Community Civics and Rural Life
by Arthur W. Dunn
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We have also noted the national cooperation with the states for agricultural extension work and for vocational education. The United States Bureau of Education is under the direction of the United States Commissioner of Education. It has exerted its chief influence through its investigations of educational methods and its numerous reports and other publications. It serves as a sort of educational "clearing house" for local and state school authorities. One of its chief endeavors has been to increase the educational opportunities in rural communities.

Report on the following:

Provisions of your state constitution with regard to education.

Cost of public schools per year to your community; your county; your state.

How this cost is met in your town or county. Portion paid by the state.

Organization of your state department of education. Compare with the organization of state departments in neighboring states.

Arguments for and against the method of choosing your state board of education and your state superintendent.

Do the rural schools and city schools of your state operate under the same state supervision? Why?

Use of state course of study in your school and community.

Selection of textbooks for your school.

Advantages and disadvantages of uniform textbooks and course of study. Of uniform examinations throughout the state.

Management and support of your state university.

Qualifications for admission to the state university and state agricultural college.

Why you are (or not) going to college.

The value of the state university or agricultural college to your state.

State educational institutions for the blind, the deaf, etc.

Arguments for and against national control of education.

Chief provisions of any bill now before Congress for a national Department of Education.



Series A: Lesson 11, Education as encouraged by industry.

Series C: Lesson 8, Preventing waste of human beings.


Educated men in politics (Grover Cleveland), pp. 255-257.

The educated man and democratic ideals (Charles E. Hughes), pp. 286-288.

In Foerster and Pierson's AMERICAN IDEALS:

The American scholar (R. W. Emerson), pp. 133-155.

Democracy in education (P. P. Claxton), pp. 156-157.

Reports of local and state departments of education.

Publications of the United States Bureau of Education.

Latest annual report of the U. S. Commissioner of Education. These annual reports contain excellent summaries of every phase of education in the United States and in many foreign countries.

Bulletins. Send to the Bureau for List of Available Publications. These bulletins relate to every important aspect of education, school organization and administration, etc. Many of them are of special application to rural education.

Teachers of civics will find the following helpful:

1915, No. 17, Civic education in elementary schools as illustrated in Indianapolis (Government Printing Office, 5 cents).

1915, No. 23, The teaching of community civics (Government Printing Office, 10 cents).

1916, No. 28, The social studies in secondary education (Government Printing Office, 10 cents).

1917, No. 46, The public school system of San Francisco, chapter on civic education.

1917, No. 51, Moral values in secondary education.

1918, No. 15, Educational survey of Elyria, Ohio, chapter on civic education (Government Printing Office, 30 cents).

1919, No. 50, Part 3, Civic education in the public school system of Memphis. Write to the U.S. Bureau of Education for list of references on pupil self-government. Also write to the School Citizens' Committee, 2 Wall St., New York City, for material on the same subject.

Earle, Alice Morse, CHILD LIFE IN COLONIAL DAYS (Macmillan).


Quick, Herbert, THE BROWN MOUSE (Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis).


Jackson, Henry E., A COMMUNITY CENTER—WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO ORGANIZE IT. Bulletin, 1918, No. 11, U. S. Bureau of Education.




There is nothing else that concerns the community or the nation so much as the health of its citizens. Of more than three million men between the ages of 21 and 31 examined for military service in 1918, only about 65 per cent were passed as physically fit to fight for their country. [Footnote: Public Health Reports, U. S. Public Health Service, vol. 34, No. 13, p. 633 (March 28, 1919).]

The remaining 35 per cent were either totally unfit for any kind of service, or were capable only of the less strenuous activities connected with warfare. Most of the defects found could have been remedied, or prevented altogether, if proper care had been taken in earlier years.


The nation loses by this physical unfitness in other ways than in fighting power. Investigations have shown that wage earners lose from their work an average of from six to nine days each year on account of sickness.

[Footnote 2: Public Health Reports, U. S. Public Health Service, vol. 34, No. 16, pp. 777-782 (April 18, 1919).]

The cost to the individual in loss of wages, doctors' bills, and otherwise, is a serious matter, to say nothing of the absolute want to which it reduces many families and the suffering entailed. In addition to this, the country loses the wage earner's production. Sometimes death brings to the family permanent loss of income, and to the nation complete loss of the product of the wage earner's work. The nation spends large sums of money every year in providing for dependent families and individuals.

If each of the 38 million wage earners in the United States in 1910 lost 6 days from work in a year, how many days' work would the nation lose? How many years of work would this amount to?

At $2.50 a day (is this a high wage?) how much would be lost in wages in a year?

Get information regarding the cost of a long case of sickness, such as typhoid fever, in some family of your acquaintance (perhaps your own), including doctor's bills, medicines, time lost from work, etc.

What would such expense mean to a family living on as low wages as those mentioned on page 167?


Moreover, the nation loses a great deal (how much cannot be calculated) from the physical unfitness of many who keep on working, but who are not fully efficient because of bodily defects or ailments. We see the results of this even in school. Pupils who lag behind their mates in their studies are often suffering from physical defects of which their teachers, and even they themselves, may be unaware. It may be that they are ill-nourished, or that they have defective vision, or hearing, or teeth, or that they sleep in poorly ventilated rooms. The community does not get its money's worth from its schools if its children are not in physical condition to profit by them. In a similar manner earning and productive power are reduced.


It has usually been assumed that the people in rural districts are more healthy than those who live in cities; but it has been found that there is as much physical unfitness there as elsewhere. It is true that the records of the war department seem to show fewer men rejected in rural districts as totally unfit for any kind of military service; but evidence of other kinds has been collected that indicates that some kinds of disease, at least, and many physical defects are more prevalent in the country than in the city. In THE LURE OF THE LAND, Dr. Harvey Wiley makes a comparison of the death rate from certain diseases in a few states where the figures are available for both city and country.

[Footnote: Dr. Harvey Wiley, THE LURE OF THE LAND, Chapter VIII, "Health on the Farm," pp. 53-60.]


Studies have been made of the comparative health of city and rural school children, which show results in favor of the former. Of 330,179 children examined in New York City 70 percent were found defective, while of 294,427 examined in 1831 rural districts of Pennsylvania 75 per cent were defective. The preceding chart shows the comparative prevalence of health defects among city and country children.

Investigate the following:

Meaning of "vital statistics." Importance of vital statistics to your community. Where recorded for your county or town. What the vital statistics of your community for the last year show.

Causes of deaths in your community for the last year. The percentage of these deaths that were "preventable." Increase or decrease of death rate in your community during recent years, in your state.

The nature of the prevailing sicknesses in your community during the last year. Per cent of these that were contagious. List of contagious diseases in the order of their prevalence.

Quarantine regulations in your community against contagious diseases. Extent to which they are observed. Who is responsible for their observance? For their enforcement?

Observe condition of sidewalks and other public places with respect to expectoration. Is there a law on the subject in your community'? Is it observed or enforced? Who is responsible? Dangers from expectoration.

Medical inspection in the schools of your county, town, and state. If any, its results. Kinds of defects most commonly found. How is it conducted? Who sends the inspectors? To what extent the homes of the community cooperate with the schools in getting results from medical inspection.


We may well ask why ill health and physical defects seem to be more prevalent in rural communities than in cities. The answer probably is, simply, that in cities they are PREVENTED more effectively. The chart on page 313 shows that while the death rate in New York City was 20.6 per thousand in 1900, it had declined to 14 per thousand in 1914; while that in the rural districts of New York State remained practically the same during these years (15.5 per thousand in 1900, 15.3 in 1914).

This indicates that health conditions in the city were originally much worse than in the country. They were rapidly improved by organization for health protection. There is not the occasion, in rural communities, for the elaborate health-protecting organization that is now found in all large cities, because the people in rural communities are not so completely dependent upon one another nor at the mercy of conditions over which, as individuals, they have no control. And yet even in rural communities physical well-being depends largely upon organized team work.


Cities have used their school organization to combat physical defects and weaknesses of pupils, and that is why they make a better showing than rural communities in such matters as those shown in the table on page 312. Removing such defects from young people means a stronger and more efficient adult population ten or twenty years from now; for these defects are often the causes of more serious illness in later years. The table on page 299, Chapter XIX, shows how much behind cities rural communities have been in the use of their school organization for this purpose. The encouraging thing is, however, that rural communities are beginning to find the means to use their schools in this way. The way has been opened by school consolidation (p. 295), by the grouping of all the small and isolated schools of a county under a central county administration (p. 294), by aid from the state, both in money and in supervision, and by cooperation from the national government.


