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Title: The Challenge of the Country - A Study of Country Life Opportunity
Author: Fiske, George Walter
Language: English
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[Illustration: THE COUNTRY BOY

Why does he want to leave his father's farm to go to the city? He ought to
be able to find his highest happiness and usefulness in the country, his
native environment, where he is sadly needed. Can we make it worth while
for this boy to invest his life in rural leadership?]


  _A Study of Country Life Opportunity_



  Association Press
  NEW YORK: 124 East 28th Street
  LONDON: 47 Paternoster Row, E. C.




This study of country life opportunity and analysis of various phases of
the rural problems in America has been written at the request of the
International Committee of Young Men's Christian Associations,
particularly for their County Work and Student departments. The former
desired a handbook for the training of leaders in rural Christian work and
the latter a textbook for the use of college students in Christian
Associations wishing to study the fundamentals of rural social service and
rural progress. It is the sincere hope of those who have asked for this
book that it may bring to very many earnest young men and women, and
especially in the colleges of the United States and Canada, a challenging
vision of the need of trained leadership in every phase of rural life, as
well as a real opportunity for life investment.

Being the first book in the field which makes available the results of the
Thirteenth U. S. Census, it is hoped that its fresh treatment of the
latest aspects of the rural problems will commend itself to general
readers who are interested in the Rural Life Movement and the welfare of
the rural three-fifths of America.

The author acknowledges with thanks the courtesy of the Presbyterian Board
of Home Missions, the Macmillan Company and _Rural Manhood_, in granting
the use of the cuts appearing in this volume.



  INTRODUCTION                                             xi
  Country Life Opportunity.

  THE RURAL PROBLEM                                         1
  Its Development and Present Urgency.

  COUNTRY LIFE OPTIMISM                                    33
  Rural Resources and the Country Life Movement.

  THE NEW RURAL CIVILIZATION                               63
  Factors that Are Making a New World in the Country.

  The Oldest of the Arts Becomes a New Profession.

  Country Life Deficiencies and the New Cooperation.

  EDUCATION FOR COUNTRY LIFE                              151
  How Efficient Rural Citizenship Is Developed.

  RURAL CHRISTIAN FORCES                                  173
  The Community-Serving Church and Its Allies.

  COUNTRY LIFE LEADERSHIP                                 225
  A Challenge to College Men and Women.

  APPENDIX                                                269

  INDEX                                                   277


  The Country Boy                              _Frontispiece_

  Rural Schools in Daviess County, Ind.     _Facing page_  12

  An Abandoned Church                             "   "    18

  Rural Redirection                               "   "    48

  School Garden Work at Guelph, Canada            "   "    82

  Plan of Macdonald Consolidated School Grounds   "   "    86

  A Modern Fruit and Truck Farm                   "   "    98

  Pennsylvania Farm Land                          "   "   108

  Cooperation on the Playground                   "   "   134

  Types of Consolidated Schools                   "   "   158

  Vocational Training in Rural Schools            "   "   162

  An Over-Churched Community                      "   "   184

  Presbyterian Church, Winchester, Ill.           "   "   236



The glare of the city dazzles the eyes of many a man in college. For a
generation college debates, in class, club and fraternity, have
popularized all phases of the city problem, the very difficulties of which
have challenged many a country-bred boy to throw in his life where the
maelstrom was the swiftest.

In recent years however the country problem has been claiming its share of
attention. It has grown to the dignity of a national issue. The great
Rural Life Movement, starting from the Agricultural Colleges, has enlisted
the intelligent cooperation of far-visioned men in many professions.
Thinking people see clearly that in spite of the growth of cities, the
nation is still rural. Agriculture is still the main business of our
people. The nation's prosperity still depends upon "bumper crops." The
nation's character still depends upon country conscience. Not only is it
true that most of our leaders in politics, in the pulpit, in all
professions and in the great industries were born and bred in the country;
the city is still looking to the country to develop in large degree the
leadership of the future.

Were it not for the immigration tides and the continuous supply of fresh
young life from the country, the city would be unable to maintain itself;
it would be crushed beneath its burdens. For the city is the "Graveyard of
the national physique." With its moral and industrial overstrain, it is
the burial place of health, as well as youthful ambitions and hopes, for
many a young person not accustomed to its high-geared life. The nervous
system rebels against the city pace. In an incognito life the character
crumbles under the subtle disintegration of city temptations. The young
man with exceptional ability finds his way to high success in the city;
the average man trudges on in mediocrity, lost in the crowd--just a "high
private in the rear rank," when he might have stayed in the country home
and won a measure of real influence and substantial happiness in his
natural environment.

Not only has the lure of the city drawn thousands of young people who were
better off in their country homes, the real claims of the country village
upon those young people have but timidly been uttered. Not only has the
call of the city been magnified by artificial echoes, the call of the open
country has scarcely been sounded at all. The opportunity of the city as a
life arena has been advertised beyond all reason. It is time to talk of
the life chance for stalwart young Americans to stay right in the country
and realize their high privileges.

One per cent. of our young manhood and womanhood is found in college
halls. They are in many respects the chosen youth of the land. A few are
sent there by indulgent parents, but the great majority are there mainly
because of personal ambition, the urge of a mighty impulse to make their
lives count, and to get the best preparation for the work of life,
wherever their lot may be cast. Yet selfishness is not the main element in
this ambition. The truest idealists, the finest altruists are right here
among these eager college students. In their four years of liberal
training they are often reminded that the real motive of it all is
"Education for power and power for service."

The subtle sarcasm "You may lead a boy to college but you cannot make him
think" is quite needless in most cases. It would be truer to say you
cannot stop his thinking. Increasingly, in the later years of college
life, the thinking takes the direction of life planning, the discussion of
a real life-mission. Not only in the so-called Christian colleges, but
even in the State universities, which are fast becoming centers of real
religious life and power, the best men and women are now planning their
future according to what they believe to be the will of God for them. Many
have caught the vision of the possibility of genuine consecration in any
honorable life calling, making it a life of genuine service, which after
all is life's greatest opportunity. For such young men and women the
question simply is: What shall this service be and where shall it be

The same problem of life investment is confronting the young men and women
who are not in the colleges. Idealism is not at all confined to college
halls. Wherever this book may find young men and women weighing seriously
their great life question, may it help them to see the real opportunity
offered them in the roomy fields of rural life and leadership.





    I. _The Problem Stated and Defined_

       Definition and analysis.
       A classification of urban and rural communities.

   II. _City and Country_

       How the growing city developed the problem.
       The surprising growth of rural America.
       A false and misleading comparison.

  III. _Rural Depletion and Rural Degeneracy_

       The present extent of rural depletion.
       Losses in country towns.
       The need of qualitative analysis of the census.
       The question of degeneracy in city and country.
       Stages and symptoms of rural decadence.
       The Nam's Hollow case.
       A note of warning.

   IV. _The Urgency of the Problem_

       A hunt for fundamental causes.
       The unfortunate urbanizing of rural life.
       Why country boys and girls leave the farm.
       The folly of exploiting the country boy.
       The city's dependence on the country.

    V. _A Challenge to Faith_

The Challenge of the Country




I. The Problem Stated and Defined.

Early in the year 1912, some five hundred leading business and
professional men of the cities of New York state met at a banquet, under
the auspices of the Young Men's Christian Association. During the evening
it was discovered that nine-tenths of these influential city leaders had
come from country homes. They were born on farms in the open country or in
rural villages of 2,500 population or less.

Facts like these no longer surprise intelligent people. They are common to
most cities, at least on our American continent; and herein is the crux of
the rural problem. At great sacrifice for a century the country has been
making the city. Doubtless thousands of incompetent citizens have been
forced off the farms by the development of farm machinery; and the country
was little poorer for their loss. But in surrendering to the city
countless farm boys of character and promise who have since become the
city's leaders, many a rural village has suffered irreparably. To be sure
this seems to be one of the village's main functions, to furnish leaders
for the city; and it has usually been proud of its opportunity. It is the
_wholesale_ character of this generous community sacrifice which has
developed trouble.

The rural problem is the problem of maintaining in our farm and village
communities a Christian civilization with modern American ideals of
happiness, efficiency and progress.

It is a problem of industrial efficiency, of economic progress, of social
cooperation and recreation, of home comfort, of educational equipment for
rural life, of personal happiness, of religious vitality and of
institutional development for community service. Though the problem would
exist independently of the city, its acuteness is due to city competition.

The fact that city leadership is still largely drawn from the country
makes the rural problem of vital importance to the welfare of the city and
in a real sense a national issue.

_A Classification of Communities_

The terms rural and urban, country and city, town, village and township
are so variously used they cause much ambiguity. The last is primarily
geographical rather than social. The word town means township in New
England and nothing in particular anywhere else. The others are relative
terms used differently by different people. For years the line between
rural and urban was arbitrarily set at the 8,000 mark, but the thirteenth
census has placed it at 2,500. It seems petty however to dub a village of
2,501 people a city! This is convenient but very inaccurate. There are 38
"towns" in Massachusetts alone having over 8,000 people which refuse to be
called cities.

Cities of the first class have a population of 100,000 upwards; cities of
the second class number from 25,000 to 100,000 people; and communities
from 8,000 to 25,000 may well be styled small cities. The term village is
naturally applied to a community of 2,500 or less. When located in the
country it is a country village; when near a city it is a suburban village
and essentially urban. When no community center is visible, the term "open
country" best fits the case.

The disputed territory between 2,500 and 8,000 will be urban or rural,
according to circumstances. A community of this size in the urban tract is
by no means rural. But if away from the domination of city life it is
purely country. The best term the writer has been able to find for this
comfortable and prosperous type of American communities,--there are over
4,500 of them, between the village of 2,500 and the city of 8,000
people,--is the good old New England term _town_; which may be either
rural or urban according to its distance from the nearest city.

