Early transportation in the Far West.

Lesson 28, The first railway across the continent.

Consult the public library for magazine literature on the subject of roads, railroads, river transportation, etc. For example, in the REVIEW OF REVIEWS, February, 1918, there are the following articles:

"Uncle Sam Takes the Railroads."

"The World's Greatest Port" (New York).

"New York Canals a Transportation Resource."

"River Navigation—a War Measure."




Roads and other means of transportation are important not only as a means of transporting products, but also as a means of communication among the members of the community. Team work is impossible without prompt and effective means of communication.

Tell what you know about the value of signals in getting team work in a football or baseball team.

Discuss the importance of means of communication in conducting military operations. What means were used for this purpose in our Army in France?

How were military movements reported and directed in the Revolutionary War?

Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans was won a month after the War of 1812 was officially ended. How did this happen?

What were some of the methods used by the American Indians to convey information between distant points?


One of the most interesting chapters in history is that relating to the development of means of communication. Language itself is the most important of these means. It is not altogether clear what the first steps were in the development of spoken language; but we know that among uncivilized peoples conversation is aided, and often largely carried on, by signs made with the hands. Written language certainly developed from the use of pictures, which were gradually curtailed into HIEROGLYPHICS, such as were used by the ancient Egyptians, and finally developed into the ALPHABET, each letter of which was originally a picture.

A story is told of a group of American Indians who some years ago visited an eastern city. They could not make themselves understood, nor could they understand others, and became very lonely. They were taken to visit a deaf-and-dumb institution, where they were quite delighted to find that they could converse freely by the use of a natural sign language.

Uncivilized peoples are in the habit of conveying ideas in the most astonishing ways. For example, among a certain African tribe the gift of a tooth brush carries a message of affection. These Africans take great pride in their white teeth, and the tooth brush carries the message, "As I think of my teeth morning, noon, and night, so I think often of you."

To illustrate the development of the alphabet from pictures, our letter M represents the ears of an owl, which in Egypt was called MU, and the picture of which, later reduced to the ears, came to represent the sound of M..


The fascinating story of the development of language cannot be told here. It is referred to because we are likely to forget what an important factor it is in making community life possible. Inability to use a common language prevents intercourse and team work. Large numbers of men drafted in the American Army were unable to understand the English language. Between 30,000 and 40,000 illiterates were taken in the first draft and it is said that there were nearly 700,000 men of draft age in the United States who could neither read nor write. They could not sign their names, nor read orders or instructions. They had to be separated and taught, thus greatly delaying the complete organization of our available fighting forces. Inability to use a common language is equally an obstacle in industrial life, for non-English speaking workmen are unable to understand instructions, or to read signs and warnings. Many accidents are due to this cause. It is said that approximately 5 1/2 million of our population above ten years of age cannot read or write in any language, and that 5 million of our foreign population cannot use English. An active campaign is now being conducted to teach English to foreigners and to eradicate illiteracy. A bill has recently been introduced in Congress to provide Federal aid for this purpose.

If the productive labor value of an illiterate is less by only 50 cents a day than that of an educated man or woman, the country is losing $825,000,000 a year through illiteracy ... The Federal Government and the States spend millions of dollars in trying to give information to the people in rural districts about farming and home making. Yet 3,700,000, or 10 per cent, of our country folk can not read or write a word. They can not read a bulletin on agriculture, a farm paper, a food-pledge card, a liberty-loan appeal, a newspaper, the Constitution of the United States, or their Bibles, nor can they keep personal or business accounts. An uninformed democracy is not a democracy. A people who cannot have means of access to the mediums of public opinion and to the messages of the President and the acts of Congress can hardly be expected to understand the full meaning of this war, to which they all must contribute in life or property or labor.—SECRETARY LANE, Annual Report, 1918, p. 30. From letter to the President.

Ask at home: What is "illiteracy"? What is the difference between an "illiterate" and a non-English speaking person?

Debate (or discuss):

RESOLVED, That ALL persons of sound mind in the United States should be required by law to attend school until they are able to speak, read, and write English fluently.

RESOLVED, That the elimination of illiteracy and the teaching of English to foreigners should be left wholly to the states without interference or aid from the national government.

Why are foreigners required to read sections from the Constitution of the United States before they receive their "naturalization" papers?

What does "knowing how to read" mean?