Cities have extended their health-educational work to the adult population. This takes place in part through the schools also. Instruction given to children is of course taken home by them. Visiting nurses employed by the schools visit the homes. Classes for mothers are conducted at the school in the afternoon or evening. But more than this, city boards of health, often in cooperation with the school authorities, conduct educational campaigns by means of literature distributed to the homes through school children, by means of evening lectures and moving pictures, and through the newspapers.


Means are not wanting for similar work in rural communities. The homes may be reached by the right kind of instruction in the schools. The classes or clubs for women conducted by women county agents may be, and often are, used as means of health instruction. Public meetings at the "community center" at the schoolhouse may be devoted at times to public health problems, with lectures, moving pictures, and discussions. The local newspapers always afford a channel through which to get matters of this kind before the people. Local and state boards of health, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Public Health Service may and do use these and other agencies to reach the people.


No matter how much machinery for cooperation we may have in our community, like that described above, it cannot help much unless every family and every citizen cooperates intelligently.

In a large city, a small group of men, constituting the city council, may inaugurate measures which will accomplish sanitary improvements at thousands of homes; but for the accomplishment of sanitary improvements at 1000 farm homes at least 1000 persons ... must be convinced that the sanitary measures are needed, become informed how to apply them, and be willing to put them into operation.

[Footnote: RURAL SANITATION, by L. L. Lumsden, Public Health Bulletin No. 94, United States Public Health Service, p. 10.]


Pure air is essential to good health. It is not always easy to get in the crowded living and working conditions of cities. There it is necessary to regulate these conditions by law, and factories and tenements are inspected to see that they are properly ventilated and not overcrowded. In rural communities there is less excuse for bad air, and the responsibility for it rests more directly upon the individual, as illustrated on page 112, Chapter X.


It might seem that it is nobody's business but our own how we live in our homes or at our work. But bad air lessens vitality and nurtures disease. This reduces productive power. Moreover, colds, influenza, and tuberculosis (of which more than a million people are constantly sick in the United States), all of which are nourished in bad air, may be spread by contact, or by food handled by those who are sick. People who live in bad air at home mingle with others at church, in moving picture theaters, at school, in the courtroom, and in other public meeting places, which are themselves often poorly ventilated. It is strange that court rooms, where justice is administered, schools where children are prepared for life, and churches where people worship, are so often badly ventilated.

Report on the following:

Is your schoolroom well ventilated? How do you know? What effect does poor ventilation have upon your feelings and your work?

If the law requires school attendance, why should it also require good ventilation of the school?

If the ventilation of your school is not good, what may you do about it? Who is responsible for it?

Observe and report upon the ventilation of the court rooms, moving picture theaters, churches, and other meeting places in your community.


Cities go to great expense to get an abundant pure-water supply. It is of the greatest importance in community sanitation Impure water is one of the chief sources of typhoid fever and other diseases of the intestines. About 400,000 persons have typhoid fever every year in the United States, and 30,000 are killed by it; and it is unnecessary. We have from three to five times as much typhoid as many European countries have, and for no other reason than that we are negligent.


Pure, clean, wholesome food is equally essential. We need not dwell upon the importance of the right kinds of food and well- cooked food. Much illness is caused by "spoiled" foods. Disease germs may be carried by food as well as by water. Tuberculosis may be carried by milk, either from diseased cattle, or from victims of the disease who handle the milk at some point in its progress from the dairy farm to the home. The death rate among babies is appalling, especially in cities, because of the use of milk containing germs of intestinal diseases. Typhoid fever may be contracted from milk, green vegetables, and oysters from beds contaminated with sewage.

The food supply of cities passes through many hands before it reaches the consumer. At almost every point it is protected by regulations and inspection. Most of it, however, comes originally from the farm which is beyond the control of the city authorities. The producers and handlers of food products in rural districts therefore owe it not only to themselves but also to their city neighbors to exercise every possible precaution against the spread of disease. Such precautions consist in cleanliness in handling and storing milk, butter, and meats; in the cleansing of milk receptacles with pure water; in the proper location and construction of wells; in protecting springs from surface drainage; in sanitary disposal of sewage and other wastes from the household; in protection of food against flies.


In cities a great deal of attention is given to sanitation. Sewage is carried off by public sewers. Householders are required to place garbage in sanitary cans, whence it is collected and disposed of in such a way as not to pollute the soil. Ashes and refuse are carried away from homes and shops, and the streets are cleaned daily. In rural communities such matters are left almost entirely to the householder.


Exposed garbage, improperly built outdoor toilets, and stable manure are breeding places of flies; and flies are notorious carriers of disease. Yet, out of more than 3000 homes in one county in Indiana only 31 made provision to prevent stable manure from breeding flies, and the same was true of only 1 out of more than 2000 homes in a county in North Carolina, and only 86 out of nearly 5000 homes in an Alabama county.


Malaria is widespread in the United States and imposes a heavy toll upon the nation's health. It is carried from one victim to another by a certain kind of mosquito, of which it is comparatively easy to get rid by proper drainage of breeding places, by treating the surface of pools with kerosene, by screening, and by seeing to it that rain barrels are covered and that tin cans and other receptacles of water are not left lying around. But flies and mosquitoes do not stop with fences, nor do they recognize city or county boundaries. Hence, individual effort without community cooperation is likely to be useless.


The terrible hookworm disease so prevalent in our southern states is caused by a minute worm that infests soil polluted with sewage. It penetrates the soles of the feet of those who go barefoot and the palms of the hands of those who work in the soils, finds its way through the blood to the intestines, and thence to the soil again. An investigation in 770 counties in 11 states where hookworm disease is prevalent showed that out of 287,606 farm homes only six tenths of one per cent disposed of their sewage in such a way as to prevent soil pollution.

Out of 305 homes in a little community in Mississippi, only 4 properly disposed of sewage. When the first investigations were made, there were 407 cases of hookworm disease out of 1002 residents. Besides, there had been recently 12 cases of tuberculosis, 47 of typhoid fever, 184 of malaria, and 384 of dysentery.

Safe methods of disposing of sewage were introduced, houses were screened, an artesian well was bored for a public water supply, and the community cleaned up generally. After these improvements the various diseases almost entirely disappeared. Similar results were obtained in 99 other communities in the southern states.

[Footnote: Report of the Rockefeller Foundation, 1917, pp. 136- 138.]

Topics for investigation:

The water supply of farms in your locality. Any recent improvements.

The public water supply (if any) of your community. Its sources. Method of purification. Quality of water. How the people know it is pure or impure. Public or private ownership of the supply. Cost to the householder.

Extent to which the families represented in your class depend upon private wells. How many have had their well water examined to test its purity. How to proceed to have water tested. Who tests it? Who pays for the test? (If possible, visit the laboratory where the tests are made.)

Number of cases of typhoid fever in your community, now or during last year. How the information can be obtained. Is the information likely to be accurate? Whose business is it to keep a record? Why should a record be kept? Why should it be made public?

Causes of typhoid in your community. Are they preventable? How? Observance of quarantine against typhoid.

How may wells become polluted? Give cases of which you may know. Study diagram on page 314.

Methods of sewage disposal in your community. Laws on the subject. Can you suggest improvements?

Regulation of milk production and handling in your community: on the farms where it is produced; in the hands of dealers and distributors; in the home. Who make these regulations?

Outline on a map the area from which your community is supplied with milk. Show on a map cities that are supplied by your county with dairy products, garden vegetables, meats, etc.

Clean-up campaigns in your community.

Progress and methods of fly and mosquito extermination in your community.

The work of the Rockefeller Foundation for the extermination of hookworm disease (see references).

Hospitals that serve your community. Where located. By whom supported (private, city or town, county, state).


Health protection, like education, has been considered primarily the duty of the state. But many conditions affecting health have arisen that the state cannot completely control. Chiefly under the power given to it by the Constitution to regulate foreign and interstate commerce (p. 451), Congress has passed many laws that protect health, placing their enforcement in the hands of the several departments of the national government.


The Department of Agriculture conducts much public health work, through its home demonstration agents, its Office of Rural Engineering, which deals with problems of farm water supply and rural sanitation, its Bureau of Entomology which wages war against flies and other disease-carrying insects, and its Bureau of Animal Industry which inspects cattle, meats, and dairy products. The Department of Agriculture also administers the Food and Drugs Act, the purpose of which is to secure purity of food products and to require that they and medicinal drugs shall be labeled in such a way as to show what they contain. Fraudulent and harmful "cures" and "patent medicines" may thus be exposed.