In the last analysis the terms rural and urban are qualitative rather than
quantitative. In spite of the apparent paradox, there are rural cities and
urban villages; small provincial cities where the people are largely
rural-minded, and suburban villages of a few hundred people whose
interests are all in the life of the city. But in general, the scope of
the term "country life" as used in this book will be understood to include
the life of the open country, the rural village and most country towns of
8,000 people or less, whose outlook is the sky and the soil rather than
the brick walls and limited horizon of the city streets.

II. City and Country.

_How the Growing City Developed the Problem_

We can almost say the growth of the city made the country problem. It
would be nearer the truth to say, it made the problem serious. The problem
of rural progress would still exist, even if there were no cities; but had
the city not been drafting its best blood from the villages for more than
half a century, we should probably not be anxious about the rural problem
to-day, for it is this loss of leadership which has made rural progress so
slow and difficult.

It is well to remember that the growth of cities is not merely an American
fact. It is universal in all the civilized world. Wherever the modern
industrial system holds sway the cities have been growing phenomenally. In
fact the city population in this country is less in proportion than the
city population of England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Belgium, Saxony,
The Netherlands and Prussia.

The present gains of American cities are largely due to immigration and to
the natural increase of births over deaths, especially in recent years
with improved sanitation, but for many decades past the city has gained
largely at the expense of the country. Chicago became a city of over two
million before the first white child born there died, in March, 1907.
Meanwhile, in the decade preceding 1890, 792 Illinois rural townships lost
population, in the following decade 522, and in the decade 1900-1910,
1113, in spite of the agricultural wealth of this rich prairie state.
Likewise New York city (with Brooklyn) has doubled in twenty years since
1890; while in a single decade almost 70% of the rural townships in the
state reported a loss. The rural state of Iowa actually reports a net loss
of 7,000 for the last decade (1900), though Des Moines alone gained
24,200, and all but two of the cities above 8,000 grew.[1]

Naturally in the older sections of the country the rural losses hitherto
have been most startling. In the rural sections of New Hampshire Dr. W. L.
Anderson found serious depletion from 1890 to 1900, "a great enough loss
to strain rural society"; and the 1910 census reports even worse losses.
The same has been only less true of the rural districts in Maine, Vermont,
eastern Connecticut and portions of all the older states. The cities'
gains cost the country dear, in abandoned farms, weakened schools and
churches and discouraged communities drained of their vitality.

_The Surprising Growth of Rural America_

However, in spite of this story of rural depletion which has been often
rehearsed, the rural sections of our country altogether have made
surprising gains. City people especially are astonished to learn that our
country, even if the cities should be eliminated entirely from the
reckoning, has been making substantial progress. The 8,000 mark was for
years reckoned as the urban point. Counting only communities of less than
8,000 people we find that in 1850 the country population numbered
20,294,290; in 1890, 44,349,747; and in 1906, 54,107,571. If we consider
only communities of 2,500 or less, we find 35-1/3 millions in 1880; over
45 millions in 1900; and nearly 50 millions in 1910. The last census
reports almost 53-1/2 millions of people living in villages of 5,000 or
less; or 58.2% of the population.

It is obvious that in spite of dismal prophecies to the contrary from city
specialists, and in spite of the undeniable drift to the city for decades,
the total country population in America has continued to grow. Rural
America is still growing 11.2% in a decade. Outside of the densely
populated north-eastern states, the nation as a whole is still rural and
will long remain so. Where the soil is poor, further rural depletion must
be expected; but with normal conditions and with an increasingly
attractive rural life, most country towns and villages may be expected to
hold their own reasonably well against the city tide.

We hear little to-day about the abandoned farms of New England. In the
decade past they have steadily found a market and hundreds of them have
been reclaimed for summer occupancy or for suburban homes for city men.
Even in rural counties where decay has been notable in many townships,
there are always prosperous towns and villages, along the rivers and the
railroads, where substantial prosperity will doubtless continue for many
years to come.

_A False and Misleading Comparison_

Unquestionably a false impression on this question has prevailed in the
cities for a generation past because of obviously unjust comparisons.
Families coming from decadent villages to prosperous cities have talked
much of rural decadence. Stories of murders and low morals in neglected
rural communities have made a great impression on people living in clean
city wards. Meanwhile, not five blocks away, congested city slums never
visited by the prosperous, concealed from popular view, festering social
corruption and indescribable poverty and vice. Let us be fair in our
sociological comparisons and no longer judge our rural worst by our urban
best. Let the rural slum be compared with the city slum and the city
avenues with the prosperous, self-respecting sections of the country; then
contrasts will not be so lurid and we shall see the facts in fair

As soon as we learn to discriminate we find that country life as a whole
is wholesome, that country people as a rule are as happy as city people
and fully as jovial and light-hearted and that the fundamental prosperity
of most country districts has been gaining these past two decades. While
rural depletion is widespread, rural _decadence_ must be studied not as a
general condition at all, but as the abnormal, unusual state found in
special sections, such as regions handicapped by poor soil, sections
drained by neighboring industrial centers, isolated mountain districts
where life is bare and strenuous, and the open country away from railroads
and the great life currents. With this word of caution let us examine the
latest reports of rural depletion.

III. Rural Depletion and Rural Degeneracy.

_The Present Extent of Rural Depletion_

The thirteenth census (1910) shows that in spite of the steady gain in the
country districts of the United States as a whole, thousands of rural
townships have continued to lose population. These shrinking communities
are found everywhere except in the newest agricultural regions of the West
and in the black belt of the South. The older the communities the earlier
this tendency to rural depletion became serious. The trouble began in New
England, but now the rural problem is moving west. Until the last census
New England was the only section of the country to show this loss as a
whole; but the 1910 figures just reported give a net rural loss for the
first time in the group of states known as the "east north central." Yet
in both cases, the net rural loss for the section was less than 1%.

Taking 2,500 as the dividing line, the last census reports that in every
state in the country the urban population has increased since 1900, but in
six states the rural population has diminished. In two states, Montana and
Wyoming, the country has outstripped the city; but in general, the country
over, the cities grew from 1900 to 1910 three times as fast as the rural
sections. While the country communities of the United States have grown
11.2% the cities and towns above 2,500 have increased 34.8%. In the
prosperous state of Iowa, the only state reporting an absolute loss, the
rural sections lost nearly 120,000. Rural Indiana lost 83,127, or 5.1%;
rural Missouri lost 68,716, or 3.5%; rural villages in New Hampshire show
a net loss of 10,108, or 5.4%; and rural Vermont has suffered a further
loss of 8,222, or 4.2%, though the state as a whole made the largest gain
for forty years.

These latest facts from the census are valuable for correcting false
notions of rural depletion. It is unfair to count up the number of rural
townships in a state which have failed to grow and report that state
rurally decadent. For example, a very large majority of the Illinois
townships with less than 2,500 people failed to hold their own the past
decade,--1,113 out of 1,592. But in many cases the loss was merely
nominal; consequently we find, in spite of the tremendous drain to
Chicago, the rural population of the state as a whole made a slight gain.
This case is typical. Thousands of rural villages have lost population;
yet other thousands have gained enough to offset these losses in all but
the six states mentioned.

_Losses in Country Towns_

New England continues to report losses, not only in the rural villages,
but also in the country towns of between 2,500 and 5,000 population. This
was true the last decade in every New England state except Vermont.
Massachusetts towns of this type made a net loss of about 30,000, or 15%;
although nearly all the larger towns and many villages in that remarkably
prosperous state made gains. This class of towns has also made net losses
the past decade in Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, South Carolina, Alabama
and Mississippi, although in these last four states the smaller
communities under 2,500 made substantial gains. This indicates in some
widely different sections of the country an apparently better prosperity
in the open country than in many country towns. Similarly in several
states, the larger towns between five and ten thousand population have
netted a loss in the last decade, as in New York State, although the
smaller villages have on the average prospered.

_The Need of Qualitative Analysis of the Census_

We must not be staggered by mere figures. A _qualitative_ analysis of the
census sometimes saves us from pessimism. Someone has said "Even a
_growing_ town has no moral insurance." Mere growth does not necessarily
mean improvement either in business or morals. It is quite possible that
some of the "decadent" villages which have lost 15% of their population
are really better places for residence than they were before and possibly
fully as prosperous. It depends entirely on the kind of people that
remain. If it is really the survival of the fittest, there will be no
serious problem. But if it is "the heritage of the unfit," if only the
unambitious and shiftless have remained, then the village is probably

In any case, the situation is due to the inevitable process of social and
economic adjustment. Changes in agricultural method and opportunity are
responsible for much of it. Doubtless farm machinery has driven many
laborers away. Likewise the rising price of land has sent away the
speculative farmer to pastures new, especially from eastern Canada and the
middle west in the States to the low-priced lands of the rich Canadian
west.[2] The falling native birthrate, especially in New England, has
been as potent a factor in diminishing rural sections as has the lure of
the cities.

"In the main," says Dr. Anderson in his very discriminating study of the
problem, "rural depletion is over. In its whole course it has been an
adjustment of industrial necessity and of economic health; everywhere it
is a phase of progress and lends itself to the optimist that discerns
deeper meanings. Nevertheless depletion has gone so far as to affect
seriously all rural problems within the area of its action.

"The difficult and perplexing problems are found where the people are
reduced in number. That broad though irregular belt of depleted rural
communities, stretching from the marshes of the Atlantic shore to the
banks of the Missouri, which have surrendered from ten to forty per cent.
of their people, within which are many localities destined to experience
further losses, calls for patient study of social forces and requires a
reconstruction of the whole social outfit. But it should be remembered
that an increasing population gathers in rural towns thickly strewn
throughout the depleted tract, and that the cheer of their growth and
thrift is as much a part of the rural situation as the perplexity incident
to a diminishing body of people."[3]

Whereas the main trend in rural districts is toward better social and
moral conditions as well as material prosperity, we do not have to look
far to find local degeneracy in the isolated places among the hills or in
unfertile sections which have been deserted by the ambitious and
intelligent, leaving a pitiable residuum of "poor whites" behind. Such
localities furnish the facts for the startling disclosures which form the
basis of occasional newspaper and magazine articles such as Rollin Lynde
Hartt's in the _Atlantic Monthly_, Vol. 83, _The Forum_, June 1892, the
_St. Albans Messenger_ Jan. 2, 1904, et cetera.