RESOLVED, That no native-born American should be permitted to vote who cannot read intelligently.

What is being done in your community and in your state to eradicate illiteracy and to teach English to foreigners?


Next to language itself, the most important invention for the communication of ideas is the art of printing. It made possible the book, the magazine, the newspaper. The writer of this book is enabled to communicate with boys and girls whom he will never see by means of the printed page and the pictures which the book contains. By the same means the ideas of people who lived long ago have been handed down to us, and the ideas of to-day will be passed on to later generations. Most wonderful is the modern newspaper, which daily carries into almost every home of the land the important happenings in the world during the preceding twenty- four hours. In cities several editions are printed during the day. The newspaper enables the merchant to communicate, through advertisements, with possible buyers, and the farmer and business man to keep posted regarding crop conditions and market prices. Most newspapers have special departments for different classes of readers—a woman's page, a children's column, a page devoted to sports, another to market conditions. Most of them also have a department in which individuals may ask questions or express their own opinions regarding questions of the day. The "local newspaper," with a circulation that seldom extends far beyond the county in which it is published, is of the greatest value in stimulating a community spirit.


The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that:

Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble...

The right of free speech and of a free press is a very sacred one, and its maintenance is one of the chief safeguards of democracy. It is the means by which PUBLIC OPINION is formed and made known; and public opinion is one of the chief means of control in a democracy. It controls the conduct of individuals, and it controls the actions of government. The representatives and leaders of the people in the government seek constantly to know what public opinion is, and the public press is one of the chief channels through which they may find out. On the other hand, leaders and parties seek to FORM public opinion, to lead the people to think in certain ways and to support certain ideas. The press affords an effective means for doing this.


It is easy to see that both good leaders and bad leaders may thus create public opinion, that both good and bad ideas may be spread through the press. During the war we heard much about German PROPAGANDA. This means that ideas were systematically spread to create a public opinion favorable to the German cause. It was done largely by rumors, springing from no one knows where, and spreading by word of mouth. But it was also accomplished through the newspapers, by news items and stories that appeared to be true and that were published innocently enough in most cases, but that afterward were found to be false.


It is not to be supposed that all propaganda is harmful or dangerous. There is propaganda in good causes, or on both sides of a disputed question. By this means public opinion is educated. When the peace conference at Paris proposed a plan for a League of Nations, it was at once taken up for discussion through the newspapers and magazines. People who believed in the idea organized a campaign of PUBLICITY to support the plan and to create a public opinion for it, while those opposed to it were equally active in their attempt to create a public opinion against it. In this way the people became informed regarding the question, provided they read both sides of the discussion and not one only. Leaders in the community may conduct propaganda through the newspapers in behalf of better schools, better roads, woman suffrage, prohibition, or any other cause.

The good citizen cannot well get along without the newspaper and magazine. But he needs to keep in mind the fact that news items may be in error, and that the opinions expressed by editors and other writers usually represent the opinions of but a single group of people, which may be large or small, right or wrong. In most cases these writers are sincere, but there is always the chance for error. The intelligent citizen will not base his own opinions and actions solely on what he reads in ONE paper or magazine or book, but will seek to understand ALL sides of a question. He is helped to do this by the great variety of publications available representing every shade of belief, and by the freedom of speech and of the press under our system of government.


Freedom of speech and of the press does not mean that a citizen may always say anything he pleases in public. At no time has one the right to attack the character of another by false or malicious statements. This constitutes slander, or libel, and may be punished by the courts. In time of war freedom of speech and of the press may be restricted to an extent that would not be tolerated in time of peace, because if absolute freedom were permitted information might be made public that would be helpful to the enemy, and propaganda started that would be dangerous to the public safety. But even in war time, the people of a democracy chafe under restrictions upon free speech and a free press, and it is often a delicate question to determine how far such restriction is justifiable or wise.

Make a report on the invention of the printing press.

Is there more than one "local paper" in your town or county? Do these local papers take the same position in regard to public questions? Do you read more than one?

What is the most influential newspaper in your state (ask at home)? Why is it so influential?

What is the difference between a news story and an editorial?

Ask at home what newspaper editor it was who said, "Go West, young man." Also find out what you can about his influence as an editor.

Examine with care the newspapers you take at home and make a list of their different "departments" or "sections."

What do you first look for in the newspaper when you read it? Ask your father and mother and other members of the family what they first look for.