The United States Public Health Service investigates diseases and health conditions and the means of controlling them. It has given considerable attention to rural sanitation. It issues reports and other publications of great value to the citizen, some of them being listed at the end of this chapter. It has representatives in all important foreign ports, inspects all ships that enter American harbors, and holds them in quarantine until they and their passengers are given a clean bill of health. Cholera and other dangerous diseases have thus been prevented from gaining a foothold on American soil.


The War Department has also waged a relentless warfare against disease, not only in the army itself, but also in the Panama Canal Zone, Cuba, Porto Rico, the Philippines, and other regions occupied by the army. The Department of Labor seeks to improve the physical conditions of labor for both men and women, and its Children's Bureau is charged with a study of all matters pertaining to the welfare of children. In the Department of the Interior the Census Bureau collects national vital statistics; the Bureau of Mines has done valuable work for the prevention of accidents in mines and mining industries; and the Bureau of Education seeks to promote physical education, instruction in home economics, and education in the home relating to the care of children.


A very large part of the duty of health protection must, however, remain with the states. Every state has its department of health, headed by a state board of health, or a commissioner of health, or both. These departments differ greatly in their organization and in the extent and effectiveness of their work.


One of the best organized state departments of health is that of New York. Among its most important features are (1) a PUBLIC HEALTH COUNCIL which has power to establish a state-wide SANITARY CODE; (2) the concentration of all administrative power in the hands of a single state COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH, who has a staff of experts to direct special lines of health work; and (3) a well- organized scheme of cooperation between the state department and local health authorities.


The absence or weakness of local organization for health protection has been one of the obstacles to progress in physical well-being in the United States. Driven by an appalling death rate and frequent epidemics, our large cities have developed health departments which in many cases have proved very effective. But in smaller communities, while health departments or health officers usually exist, the organization has for the most part been very ineffective. The people themselves have not been sufficiently aroused to their needs and to methods of meeting them. New York and Massachusetts are among the most progressive states in this matter. Each local community in these states (town, village, or small city) has its board of health and health officer; but these communities are grouped into HEALTH DISTRICTS (8 in Massachusetts, 20 in New York), each district being in charge of a health officer appointed by the state commissioner or board of health. In New York the district health officer, who is there called the SANITARY SUPERVISOR, has the following duties:

To keep informed regarding the work of each local health officer within his sanitary district.

To aid the local health officers in making health surveys of the community under their control.

To aid each local health officer in the performance of his duties, particularly on the appearance of contagious diseases.

To hold conferences of local health officers.

To study the causes of excessive death rates.

To promote efficient registration of births and deaths.

To inspect all labor camps and to enforce in them all public health regulations.

To inspect Indian reservations and to enforce all provisions of the sanitary code in them.

To secure the cooperation of medical organizations for the improvement of the public health.

To promote the information of the public in matters pertaining to the public health.


Another type of local health organization and of cooperation between local and state authorities for health protection and promotion has been developed in North Carolina, where 85 per cent of the population is rural. Here the county has been taken as the unit of local organization. Health conditions had been very bad in this state, hookworm disease, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases being prevalent. The state board of health, assisted by the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission (see above, page 320, and references below), began an investigation and an educational campaign among the people, with the result that many of the counties of the state now have an organization for health cooperation unsurpassed, perhaps, in any other state. Each county has a health department, which is controlled jointly by the state board of health and a county board of health. The county board of health consists of the mayor of the county seat, the chairman of the board of county commissioners, the county superintendent of schools, and two physicians of the county elected by the other three members. The work of the health department is directed by a county health officer, who is appointed by the state board of health of which he is also a member. He has a staff of trained assistants.

In this plan note the cooperation between state and local communities, between town and county officials, and between the school authorities and the health organization. Note, also, the leadership of specialists in health matters.

Topics for investigation:

Organization of the department of health in your community (both county and town): the board of health; the executive health officer or officers; the kinds of work done.

Amount of money spent by your local health department for all purposes and for each purpose separately. Compare with the amounts spent for roads, for schools, and for other work of the local government.

The interest shown by the people in your community in public health matters.

Some of the more important health problems of your community.

The leadership in your community in health matters.

Cooperation between the state government and your local government in health matters.

The more important local and state laws relating to health in your community.

Organization of your state department of health.

Local health problems that need state control.

State health problems that need local cooperation.

The operation of the Food and Drugs Act in your community.

The work of the Public Health Service.

The extermination of yellow fever in the United States.

The fight against the bubonic plague in California.

The work of the War Department to maintain the health of the soldiers during the recent war. Volunteer agencies that cooperated in this work.

Work done in your community for the promotion of health by the Department of Agriculture and the United States Public Health Service.

The work of the Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor.

The inspection of immigrants.


Reports of local and state boards of health.

Publications of state agricultural college relating to public health.

Publications of the United States Public Health Service, Washington. The following are illustrative:

Federal Public Health Administration: Its Development and Present Status. Reprint No. 112, U. S. Pub. Health Reports, 1913.

Public Health Reports. Issued weekly.

Rural Sanitation, Pub. Health Bulletin No. 94, 1918.

Health Insurance, Pub. Health Reports, vol, 34, No. 16, 1919.

The Nation's Physical Fitness, Pub. Health Reports, vol. 34, No. 13, 1919.

Good Water for Farm Homes, Pub. Health Bulletin No. 70, 1915.

Typhoid Fever: Its Causation and Prevention, Pub. Health Bulletin No. 69, 1915.

Public Health Almanac (for current year).

What the Farmer Can Do to Prevent Malaria, Pub. Health Reports, No. 11, Supplement, 1914.

Fighting Trim: The Importance of Right Living. Supplement No. 5, Pub. Health Reports, 1913.

The Transmission of Disease by Flies, Supplement No. 29, Pub. Health Reports, 1916.

The Citizen and Public Health, Supplement No. 4, Pub. Health Reports, 1913.

The Department of Agriculture publications contain material relating to public health. For example:

Health Laws, Year Book, 1913, pp. 125-134.

Animal Disease and Our Food Supply, Year Book, 1915, pp. 159-172.

Public Abattoirs in New Zealand and Australia, Year Book, 1914, pp. 433-436.

Meat Inspection Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Year Book 1916, pp. 77-98.

Sewage Disposal on the Farm, Year Book, 1916, pp. 347-374.

Clean Water and How to Get It on the Farm, Year Book, 1914, pp. 139-156.


Beard, C. A., AMERICAN CITY GOVERNMENT, pp. 261-282.

Among the Bulletins of the United States Bureau of Education treating of health matters are the following:

1910, No. 5, American schoolhouses.

1913. No. 44, Organized health work in schools. No. 48, School hygiene. No. 52, Sanitary schoolhouses.

1914, No. 10, Physical growth and school progress. No. 17, Sanitary survey of the schools of Orange County, Va. No. 20, The rural school and hookworm disease.

1915, No. 4, The health of school children. No. 21, Schoolhouse sanitation. No. 50, Health of school children.

1917, No. 50, Physical education in secondary schools.

1919, No. 2, Standardization of medical inspection facilities. No. 65, The eyesight of school children.

Publications of the Children's Bureau, Department of Labor.

See, for example, Rural Children in Selected Counties of North Carolina, Rural Child Welfare Series No. 2, and Baby-Saving Campaigns. A Preliminary Report on What American Cities are Doing to Prevent Infant Mortality, Bureau Publication No. 3. See list of publications issued by the Bureau.


Series B: Lesson 14, The United States Public Health Service.

Series C: Lesson 19, How the city cares for health.

Reports of the Rockefeller Foundation, 61 Broadway, New York City.




Several times in the preceding chapters reference has been made to our national purpose "to transmute days of dreary work into happier lives." This does not mean to get rid of work; for happiness can be attained only IN work and THROUGH work. Happiness IN work depends largely upon our freedom and ability to choose the kind of service for which we are best fitted, and upon the extent to which we prepare ourselves for it. It also depends to a large extent upon good health (p. 309).


But there never was a truer statement than that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." In return for his work every citizen is entitled to enough compensation to enable him to provide not only for the bare necessities of life, such as food and shelter, but also for the pleasure that he derives from the satisfaction of his higher wants, such as social life and recreation, an education that will give him a richer enjoyment of life, pleasant surroundings, religious advantages.


