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American citizenship. Beard, Charles Austin, 1874–1948.  Beard, Mary Ritter, 1876–1958. 
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AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP

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THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

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AMERICAN
CITIZENSHIP

BY

CHARLES A. BEARD

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICS IN COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND

MARY RITTER BEARD

New York THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1914

All rights reserved

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COPYRIGHT, 1914,
By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

---

Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1914. Reprinted
June, 1914.

Norwood Press

J. S. Cushing Co.-- Berwick & Smith Co.

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

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PREFACE

IN view of the large number of textbooks on civics already available, some very decided reasons should be forthcoming from those who venture to add another one to the long list. Our first plea in justification of this volume is our belief that the books on government now offered to the schools have certain fundamental defects.

An examination of the extensive collection of texts in the Library of Congress, which embraces all of the most recent books on civics, shows that they fall into two groups: those which are formal and legal, and those which are "sociological," in character. The authors of the first group err, in our opinion, in treating government as a multitude of rules already well settled which, when committed to memory, are calculated to make good and wise citizens. The authors of the second group, it seems to us, in their revolt against the mechanistic theory of government, err just as much in minimizing those concrete political and administrative processes by which social work of a public character is accomplished and in emphasizing in civics private activities which are remote from official operations. For example, the principle of the separation of governmental powers, so scorned by the sociological school, is in fact more important, as we try to show, than half of the beneficent enterprises undertaken in the name of modern collectivism.

And both groups of books are equally in error in so far as they seem to regard civic life as static or settled rather than dynamic and progressive. By treating government in all its manifestations as a machine rather than a process, and by treating page: vi[View Page vi] social institutions as accomplished facts rather than as phases of social evolution, we must obviously put the pupils in the position of automatons moving in a world already finished--whereas we should regard them as creative factors in social life.

We are also unable to agree with those who view civics as a mere community study. In our opinion this is liable to be both superficial and anti-social, in so far as it stresses street-cleaning, gas plants, and local charitable institutions to the almost total exclusion of the fundamental outside influences which condition the life of the community. Just as the mother cannot act intelligently in the home unless she knows about the play of outside forces on the home, so the citizen cannot act intelligently in the community unless he views it in its proper relation to the state and nation. Perhaps the garbage cart is the only community institution which is purely local in character. All other essential matters--water, milk, food, clothing, shelter, education, income, and freedom--cannot be determined by community action; they are of state and national concern. The simpler community matters might very well be taken up in the eighth grade in place of some of the history now given there.

Another serious objection to the books on civics now available is that they are written almost wholly from a masculine point of view and appeal only to boys, destined to be voters. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of pupils in the high schools are girls, and if civics concerns only potential voters the subject should be confined to boys except in those states where women are enfranchised. But, in truth, civics concerns the whole community, and women constitute half of that community. They are mothers whom society holds largely responsible for the health and conduct of citizens; they are engaged in industries and professions of all kinds; they are taxpayers; they are subject to the laws; they suffer from the neglect of government as much as do the men; and they are just as deeply interested in government--whether they vote or not. Any work on civics which ignores the changed and special position of modern women in the family, in industry, before the law, and in the page: vii[View Page vii] intellectual life of the community is, therefore, less than half a book.

Although we believe that the spirit of a book and the method of approach are more important than any technicalities in arrangement, we have not adopted the general plan which follows without considering those problems of proportion, induction, and progressive development which have thus far drawn a great deal of attention from teachers of civics. There is, for instance, the vexed question whether the immature student should begin with local or national government. We have not been oblivious to the long and eloquent arguments which teachers have made over this issue; but it has seemed to us that both sides are so equally balanced that a discriminating person may decide either way.

The chief point usually made in favor of approaching through local government is that it is more concrete and simpler. We have come to the conclusion, on carefully weighing the matter, that this argument is largely illusory; that the concreteness and simplicity are more imaginary than real. The federal post office is as concrete as the town hall and the ways of Congress are not more mysterious than the devious methods of the town caucus which constitutes the "invisible" local government. The tariff sheets of charges posted at the local railway station under orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission may not be as concrete as the living, breathing poundkeeper or road supervisor of the village; but any civics which treats them as any less real is worse than wrong--it is pernicious. Then take the family with which the apostles of simplicity would fain begin. Is there in all the world anything more complex than the really important truths about this ancient institution?