What is the value of CARTOONS in the newspaper? Do you study them? Do they convey a story to you? Make a collection of cartoons that you think are particularly good, and explain what each means.

Is any propaganda being conducted now in the newspapers you read? If so, explain what it is.

To what extent are newspaper and magazine advertisements useful in your home?


Congress was given power by the Constitution "to establish post- offices and post-roads." There had been a postal service in the colonies before the Revolution. During the Revolution Benjamin Franklin was made Postmaster General, and he made the service as effective as it could well be made under the conditions that existed in those times. The plan that he devised was continued after the Constitution was adopted. In those days mails were sent from New York to Boston and to Philadelphia two or three times a week. They were carried on horseback or by stage and by boat. Sometimes a month was consumed by a trip that can now be made in a half-day. Postage cost from six cents to twenty-five cents for each letter, according to the distance it was carried, and had to be paid in cash in advance. Postage stamps were not introduced until 1847. Often mail was allowed to accumulate until there was enough to pay for the trip. The isolation of a remote rural community can well be imagined where the difficulties of communication were so great, and where the scarcity of money made postage an important item.


In 1918 there were 54,345 post-offices in the United States managed by the Post-Office Department at Washington, besides nearly 600 in the Philippines managed by the war Department, and a few in the Panama Canal Zone. Of the 3030 counties in the United States, 3008 had rural mail routes aggregating more than a million miles in extent, serving more than 6 million families, and costing for operation more than 53 million dollars. This cost, however amounts to only about $1.90 for each person served, or a little more than one cent for each piece of mail handled. The aim is to make the postal service pay for itself, and in 1918 the receipts exceeded the expenditures by more than 60 million dollars.


The Post-Office Department not only provides for the transportation of ordinary mail, but through its post-offices it sells money orders for the transmission of money safely through the mails; it operates the parcel post by which merchandise may be transported, including farm produce of many kinds; it administers the postal savings system. One of the interesting divisions of the Post-Office Department is the Division of Dead Letters, to which is returned all mail that fails to reach its destination. In 1918 there were returned to the Dead-Letter Division 14,451,953 pieces of mail. In these "dead letters" there were drafts, checks, money orders, and loose money, amounting to $4,194,839.68. The failure of this mail to reach its proper destination is due in very large measure to carelessness in addressing and to failure to place on the envelope or package a return address. A great deal of loss and inconvenience could be avoided, and much labor and expense saved for the postal service, if every one would see that every piece of mail sent out is properly addressed and stamped, and has a return address in the upper left-hand corner.


The efficiency of the postal service depends very largely upon the means of transportation, from steamship and railway lines down to the country roads. Nothing else, perhaps, has stimulated the improvement of roads so much as the rural mail service. It is the power granted by the Constitution to Congress to establish POST- roads that enables the Federal government to aid the states in road improvement. The development of fast mail trains and the introduction of motor-truck service have been important steps in the improvement of the postal service in city and country. The latest development is the transportation of mail by airplane. An aerial mail route between Washington, D. C., and New York City was established May 15, 1918, and a round trip daily is now made over this route, regardless of weather conditions. The flying time from Washington to New York, with a stop at Philadelphia, averages two hours and thirty minutes, or one half the time of the fastest trains. The Post-Office Department is planning an extensive airplane mail service from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with various side lines; also to the West Indies, Panama, and South America. The routes are partially worked out, and trial trips have been made in some cases, as between New York and Chicago.


We need only mention the important part played by the telegraph, the submarine cable, and RADIO-COMMUNICATION, in binding together our nation and the world as a whole. Without them the modern newspaper, with its daily news from every corner of the globe, would be impossible, our cooperation in the great World War would have been extremely difficult, and the President probably would not have left the United States to participate in the peace negotiations at Paris. Although the first telegraph line in the United States was owned and operated by the government as a part of the postal service, the telegraph service of the country has since been in the hands of private corporations; except that during the war the Post-Office Department took over the management of the telegraph and the telephone, as the Railroad Administration took over the transportation lines.