All these things have much to do with our national well-being and our citizenship. Our nation is democratic only in proportion to the equality of opportunity enjoyed by all citizens to satisfy these wants. Moreover, the efficiency of each citizen in productive work and as a participator in self-government depends more than we sometimes think upon his opportunity to "enjoy life" in pleasant surroundings and in wholesome social relations. In the past the citizen has been left largely to his own resources and to purely voluntary cooperation to provide for these wants. Government has not even adequately PROTECTED his rights of this kind, to say nothing of positively PROMOTING them. At present, however, community team work through government is being organized as never before both to promote and to protect the interests of all citizens in the fullest possible enjoyment of life.



Children enjoy play because it satisfies physical, mental, and social wants. But it is also the principal means by which they prepare for the more serious duties of later life. It builds up health, trains the muscles and the senses, and sharpens the wits. It gives practice in team work, develops leadership, and teaches the value of "rules of the game." Every child is entitled to an abundant opportunity to play, both because of the happiness it affords him and because by it he is trained for membership in the community. It is to the interest of the community to afford him the opportunity. It is largely for this reason that most of the states protect children by law from being put to work for a living at too early an age.


In large cities thousands of children live in crowded districts where there is no place to play except in the public streets. So little appreciative have we been of the importance of play in the development of young citizens that great numbers of city schools have been built with no provision whatever for playgrounds. This mistake is slowly being corrected, often at great expense. No city school is now considered first-class if it does not have an ample and well-equipped playground, with competent directors to teach children how to get the most out of their play. Most cities are also establishing public playgrounds apart from the schools, sometimes under the management of the school board, but often under that of a special playground or recreation commission.


Play for the children of rural communities is as important as for those of cities, but even less attention has been given to it. Many a country school has no playground, and if it has one it is likely to be small and not equipped with play apparatus. Why should there be playgrounds when there is all outdoors in which to play? Why should there be expensive play apparatus and play directors when boys and girls can get all the "exercise" they need at home or on the farm? "Play" means more than mere physical exercise, and must be pleasurable if it is to have value. Organized play is as truly a means of education as any school instruction, and must have competent leadership or direction. In rural districts, where the children live far apart, there is particular need for a common meeting place for organized group play, and the school is the most appropriate place for it.


The need for organized play in rural communities is one of the best arguments for school consolidation, for it brings together larger numbers and makes possible the employment of a competent play director and the proper equipment of the playground. Teacher- training schools now make a point of training play leaders as well as teachers of arithmetic and geography.


As children grow older, an increasing part of their time must be given to work—school work, tasks at home, remunerative employment outside of the home. After leaving school and throughout adult life, work absorbs the major part of one's time and attention. But even then, "all work and no play" will continue to "make Jack a dull boy." We now call play "recreation," for by it body and mind and spirit are refreshed, renewed, RE-CREATED, after close application to work. That is why school work is broken by "recesses." Recreation is necessary as a means of providing for physical, mental, and social wants; for the pleasure that it affords. But it is also important in its relation to work, for without it body and mind become "fagged," people grow "stale" at their work, producing power and power of service are reduced.


It is very easy to get out of the habit of play, and especially difficult to form the habit in adult life if it has not been done in youth. People often become so absorbed in work that there seems to be no time for recreation. In such cases not only is the enjoyment of life narrowed, but there is a risk of damaging the quality of one's work and even of shortening one's life of productive activity, or of service.


Every worker is entitled to opportunity for recreation, both for his own sake and for the well-being of the community. This means, first of all, that he must have LEISURE for it. When people have to work hard for ten or twelve or more hours a day, year in and year out, as was once customary in industry, there is neither time nor energy for wholesome recreation. That such conditions existed, and still exist to a considerable extent, is due to gross imperfections in the industrial organization of the community. One of the evidences of progress toward "transmuting days of dreary work into happier lives" is the reduction in the hours of toil in many industries, and the consequent increase of leisure for the enjoyment of life and for self-improvement.

One of the things for which labor unions have struggled is the shortening of the working day. Through their efforts, and through the awakening of public interest and knowledge in regard to the matter, the working day is now fixed by law at eight hours in most industries, often with a half holiday on Saturdays. Experience has shown that this change has in no way reduced the product of industry. There are still some industries, however, in which men toil at the hardest kind of labor for twelve or more hours a day, sometimes even including Sundays.


A second thing necessary to afford opportunity for recreation is an income from one's work sufficient to provide more than the bare necessities of life. Before the war, it is said, more than five million families, or about one fourth of the families in the United States, were trying to live on a wage of $50 a month, or less. During the war, wages of skilled and unskilled labor shot upward; but so, also, did the cost of living. It is not easy to determine just what share of the proceeds of industry should, in justice, go to the laborer in wages. But it should be enough to provide not only for food and clothing and shelter, but also for decent family life, for healthful surroundings, for education for the children, and for wholesome recreation.

Labor unions and others interested in a fairer distribution of the proceeds of industry have long been working for the enactment of "minimum wage laws," that is, laws fixing the least wage that may be paid for each class of labor, this to be enough to provide a reasonable satisfaction of all the wants of life. Some states have already enacted such laws, and during the recent war the federal government in some cases fixed rates of wages, and appointed labor boards to adjust wages to the rising cost of living.


Neither leisure nor income, however, suffice for recreation unless they are wisely used. Mere idleness is not recreation; and many people use their leisure in DISSIPATION instead of in recreation. "Dissipation" is the opposite of thrift. It means to "throw away," or to be wasteful. A person may "dissipate" his income. We have come to understand the word "dissipation," however, to mean excessive indulgence in pleasures or amusements that are wasteful of time, energy, or health, or all three, and we call the person "dissipated" who is addicted to such indulgence. Any amusement, even though harmless in itself, may become dissipation if indulged in to excess, or at the sacrifice of other things that are better.


One of the principal disadvantages often put forward against life in rural communities is the lack of opportunity for recreation. It partly explains the difficulty of obtaining an abundance of farm labor, and is one of the obstacles to inducing young people to remain on the farm. Unfortunately, too, the women on the farm have often been the chief sufferers from close confinement to the drudgery of housework, with little opportunity for recreation and less chance than the men have to enjoy the companionship of other people.

The very nature of farming entails hard work and long hours, especially at certain seasons. Under existing conditions it is hard to see how the farmer's working day could be limited to eight hours as in most other occupations.

The citizen farmer who lives in the same community with the miner ... must invest in land and buildings, tools and livestock. He must pay taxes and insurance and repairs and veterinary fees. He must work often sixteen hours, seldom less than ten, and he must be on duty day and night, ready always to care for his independent plant—all this, and yet in order to receive a labor income equal to that of the soft coal miner ... the farmer must not only work himself as no professional laborer ever works, but he must also work his children without pay.

[Footnote: E. Davenport, Dean of the College of Agriculture, University of Illinois, in "Proceedings of the First National Country Life Conference," Baltimore, 1919. p. 183.]


Although this only too faithfully describes living conditions on the farm as they have been in the past and still are in many cases, much improvement has taken place. Improvement of agricultural machinery and methods has brought a greater measure of leisure to the farmer, while better means of transportation and communication have both saved him time and made easier for him and his family association with other people and the enjoyment of entertainment in the neighboring village or city. The farm woman has benefited by the introduction of labor-saving devices and better management in the household, and by the development of community cooperation in such matters as dairying and laundry work (see pp. 106, 107). In fact, better team work in every phase of the business of agriculture means greater opportunity for the enjoyment of living, and the efforts of the national and state governments to encourage such team work and to improve the methods of agriculture have for their purpose not merely the increase of the agricultural product, but also the greater happiness of the rural citizen.


When leisure may be found for recreation, the facilities for it are often inadequate. The city, and even the village, affords facilities for amusement and social enjoyment that good roads, automobiles, and trolley lines have made more accessible than formerly to the country round about. While the urban community naturally affords greater opportunity than the rural community for social recreation, its opportunities for dissipation are equally great. "Going to the movies" may be a real recreation, or it may become a dissipation when indulged in to excess without discrimination as to the merit of the performance. Almost every village has its well-known "loafing places," and the saloon used to be a favorite meeting place for certain classes of people. Amusements that are especially harmful are more or less regulated by law. Even moving pictures are "censored." Saloons have now been totally abolished.