_The Question of Degeneracy in City and Country_

The question has long been debated as to whether criminals and defectives
are more common in the city or the country. Dwellers in prosperous,
well-governed suburban cities, that know no slums, are positive that the
rural districts are degenerate. Country people in prosperous rural
sections of Kansas, for instance, where no poor-house or jail can be found
for many miles, insist that degeneracy is a city symptom! It is obvious
that discrimination is necessary. The great majority of folks in both city
and country are living a decent life; degeneracy is everywhere the
exception. It would be fully as reasonable to condemn the city as a whole
for the breeding places of vice, insanity and crime which we call the
slums, as it is to characterize rural life in general as degenerate.

In view of the evident fact that both urban and rural communities have
their defectives and delinquents, in varying ratio, depending on local
conditions, Professor Giddings suggests a clear line of discrimination.
"Degeneration manifests itself in the protean forms of suicide, insanity,
crime and vice, which abound in the highest civilization, where the
tension of life is extreme, and in those places from which civilization
has ebbed and from which population has been drained, leaving a
discouraged remnant to struggle against deteriorating conditions.... Like
insanity, crime occurs most frequently in densely populated towns on the
one hand, and on the other in partially deserted rural districts. Murder
is a phenomenon of both the frontier life of an advancing population and
of the declining civilization in its rear; it is preeminently the crime of
the new town and the decaying town.... Crimes of all kinds are less
frequent in prosperous agricultural communities and in thriving towns of
moderate size, where the relation of income to the standard of living is
such that the life struggle is not severe."[4]

[Illustration: Rural Schools in Daviess County, Indiana.]

_Stages and Symptoms of Rural Decadence_

In his discussion of the country problem, Dr. Josiah Strong reminds us
that rural decadence comes as an easy evolution passing through rather
distinct stages, when the rural community has really lost its best blood.
Roads deteriorate,--those all-important arteries of country life; then
property soon depreciates; schools and churches are weakened; often
foreign immigrants crowd out the native stock, sometimes infusing real
strength, but often introducing the continental system of rural peasantry,
with absentee landlords. Then isolation increases, with a strong tendency
toward degeneracy and demoralization.

Where this process is going on we are not surprised to find such
conditions as Rev. H. L. Hutchins described in 1906 in an address before
the annual meeting of the Connecticut Bible Society at New Haven. From a
very intimate experience of many years in the rural sections of
Connecticut, he gave a most disheartening report, dwelling upon the
increasing ignorance of the people, their growing vices, the open contempt
for and disregard of marriage, the alarming growth of idiocy, partly the
result of inbreeding and incest, some localities being cited where
practically all the residents were brothers and sisters or cousins, often
of the same name, so that surnames were wholly displaced by nicknames; the
omnipresence of cheap whiskey with its terrible effects, the resulting
frequency of crimes of violence; the feebleness and backwardness of the
schools and the neglect and decay of the churches, resulting in inevitable
lapse into virtual paganism and barbarism, in sections that two
generations ago were inhabited by stalwart Christian men and women of the
staunch old New England families.

Doubtless similar illustrations of degradation could be cited from the
neglected corners of all the older states of the country, where several
generations of social evolution have ensued under bad circumstances. In
all the central states, conditions of rural degeneracy now exist which a
few years ago were supposed to be confined to New England; for the same
causes have been repeating themselves in other surroundings.

An illustration of "discouraged remnants" is cited by Dr. Warren H.
Wilson. "I remember driving, in my early ministry, from a prosperous
farming section into a weakened community, whose lands had a lowered value
because they lay too far from the railroad. My path to a chapel service
on Sunday afternoon lay past seven successive farmhouses in each of which
lived one member of a family, clinging in solitary misery to a small
acreage which had a few years earlier supported a household. In that same
neighborhood was one group of descendants of two brothers, which had in
two generations produced sixteen suicides. 'They could not stand trouble,'
the neighbors said. The lowered value of their land, with consequent
burdens, humiliation and strain, had crushed them. The very ability and
distinction of the family in the earlier period had the effect by contrast
to sink them lower down."[5]

_The Nam's Hollow Case_

Ordinary rural degeneracy, however, is more apt to be associated with
feeble-mindedness. An alarming, but perhaps typical case is described in a
recent issue of _The Survey_. A small rural community in New York state,
which the author calls for convenience Nam's Hollow, contains 232
licentious women and 199 licentious men out of a total population of 669;
the great proportion being mentally as well as morally defective. A great
amount of consanguineous marriage has taken place,--mostly without the
formalities prescribed by law. Sex relations past and present are
hopelessly entangled. Fifty-four of the inhabitants of the Hollow have
been in custody either in county houses or asylums, many are paupers, and
forty have served terms in state's prison or jail. There are 192 persons
who are besotted by the use of liquor "in extreme quantities."

Apparently most of this degeneracy can be traced back to a single family
whose descendants have numbered 800. With all sorts of evil traits to
begin with, this family by constant inbreeding have made persistent these
evil characteristics in all the different households and have cursed the
whole life of the Hollow, not to mention the unknown evil wrought
elsewhere, whither some of them have gone. "The imbeciles and harlots and
criminalistic are bred in the Hollow, but they do not all stay there." A
case is cited of a family of only five which has cost the county up to
date $6,300, and the expense likely to continue for many years yet. "Would
you rouse yourself if you learned there were ten cases of bubonic plague
at a point not 200 miles away?" asks the investigator of Nam's Hollow. "Is
not a breeding spot of uncontrolled animalism as much of a menace to our

_A Note of Warning_

These sad stories of rural degeneracy must not make us pessimists. We need
not lose our faith in the open country. It is only the exceptional
community which has really become decadent and demoralized. These
communities however warn us that even self-respecting rural villages are
in danger of following the same sad process of decay unless they are kept
on the high plane of wholesome Christian living and community efficiency.
What is to prevent thousands of other rural townships, which are now
losing population, gradually sinking to the low level of personal
shiftlessness and institutional uselessness which are the marks of
degeneracy? Nothing can prevent this but the right kind of intelligent,
consecrated leadership. It is not so largely a quantitative matter,
however, as Dr. Josiah Strong suggested twenty years ago in his stirring
treatment of the subject. After citing the fact that 932 townships in New
England were losing population in 1890, and 641 in New York, 919 in
Pennsylvania, 775 in Ohio, et cetera, he suggests: "If this migration
continues, and no new preventive measures are devised, I see no reason why
isolation, irreligion, ignorance, vice and degradation should not increase
in the country until we have a rural American peasantry, illiterate and
immoral, possessing the rights of citizenship, but utterly incapable of
performing or comprehending its duties."

After twenty years we find the rural depletion still continuing. Though
New England in 1910 reports 143 fewer losing towns than in 1890, the
census of 1910 in general furnishes little hope that the migration from
the country sections is diminishing.[7] Our hope for the country rests in
the fact that the problem has at last been recognized as a national issue
and that a Country Life Movement of immense significance is actually
bringing in a new rural civilization. "We must expect the steady
deterioration of our rural population, unless effective preventive
measures are devised," was Dr. Strong's warning two decades ago. To-day
the challenge of the country not only quotes the peril of rural depletion
and threatened degeneracy, but also appeals to consecrated young manhood
and womanhood with a living faith in the permanency of a reconstructed
rural life.

Our rural communities must be saved from decadence, for the sake of the
nation. Professor Giddings well says: "Genius is rarely born in the city.
The city owes the great discoveries and immortal creations to those who
have lived with nature and with simple folk. The country produces the
original ideas, the raw materials of social life, and the city combines
ideas and forms the social mind." In the threatened decadence of depleted
rural communities, and in the lack of adequate leadership in many places,
to revive a dying church, to equip a modern school, to develop a new rural
civilization, to build a cooperating community with a really satisfying
and efficient life, we have a problem which challenges both our patriotism
and our religious spirit, for the problem is fundamentally a religious

IV. The Urgency of the Problem.

A broad-minded leader of the religious life of college men has recently
expressed his opinion that _the rural problem is more pressing just now
than any other North American problem_. He is a city man and is giving his
attention impartially to the needs of all sections. Two classes of people
will be surprised by his statement. Many of his city neighbors are so
overwhelmed by the serious needs of the city, they near-sightedly cannot
see any particular problem in the country,--except how to take the next
train for New York! And doubtless many country people, contented with
second-rate conditions, are even unaware that they and their environment
are being studied as a problem at all. Some prosperous farmers really
resent the "interference" of people interested in better rural conditions
and say "the country would be all right if let alone." But neither sordid
rural complacency nor urban obliviousness can satisfy thinking people. We
know there is something the matter with country life. We discover that the
vitality and stability of rural life is in very many places threatened. It
is the business of Christian students and leaders to study the conditions
and try to remove or remedy the causes.

[Illustration: An Abandoned Church, Daviess County, Indiana.]

_A Hunt for Fundamental Causes_

Depletion added to isolation, and later tending toward degeneracy, is what
makes the rural problem acute. It is the growth of the city which has made
the problem serious. If we would discover a constructive policy for
handling this problem successfully by making country life worth while, and
better able to compete with the city, then we must find out why the boys
and girls go to the big towns and why their parents rent the farm and
move into the village.

For two generations there has been a mighty life-current toward the
cities, sweeping off the farm many of the brightest boys and most
ambitious girls in all the country-side, whom the country could ill afford
to spare. The city needed many of them doubtless; but not all, for it has
not used all of them well. Everywhere the country has suffered from the
loss of them. Why did they go? It is evident that a larger proportion of
the brightest country boys and girls must be kept on the farms if the
rural communities are to hold their own and the new rural civilization
really have a chance to develop as it should.