No method of approach to government can in fact be simple. Our first word, as Pollock and Maitland say at the beginning of their History of English Law, must cut a seamless web too large for any human eye, and all we can do is to watch the whence and whither of the few threads which fall under our eyes. In very truth, it would seem that all subjects save mathematics and page: viii[View Page viii] languages are beyond the grasp of the immature pupil, and even the mathematicians and philologists have their warnings for us. But in a democracy it is essential that the citizens should have as clear an outlook as possible upon government and its problems and, though the complexity of all approaches to civics would bid us halt, the need of things must overcome our scruples. We have simply chosen to start with the individual and his position in industry and his rights under the law. A score of other ways might have been chosen with equal justification, perhaps, but a beginning had to be made somewhere.

We have given little consideration to the problem whether ours is the best government in the world, not because we are wanting in proper patriotic sentiments, but because the answer to that question is of little moment as compared with that greater question: is ours the best government which it is possible for the American people to establish and maintain? We have tried throughout this book to emphasize the great principles of government rather than to give a description of the intricate details of political organization and social work which will be obsolete in all probability before high school students have reached the voting age.

At the close of each chapter we have placed some simple questions based on the text, and we have given a few leading topics with references to one or more standard works, a complete list of which appears in the appendix. 1 In the appendix also will be found an extended list of questions which require more or less research on the part of the students, and the teacher will make use of them or not, according to the amount of time which may be devoted to the course.

In our opinion, civics should be taught in the first year of the


1 Unfortunately, most of the live material on practical civics is in the periodical literature; but knowing full well the difficulties which confront the teacher of large classes who attempts to make use of scattered articles, we have confined our bibliographical references to a few books which are readily available. We have appended a copy of the federal Constitution with amendments, and we have constantly cited it in the text. It is important that the student should acquire the habit of examining its language carefully on every point covered by it.

page: ix[View Page ix] high school for two fundamental reasons. The first is that a large number of pupils drop out after the first year, and if the purpose of instruction in civics is good citizenship, the subject should be placed in the course of study at the point where the most students will be reached. The second reason is that a study of the concrete political and social life of our age and country ought to precede, not follow, the more abstract study of past ages and of countries which we have never seen.

This volume, therefore, does not fit into the accepted scheme in which civics is disposed of by a few general and cursory reflections made during the closing weeks of the American history course at the end of the fourth year. It is an invitation to teachers to introduce the subject during the first term of the first year of the high school, and by the use of the additional topical references they can make the course as advanced as the circumstances warrant.

C. A. B.

M. R. B.

NEW YORK,

January, 1914.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I
HUMAN NEEDS AND THE GOVERNMENT

  1. CHAPTER PAGE
  2. THE NATURE OF MODERN GOVERNMENT3
  3. FOOD, CLOTHING, AND SHELTER8
  4. THE FAMILY21
  5. CIVIL LIBERTY34
  6. PROPERTY RIGHTS 54
  7. POLITICAL LIBERTY 64

PART II
THE MACHINERY OF GOVERNMENT--OFFICERS,
ELECTIONS, AND PARTIES

  1. THE GREAT PARTS OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT79
  2. THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT 95
  3. STATE GOVERNMENT 121
  4. THE GOVERNMENT OF CITIES130
  5. GOVERNMENT IN COUNTRY DISTRICTS 140
  6. POLITICAL PARTIES 145
  7. REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT AND DIRECT DEMOCRACY159

PART III
THE WORK OF GOVERNMENT

  1. THE SERVICES RENDERED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT 173
  2. THE WORK OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT 219
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  4. CHAPTER PAGE
  5. HOW THE CITY GOVERNMENT SERVES THE COMMUNITY 242
  6. THE WORK OF RURAL GOVERNMENT 271
  7. THE GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC OPINION 287
  8. RESEARCH QUESTIONS298
  9. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 312
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

  • FACING PAGE
  • Those on whom we depend for Coal 6
  • Shucking Oysters for the Market 12
  • Congestion in a Smaller City 12
  • How Thread is spun To-day 16
  • A Little Mother 30
  • A Home Factory 30
  • Freedom of Speech and Assembly 42
  • An Event in the Lawrence Strike of 1912 60
  • Dorr calling upon his Followers to take up Arms for the Right to Vote 70
  • President Wilson reading his Message to Congress 87
  • The White House 110
  • Justices of the Supreme Court 118
  • Open-air Voting in the Eighteenth Century 151
  • A National Irrigation Plant 194
  • The New York Bread Line 228
  • A Victim of an Industrial Accident 230
  • Night Work in a Glass Factory 230
  • A Chicago Court for Delinquent Girls 246
  • A Policewoman 250
  • A Municipal Milk Station 258
  • Food Inspection 258
  • The Need of Healthful Play 262
  • An Exhibit showing the City as a Farmer 266
  • Good and Bad Roads 275
  • In the Southern Cotton Fields To-day 278
  • Mass Meeting in Cooper Union, New York 288
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