As this chapter is being written, word has come that the Secretary of the Navy has talked by WIRELESS TELEPHONE with the President of the United States while the latter was 800 miles out at sea on his return from France. At the close of the war American aviators were talking with one another from airplane to airplane, and receiving orders from the ground, by wireless telephone. These instances suggest new possibilities of communication in the near future. Already the ordinary telephone has practically made over our community life in many particulars. We can hardly estimate its value in business and home life, in the city or on the farm. There are about 8000 rural telephone systems in the United States serving the homes of two million farmers. In 1912, out of seven hundred and eighteen telephone systems in North Carolina, about six hundred and fifty were country telephone systems owned and operated privately by groups of farmers. These included about 20,000 telephones and used approximately 35,000 miles of wire.

SERVICE OF THE RURAL TELEPHONE To call a neighbor and ask for the exchange of labor on certain work, as threshing, haying, etc., is only the work of a moment. To have a definite answer immediately is often worth much. To be able to 'phone the village storekeeper, who runs a country delivery, and ask that supplies be sent out is a great convenience to the housewife. To 'phone the implement dealer and learn whether he has needed repairs in stock and, if so, to have them sent out on the next trolley car, if not to ask him to telegraph the factory to forward them immediately by express, is a saving of time that often amounts to a large saving when the planting or harvesting of crops is delayed because of needed repairs.

... farm homes have been saved from destruction by fire because of prompt help secured by word over the telephone; ... valuable animals have been saved through the early arrival of the veterinarian who was summoned by 'phone. ... Many an itinerant sharper's plans have been frustrated. ... The sharper in disgust turns to other fields where there are no telephones over which to notify his prospective victims of his game.

Business appointments, social appointments, discussions of social and church plans, to say nothing of the mere friendly exchange of greeting over the telephone have probably compensated every owner of a rural telephone many times over for the expense of it, if all business advantages were ignored.

... At some seasons of the year the general summons to the 'phone gives notice that central is ready to report the weather bureau's prognostication for the following day. ...

[Footnote: "Rural Conveniences," by H. E. Van Norman, in the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March, 1912]

The cost of this important aid to community life has been reduced to a small amount in many rural districts by the organization of local cooperative telephone companies.

Ask at home, or have committee interview postmaster:

How is the postmaster in your post-office chosen? Are all postmasters chosen in the same way?

What are first-class, second-class, third-class, and fourth-class post-offices?

How are rural mail-carriers chosen?

What is a "star mail route," and how does it differ from an ordinary rural route? Are there any "star routes" in your county?

What constitute first-class, second-class, third-class, and fourth-class mail? What is the rate of postage on each?

Has rural mail delivery had the effect of causing road improvement in your county? If so, give instances.

From the office of a local newspaper find out about the work of the Associated Press or similar news agency.

Why does the work of a newspaper reporter carry with it great responsibility?

Who was Samuel F. B. Morse? Who is Alexander Graham Bell? Marconi?

What particular advantages has the telephone brought to your community? to your home?

Is there a cooperative telephone company in your community? If so, how is it organized?

If possible, visit a telephone exchange and report on what you see.

Write a theme on "Modern means of communication and the growth of a world community."



Series B: Lesson 10, Telephone and telegraph.

Series C: Lesson 1, The war and aeroplanes. Lesson 9, Inventions.

The development of writing:

Picture Writing of the American Indians, 10th Annual Report of the U. S. Bureau of Ethnology, 1888-1889. This is profusely illustrated and very interesting.

The volume may be in the public library. It may be difficult to obtain, otherwise, unless through a representative in Congress.

Tylor, E. B., ANTHROPOLOGY, chaps. IV-VII (D. Appleton & Co.), and EARLY HISTORY OF MANKIND, chaps. II-V (Henry Holt & Co.).

Given, J. L., THE MAKING OF A NEWSPAPER (Henry Holt & Co.).

Annual Reports of the Postmaster General of the United States.

Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1918, pp. 13-24, 29-31, for a discussion of the necessity of eliminating illiteracy and teaching English to foreigners.

There is much magazine literature on this subject. AMERICANIZATION, a publication issued regularly by the United States Bureau of Education, is useful in this connection.