_The Unfortunate Urbanizing of Rural Life_

As a rule the whole _educational_ trend is toward the city. The teachers
of rural schools are mostly from the larger villages and towns where they
have caught the city fever, and they infect the children. Even in the
lower grades the stories of city life begin early to allure the country
children, and with a subtle suggestion the echoes of the distant city's
surging life come with all the power of the Arabian Nights tales. Early
visits to the enchanted land of busy streets and wonderful stores and
factories, the circus and the theater, deepen the impression, and the
fascination grows.

In proportion to the nearness to the city, there has been a distinct
urbanizing of rural life. To a degree this has been well. It has raised
the standard of comfort in country homes and has had a distinct influence
in favor of real culture and a higher plane of living. But the impression
has come to prevail widely that the city is the source of all that is
interesting, profitable and worth while, until many country folks have
really come to think meanly of themselves and their surroundings, taking
the superficial city estimate of rural values as the true one.

A real slavery to city fashions has been growing insidiously in the
country. So far as this has affected the facial adornments of the farmer,
it has made for progress; but as seen in the adoption of unhospitable
vertical city architecture for country homes,--an insult to broad acres
which suggest home-like horizontals,--and the wearing by the women of
cheap imitations of the flaunting finery of returning "cityfied"
stenographers, it is surely an abomination pure and simple.

Bulky catalogs of mail-order houses, alluringly illustrated, have added to
the craze, and the new furnishings of many rural homes resemble the tinsel
trappings of cheap city flats, while substantial heirlooms of real taste
and dignity are relegated to the attic. Fine rural discrimination as to
the appropriate and the artistic is fast crumbling before the
all-convincing argument, "It is _the thing_ now in the city." To be sure
there is much the country may well learn from the city, the finer phases
of real culture, the cultivation of social graces in place of rustic
bashfulness and boorish manners, and the saving element of industrial
cooperation; but let these gains not be bought by surrendering rural
self-respect or compromising rural sincerity, or losing the wholesome
ruggedness of the country character. The new rural civilization must be
indigenous to the soil, not a mere urbanizing veneer. Only so can it
foster genuine community pride and loyalty to its own environment. But
herein is the heart of our problem.

_Why Country Boys and Girls Leave the Farm_

The mere summary of reasons alleged by many individuals will be sufficient
for our purpose, without enlarging upon them. Many of these were obtained
by Director L. H. Bailey of Cornell, the master student of this problem.
Countless boys have fled from the farm because they found the work
monotonous, laborious and uncongenial, the hours long, the work
unorganized and apparently unrewarding, the father or employer hard,
exacting and unfeeling. Many of them with experience only with
old-fashioned methods, are sure that farming does not pay, that there is
no money in the business compared with city employments, that the farmer
cannot control prices, is forced to buy high and sell low, is handicapped
by big mortgages, high taxes, and pressing creditors. It is both
encouraging and suggestive that many country boys, with a real love for
rural life, but feeling that farming requires a great deal of capital, are
planning "to farm someday, after making enough money in some other

The phantom of farm drudgery haunts many boys. They feel that the work is
too hard in old age, and that it cannot even be relieved sufficiently by
machinery, that it is not intellectual enough and furthermore leaves a man
too tired at night to enjoy reading or social opportunities. The work of
farming seems to them quite unscientific and too dependent upon luck and
chance and the fickle whims of the weather.

Farm life is shunned by many boys and girls because they say it is too
narrow and confining, lacking in freedom, social advantages, activities
and pleasures, which the city offers in infinite variety. They see their
mother overworked and growing old before her time, getting along with few
comforts or conveniences, a patient, uncomplaining drudge, living in
social isolation, except for uncultivated neighbors who gossip

Many ambitious young people see little future on the farm. They feel that
the farmer never can be famous in the outside world and that people have a
low regard for him. In their village high school they have caught visions
of high ideals; but they fail to discover high ideals in farm life and
feel that high and noble achievement is impossible there, that the farmer
cannot serve humanity in any large way and can attain little political
influence or personal power.

With an adolescent craving for excitement, "something doing all the time,"
they are famished in the quiet open country and are irresistibly drawn to
the high-geared city life, bizarre, spectacular, noisy, full of variety in
sights, sounds, experiences, pleasures, comradeships, like a living
vaudeville; and offering freedom from restraint in a life of easy
incognito, with more time for recreation and "doing as you please." But
with all the attractiveness of city life for the boys and girls, as
compared with the simplicity of the rural home, the main pull cityward is
probably "the job." They follow what they think is the easiest road to
making a living, fancying that great prizes await them in the business
life of the town.

Superficial and unreasonable as most of these alleged reasons are to-day,
we must study them as genuine symptoms of a serious problem. If country
life is to develop a permanently satisfying opportunity for the farm boys
and girls, these conditions must be met. Isolation and drudgery must be
somehow conquered. The business of farming must be made more profitable,
until clerking in the city cannot stand the competition. The social and
recreative side of rural life must be developed. The rural community must
be socialized and the country school must really fit for rural life. The
lot of the farm mothers and daughters must be made easier and happier.
Scientific farming must worthily appeal to the boys as a genuine
profession, not a mere matter of luck with the weather, and the farm boy
must no longer be treated as a slave but a partner in the firm.[8]

_The Folly of Exploiting the Country Boy_

An eminent Western lawyer addressing a rural life conference in Missouri a
few weeks ago explained thus his leaving the farm: "When I was a boy on
the farm we were compelled to rise about 4 o'clock every morning. From the
time we got on our clothes until 7:30 we fed the live stock and milked the
cows. Then breakfast. After breakfast, we worked in the field until 11:30,
when, after spending at least a half hour caring for the teams we went to
dinner. We went back to work at 1 o'clock and remained in the field until
7:30 o'clock. After quitting the fields we did chores until 8:30 or 9
o'clock, and then we were advised to go to bed right away so that we would
be able to do a good day's work on the morrow."

No wonder the boy rebelled! This story harks back to the days when a
father owned his son's labor until the boy was twenty-one, and could
either use the boy on his own farm or have him "bound out" for a term of
years for the father's personal profit. Such harsh tactlessness is seldom
found today; but little of it will be found in the new rural
civilization.[9] Country boys must not be exploited if we expect them to
stay in the country as community builders. Many of them will gladly stay
if given a real life chance.

_The City's Dependence upon the Country_

The country is the natural source of supply for the nation. The city has
never yet been self-sustaining. It has always drawn its raw materials and
its population from the open country. The country must continue to produce
the food, the hardiest young men and women, and much of the idealism and
best leadership of the nation. All of these have proven to be indigenous
to country life. Our civilization is fundamentally rural, and the rural
problem is a national problem, equally vital to the city and the whole
country. The cities should remember that they have a vast deal at stake in
the welfare of the rural districts.

The country for centuries got along fairly well without the city, and
could continue to do so; but the city could not live a month without the
country! The great railway strike last fall in England revealed the fact
that Birmingham _had but a week's food supply_. A serious famine
threatened, and this forced a speedy settlement. Meanwhile food could not
be brought to the city except in small quantities, and the people of
Birmingham learned in a striking way their utter dependence upon the
country as their source of supply. The philosophy of one of the sages of
China, uttered ages ago, is still profoundly true: "The well-being of a
people is like a tree; agriculture is its root, manufactures and commerce
are its branches and its life; but if the root be injured, the leaves
fall, the branches break away and the tree dies."[10]

That far-seeing Irish leader, Sir Horace Plunkett, after a searching study
of American conditions, is inclined to think that our great prosperous
cities are blundering seriously in not concerning themselves more
earnestly with the rural problem: "Has it been sufficiently considered how
far the moral and physical health of the modern city depends upon the
constant influx of fresh blood from the country, which has ever been the
source from which the town draws its best citizenship? You cannot keep on
indefinitely skimming the pan and have equally good milk left. Sooner or
later, if the balance of trade in this human traffic be not adjusted, the
raw material out of which urban society is made will be seriously
deteriorated, and the symptoms of national degeneracy will be properly
charged against those who neglected to foresee the evil and treat the
cause.... The people of every state are largely bred in rural districts,
and the physical and moral well-being of those districts must eventually
influence the quality of the whole people."[11]

V. A Challenge to Faith.

The seriousness of our problem is sufficiently clear. Our consideration in
this chapter has been confined mainly to the personal factors. Certain
important social and institutional factors will be further considered in
Chapter V under Country Life Deficiencies. With all its serious
difficulties and discouragements the rural problem is a splendid challenge
to faith. There are many with the narrow city outlook who despair of the
rural problem and consider that country life is doomed. There are still
others who have faith in the country town and village but have lost their
faith in the open country as an abiding place for rural homes. Before
giving such people of little faith further hearing, we must voice the
testimony of a host of country lovers who have a great and enduring faith
in the country as the best place for breeding men, the most natural arena
for developing character, the most favorable place for happy homes, and,
for a splendid host of country boys and girls the most challenging
opportunity for a life of service.


1.--How would you define the Rural Problem?

2.--Illustrate how the growth of the city has affected the rural problem.

3.--Explain the terms rural, urban, city, town, and village.

4.--What misleading comparisons have been made between city and country

5.--In what six states has the rural population, as a whole, shown a net
loss in the last ten years?

6.--To what extent has rural America grown in population the past half

7.--Describe the symptoms of a decadent village.

8.--Under what conditions do you find a village improving even when losing

9.--Discuss carefully the comparative degeneracy of the city and the

10.--Describe some of the stages of rural degeneracy.

11.--What signs of rural degeneracy have come under your personal
observation and how do you account for the conditions?

12.--What evidences have you seen of the "urbanizing" of rural life, and
what do you think about it?

13.--Why do country boys and girls leave the farm and go to the city?

14.--What must be done to make country life worth while, so that a fair
share of the boys and girls may be expected to stay there?

15.--How do you think a farmer ought to treat his boys?

16.--To what extent is the city dependent upon the country.

17.--Why do so many prosperous farmers rent their farms and give up
country life?

18.--How does the village problem differ from the problem of the open

19.--Do you believe the open country will be permanently occupied by
American homes, or must we develop a hamlet system, as in Europe and Asia?

