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The number of children at work in Illinois grows by leaps and bounds. The demand for children's work presses unceasingly as the improvement of machinery renders the children available and the increasing immigration furnishes them by thousands to meet the demand. To pause in the process of improving the laws for the protection of the children means the growth of illiteracy and child-labor. To gain upon these evils, new and progressive measures must be adopted year after year, as rapidly as public opinion can be educated. To be satisfied with less than the best would be unworthy of the third greatest state and the second city in the republic.
If, however, Illinois is to rise again from the fifteenth to the lost sixth place in the scale of the states, as shown in the census of 1890-1900; and, still more, if Illinois is to acquire that which she has never yet possessed, namely, standing in the front rank of the states which take enlightened care of their children, it will be necessary to avoid all vainglorious boasting and face the facts as they are, realizing that a large task awaits the legislature. For it will be necessary to enact comprehensive measures, covering the following twelve important points:
1. A required amount of the work in the curriculum of the public schools to be covered by all the children, either in the public schools or in private schools, or in some other manner (in institutions or at home), preferably the work of the first eight years, as in Colorado.
2. Required school attendance to the age of sixteen years, except for children exempted after compliance with the foregoing school requirement.
3. A physician's examination of all the children at the time of beginning work, and the filing of a signed statement of a physician of the local board of health that at the time of the examination the child is of the normal stature of a child of fourteen years and in good health.
4. School plıysicians, with powers much enlarged beyond those of the present medical visitors of the Chicago schools.
5. School nurses provided by the local board of health.
the deaf and crippled as now, but for all the recently immigrated children over the age of ten years, and for the pupils who are subnormal, but not idiotic.
7. Play centers under the charge of the local board of education.
8. Branch libraries in the public school, to reinforce the school work in the English language.
9. Regulation of the street occupations for children under the age of sixteen years, prohibiting the employment of girls.
10. The Pennsylvania prohibition of the employment of boys under the age of sixteen years underground in mines.
II. The Colorado law enforcing adult responsibility for the delinquency of children under the age of sixteen years.
12. The admission to the electorate of the women of the state, in order that the mothers, the teachers, and the rest of the women interested in children may help with the enactment and the enforcement of laws for the welfare of the children.
FLORENCE KELLEY, Corresponding Secretary, National Consumers' League. New York City.
DEFINITION OF A SOCIAL POLICY RELATING TO
THE DEPENDENT GROUP.1
The subject of the social treatment of dependents has been approached through several different disciplines, according to the previous training and bias of the investigator and writer. The economists have dealt with the topic as a problem of finance, of public expenditure, and of production, wages, and the distribution of the product of industry. Since the money spent in public relief must be raised by taxation, and since the method of giving relief affects the efficiency of labor and the rate of wages, the economists were right in giving serious attention to this matter.2 The Poor Law has naturally been treated by legal writers, because it was a vital part of the system of control by governments in all modern countries, especially in northern Europe and the English colonies and their offspring. The “police power” of the state covers this function.3
The older “moral philosophy” or “moral science” sought to answer the question: "What is our duty to the very poor, and how can we best fulfil that duty?”. In reality, that is one problem of what may be called a branch of social science, differentiated as “social technology.” 4 For the steps that we take in accumulating facts about the Dependent Group — in the classification of subgroups, in the determination of causes, in the statistical measurement of misery, and in the definition of social aims — all culminate and find their supreme value in their contribution to the solution of this question: “What is our duty to the helpless poor and how may we best fulfil that duty ?”
Read at the Congress of Arts and Science, St. Louis, September 23, 1904. American conditions were chiefly considered in this paper.
? Here may be mentioned, among many, Malthus, Chalmers, J. S. Mill, Fawcett, Roscher.
See E. FREUND, Police Power, 1904. • My article, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF Sociology, January, 1901.
When we come to deal with special classes of dependents, we encounter a series of professional disciplines and arts. For example, the care of the insane is a branch of the medical art, and only alienists who devote their lives to this department are trusted to speak with highest authority. This is also true of the public care of epileptics. The care of the feeble-minded, idiots, and imbeciles is chiefly a matter of a pedagogical specialty, although medicine and surgery lend important aid, as in physical culture, the thyroid treatment, etc. The care of normal dependent children is best determined by considerations of general education, and here we are brought into the field of the teacher and to the problems of domestic institutions.
It thus appears that the study of the social treatment of dependents makes drafts on almost all the funds of human knowledge, uses all the methods and results of investigation, and employs in turn all the great institutional agencies of the community.
This essay does not profess to announce for the first time any new discoveries or results of special original investigations as yet unpublished, but rather to mark the present stage of knowledge on the matter before us, and to indicate some of the points on the frontier of experiment and research where further data are needed. If, in thus restating the subject, some slight increment to science may be added, it will be incidental to the main purpose of the exposition.
Any attempt to describe even the system of charity in one country would result in a dry, tedious, and disappointing sketch. The essential features of modern methods fill a large volume, and detailed accounts require many volumes.5
It would seem expedient to select a theme which will lead us to consider the most recent and successful endeavor of students of social science, (1) to construct a special discipline which is clearly marked off by its subject-matter and is deserving of independent and systematic treatment; and (2) to consider a method of taking up particular problems of practice, so as to guide experiment into the most economical and promising paths.
• Modern Churity Systems, by the writer and others (The Macmillan Co., 1904).
A social policy is not aimless and irrational, but moves toward an end, seeks to realize a good. Soon or late, social science, in the course of its development and specialization, must encounter the problem of values and standards which does not complicate the studies of inorganic nature, as chemistry, physics, and astronomy, and only incidentally biology. Thus, for example, we are form
. ing judgments as to the best methods of dealing with dependents. What do we mean by "best"? We are really thinking of the welfare of dependents and of the people of the community of which they are members. Many specific ends we have in mind; as the restoration of the sick and the insane to health, or the mitigation of distress when cure is impossible; the improvement of the touch, hearing, sight, and skill of the feeble-minded; the proper nutrition and development of neglected infants; peaceful and quiet existence for aged men and women in almshouses; and many more such purposes. We give social honor and praise to the rich men who endow hospitals, and to the physicians and nurses who faithfully give their lives to the sick. It is evident that modern societies act as if they knew that such ends are rational and worthy.
But there is both theoretical and practical interest in the wider scientific problem: What is the general social end? For we neither know the full extent of social obligation, nor the relative value of a particular object or institution, until we see the specific action in its place in a comprehensive system of ends. Our theory is incomplete and our system of agencies falls short, and our devices are either superfluous and exaggerated, or halting and inadequate, until our definition of the ultimate purpose of social action and conduct is clear and rationally justified.
Since we cannot, here at least, critically follow this argument to a satisfactory conclusion, we may assume what society actually takes for granted, and what we find implied in all social institutions, laws, societies, movements, governments — that health, sanity, intelligence, morality, beauty, etc., are desirable for every human being.
* See STAMMLER, Wirthschaft und Recht.