Both the efficiency and the democracy of a community depend upon the extent and the kind of education it affords to its people. Autocratic Germany had a most thorough-going system of education, but a system that made autocracy possible. The common people were trained to be efficient workers, and thus to contribute to the national strength; but they were trained TO SUBMIT to authority, and not to exercise control over it. The kind of education that develops leaders was given only to the few. The leaders of the German people were imposed upon them from above; in the United States we are supposed to CHOOSE our leaders. In a nation whose aim is to afford to every citizen an equal opportunity to make the most of himself and whose people are self-governing, education must be widespread, it must develop the power of self-direction, it must train leaders, and it must enable the people to choose their leaders intelligently. When Governor Berkeley of Virginia reported to the king of England in 1671, "I thank God there are no free schools nor printing; and I hope we shall not have these hundred years," he spoke for the autocratic form of government which a hundred years later led the colonies to revolt, and which in 1917 forced the United Stares into a world war.


In a democracy government must be carried on largely BY MEANS OF education. There must be trained leadership. And since the aim of democratic government is to secure team work in public affairs, the people must have the tools of team work, such as a common language and other knowledge that makes living and working together possible; they must have training that will enable them to contribute effectively to the community's work, and an intelligent understanding of the community's aims and ideals. And since government is controlled largely by public opinion, the people must have an intelligent understanding of the community's problems. We had abundant illustration during the recent war of the extent to which our government not only depended upon highly educated men and women for leadership, but also used educational methods to secure its ends.


These facts explain why public education is the largest single item of expense in our government (except in time of war). In 1914 nearly 600 million dollars were spent for public elementary and high schools. Some 200 million dollars more were spent for private elementary and high schools, and for universities, colleges, and normal schools, some of which are public and some private.


If democracy is to be safe and efficient, every member must have a reasonable education. Every state now has a compulsory education law, though these laws vary greatly. In some states every child must attend school for seven years (7 to 14, or 8 to 15), and in one state (Maryland) for eight years. In other states the period is less, sometimes as little as four years. In most of the states there is an additional period, usually of two years (14 to 16), during which children must remain in school unless they go to work. As a rule there are laws that forbid the employment of children in industry before the age of 14. In some states they may go to work as soon as they reach the age limit regardless of what their educational qualifications are; in others they must have completed the eight grades of the elementary school; in others

[Editor's Note: Missing text.]

laws are not well enforced in some states. The facing table shows the number of children of school age in and out of school in the several states in 1915-1916. For the country as a whole, 17.4 per cent of the children of school age were not in school.

"School terms are so short in many states and compulsory attendance is so badly enforced that THE SCHOOL LIFE OF THE AVERAGE PERSON GROWING UP IN RURAL SECTIONS IS ONLY 4.5 SCHOOL YEARS OF 140 DAYS EACH. In urban communities conditions are better, but far from satisfactory." [Footnote: Bulletin, 1919, No. 4, U. S. Bureau of Education, "A Manual of Educational Legislation," p. 6.]

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The facing table shows the number of days the public schools were open, the average number of days of attendance by each pupil enrolled, and the rank of the state in each case, for each state in the school year 1915-1916.

Why would it not be more democratic to permit children to attend school or not as they or their parents wish?

Discuss the statement that "education makes people free." Compare this statement with a somewhat similar statement made on page 136, Chapter XI.

What is the compulsory school age in your state?

Is wide variation in the compulsory school age among the different states a good thing? Why?

Is the compulsory school law rigidly enforced in your state? How is it enforced?

How much of each year must a child spend in school during the compulsory period in your state?

Investigate the reasons given by pupils in your community for leaving school before completing the course, and report.

What rank does your state hold with respect to length of term? to average daily attendance of pupils? (See table.)

What rank does your state hold with respect to number of children of school age in and out of school? (See table.)

What is the length of your own school year? Do you think it should be lengthened? Why?

Get from your teacher or principal the average daily attendance for each pupil enrolled in your school; in your county. Do you think this record could be improved?

Is there any good reason why the school year should be shorter in rural communities than in cities?

It is advocated by many that schools should be open the year round. What advantages can you see in the plan? Debate the question.


The pioneer family was dependent at first upon its own efforts for the education of its children. When other families came, a schoolhouse was built, a teacher employed and the work of teaching the elements of knowledge was handed over to the school. This was the origin of the "district school," which is characteristic of pioneer conditions. As the population grew and local government was organized, the unit of local government tended to become the unit for school administration. In New England this was the "town" or township; in the South it was the county; in the West it was sometimes the township and sometimes the county, or else a combination of the two. In a large number of the western states, however, and in a few of the eastern states, the district school persists in many rural communities, a relic of pioneer conditions. It is often felt that it is more democratic for each district to administer its own school, subject only to the laws of the state.