The most effective preventive of dissipation is ample provision for wholesome recreation. Various agencies in urban communities seek to supply this need, both for their own residents and for visitors from outside. Men's clubs, such as chambers of commerce, afford social and amusement advantages for the business men of the town, and for visiting farmers who formerly met only at the store or courthouse, in the saloon or on the street corner. Public libraries, often with the cooperation of women's clubs, provide "rest rooms," arranged for the comfort and entertainment of visiting women, and afford means of profitable and enjoyable recreation for young people. Town churches sometimes maintain social rooms, open during the week for similar purposes. The Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations have performed a great service by providing entertainment and social life for young people. One of the more recent developments is the "community center," usually at the schoolhouse, where there are offered lectures and concerts, social entertainments, dances, games, and sports. In some large cities such "recreation centers" are of the greatest value in the crowded districts.


Rural communities have suffered from a dearth of recreational facilities of their own, especially of a SOCIAL type. One of the most promising influences to supply this deficiency is the CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL, which makes provision for assembly halls, social gatherings, and recreation grounds for young and old alike. An illustration of this is given in Chapter XIX (p. 296). Development of community recreation centers at consolidated rural schools is going on rapidly in many parts of the country.

Iowa affords a striking example of this. In that state more than 2000 one-room country schools have been consolidated into something more than 300, and consolidation is still going on. Some of these consolidated schools have five acres of land, where provision is made, not only for gardening and farming activities, but also for picnic grounds and for fields for athletic sports and contests. The buildings contain assembly halls, gymnasiums, and kitchens where food is prepared for social entertainments as well as for school lunches and for the teaching of cooking.


One of the chief obstacles to the development of rural community recreation has been the absence of leadership. The consolidated school helps to remedy this. Other agencies, however, are doing something to provide such leadership, among the most active of which is the county work department of the Young Men's Christian Association, which has organized county-wide athletic associations and rural play festivals and field days in many localities.


There are agencies, or organizations, in almost every community that could and should serve recreational ends. The trouble with many of us is not so much the lack of time or of the means for recreation, but a lack of knowledge of how to get the most out of our recreational opportunities. Hence the need for leadership. Hence, also, the need for an education that will open up to us new avenues of enjoyment. Recreation may be obtained not only from athletic sports and social entertainments, but from the fields and woods, from books and music and pictures, even from VARIETY IN OUR WORK, if we only knew how to find it. The school is under as great obligation to provide us with an education that will teach us this as it is to equip us to earn a living.

Investigate and report on:

The opportunities for play in your community.

The forms of play most prevalent in your community.

The extent to which play in your community develops team work and leadership.

How your school playground could be improved.

Play as a means of education in your school.

Agencies besides the school that afford opportunity for play in your community.

Leisure on the farms of your locality: for men; for women; for children.

Could an eight-hour day be applied to farming in your locality? Why?

Length of the working day for different employments in your town or neighboring city.

Minimum wage laws in your state.

Recreational facilities and agencies in your community.

Community centers in your community and their activities.

The value of a county field day in your community.

Meaning of the statement that "the boy without a playground is father to the man without a job."



Beauty in one's surroundings adds much to the enjoyment of life, and therefore, also, to one's efficiency in work and as a citizen.

People are often apparently blind to the beauty that is around them. "Having eyes, they see not; and ears, they hear not." Those who live in the open country are surrounded by natural beauties of which city dwellers are largely deprived. Too often, however, they are unconscious of them or indifferent to them. To the hard- working farmer a gorgeous sunset may be little more than a sign of the weather on the morrow, and the beauty of a field of wheat or corn may be lost in the thought of the toil that has gone into it, or of the dollars that may come out of it. Fortunate is the rural dweller whose toil and isolation are tempered by an appreciation of the beauties of the natural world about him!


Love for and appreciation of that which is beautiful may be cultivated. It is a part of one's education. The schools now give more attention to it than formerly; but many of them do not yet give enough. Appreciation of beauty is cultivated not merely by instruction in "art," but also by those studies that increase one's knowledge of the common things about us. The teaching of agriculture and of science has a very practical purpose; but its purpose is only partly accomplished if it teaches us how to raise corn or cotton without opening our eyes to the wonders of nature involved in the process.

An appreciation of beauty may be cultivated, also, by association with it, as it may be destroyed by constant association with that which is ugly. People who live in unkempt and slovenly surroundings are likely to become indifferent to them. It is the duty of every one to have a care for the appearance of his surroundings both because of its effect upon himself and its influence upon others.


A stranger who visits our school is likely to judge it, first of all, by its appearance. He will note whether or not the building is in good repair, the condition of the grounds and fences, the presence or absence of flower beds, shrubs, and trees. Inside, he will observe the cleanliness and orderliness of the room, the decorations on the walls, the presence or absence of pictures and flowers and plants; yes, and also the care the pupils and teacher take of their personal appearance. These things are signs to the visitor of the interest taken by pupils, school authorities, and the community in their school. They are also signs of the character of the work done in the school, and of the happiness of the pupils.


In a similar manner, the visitor to your community will form his first opinion of it by its appearance. He will note, first of all the appearance of the homes, and then, probably, the cleanliness and state of repair of the streets or roads. He will observe the condition of the fences, and whether or not the weeds are cut along the roads. He will notice, also, the extent to which the people love flowers, and care for trees and vacant lots. All of these things will be signs to him of the prosperity, the happiness, the "community spirit," of the citizens. They will doubtless enter into his decision as to whether or not he cares to live, or establish a business, or educate his children, in that community.


In cities a good deal of attention is usually given to such matters, and laws exist, with government officers to administer them, for the protection and promotion of community beauty. In rural communities these matters are left more largely to individual initiative and voluntary cooperation. It becomes a matter of public interest and spirit on the part of the individual and the family. It is true that some things are done through government authorities, as in the improvement of the roads and the building of bridges and culverts that are of pleasing design as well as serviceable. In some New England "towns" there are "town planning" boards, which carefully plan for the laying out of streets and their improvement, the proper location of public buildings and the style of architecture to be used, the location and development of parks and playgrounds, the enactment of suitable housing laws, and other matters pertaining to the beauty of the community as well as to the well-being of its citizens.


Systematic planning of rural communities with a view to making them beautiful has not been carried very far in this country. In fact, as one travels over a large part of the United States one is impressed by the monotonous and unattractive character of the towns and villages. This is not true everywhere, for in some parts of the country, usually those that have been settled longest, one sees beautiful villages that fit harmoniously into the landscape. But over large areas of the country it seems that wherever man has gone he has marred the beauty of nature.


There is nothing in which the influence of example is so quickly seen as in matters relating to appearance. People are prone to copy their neighbors in matters of style, whether it be in dress or in architecture.

In one rather wretched community a few boys who were studying civics sought permission to lay sod in the dooryard of a tenement house. Having obtained permission and laid the sod, it was not long before some one else in the neighborhood did likewise, and soon people all around were sodding their yards or sowing grass seed. Then they began to repair and paint their fences and otherwise "tidy up" their places, until the whole neighborhood was transformed in appearance. It is interesting to note, also, that as the community improved in appearance, it also became less lawless than it had been.

This is one phase of community life in which it is easy to establish leadership, and in which young people can perform valuable civic service and contribute materially toward "transmuting days of dreary work into happier lives."

Investigate and report on:

The natural beauty of your community.

How natural beauty has been destroyed in your community.

How natural beauty has been preserved in your community.

Our national parks.

How your school promotes the love for beauty.

How your school could be made more beautiful.

How you and your schoolmates could make your school more beautiful.

What impression a stranger would get of your community from its appearance.

The features in the appearance of your community of which you are proud. Those of which you are ashamed.

Agencies that exist in your community to promote its beauty

Ways in which you can participate in making your community more beautiful.



In some countries church and state are inseparably bound together. Before the recent war the Russian Czar was also the head of the Russian church. In our own country in colonial times, no citizen was permitted to vote in the New England town meeting who did not belong to the Puritan church of the community. This religious qualification for participation in government was in the course of time dispensed with, and one of the fundamental principles of our democracy is that every citizen shall have complete liberty of religious belief. Our government exercises no control over the religious life of the people other than to guarantee this liberty. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (United States Constitution, Amendment I). State constitutions contain similar guarantees. To prevent government interference with religion, religious institutions are exempt from taxation.


On the other hand, the church and other religious institutions are an important means of community control. They do not exercise this control through government, but through the influence of their own beliefs and organization upon the conduct of their members. If everybody should live in accordance with the Golden Rule, there would be no need for government as a means of repression, but only as a means of performing service.