20.--To what extent have you faith in the ultimate solution of the country





    I. _Signs of a New Faith in Rural Life_

       A tribute from the city.
       The Country Boy's Creed.
       City-bred students in agricultural colleges.
       Reasons for this city-to-country movement.

   II. _The Privilege of Living in the Country_

       Some city life drawbacks.
       The attractiveness of country life.
       The partnership with nature.
       Rural sincerity and real neighborliness.
       The challenge of the difficult in rural life.

  III. _The Country Life Movement_

       Its real significance.
       Its objective: a campaign for rural progress.
       Its early history: various plans for rural welfare.
       Its modern sponsors: the agricultural colleges.
       The Roosevelt Commission on Country Life.
       Its call for rural leadership.
       Its constructive program for rural betterment.

   IV. _Institutions and Agencies at Work_

       Organized forces making for a better rural life.



I. Signs of a New Faith in Rural Life.


This tribute to the fundamental value of rural life is a part of the
classic inscription, cut in the marble over the massive entrances, on the
new union railroad station at Washington, D. C. Its calm, clear faith is
reassuring. It reminds us that there is unquestionably an abiding optimism
in this matter of country life. It suggests, that in spite of rural
depletion and decadence here and there, country life is so essential to
our national welfare it will permanently maintain itself. So long as there
is a city civilization to be fed and clothed, there must always be a rural
civilization to produce the raw materials. The question is, will it be a
_Christian_ civilization?

Our opening chapter has made it clear, that if the rural problem is to be
handled constructively and successfully, rural life must be made
permanently satisfying and worth while. It must not only be attractive
enough to retain _a fair share_ of the boys and girls, but also rich
enough in opportunity for self-expression, development and service to
warrant their investing a life-time there without regrets.

The writer believes there are certain great attractions in country life
and certain drawbacks and disadvantages in city life which, if fairly
considered by the country boy, would help him to appreciate the privilege
of living in the country. It is certainly true that there is a strong and
growing sentiment in the city favoring rural life. Many city people are
longing for the freedom of the open country and would be glad of the
chance to move out on the land for their own sake as well as for the sake
of their children.

In this connection the most interesting fact is the new interest in
country life opportunity which city boys and young men are manifesting.
The discontented country boy who has come to seek his fortune in the city
finds there the city boy anxious to fit himself for a successful life in
the country! In view of the facts, the farm boy tired of the old farm
ought to ponder well Fishin' 'Zeke's philosophy:

  "Fish don't bite just for the wishin',
                    Keep a pullin'!
  Change your bait and keep on fishin';
                    Keep a pullin'!
  Luck ain't nailed to any spot;
  _Men you envy, like as not,
  Envy you your job and lot!_
                    Keep a pullin'!"

In many agricultural colleges and state universities, we find an
increasing proportion of students _coming from the cities_ for training in
the science of agriculture and the arts of rural life. This is a very
significant and encouraging fact. It shows us that the tide has begun to
turn. Rural life is coming to its own, for country life is beginning to be
appreciated again after several decades of disfavor and neglect. Our
purpose in this chapter is to discuss these matters in detail.

It is difficult to find a more comprehensive statement of the
attractiveness of country life, in concrete terms, than this fine bit of
rural optimism entitled The Country Boy's Creed:


     "I believe that the country which God made is more beautiful than the
     city which man made; that life out-of-doors and in touch with the
     earth is the natural life of man. I believe that work is work
     wherever I find it; but that work with Nature is more inspiring than
     work with the most intricate machinery. I believe that the dignity of
     labor depends not on what you do, but on how you do it; that
     opportunity comes to a boy on the farm as often as to a boy in the
     city; that life is larger and freer and happier on the farm than in
     the town; that my success depends not upon my location, but upon
     myself,--not upon my dreams, but upon what I actually do, not upon
     luck but upon pluck. I believe in working when you work and playing
     when you play, and in giving and demanding a square deal in every act
     of life."[12]

There are many contented country boys in comfortable modern homes and
prosperous rural communities, who heartily assent to this rural
confession of faith. "For substance of _doctrine_" many a man would
frankly accept it after a more or less disappointing life in the city
whirl. It is not difficult to find men who really regret that they left
the farm in young manhood, now that country life has so greatly increased
in attractiveness. "Farm life has changed a great deal," says one with a
tone of regret, "since I left the farm twelve years ago. Machinery has
been added, making the work easier; farming has become more scientific,
giving scope to the man who does not wish to be a mere nobody. For the
last few years there has been more money in farming."

Every year now at Cornell University, some men change their course from
the overcrowded engineering to the agricultural department. This
confession of a late change of heart about country life comes from one of
the engineers who apparently wishes he had done likewise: "When I entered
the university and registered in mechanical engineering, I had the idea
that a fellow had to get off the farm, as the saying goes, 'to make
something of himself in the world,' and that a living could be made more
easily, with more enjoyment, in another profession. But now, after seeing
a little of the other side of the question, if I had the four years back
again, agriculture would be my college course. As for country life being
unattractive, I have always found it much the reverse. The best and
happiest days of my life have been on the farm, and I cannot but wish that
I were going back again when through with school work."

_City-bred Students in Agricultural Colleges_

In reply to the question "Why are so many city boys studying agriculture?"
a dean of a college of agriculture replied, "I think it is safe to say
that a large number of city-bred boys are attracted to the agricultural
colleges as a result of _the general movement of our cities toward the
country_. The agitation which has caused the business man to look upon the
rural community as more desirable than the city, leads him to send his son
to an agricultural college in preference to other departments of the

This city-to-country movement is naturally strongest where the
country-to-city movement has long been developing. The Massachusetts State
College reports only about 25% of its new students sons of farmers and 50%
of its enrollment from the cities. Yet even in the rural state of North
Carolina, with 86% in rural territory (under 2,500), the number of city
boys studying agriculture in the state college is "large enough to make
the fact striking."

In the College of Agriculture of the University of Illinois, there are 756
students enrolled this year. Eighty-one of these came from Chicago and 257
from other cities and towns above $5,000; making 45% from urban

One-third of the agricultural students at the University of Missouri last
year enrolled from cities of 8,000 or over, communities which formed 36%
of the state's population. In general it seems to be true that the
proportion of city boys in the various agricultural colleges is
approximately as large as the ratio of city population in the state; which
indicates that city boys are almost as likely to seek technical training
for country professions as the country boys are. In a few cases, as in
Massachusetts, it is partly accounted for by the fact that the
Agricultural College is the only state institution with free tuition. The
breadth of the courses also draws many who do not plan for general farming
but for specialized farming and the increasing variety of the modern rural
professions. The facts clearly show that the city boys in state after
state are seeing the vision of country life opportunity.

A study of the home addresses of American students at the New York State
College of Agriculture, Cornell University, for a period of twelve years
prior to 1907 shows 19% from large cities, 34% from small cities and
towns, and 47% from rural communities under 2,000. The proportion of city
students is evidently now increasing, as indicated by this year's figures.
Of the new students entering this year from within the state 57% came from
cities of 5,000 or over, 51% of whom came from cities of 10,000 upwards.
Making considerable allowance for the neglect to add "R. F. D." in
registration, it is still evident that the splendid equipment for country
life leadership offered at Cornell is attracting more and more young men
and women from the cities.

_Reasons for this City-to-Country Movement_

Two months ago the agricultural students at the University of Illinois who
came from cities and larger towns were asked, "What were the
considerations which led you to choose an agricultural course?" Over two
hundred gave their answers in writing. Love of country life was the main
reason mentioned by 131; dislike for the city, 22; the financial
inducements, 62; and, land in the family, 36. Farming was stated as the
ambition of 167, teaching 21, experiment station work 23, landscape
gardening 6, and other rural professions 15.

In a similar referendum at Cornell the city students mentioned many
reasons for choosing their life work in the country. Among them were cited
the love of nature and farm life, the desire to live out of doors, love
for growing things, and love for animals, the financial rewards of
farming, its independence, its interesting character and the healthful
life it makes possible. Other interesting reasons given will be cited
later in this chapter.

II. The Privilege of Living in the Country.

_Some City Life Drawbacks_

Millions of people unquestionably live in the country from choice. They
would not live in the city unless compelled to do so. A peculiarly amusing
kind of provincialism is the attitude of the superficial city dweller who
cannot understand why any one could possibly prefer to live in the
country! Yet an unusually able college professor with a national
reputation recently remarked that he could not conceive of anything which
could induce him to live in the city.

With all the attractions of the city, it has serious drawbacks which are
not found in the country. If country boys actually understood the
conditions of the struggle into which they were entering in the city, more
of them would stay on the farm. "I lived one year in the city; which was
long enough," writes a country boy. The severe nervous tension of city
life, the high speed of both social life and industry and the tyranny to
hours and close confinement in offices, banks and stores are particularly
hard for the country bred. The many disadvantages of the wage-earner,
slack work alternating with the cruel pace, occasional strikes or
lockouts, and the impersonal character of the corporation employer,
coupled with the fact often realized that in spite of the crowds there are
"no neighbors" in the city, reminds the country-bred laborer of the truth
of President Roosevelt's words: "There is not in the cities the same sense
of common underlying brotherliness which there is still in the country

A striking cartoon was recently published by the _Paterson_ (N. J.)
_Guardian_ entitled "The City Problem." It represented "Mr. Ruralite" in
the foreground halting at the road which leads down to the city, while
from the factory blocks by the river two colossal grimy hands are raised
in warning, with the message, GO BACK! On one hand is written HIGH PRICES;
on the other POOR HEALTH.

With the recent improvement in city sanitation, which has perceptibly
lowered the death rate, the city is physically a safer place to live in
than it used to be; but slum sections are still reeking with contagion,
and through most of the city wilderness the smoke and grime is perpetual
and both pure air and clear sunshine are luxuries indeed. For most people
the crowded city offers little attraction for a home. The heart of great
cities has ceased to grow. The growing sections are the outlying wards and
the suburbs, for obvious reasons. The moral dangers of the city where the
saloon is usually entrenched in politics and vice is flagrantly tolerated
if not actually protected help to explain the fact that a continuous
procession of city families is seeking homes in suburban or rural towns
where the perils surrounding their children are not so serious.