Under the district system there is an annual school meeting of the voters of the district, who vote the school taxes, determine the length of the school year, and elect a board of education or school trustees. The trustees look after the school property, choose the teacher and fix his salary, and in a general way manage the school business. Each school is independent of all other schools.


Under the township system all of the schools of the township are administered by a township board or committee (or by a single trustee in Indiana) elected by the people of the township. The chief advantages over the district system are that all the schools of the township are administered by a single plan, the taxes are apportioned to the schools according to needs, and pupils may be transferred from one school to another at convenience. In New England two or three townships are sometimes united into a "union district" supervised by a single superintendent.


Under the county system all the schools of the county are under the management of a county board and, usually, a county superintendent. In 29 of the 39 states that have county superintendents they are elected by the people, in 8 states they are appointed by the county board, in Delaware they are appointed by the governor, and in New Jersey by the state commissioner of education. Election of the county superintendent is losing favor on the ground that there is less assurance of securing a highly trained man. The chart on page 293 shows a plan of organization for county schools proposed to the legislature of South Dakota by the United States Bureau of Education.


Among the advantages of the county system are greater economy, more nearly equal educational opportunity for all children of the county, and better supervision because of the larger funds available for this purpose. It is under the county system of organization that the movement for SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION is progressing most rapidly. By this is meant the union of a number of small, poorly equipped schools into a larger, well-graded, and well equipped school. Its advantages may best be suggested by an example.

In Randolph County, Indiana, there were, in 1908, 128 one-room schools in the open country, with an attendance of from 12 to 60 pupils doing grade work only, 6 two-room schools in hamlets, with grade work only; 2 three room schools in villages, with grade work and two years of high school work with a six months' term; 3 four- room village schools, with grade work and three years of high school work with a six months' term; 1 six-room school in a town, with grade work and four years of high school work with an eight months' term.

By consolidation, 113 one-room schools and 4 two-room schools were supplanted by 20 consolidated schools with two grade teachers; 6 with four grade teachers, 6 with five grade teachers; 2 with six grade teachers; and 1 with eight grade teachers—a total of 86 grade teachers doing the work formerly done by 148 teachers, and doing it better. Fifteen of the schools have a four-year high school course with an eight months' term. For the five-year period preceding consolidation not more than half of the eighth-grade pupils attended high school; after consolidation, an average of 96 per cent of the eighth-grade pupils went to high school.

The pupils are transported to and from school in hacks or motor- busses heated in winter. The school buildings are equipped with running water, modern heating and sanitation, telephone, restrooms for pupils and teachers, gymnasiums and outdoor physical apparatus, physical training and athletic competition being carried on under supervision. The courses of study have been enriched, increased attention is given to vocational work, and music and art receive attention impossible in the district schools. Eleven of the schools have orchestras, and concerts are held which the community as well as the schools attend. There are auditoriums used for community lectures and concerts, Sunday- school conventions, community sings, parent-teachers' meetings, and exhibits of various kinds.

Report on the following:

School life in colonial New England; in colonial Virginia.

The first schools in your own community—length of school term, attendance, whether private or public, qualifications of teachers, methods of teaching.

What the family does for the education of the children that the school cannot do. What the school does that the family cannot do.

Organization of the schools in your district, township, county, or city.

Advantages of graded schools over ungraded schools.

Consolidation of schools in your county or state.

Debate the question: The district school is more democratic than the county organization.

Method of selection of the superintendent of your county and town. Length of term of office.

Organization, powers, mode of election, etc., of your local board of education.

Authority, or lack of authority, of your county superintendent over the schools of cities and large towns in the county.

Qualifications prescribed for teachers in your county or town. How selected.

How are school books selected? Are they free to pupils? Advantages and disadvantages of free textbooks.

Evidence that public education is or is not a matter of common interest to the people of your community.

Examples of team work, or lack of it, in your community in the interest of the schools.

Are the methods by which school authorities are chosen in your community calculated to secure the best leadership?

How the duties relating to the schools are divided between your school board and the superintendent. Does your board perform any duties that should be performed by the superintendent, or VICE VERSA? Explain.

Parent-teacher organizations in your community and their service.


