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- Community Civics and Rural Life - 2/88 -

Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Useful publications of the state government and of state institutions can usually be had for the asking. In ordering from the Superintendent of Documents the money must be sent in advance (stamps are not accepted). Lists of publications with the prices may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, or from the several Departments of the Government.

Frequent reference is made to Lessons in Community and National Life. These are issued in three pamphlets (Series A, B, and C) by the United States Bureau of Education, at 15 cents per pamphlet. They contain a large amount of illustrative material. A very few books are referred to in certain chapters because of their especial value when obtainable. Among these are two collections of patriotic selections valuable because of their emphasis upon national ideals--Long's American Patriotic Prose (D.C. Heath & Company), and Foerster and Pierson's American Ideals (Houghton Mifflin Company). Other similar collections will be found useful.

The illustrations of the book, with comparatively few exceptions, are from photographs furnished by various departments of the United States Government.



Rural schools, and schools whose pupils have largely a background of rural experience, have not done as much as they should towards training for citizenship. This is largely because the text books have failed to interpret citizenship and government in terms of the actual experience of such pupils, or to stimulate teamwork and leadership in communities with a distinctly rural background. More over, in city and rural schools alike, there has been failure to emphasize the interdependence of rural and urban communities in a single national enterprise. Community Civics and Rural Life is planned to meet these deficiencies.

There has been too much TALKING ABOUT citizenship in school, and too little LIVING it from day to day. Training for citizenship necessitates its daily practice in school and out. In the hands of an able teacher, Community Civics and Rural Life should point the way to real community living, both now and in the future. It should teach the pupils what their real civic responsibilities are as well as their civic opportunities--and assist them to embrace them when they come. Children so trained will learn to respect, now and later, the rights of their neighbors, and will become as fair in their dealings with the government as with their fellowmen. They will furnish their communities with the right kind of leaders, unselfish and public spirited. When the time calls, they will be ready to accept and shed a new dignity upon the old positions of school trustee, highway engineer, sanitary inspector, township supervisor, county commissioner, or the more conspicuous offices of state and national government. Or as plain citizens they will lend these officials their active support for community and national betterment.



I. Our Common Purposes in Community Life II. How We Depend Upon One Another in Community Life III. The Need for Cooperation in Community Life IV. Why We Have Government V. What is Citizenship? VI. What is Our Community? VII. Our National Community VIII. A World Community IX. The Home X. Why Government Helps in Home Making XI. Earning a Living XII. Government as a Means of Cooperation in Agriculture XIII. Thrift XIV. The Relation Between the People and the Land XV. Conserving Our Natural Resources XVI. Protection of Property and Property Rights XVII. Roads and Transportation XVIII. Communication XIX. Education XX. The Community's Health XXI. Social, Aesthetic, and Spiritual Wants XXII. Dependent, Defective, and Delinquent Members of the Community XXIII. Teamwork in Taxation XXIV. How We Govern Ourselves XXV. Our Local Governments XXVI. Our State Governments XXVII. Our National Government Appendix--The Constitution of the United States





The most important element of success in community life, as in a ball game, a family, or a school, is TEAM WORK; and team work depends, first of all, upon a COMMON PURPOSE. Our nation gave an example of team work during the recent war such as is seldom seen; and this was be cause every member of the nation was keenly intent on WINNING. We may see the same thing in our school when Christmas entertainment is being planned, when an athletic tournament is approaching, or when some other school activity is under way in which all are deeply interested. It is often illustrated in our town, or rural neighborhood when some important enterprise is on foot, such as the building of a new railroad into town, a Red Cross "drive" and a county fair, or the construction of a much needed new schoolhouse.


All communities have common purposes, although they are not always as clearly defined as when our nation was at war, or as in the other cases mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Sometimes the people of a community, or a large portion of them, seem to be wholly unconscious that a common purpose exists. This may be true even in a family or in a school. And when this happens, the effect is the same as if there WERE no common purpose. No club or athletic team can be successful unless its members have a common purpose AND UNDERSTAND IT. Insofar as our communities are imperfect--and none of them, is perfect--it is largely because their members fail to recognize or understand their common purposes.

People in communities have common purposes because they have the same wants. This may not at first seem to be true.


If we visit a large city, we see throngs of people hurrying hither and thither, jostling one another, apparently in the greatest confusion. We wonder where they are all going, what they are doing, what they are seeking. In rural communities or in small towns there is less apparent confusion than in the bustling life of the city. Yet even here it is not always easy to see common purposes and common interests. Whether in large or small communities, we are more likely to be impressed by the VARIETY of men's wants and even by the CONFLICT of their purposes.

But no matter how numerous and conflicting our wants may seem, they may all be grouped in a very few important kinds, which are common to all of us alike. It will be worthwhile to test the truth of this, because it will help us to see our community life in some kind of order, and will throw a flood of light upon the common purposes that control it.


For example, we all want food, drink, and sleep, clothing to protect our bodies, and houses to shelter us. But all these things supply our PHYSICAL wants; that is, they re late to LIFE AND HEALTH. Many of the things that we do every day are important because of their relation to our physical well-being. One reason why we enjoy out door sports is that they make our blood tingle and give a sense of physical pleasure. Unless our physical wants are provided for, the other wants of life cannot well be satisfied. Good health is a priceless possession.

Mention some things you have done today for your physical welfare.


Another reason why sports and games give pleasure is be cause of the association they afford with other people. ASSOCIATION WITH OTHERS is a second great want which explains many of the things we do. Whatever may be our other reasons for going to school, it affords us the opportunity to meet and work and play with other boys and girls to our pleasure and profit. One of the objections often raised against life in the country is the lack of opportunity for association with other people. But life in the country is not so isolated as it once was; and one may be very much alone in a city crowd, where nearly all are strangers to one another, and where there is very little real association among individuals. City families often live in the same apartment house without knowing one another.

What are some things you do especially for the sake of companionship?

Community Civics and Rural Life - 2/88

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