_The Attractiveness of Country Life_

It is evidently true, as Dean Bailey suggests, "Even in this epoch of
hurried city-building, the love of the open country and of plain, quiet
living still remains as a real and vital force." The chance to live in the
open air, to do out of door work and enjoy consequently a vigorous health,
is a great boon which is coming to be more and more appreciated. "I intend
to stick to farm life," writes a Cornell agricultural student, "for I see
nothing in the turmoil of city life to tempt me to leave the quiet, calm
and nearness to nature with which we, as farmers, are surrounded. I also
see the possibilities of just as great financial success on a farm as in
any profession which my circumstances permit me to attain." Another
contented country boy writes, "I think the farm offers the best
opportunity for the ideal home. I believe that farming is the farthest
removed of any business from the blind struggle after money, and that the
farmer with a modest capital can be rich in independence, contentment and

A variety of other significant reasons have been collected by Director
Bailey from boys who are loyal to their country homes. Many speak of the
profitableness of scientific farming, but the majority are thinking of
other privileges in rural life which outweigh financial rewards, such as
the fact that the farmer is really producing wealth first-hand and is
serving the primary needs of society. "I expect to make a business of
breeding live-stock. I like to work out of doors, where the sun shines and
the wind blows, where I can look up from my work and not be obliged to
look at a wall. I dislike to use a pen as a business. I want to make new
things and create new wealth, not to collect to myself the money earned by
others. I cannot feel the sympathy which makes me a part of nature, unless
I can be nearer to it than office or university life allows. I like to
create things. Had I been dexterous with my hands, I might have been an
artist; but I have found that I can make use of as high ideals, use as
much patience, and be of as much use in the world by modeling in flesh and
bone as I can by modeling in marble."

In spite of the common notion of the farm boys who shirk country life,
there is a great attraction now in the fact that farming really requires
brains of a high order, offers infinite opportunity for broad and deep
study, a chance for developing technical skill and personal initiative in
quite a variety of lines of work, all of which means a growing,
broadening life and increasing self-respect and satisfaction.

_The Partnership With Nature_

Any briefest mention of the attractiveness of country life would be
incomplete without reference to the nearness to nature and the privilege
of her inspiring comradeship. Not only is the farmer's sense of
partnership with nature a mighty impulse which tends to make him an
elemental man; but every dweller in the country with any fineness of
perception cannot fail to respond to the subtle appeal of the beautiful in
the natural life about him. As Washington Irving wrote, in describing
rural life in England, "In rural occupation there is nothing mean and
debasing. It leads a man forth among scenes of natural grandeur and
beauty; it leaves him to the working of his own mind, operated upon by the
purest and most elevating of external influences. Such a man may be simple
and rough, but he cannot be vulgar."

As young Bryant wrote among the beautiful Berkshire hills, "To him who in
the love of nature holds communion with her visible forms, she speaks a
various language." Without an interpreter, sometimes the message to the
soul is heard as in a foreign tongue; but the message is voiced again like
the music of perennial springs, and others hear it with ear and heart, and
it brings peace and comfort and God's love. In his beautiful chapter on
this topic Dr. W. L. Anderson writes: "By a subtle potency the rural
environment comes to be not the obtrusive masses of earth, nor the
monotonous acres of grass, nor the dazzling stress of endless flowers, nor
the disturbing chatter of the birds; but instead of these, hills that
speak of freedom, a sky that brings the infinite near, meadows verdant
with beauty, air vocal with song. Beauty, sublimity, music, freedom, are
in the soul."[14] Surely the uplifting influence of nature is a wonderful
gift to those who are fortunate enough to live in the country. It takes
the petty and sordid out of life. It transfigures common things with
beauty and fresh meaning, with the cycle of the seasons and ever freshness
of the days. It brings to those who listen a quiet message of content.

_Rural Sincerity and Real Neighborliness_

Among the country privileges not often mentioned is the chance one has to
live with real folks. There is a genuineness about country people that is
not often found in crowded towns where conventionalities of life veneer
even the ways of friends, and where custom dictates and fashion rules and
the very breadth of social opportunity makes superficial people, flitting
from friend to friend, not pausing to find the depths in the eye or the
gold in the character.

With fine simplicity, sometimes with blunt speech to be sure, our rural
friends pierce through the artificial and find us where we are; honoring
only what is worthy, caring nothing for titles or baubles, slow to welcome
or woo or even to approve; but quick to befriend when real need appears,
and having once befriended, steady and true in friendship, awkward in
expression, maybe, but true as steel. To live with such country folks is
to know the joy of real neighbors. To work with them takes patience,
honest effort to overcome inborn conservatism, and a brother's sincere
spirit; but when cooperation is once promised, your goal is gained. They
will say what they mean. They will do as they say.

_The Challenge of the Difficult in Rural Life_

Since the invention of the sulky plow, the mowing machine and the riding
harrow, et cetera, an American humorist remarked that farming is rapidly
becoming a sedentary occupation! Drudgery has so largely been removed that
it is probably true that there is no more "hack-work" or dull routine in
agriculture than in other lines of business. But plenty of hard work
remains the farmer's task. There is enough of the difficult left to
challenge the strong and to frighten the weakling, and in this very fact
is a bit of rural optimism. It applies not merely to farming but to
country life in general.

Our pioneer days certainly developed a sturdy race of men. They lived a
strenuous life with plenty of hardship, toil and danger, but it put iron
into the blood of their children and made wonderful physiques, clear
intellects, strong characters. This heroic training nurtured a remarkable
race of continent conquerors fitted for colossal tasks and undaunted by
difficulties. The rise of great commonwealths, developing rapidly now into
rich agricultural empires, has rewarded the pioneers' faith and sacrifice.

All are thankful that the rigor of those heroic days is gone with the
conquest of the wilderness. But few discern in the luxurious comfort of
hyper-civilized life a peculiar peril. Our fathers, with a fine scorn for
the weather, braved the wintry storms with a courage which brought its own
rewards in toughened fiber and lungs full of ozone. To-day in our
super-heated houses we defy the winter to do us any good. We have reduced
comfort to a fine art. Even heaven has lost its attractiveness to our
generation. Luxury has become a national habit if not a national vice.

Our food is not coarse enough to maintain good digestion. Our desk-ridden
thousands are losing the vigor that comes only from out-of-door life.
Exercise for most men has become a lost art; they smoke instead! What with
electric cars for the poor man and motor cars for the near rich, walking
is losing out fast with the city multitudes. Our base ball we take by
proxy, sitting on the bleachers; our recreation is done for us by
professional entertainers in theater, club and opera. In a score of ways
the creature comforts of a luxury loving age are surely enervating those
who yield to them. Our modern flats equipped with every conceivable
convenience to lure a man and a woman into losing the work habit and
reducing to the minimum the expenditure of energy, are doing their share
to take _effort_ out of life and to make us merely effete products of

Modern city life, for the comfortably situated, is too luxurious to be
good for the body, the mind or the morals. It dulls the "fighting edge";
it kills ambition with complacency; it often takes the best incentives out
of life; it makes subtle assault upon early ideals and insidiously
undermines the moral standards. We are fast losing the zest for the
climbing life. We need the challenge of the difficult to spur us on to
real conquests and to fit us for larger tasks.

It is the glory of country life that it is by no means enervated or
over-civilized. Enough of the rough still remains for all practical
purposes. Farm homes are comfortable usually but not luxurious. Rural life
is full of the physical zest that keeps men young and vigorous. As Dr. F.
E. Clark suggests, farming furnishes an ideal "_moral_ equivalent of war."
The annual conquest of farm difficulties makes splendid fighting. There
are plenty of natural enemies which must be fought to keep a man's
fighting edge keen and to keep him physically and mentally alert. What
with the weeds and the weather, the cut-worms, the gypsy, and the codling
moths, the lice, the maggots, the caterpillars, the San Jose scale and the
scurvy, the borers, the blight and the gorger, the peach yellows and the
deadly curculio, the man behind the bug gun and the sprayer finds plenty
of exercise for ingenuity and a royal chance to fight the good fight.
Effeminacy is not a rural trait. Country life is great for making men; men
of robust health and mental resources well tested by difficulty, men of
the open-air life and the skyward outlook. Country dwellers may well be
thankful for the challenge of the difficult. It tends to keep rural life

Our rural optimism however does not rest solely upon the attractiveness of
country life and the various assets which country life possesses. We find
new courage in the fact that these assets have at last been capitalized
and a great modern movement is promoting the enterprise.

III. The Country Life Movement.

_Its Real Significance_

The modern country life movement in America has little in common with the
"back to the soil" agitation in recent years. This latter is mainly the
cry of real estate speculators plus newspaper echoes. The recent years of
high prices and exorbitant cost of city living have popularized this
slogan, the assumption being that if there were only more farmers, then
food prices would be lower. This assumes that the art of farming is easily
acquired and that the untrained city man could go back to the soil and
succeed. What we really need is better farmers rather than more farmers;
and the untrained city man who buys a farm is rather apt to make a failure
of it,--furnishing free amusement meanwhile for the natives,--for the work
of farming is highly technical, and requires probably more technical
knowledge than any other profession except the practice of medicine.

There are few abandoned farms to-day within easy distance of the cities.
For several years it has been quite the fad for city men of means to buy a
farm, and when a competent farm manager is placed in charge the experiment
is usually a safe one. Often it proves a costly experiment and seldom does
the city-bred owner really become a valuable citizen among his rural
neighbors. He remains socially a visitor, rather than a real factor in
country life. Conspicuous exceptions could of course be cited, but
unfortunately this seems to be the rule.

The kindly purpose of well-meaning philanthropists to transplant among
the farmers the dwellers in the city slums is resented by both! It would
be a questionable kindness anyway, for the slum dweller would be an
unhappy misfit in the country and escape to his crowded alley on the
earliest opportunity, like a drunkard to his cups. Sometimes a
hard-working city clerk or tradesman hears the call to the country and
succeeds in wresting his living from the soil. The city man need not fail
as a farmer. It depends upon his capacity to learn and his power of
adaptation to a strange environment. The "back to the soil" movement is
not to be discouraged; but let us not expect great things from it. The
real "Country Life Movement" is something quite different.