Public education was long restricted to the elementary school. High schools were at first private academies designed to prepare for college the few who wished to continue their education. While they still continue to give preparation for college, their development in recent years has been largely for the benefit of the greater number of boys and girls who do not expect to go to college. The high school naturally made its first appearance in cities. It requires more elaborate equipment and more highly trained teachers, and its cost is at least twice that of elementary schools. These facts, together with the small and scattered population of rural communities, have been obstacles to the development of rural high schools. The consolidated school has in large measure removed these obstacles, and a high school education is rapidly becoming as available for rural boys and girls as for those who live in cities.

Report on:

The history of high school development in your community.

The percentage of pupils in your community who go to high school after completing the elementary school.

"What the high school does for my community."

"My reasons for going (or not going) to high school."

The cost per pupil in the high school in your community as compared with that in the elementary school.

Education must not only be within the reach of every citizen of a democracy, but it must be of a kind that will fit him to play well his part as a member of the community.


The public schools now give more attention than formerly to the physical education and welfare of the pupils (see Chapter XX, pp. 314, 315). The wide prevalence of physical defects disclosed in the effort to raise an army during the recent war will doubtless cause still greater emphasis to be placed on this aspect of education. Physical fitness is the foundation of good citizenship. Provision for physical education and welfare has found its way into rural schools more slowly than in city schools, as the following table shows. But our nation can be neither efficient nor fully democratic until the physical well-being of all its citizens is provided for, and the responsibility rests largely with the public school.


[Footnote: Adapted from Dr. Thomas D. Wood, in New York TIMES Magazine, April 2, 1916.]


It is a part of the business of education to fit every citizen to earn a living, for every efficient citizen must be self-supporting and able to contribute effectively to the productive work of the community. The interdependence of all occupations in modern industry and the necessity for every worker to be a specialist make training essential for every worker who is to attain success for himself and contribute his full share to the community's work. The war emphasized strongly the nation's dependence upon trained workers in every field of industry.


One of the direct results of war needs was the passage by Congress, in 1917, of the Smith-Hughes Act, providing for national aid for vocational instruction for persons over 14 years of age who have already entered upon, or are preparing to enter, some trade. The instruction given under the terms of this act must be of less than college grade. Every state in the Union has met the conditions imposed by this law.

The Smith-Hughes Act created a Federal Board for Vocational Education to consist of the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, the United States Commissioner of Education, and three citizens appointed by the President, one to represent labor interests, one commercial and manufacturing interests, and the third agricultural interests. The law appropriates national funds to be given to the state for the establishment of vocational schools and for the training of teachers for these schools; but each state must appropriate an amount equal to that received from the national government. Each state must also have a board for vocational education, through which the national board has its dealings with the state.


The duty of the regular elementary and high schools is not to cultivate special vocational skills; not to turn out trained farmers, or mechanics, and so on. But the work of these schools should be such that their graduates will be better farmers, or mechanics, or lawyers, or doctors, or engineers, or teachers, than they would be without it. First of all these schools should produce workers who are physically fit for the work they enter. They should educate the hand and the eye along with the brain. They should cultivate habits of working together, give instruction regarding the significance of all work in community and national life, and by every means possible prepare the pupil to make a wise choice of vocation. Moreover, the schools should provide a breadth of education that will "transmute days of dreary work into happier lives."


Mr. Herbert Quick in his story of "The Brown Mouse," which is a plea for better rural schools, says:

Let us cease thinking so much of agricultural education, and devote ourselves to educational agriculture. So will the nation be made strong.

The life we live, even on the farm, is full of science and history, civics and economics, arithmetic and geography, poetry and art. The modern school helps the pupil to find these things in his daily life and, having found them, to apply them to living for his profit and enjoyment. For this reason it works largely through the "home project," boys' and girls' clubs, gardening, and many other activities.

A recent writer has said,

What is the true end of American education? Is it life or a living? ... Education finds itself face to face with a bigger thing than life or the getting of a living. It is face to face with a big enough thing to die for in France, a big enough thing to go to school for in America ... Neither life nor the getting of a living, but LIVING TOGETHER, this must be the single PUBLIC end of a common public education hereafter. [Footnote: D. R. Sharp, "Patrons of Democracy," in ATLANTIC MONTHLY, November, 1919, p. 650.]


The more nearly the conditions of living in the school community correspond to the conditions of living in the community outside of school, the better the training afforded for living together. In many schools the spirit and methods of community life prevail, even to the extent of school government in which the pupils participate.