One of the unfortunate things about the church has been the fact that more or less important differences in religious belief have tended to break up the community into numerous religious groups, or churches. This may be necessary in purely religious matters, but it has too often happened that the people have allowed their religious differences to prevent united action in other matters of common interest to the entire community. In some cases communities have been broken up into rival, or even hostile, factions because of this. There is, however, a growing tolerance of one religious sect or denomination by others, which is in accord with the Christian spirit, and is necessary if community life is to be well developed. It often happens that there are more churches of the same denomination in a community than it can support. In such cases, at least, there is need for church consolidation similar to the consolidation of schools, and for the same reason.


The church may be, and often is, an important agency in the community for the performance of services other than that of ministering to the religious wants of the people. Or, to speak more correctly, it has realized more or less fully that the religious wants of the people are closely bound up with their other wants, and seeks to minister to these other wants as a part of its religious duty. Thus, we find the church growing more active in looking after the health interests, educational interests, and social and recreational interests of its members and others.

Investigate and report on:

The number of religious denominations having churches in your community.

The number of churches in each denomination.

Membership and attendance in the churches of your community.

Arguments for and against church consolidation in your community.

Activities of churches in your community, other than religious.

Religious organizations other than churches in your community.



Series A: Lesson 27, Concentration of social institutions (including the school and the church).

Series B: Lesson 12, Impersonality of modern life. Lesson 20, The church as a social institution. Lesson 29, Labor organizations.

Series C: Lesson 11, The effects of machinery on rural life. Lesson 29, Child labor. Lesson 32, Housing for workers.

"Sources of Information on Play and Recreation," by Lee F. Hanmer and Howard W. Knight; Department of Recreation, Russell Sage Foundation, New York (1915).

THE PLAYGROUND. A monthly publication of the Playground and Recreation Association of America, 1 Madison Ave., New York ($2 a year).

NEIGHBORHOOD PLAY. A manual of rural recreation (The Youth's Companion, Boston).

McCready, S. B., Rural Science Reader. In "Rural Education Series," H. W. Foght, general editor (Heath).

Write the County Work Department, International Committee of the Y. M. C. A. for material.

Foght, H. W., THE RURAL TEACHER AND HIS WORK, Chapter VI (The rural school and community recreation).

Jackson, Henry E., A COMMUNITY Center—WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO ORGANIZE IT, U. S. Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1918, No. 11.

Quick, Herbert, "The rural awakening in its relation to civic and social center development." Bulletin No. 474, University of Wisconsin.

"Beautifying the Farmstead," Farmers' Bulletin No. 1087, U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Proceedings First National Country Life Conference (address Dwight Sanderson, Secretary, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.); "Play and recreation in rural life," p. 95; "Religious forces for country life," p. 83.

Jackson, Henry E., THE COMMUNITY CHURCH (Macmillan).

Numerous "surveys" of rural communities have been made by various agencies. Among them are those made by the Department of Church and Country Life of the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church, 156 Fifth Ave., New York. Extensive surveys are being made by the Inter-Church World Movement, 45 West 18th St., New York.

Bulletin No. 184 of the Agricultural Experiment Station, Iowa State Agricultural College, Ames, Iowa, contains a social survey of Orange Township, Blackhawk County, Iowa.

Write your State Agricultural College or State University for possible materials of a local character.



In every community there are some members who are not self- supporting and who do not contribute materially to the community's progress (see Chapter V and Chapter XI).


The very young and the very aged come within this group. Both are peculiarly dependent upon others, though the aged may, by thrift in earlier years, have acquired a competence with which to meet the needs of old age; and the young are expected, in later years, to compensate the community for the care they have received from others during childhood.

There are those, also, of all ages, who are incapacitated for self-support and for service by disease, or by physical or mental defects such as bodily deformities, blindness, or feeble- mindedness. In addition, there are some who, though physically able to perform service, deliberately prey upon the community in one manner or another without giving anything in return. The latter constitute the DELINQUENT class, and include criminals.


Normally, the needs of those who are unable to support themselves, whether because of extreme youth or old age or because of physical or mental defects, are provided for by the family. It frequently happens, however, that the family is unable to perform this service. It may be entirely broken up. Children may be left without parents, and the aged without children. The natural supporters of the family may be stricken by disease, or by accident, or by financial misfortune. Moreover, the proper care and treatment of many defectives require better facilities and greater skill than can be provided even by well-to-do families. Thus a class of DEPENDENTS is produced—dependents upon the community as a whole. They may or may not be DEFECTIVES, physical or mental. Dissipation and thriftlessness are two of the chief causes of dependency.


In the lower stages of civilization it was not uncommon for the feeble and the helpless to be put to death, even sickly children and persons infirm from old age. This was done in the name of community interest. The struggle for existence was so severe that the presence of non-producing or non-fighting members endangered the entire group. Besides, it was the belief in most cases that the sacrifice of the helpless simply hastened their passage into a happier life.


Humane considerations now prevent such treatment of the helpless. Moreover, with our increased skill in medicine and surgery and education, the diseased and defective may often be restored to health or fitted for some form of self-support that makes them happier and of use to the community. The wastage of human life has been greatly reduced in recent years. Many of the soldiers who returned from the war in Europe so broken in body or mind that in former times they would have dragged out the remainder of their lives a burden to themselves and to others have, by surgical skill and special forms of education, been restored wholly or partially to the ranks of the self-supporting and useful members of the community. This REHABILITATION of the dependent and defective members of the community, whether their misfortune is due to war or other causes, is the chief aim of the treatment given them by the community at the present time.


It is an accepted principle that each community should, so far as possible, care for its own unfortunates, and the effectiveness with which it is done varies. But everywhere it has taken a long time to change from the old policy of mere RELIEF to the new policy of REHABILITATION (see above).


In New England and in a few other states the town, or township, is the unit for administering "poor relief," but elsewhere it is the county. The "almshouse," or "poor farm," or "county infirmary" is the usual local institution for this purpose. Unfortunately it has been, as a rule, badly managed. Men and women, old people and children, healthy and diseased, blind and crippled, moral and immoral, even the insane, have been housed together, often mingling with one another with little restriction. The evils of such a system are apparent.


Moreover, the policy of the typical almshouse has been merely to give shelter and food and clothing to those who appeal for it, rather than to remedy the causes of dependency or to restore the unfortunate to a basis of self-support and usefulness. Medical treatment is of course given, but the means do not exist to give special expert treatment to particular classes of defectives. Little educational opportunity worthy of the name is afforded. While able-bodied inmates usually have some work to do, it is seldom of a character to train for self-support or to create habits of industry.


To provide this special treatment requires elaborate equipment and expert service, which cost a great deal of money, more than most counties or towns feel that they can afford. Communities must come to realize that they cannot afford to neglect their unfortunate members, no matter what it costs to care for them. But the cost need not be so great as it seems. A great deal of money is now WASTED on almshouses without adequate results. This can largely be remedied by insisting upon more expert supervision in such institutions, and by a system of regular inspection by expert state officers. Greater care should be exercised with respect to those who are admitted to the institutions. Only the deserving should be allowed to live on the public funds. It is not uncommon for some classes of shiftless people to make a practice of seeking shelter in the almshouse during the winter, where they live in comparative comfort and idleness at the public expense, only to leave in the spring for a life of aimless indolence, imposing as beggars upon kind-hearted people.


Moreover, the county almshouse should be only a temporary place of detention for many of the people who now are kept there permanently. Those who need special treatment or training should be passed on as quickly as possible to special institutions that are equipped to care for them. Since most local communities could not well afford to maintain such special institutions for the comparatively few who would need them, the state should maintain enough of them at central points to provide for the needs of all local communities.

The states do maintain such institutions—hospitals and sanitariums for various types of mental disease, homes for orphans and for the aged, and for persons with incurable diseases, asylums and schools for the blind and the deaf-and-dumb, industrial schools for boys and girls. The problem of the state is, first, to develop such institutions to the highest possible degree of efficiency for the REHABILITATION of their patients or inmates, and, second, to secure effective cooperation on the part of local authorities and institutions in transferring those, and only those, who are entitled to state assistance.


When dependents are cared for in institutions, it is called INDOOR RELIEF; when they are cared for outside of institutions, in their homes, it is called OUTDOOR RELIEF. Outdoor relief requires community organization and cooperation and expert leadership quite as much as indoor relief. The lack of these has often resulted in great harm both to the community and to the needy person. Promiscuous giving of charity by well-intentioned persons often results in giving to the undeserving as well as to the deserving. There are lazy and shiftless individuals who find it easier to live on charity than by honest work, and whose lack of self- respect permits them to do so. Sometimes they do so by fraudulent methods. Giving to such persons encourages pauperism and fraud instead of curing it. Kind-hearted people often say that they would rather be cheated occasionally by dishonest applicants for charity than to fail to help the really needy by too great caution. The answer to this is that by proper community organization and cooperation the needy will be found with much greater certainty, the fraudulent will be detected, and the aid given to those who should have it will be much more effective. The citizen who turns an applicant for aid over to an effective organization in a great majority of cases performs a much greater service both to the applicant and to the community than by attempting to give aid directly. A few pennies or a few dollars given even to a worthy applicant may not reach the root of the trouble at all, and may be the innocent cause of perpetuating the trouble.