[Illustration: Rural Redirection by the County Committee of the Lake
County, Ohio, Associations.

One hundred and forty farmers in "five day school," the Ohio Agricultural
College cooperating. A girls' exhibit in cut flower contest. A May pole
dance at a township school picnic. One of the boys participating in corn
growing contest. The winner of the strawberry growing contest.]

_Its Objective: A Campaign for Rural Progress_

The back-to-the-soil trend is a city movement. The real country life
movement is a campaign for rural progress conducted mainly by rural
people, not a paternalistic plan on the part of city folks for rural
redemption. It is defined by one of the great rural leaders as the working
out of the desire to make rural civilization as effective and satisfying
as other civilization; to make country life as satisfying as city life and
country forces as effective as city forces. Incidentally he remarks, "We
call it a new movement. In reality it is new only to those who have
recently discovered it."

_Its Early History: Various Plans for Rural Welfare_

The father of the country life movement seems to have been George
Washington. He and Benjamin Franklin were among the founders of the first
farmers' organization in America, the Philadelphia Society for Promoting
Agriculture, established in 1785. There were about a dozen such societies
by 1800, patterned after similar organizations in England. President
Washington had an extensive correspondence with prominent men in England
on this subject and made it the subject of his last message to Congress.
He called attention to the fundamental importance of agriculture,
advocated agricultural fairs, a national agricultural society and
government support for institutions making for rural progress.

Since these early days there have been many organized expressions of rural
ambition, most of them only temporary but contributing more or less to the
movement for the betterment of country life. There were over 900
agricultural societies in 1858 and these had increased to 1,350 by 1868 in
spite of the setback of the civil war. Most of these were county
organizations whose chief activity was an annual fair. Agricultural
conventions were occasionally held, sometimes national in scope, which
discussed frankly the great questions vital to farmers; and more permanent
organizations soon developed which had a great influence in bringing the
farmers of the country into cooperation with each other industrially and
politically. Foremost among these were the Grange (1867), the Farmers'
Alliance (1875), the Farmers' Union (1885), Farmers' Mutual Benefit
Organization (1883), and the Patrons of Industry (1887). The Farmers'
National Congress has met annually since 1880, and has exerted great
influence upon legislation during this period, in the interest of the
rural communities.

_Its Modern Sponsors: The Agricultural Colleges_

Important as these efforts at organized cooperation among farmers have
been, nothing has equalled the influence of the agricultural colleges,
which are now found in every state and are generously supported by the
states in addition to revenue from the "land-grant funds" which all the
colleges possess. These great institutions have done noble service in
providing the intelligent leadership not only in farm interests but also
in all the affairs of country life. At first planned to teach agriculture
almost exclusively, many of them are now giving most thorough courses in
liberal culture interpreted in terms of country life. The vast service of
these schools for rural welfare, in both intra-mural and extension work,
can hardly be overestimated.

_The Roosevelt Commission on Country Life_

It will be seen that the country life movement has been making progress
for years. But it really became a national issue for the first time when
President Roosevelt appointed his Country Life Commission. Though greeted
by some as an unnecessary effort and handicapped by an unfriendly Congress
which was playing politics, the Commission did a most significant work.
Thirty hearings were held in various parts of the country and a
painstaking investigation was conducted both orally and by mail, the
latter including detailed information and suggestion from over 120,000
people. The Commission's report, with the President's illuminating
message, presents in the best form available the real meaning of the
country life movement. It will serve our purpose well to quote from this
report a few significant paragraphs:

"The farmers have hitherto had less than their full share of public
attention along the lines of business and social life. There is too much
belief among all our people that the prizes of life lie away from the
farms. I am therefore anxious to bring before the people of the United
States the question of securing better business and better living on the
farm, whether by cooperation among the farmers for buying, selling and
borrowing; by promoting social advantages and opportunities in the
country, or by any other legitimate means that will help to make country
life more gainful, more attractive, and fuller of opportunities, pleasures
and rewards for the men, women and children of the farms."

"The farm grows the raw material for the food and clothing of all our
citizens; it supports directly almost half of them; and nearly half of the
children of the United States are born and brought up on the farms. How
can the life of the farm family be made less solitary, fuller of
opportunity, freer from drudgery, more comfortable, happier and more
attractive? Such a result is most earnestly to be desired. How can life on
the farm be kept on the highest level, and where it is not already on that
level, be so improved, dignified and brightened as to awaken and keep
alive the pride and loyalty of the farmer's boys and girls, of the
farmer's wife and of the farmer himself? How can a compelling desire to
live on the farm be aroused in the children that are born on the farm? All
these questions are of vital importance, not only to the farmer but to
the whole nation."--_Theodore Roosevelt._

_Its Call for Rural Leadership_

"We must picture to ourselves a new rural social structure, developed from
the strong resident forces of the open country; and then we must set at
work all the agencies that will tend to bring this about. The entire
people need to be aroused to this avenue of usefulness. Most of the new
leaders must be farmers who can find not only a satisfactory business
career on the farm, but who will throw themselves into the service of
upbuilding the community. A new race of teachers is also to appear in the
country. A new rural clergy is to be trained. These leaders will see the
great underlying problem of country life, and together they will work,
each in his own field, for the one goal of a new and permanent rural
civilization. Upon the development of this distinctively rural
civilization rests ultimately our ability, by methods of farming requiring
the highest intelligence, to continue to feed and clothe the hungry
nations; to supply the city and metropolis with fresh blood, clean bodies
and clear brains that can endure the strain of modern urban life; and to
preserve a race of men in the open country that, in the future as in the
past, will be the stay and strength of the nation in time of war and its
guiding and controlling spirit in time of peace."

"It is to be hoped that many young men and women, fresh from our schools
and institutions of learning, and quick with ambition and trained
intelligence, will feel a new and strong call to service."

_Its Constructive Program for Rural Betterment_

The Commission suggested a broad campaign of publicity on the whole
subject of rural life, until there is an awakened appreciation of the
necessity of giving this phase of our national development as much
attention as has been given to other interests. They urge upon all country
people a quickened sense of responsibility to the community and to the
state in the conserving of soil fertility, and the necessity for
diversifying farming in order to conserve this fertility. The need of a
better rural society is suggested; also the better safeguarding of the
strength and happiness of the farm women; a more widespread conviction of
the necessity for organization, not only for economic but for social
purposes, this organization to be more or less cooperative, so that all
the people may share equally in the benefits and have voice in the
essential affairs of the community. The farmer is reminded that he has a
distinct natural responsibility toward the farm laborer, in providing him
with good living facilities and in helping him to be a man among men; and
all the rural people are reminded of the obligation to protect and develop
the natural scenery and attractiveness of the open country.

The Country Life Commission made the following specific recommendations to

The encouragement of a system of thoroughgoing surveys of all agricultural
regions in order to take stock and to collect local facts, with the idea
of providing a basis on which to develop a scientifically and
economically sound country life.

The encouragement of a system of extension work in rural communities
through all the land-grant colleges with the people at their homes and on
their farms.

A thoroughgoing investigation by experts of the middleman system of
handling farm products, coupled with a general inquiry into the farmer's
disadvantages in respect to taxation, transportation rates, cooperative
organizations and credit, and the general business system.

An inquiry into the control and use of the streams of the United States
with the object of protecting the people in their ownership and of saving
for agricultural uses such benefits as should be reserved for such

The establishing of a highway engineering service, or equivalent
organization, to be at the call of the states in working out effective and
economical highway systems.

The establishing of a system of parcels post and postal savings banks.

The providing of some means or agency for the guidance of public opinion
toward the development of a real rural society that shall rest directly on
the land.

The enlargement of the United States Bureau of Education, to enable it to
stimulate and coordinate the educational work of the nation.

Careful attention to the farmers' interests in legislation on the tariff,
on regulation of railroads, control or regulation of corporations and of
speculation, legislation in respect to rivers, forests and the
utilization of swamp lands.

Increasing the powers of the Federal government in respect to the
supervision and control of the public health.

Providing such regulations as will enable the states that do not permit
the sale of liquors to protect themselves from traffic from adjoining

IV. Institutions and Agencies at Work

_Organized Forces Making for a Better Rural Life_

When we consider the vast scope of the Country Life Movement in America
and the variety of agencies involved, it greatly increases our rural
optimism. The following list was compiled by Dr. L. H. Bailey and is the
most complete available.

     1. Departments of Agriculture, national and state.

     2. Colleges of agriculture, one for each state, territory, or

     3. Agricultural experiment stations, in nearly all cases connected
     with the colleges of agriculture.

     4. The public school system, into which agriculture is now being
     incorporated. Normal schools, into many of which agriculture is being

     5. Special separate schools of agriculture and household subjects.

     6. Special colleges, as veterinary and forestry institutions.

     7. Departments or courses of agriculture in general or old-line
     colleges, and universities.

     8. Farmers' Institutes, usually conducted by colleges of agriculture
     or by boards or departments of agriculture.

     (The above institutions may engage in various forms of extension

     9. The agricultural press.

     10. The general rural newspapers.

     11. Agricultural and horticultural societies of all kinds.

     12. The Patrons of Husbandry, Farmers' Educational and Cooperative
     Union, and other national organizations.

     13. Business societies and agencies, many of them cooperative.

     14. Business men's associations and chambers of commerce in cities
     and towns.

     15. Local political organizations (much in need of redirection).

     16. Civic societies.

     17. The church.

     18. The Young Men's Christian Association, and other religious

     19. Women's clubs and organizations, of many kinds.

     20. Fairs and expositions.

     21. Rural libraries.

     22. Village improvement societies.

     23. Historical societies.

     24. Public health regulation.

     25. Fraternal societies.

     26. Musical organizations.

     27. Organizations aiming to develop recreation, and games and play.

     28. Rural free delivery of mail (a general parcels post is a

     29. Postal savings banks.

     30. Rural banks (often in need of redirection in their relations to
     the development of the open country).

     31. Labor distributing bureaus.

     32. Good thoroughfares.

     33. Railroads, and trolley extensions (the latter needed to pierce
     the remoter districts rather than merely to parallel railroads and to
     connect large towns).