Of this community pupils and teachers are members with certain common interests. Cooperation is the keynote of the community life. The realization of this cooperation is seen in the classrooms, in study halls, in the assembly room, in the corridors, on the playground. It manifests itself in the method of preparing and conducting recitations; in the care of school property; in protecting the rights of younger children; in maintaining the sanitary conditions of the building and grounds; in the elimination of cases of "discipline" and of irregularity of attendance; in the preparation and conduct of opening exercises, school entertainments, and graduating exercises; in beautifying the school grounds; in the making of repairs and equipment for "our school"; in fact, in every aspect of the school life.

[Footnote: "Civic Education in Elementary Schools," p. 31, United States Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1915, No. 17.]


The schoolhouse is becoming more and more the center of community life. We have noticed how, in Randolph County, Indiana, the consolidated school building affords a meeting place for all sorts of community activities. The school law of California provides that:

There is hereby established a civic center at each and every public schoolhouse within the State of California, where the citizens of the respective public school districts ... may engage in supervised recreational activities, and where they may meet and discuss ... any and all subjects and questions which in their judgment may appertain to the educational, political, economic, artistic, and moral interests of the respective communities in which they may reside; Provided, that such use of said public schoolhouse and grounds for said meetings shall in no wise interfere with such use and occupancy of said public schoolhouse and grounds as is now, or hereafter may be, required for the purpose of said public schools of the State of California. Investigate and report on the following:

Provision in your school and in the schools of your state for health work suggested in the table on page 299.

Other provisions in your school for the physical well-being of pupils.

The work of your school that relates directly to preparation for earning a living.

The extent to which a high school can make a farmer.

The operation of the Smith-Hughes Act in your state and in your county or town.

The meaning of the quotation from "The Brown Mouse" on page 301.

The use of "home projects" by your school.

The meaning of the statement that the end of public education is "neither life nor the getting of a living, but living together."

Differences and similarities between the government of your school and that of the community in which you live. The wisdom of making them more alike.

Different plans of "pupil self-government." (See references.)

Uses to which the schoolhouses of your community are, or might be, put.

Hours per week and weeks per year during which your schoolhouse is used.

Economy (or lack of it) in allowing schoolhouses to stand idle most of the time.

The community center idea. (See references.)

Educational work for adults in your community.

Educational agencies in your community besides schools.


The schools of the local community are a part of the state school system. Education is considered a duty of the state, though it is performed largely by local agencies. The constitutions of all states make provision for it. State control and support of education are necessary if there is to be equality of educational opportunity for all children of the state. Every state has a department of education, and in most states each local community receives a portion of a general state tax for school purposes. The state departments of education differ widely from one another both in organization and in the effectiveness of their work. In most states there is a state board of education, composed sometimes of certain state officials, including the governor and the state superintendent of education, sometimes of citizens appointed for this purpose alone by the governor or (in four states) by the legislature. In only one state is it elected by popular vote. In all states there is also a chief educational officer, usually called state superintendent or commissioner of education or of public instruction. In several states women hold this position. The state superintendent is sometimes elected by popular vote, sometimes appointed by the state board of education or by the governor. Under the state superintendent there are deputy superintendents, heads of departments, and supervisors of the various branches of educational work. The diagram on page 293 shows a plan of organization proposed for one state by the United States Bureau of Education.


The extent of the supervision and control exercised by the state department of education over the schools of the state varies within wide limits. In some cases it is very little. In many states there are state courses of study that are followed more or less closely by local communities. In a number of states the textbooks used by all schools are selected either by the state board of education or by a special state textbook commission. In New York State the examination questions used in all schools are prepared by the state educational authorities. Some states furnish text books free, and in a very few the state even prints all textbooks. It has not been easy to work out a well-balanced plan of state administration of schools that would ensure a thoroughgoing education for the entire state, and that would at the same time leave sufficient freedom to local school authorities to adjust the work to local needs.


Many of the states support higher educational institutions, such as state universities and state agricultural colleges, at which attendance is free for citizens of the state. There are also special state schools for defectives, such as the blind and the deaf.


The national government gave its first support to public education by the Ordinance of 1787 under which the Northwest Territory was organized. It provided that "religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary government to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged." As new states were organized, sections of the public lands were to be reserved for school purposes. Grants of public land were also made for the establishment of agricultural colleges and experiment stations.

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