Many voluntary organizations exist for charitable and philanthropic purposes. The church has always been one of the chief agencies to care for the poor and unfortunate; but there are many others, especially in our large cities. Sometimes they maintain hospitals and other institutions for the treatment of those who need indoor relief. They have done a great deal of good. But they are subject to the same difficulties that individuals encounter in dealing wisely with particular cases. They have often devoted themselves too exclusively to giving temporary relief instead of seeking to cure causes and to rehabilitate the unfortunate. They are frequently deceived by impostors. Seldom do they have expert investigators to follow up individual cases and to prescribe the most effective remedy. They frequently duplicate one another's work in a wasteful manner.


This lack of team work has been in large measure remedied, especially in city communities, by the establishment of CHARITY ORGANIZATION SOCIETIES. Such societies do not as a rule give direct relief, but act as a "clearing house" for existing charitable agencies in the community. That is, they organize the effort of the various existing agencies. They have a corps of trained investigators who look into each case reported by any individual or charitable agency in the community, make a careful record of it, and prescribe the proper treatment. The case is usually turned over to one of the existing agencies that is properly equipped to handle it. Philanthropic persons may turn to the charity organization society for advice as to purposes for which money is most needed. The aim of charity organization is to remedy causes of dependency and to restore dependents to a self- sustaining basis so far as that is possible.


Charity organization societies are wholly voluntary organizations; and there is need for such voluntary cooperation to care for the community's unfortunate and to root out the causes of dependency. Such organizations should, however, work in cooperation with governmental agencies. There are state boards of charities which usually have supervision over the various state institutions for dependents and defectives. Every large city government has its department of charities, sometimes combined with the department of health. The "overseer of the poor" is one of the oldest of town officers. The care of dependents and defectives in small, or rural, communities has, however, been very poorly organized.


An effective attack upon the public welfare problems of a state is twofold: (1) by a state welfare board and state welfare institutions, and (2) by town and county welfare boards and institutions... .

Public welfare work calls for a state board of public welfare, statewide in authority ... and for state institutions that are large enough to care for the delinquents, the dependents, the defectives, and the neglected who cannot be better cared for by local authority and institutions. ...

But, on the other hand, it calls for county boards of public welfare with county-wide authority and trained executive secretaries. ... Many of our ills bulk up so big that they can be successfully attacked only in detail by local interest, local effort, and local institutions. Tuberculosis and poverty are capital instances of social problems that are beyond the possibilities of state institutions, and that necessarily wait upon organized county efforts of effective sort. ... We do not know the deaf, the blind, the feeble-minded, the epileptic, the crippled, and the neglected or wayward boys and girls—their number, their names, and their residences in any county of the state ... because there is at present no local organization charged with the responsibility of accounting for such unfortunates. ...

[Footnote: E. C. Branson, "County responsibility for public welfare," in the North Carolina Club YEAR BOOK, 1917-1918, pp. 161, 162 (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N. C.).]


There will doubtless always be some dependent and defective members of the community for whom the community must care. Their number, however, may be greatly reduced by creating conditions that will remove their causes. It has been reported from many localities, for example, that the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors has resulted in the emptying of the "work houses" which communities have sustained for the confinement of vagrants and persons convicted of petty misdemeanors. Much dependency has resulted from the crippling of wage earners by industrial accidents and from "industrial diseases" arising from work in unwholesome conditions. These causes may be removed by the maintenance of wholesome working conditions, by the installation of safety devices, and by the exercise of greater care by workers and employers. The "safety first" movement strikes at the root of much dependency. Inability to read signs and to understand instructions on the part of illiterate and foreign workers is the cause of many accidents.


Some states have passed "employers' liability laws," designed to hold employers responsible for accidents resulting from failure to provide safe working conditions. Others have "workmen's compensation laws" which provide that an injured workman shall receive a portion of his wages during incapacity from accident or illness. In some countries various forms of COMPULSORY STATE INSURANCE have been adopted. Germany, for example, has long had laws requiring employees to take out accident insurance and insurance against sickness, both employees and employers contributing to the insurance fund. Pensions for the aged and for widows are also provided for, the government itself contributing to the fund for this purpose. At the close of the year 1919, 39 of our 48 states had laws providing for aid by the state to mothers who were unable to provide properly for their children.

The aim in our community life should be as far as possible to PREVENT dependency and not merely to relieve suffering after it occurs. We shall find that the problem will tend to disappear in proportion as we develop in our communities adequate provision for health protection and physical development (Chapter XX), for vocational and general education (Chapter XIX), for wholesome recreation (Chapter XXI), for the cultivation of habits of thrift (Chapter XIII); and as we are successful in producing a right attitude toward the problem of earning a living and wholesome relations between employer and employee (Chapter XI).

Investigate and report on:

The rehabilitation of crippled soldiers after the war.

Your county or town almshouse or poor farm: The kinds of cases sheltered there; its cost to the community; the methods of treatment employed.

Other local institutions for indoor relief in your community.

State institutions for the care of dependents and defectives in your state. Their kinds and location.

The difference between "poverty" and "pauperism."

The extent and kind of "charity work" done by the church which you attend (get accurate information).

The voluntary organizations of your community that give "poor relief." The kind of charitable work done by each.

Charity organization in your community. Its results and the need for it.

The causes of dependence in your community.

The extent to which voluntary charitable work in your community is directed to removing the causes of dependency.

The organization of your county or town government for the care of dependents and defectives.

Employers' liability laws, workmen's compensation laws, mothers' pension laws, in your state.


It is said that there are at least 250,000 people in the United States who make their living by crime, and there are many more who commit crime on occasion. It is said, also, that to support and control this criminal class costs the people of the United States not less than $600,000,000 per annum, or as much as is expended for the entire educational system of the country.


Crime is the violation of law. The criminal is a member of the community who refuses to cooperate with others in accordance with the law. The conduct of an individual may be wrong and harmful to the community without being criminal; it becomes criminal only when the law actually forbids it. A given act may be a crime in one state and not in another state, because the laws of the states differ in their definition of crimes. They also differ in the penalties imposed for the same crime.


The methods of dealing with criminals have changed greatly with the progress of civilization, and especially in recent years since the causes of crime have become better understood. In the earlier methods two ideas were prominent: the infliction of punishment, and the deterrence of others from committing the same offense. The penalties inflicted were therefore very severe. The death penalty was inflicted not only for taking human life but also for minor offenses, such as stealing. Even in our own country in colonial times bodily mutilation was not uncommon, such as branding with a hot iron, or cutting off the ears. Prisons were vile and loathsome places.


Humane feelings have caused the abandonment of such treatment. The death penalty still remains for the worst of crimes; but even it has become more humane in its methods. Many believe that it should be entirely abandoned. The eighth amendment to the Constitution of the United States says that "excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Moreover, a new idea has entered into the matter. It is the same idea that controls the modern treatment of dependents, namely, that of REHABILITATING the criminal. It is now recognized that crime results in most cases from diseased conditions either in the individual or in the community. Some individuals commit crime merely because it seems to them the easiest way to make a living or to gain some other end; but even such individuals are MORALLY diseased. Much crime is due to temporary mental disturbance, as from the use of intoxicants or other drugs. Sometimes it is the act of persons who are actually insane or feeble-minded. Very often it is committed under pressure of poverty.

In view of these facts, while the deliberate violator of law should doubtless be punished, it is even more important that the causes of crime should be removed, and that the criminal should, in as many cases as possible, be restored to a useful and an honest manner of life. The proper treatment of dependents and defectives, and the removal of causes of dependency and defectiveness, are essential steps toward the lessening of crime.


The county jail and the town "lock-up" are the usual local institutions where persons suspected of having violated the law are detained while awaiting trial in the courts, and also where those convicted of petty misdemeanors are imprisoned for punishment. The jail and the "lock-up" are as notorious as the almshouse for unwholesome conditions and mismanagement, though conditions have greatly improved under the influence of an awakened public opinion. They have often, been unsanitary in the extreme. Prisoners have often been treated more like cattle than like human beings. Young and old are thrown together, the hardened criminal with the youthful "first offender," and with those merely suspected of crime, many of whom will be proved to be innocent. The result is demoralizing. Our jails have sometimes been said to be "schools of vice and crime."


Two reforms, at least, are needed in local jails. First, they should be made as wholesome as possible, both physically and morally. They should be perfectly sanitary, and the food should at least be clean and nourishing. Arrangements should be made to keep the different classes of inmates separate, especially the hardened and vicious criminals from youthful transgressors and suspects. In the second place, the local jail should be merely a place of detention for those awaiting trial or, after trial, transfer to other institutions. Those found guilty by the courts should be transferred as quickly as possible to institutions where they may receive treatment fitted to their needs.


Of three persons who steal ten dollars, one may be a deliberate thief who prefers to make his living this way; another may be driven by hunger; and the third may be mentally unbalanced. It is obvious that the treatment accorded to each should be determined by these facts rather than by the mere amount of the theft. The first doubtless needs punishment; but he should also have treatment designed to change his attitude toward the community and to fit him to make an honest living. The second needs to be relieved of his want and to be given an opportunity for self- support. The third needs hospital treatment. We are only beginning to see that punishment is only a part of the treatment necessary, and that the treatment should be made to fit the criminal fully as much as to fit the crime.


Proper treatment for all the various classes of cases cannot well be given in the county jail; nor can the local community as a rule afford to maintain separate institutions for them, as the number in each class is very small in a given community. Hence the necessity for state institutions to which those convicted in the local courts may be sent. Such institutions exist, although not always adequate to the needs of the state. They include state penitentiaries, reform and industrial schools, hospitals for the insane, special schools for the feeble-minded, and others. These institutions have been steadily improving in their efficiency. The greater difficulty seems to be in the local communities, in securing the assignment of offenders to the proper institutions.


Great changes have occurred in recent years in the methods of administering state penitentiaries, especially in some states. Under old conditions convicts were either confined in isolation and idleness or condemned to hard labor, punishment being the sole idea in both cases. The most rigid and arbitrary discipline was enforced. Modern penitentiaries keep prisoners employed in occupations that are of use to the state, that are designed to train the prisoner for useful service, and that yield him some compensation that will help to make him self-supporting when he leaves. They also maintain schools for the instruction of prisoners in at least the common branches of knowledge and in vocational subjects. Great care is taken of the health. In some cases the prisoners are graded according to their conduct and their ability to assume responsibility, certain privileges and freedom and participation in the administration of the prison being bestowed upon them so long as they show a sense of their responsibility. The period of imprisonment may be shortened as a reward for good conduct.


One of the most important reforms that have been made is that in the treatment of juvenile offenders. The main feature of this is the establishment of a JUVENILE COURT, where the usual procedure and publicity of a criminal court are avoided, and where the judge takes a fatherly attitude toward the accused. Each case is carefully investigated to discover the cause of trouble and to arrive at a wise conclusion as to the treatment to be given. In the case of first offenders, or where other conditions justify it, the prisoner is released ON PROBATION. That is, he is given his freedom on his honor, but under the supervision of a PROBATION OFFICER to whom he must report at regular intervals. In the case of more serious offenses, or of repeated wrong-doing, or of violation of parole, offenders are sent to reform schools or industrial schools. The entire effort is to set the young offender on the right road to honest self-support and good citizenship. Unfortunately, however, this machinery for the treatment of juvenile delinquency is so far found almost exclusively in cities. The problem of juvenile delinquency in rural communities is one that requires more attention than has been given to it. It is a problem that the young citizen himself can greatly help to solve by the cultivation, in himself and in his friends, of right conceptions of citizenship.

Investigate and report on the following:

The organization of your county and town governments to protect persons and property against criminals, to apprehend law violators, and to bring them to justice.

The cost to your county or town of this organization.

The desirability or undesirability of differing definitions of crime in different states, and of different punishments for the same crime.

The efficacy of severe punishments in preventing crime.

Should capital punishment be abolished?

The meaning of "bail," and why it is provided for.

The effect of prohibition upon the amount of crime in your community.

The number of prisoners confined in your county jail during the past year, why they were there, and what it cost to keep them.

The meaning of "fitting punishment to the criminal rather than to the crime."

The treatment of prisoners in your state penitentiary.

The method of dealing with juvenile offenders in your community.

The meaning of "probation"; of "parole"; of an "indeterminate sentence."

The extent of juvenile delinquency in your community; its causes.

The use of convict labor outside of prisons.


Reports of county and town authorities.

Reports of state board of charities and of administrative boards of state institutions.

Publications of the Children's Bureau, U. S. Department of Labor. Send for list from which to select. Two valuable publications of this Bureau are:

Bureau Publication No. 32, "Juvenile Delinquency in Rural New York."

Bureau Publication. No. 60, "Standards of Child Welfare." This contains among other valuable material, discussions of child labor and legislation relating to it, of the care of dependent and defective children, and of juvenile delinquency.

In Lessons in Community and National Life:

Series A: Lesson 5, The human resources of a community. Lesson 28, The worker in our society.

Series C: Lesson 8, Preventing waste of human beings. Lesson 20, The family and social control. Lesson 30, Social insurance.

The following are a few good books relating to the topics of this chapter:

Burch, H. R, and Patterson, S. H., American Social Problems, chaps, xvi-xx (Macmillan).

Henderson, C. R., Dependents, Defectives, and Delinquents.

Warner, A. G., American Charities.

Devine, E. T., Principles of Relief.

Addams, Jane, Twenty Years at Hull House, and The House on Henry Street.

Ellwood, C. A., Sociology and Modern Social Problems.




People have never liked to pay taxes. Their repugnance to it is largely a survival of the times when an autocratic ruling class imposed taxes upon the people for its own selfish purposes. Struggling for the bare necessities of life, the people had to pay the bills of the ruling class who lived in luxury. The long struggle for liberty in England and in the English colonies was a struggle against the power of rulers to impose taxes without the consent of the people. The habit of mind with respect to taxation formed under such conditions has to a considerable extent persisted into the present, when conditions are very different.


The change to government "of the people, by the people, for the people" should put the paying of taxes in a very different light. We decide upon a service we want performed for us, we provide the governing machinery to perform the service, and the service must be paid for. We do not object to paying for having our house built, our food provided, our clothes made, and our goods hauled. Why should we object to paying for the service of schools, roads, protection of health and property, the defense of our liberties?


Such objection seems especially unreasonable when we consider that the value of the service rendered by government is, as a rule, far in excess of what it costs the individual citizen. In Chapter XVII we saw that a Virginia farmer, the value of whose farm was assessed at $3000, was taxed $19.48 for road improvements. In return for this he acquired the use of a system of roads throughout the county that cost at least $173,000. This local system connected him with the transportation system of the entire country, gave him a market for his produce, greatly increased the value of his land, brought better school facilities, and enriched his life in many ways.

The recent war imposed an unusually heavy burden of taxation upon us. But when we think of the millions of people who paid for the war with their LIVES, and of the fact that the war was fought for the most precious of all things,—human liberty,—the money tax that each citizen had to pay in some form or other seems very insignificant.


In Chapter IV we read how Benjamin Franklin secured the services of a man to keep the pavements of the neighborhood clean "for the sum of sixpence per month to be paid by each house." By this bit of cooperation, each householder was relieved of a burden, and had the benefit not only of having his own pavement cleaned, but also of knowing that those of all his neighbors would be equally clean, and thus of having a pleasanter neighborhood, and the cost was insignificant. This incident illustrates the underlying principle of taxation in a self-governing community. The poorest citizen is made rich in the benefits that he may enjoy, while the cost is made proportional to his ability to pay.


Like the rest of our governing machinery, however, our system of levying, collecting, and paying taxes does not always work perfectly, and there is more or less ground for dissatisfaction with it. In the first place, the people do not always get full value for their taxes. While it is true that the farmer receives, in return for his road tax, vastly more than he could purchase privately with the same amount of money, yet, if the road improvements are poorly made, he gets less than he should. It usually costs as much to employ an inefficient road supervisor, or school teacher or superintendent, or sheriff, as to employ an efficient one—in fact, in the long run it costs more. Sometimes more persons are employed in government offices than there is any need for, or some of those employed are shirkers, or otherwise inefficient. There is wastefulness in the methods by which appropriations are made for the expenses of government. Sometimes there is "graft," by which public money is diverted to the private uses of officials, contractors, or others.

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