     34. Telephones.

     35. Auto-vehicles.

     36. Country stores and trading places (in some cases).

     37. Insurance organizations.

     38. Many government agencies to safeguard the people, as public
     service commissions.

     39. Books on agriculture and country life.

     40. Good farmers, living on the land.

It is through the activity and growing cooperation of these various
agencies that the new rural civilization is now rapidly developing. It
will be the purpose of our next chapter to describe the process. Rural
progress in recent decades has been surprising and encouraging in many
quarters. Men of faith cannot fail to see that the providence of God is
now using these modern forces in making a new world of the country. It may
fairly be called a new world compared with the primitive past. Thus our
rural optimism is justified, and we have increasing faith in the future of
country life in America.


1.--What tribute to country life is inscribed on the Washington Union
Station? It is a just tribute?

2.--Can you accept the "Country Boy's Creed"?

3.--Why are so many city boys studying in agricultural colleges? How is it
in your own state?

4.--Discuss some of the disadvantages and drawbacks of modern city life.

5.--Why is country life attractive to you?

6.--What do you reckon among the privileges of living in the country?

7.--Discuss the real optimism you find in the "challenge of the difficult"
in country life.

8.--How do you explain the "back-to-the-soil movement" from the cities to
suburban and rural villages?

9.--Show how the real "Country Life Movement" differs from this.

10.--Mention some of the early plans for rural welfare in America.

11.--What part have the agricultural colleges had in the Country Life

12.--When did rural betterment first become a national issue in the United

13.--What definite rural needs did President Roosevelt mention in his
message to the Country Life Commission?

14.--What special call for rural leadership did this Commission voice?

15.--What do you think about the program for rural progress which the
Commission proposed to Congress?

16.--What do you think about the proposal to establish a parcels post?

17.--In what special ways do the farmers' interests need safeguarding?

18.--Make a list of improvements which you consider necessary in the
country sections you know the best.

19.--Name as many agencies as you can which are making a better rural

20.--On what do you base your faith in the new rural civilization?





  _Introductory: Rural Self-Respect and Progress_

    I. _The Triumph Over Isolation_

       Conquering the great enemy of rural contentment.
       The social value of the telephone.
       Good roads, the index of civilization.
       Railroads, steam and electric.
       The rural postal service.
       The automobile, a western farm necessity.

   II. _The Emancipation from Drudgery_

       The social revolution wrought by machinery.
       The evolution of farm machinery.
       Power machinery on the modern farm.
       The social effects of lessened drudgery.

  III. _Increased Popular Intelligence_

       New agencies for popular education among the farms.

   IV. _The New Social Consciousness_

       Group loyalty and a true social spirit.

    V. _The Effect of the New Order on Rural Institutions_

       New efficiency in the modern school, church and farm.
       Rural progress and the providence of God.




_Introductory: Rural Self-Respect and Progress_

The faith of the country life movement is justified by the remarkable
rural progress of the past generation. City life has been revolutionized
by inventive skill, modern machinery, new forms of wealth and higher
standards of efficiency and comfort; but meanwhile this marvelous progress
has not been confined to cities. To be sure depleted rural districts,
drained of their best blood, have not kept pace. But suburban sections in
close partnership with cities have shared the speed and the privileges of
urban progress, and meanwhile healthy, self-sustaining rural counties,
scorning any dependence upon cities except for market, have developed
great prosperity of their own and a remarkably efficient and satisfying
life, even though population may have somewhat declined.

This is so radically different from the life of the past, we may justly
call it a new rural civilization. It is distinctly a rural civilization,
not merely because of its characteristics, but because it is a triumph of
rural leadership and the product of rural evolution, by fortunate
selection and survival in the country of efficient manhood and womanhood
best adapted to cope with their environment.

Thousands who failed in the country have gone to the cities, where it is
often easier for incompetence to eke out an existence by living on casual
jobs. Thousands of others have found better success in the city because
they were better adapted to urban life. Often the net result of the
migration has been profit for the country community which has held its
best, that is, the country born and bred best adapted to be happy and
successful in the rural environment.

Where you find the new rural civilization well developed, you find a
self-respecting people, prosperous and happy, keeping abreast of the times
in all important human interests, keenly alert to all new developments in
agriculture and often proud of their country heritage. Because of this new
prosperity and self-respect, ridicule of the "countryman" has ceased to be
popular among intelligent people. The title "farmer" has taken on an
utterly new meaning and is becoming a term of respect.

All this marks a return to the former days, before the age of supercilious
cities, when most of the wealth and culture and family pride was in the
open country and the village. To be sure in some sections of America this
frank pride in rural life has never ceased. The real aristocracy of the
South has always been mainly rural. Many of the "first families of
Virginia" still live on the old plantations and maintain a highly
self-respecting life, free from the corrosive envy of city conditions,
often pitying the man whose business requires him to live in the crowded
town, and rejoicing in the freedom and the wholesome joys of country life.
The hospitable country mansions of the South still remind us of the fame
of Westover, Mount Vernon and Monticello as centers of social grace and
leadership; and the most select social groups in Richmond welcome the
country gentlemen and women of refinement from these country homes, not
merely because of the honored family names they bear, but because they
themselves are worthy scions of a continuously worthy rural civilization.
They have never pitied themselves for living in the country. They do not
want to live in the city. They are justly proud of their rural heritage
and their country homes.

I. The Triumph over Isolation.

_Conquering the Great Enemy of Rural Contentment_

The depressing effect of isolation has always been the most serious enemy
of country life in America. Nowhere else in the world have farm homes been
so scattered. Instead of living in hamlets, like the rest of the rural
world, with outlying farms in the open country, American pioneers with
characteristic independence have lived on their farms regardless of
distance to neighbors. But social hungers, especially of the young people,
could not safely be so disregarded, and in various ways the social
instincts have had their revenge. Isolation has proved to be the curse of
the country, as its opposite, congestion, has in the city. The wonder is
that the rural population of the country as a whole has steadily gained,
nearly doubling in a generation, in spite of this handicap. Obviously the
social handicap of isolation must be in a measure overcome, if country
life becomes permanently satisfying. We are not surprised, therefore, to
find that the new rural civilization has developed many means of
intercommunication, bringing the remotest country districts into vital
touch with the world.

Among the factors that have revolutionized the life of country people and
hastened the new rural civilization are the telephone, the daily mail
service by rural free delivery, the rapid extension of good roads, the
introduction of newspapers and magazines and farm journals, and traveling
libraries as well, the extension of the trolley systems throughout the
older states, and the rapid introduction of automobiles, especially
through the West.

In these various ways the fruits of modern inventive skill and enterprise
have enriched country life and have banished forever the extreme isolation
which used to vex the farm household of the past. The farm now is
conveniently near the market. The town churches and stores and schools are
near enough to the farms. The world's daily messages are brought to the
farmer's fireside. And the voice of the nearest neighbor may be heard in
the room, though she may live a mile away.

_The Social Value of the Telephone_

Among these modern blessings in the country home, one of the most
significant is the telephone. A business necessity in the city, it is a
great social asset in the rural home, like an additional member of the
family circle. It used to be said, though often questioned, that farmers'
wives on western farms furnished the largest quota of insane asylum
inmates, because of the monotony and loneliness of their life. The
tendency was especially noticeable in the case of Scandinavian immigrant
women, accustomed in the old home to the farm hamlet with its community

To-day the farmer's wife suffers no such isolation. To be sure the wizards
of invention have not yet given us the _teleblepone_, by which the faces
of distant friends can be made visible; but the telephone brings to us
that wonderfully personal element, the human voice, the best possible
substitute for the personal presence. Socially, the telephone is a
priceless boon to the country home, especially for the women, who have
been most affected by isolation in the past. They can now lighten the
lonely hours by a chat with neighbors over household matters, or even have
a neighborhood council, with five on the line, to settle some question of
village scandal! All sorts of community doings are speedily passed from
ear to ear. Details of social plans for church or grange are conveniently
arranged by wire. Symptoms are described by an anxious mother to a
resourceful grandmother and a remedy prescribed which will cure the baby
before the horse could even be harnessed. Or at any hour of the day or
night the doctor in the village can be quickly summoned and a critical
hour saved, which means the saving of precious life.

On some country lines a general ring at six o'clock calls all who care to
hear the daily market quotations; and at noon the weather report for the
day is issued. If the weather is not right, the gang of men coming from
the village can be intercepted by phone. Or if the quotations are not
satisfactory, a distant city can be called on the wire and the day's
shipment sent to the highest bidder--saving money, time, and miles of

All things considered the telephone is fully as valuable in the country as
in the city and its development has been just as remarkable, especially in
the middle West where thousands of independent rural lines have been
extended in recent years, at very low expense. In 1902 there were 21,577
rural lines in the United States, with a total length of 259,306 miles of
wires, and 266,969 rural phones.

_Good Roads, the Index of Civilization_

When John Frederick Oberlin began his remarkable work of community
building in the stagnant villages of the Vosges Mountains, his very first
move was to build a road. The status of any civilization is fairly clearly
indicated by the condition of the highways. The first sign of rural decay
in a discouraged community has often been the neglect of the
thoroughfares. One of the widespread signs of rural progress is the recent
attention given to good roads. In 1892 the Good Roads Association was
formed. In the previous year the first state aid for good road building
was granted, and since then state after state has appropriated millions of
dollars for this purpose. The proposal that a great macadam road be built
by Congress from Washington to Gettysburg, as a memorial to President
Lincoln, whether a wise proposition or not, shows how prominent this
subject has finally become, in the eyes of the nation.

Progressive farmers have discovered that a bad road is a tax upon every
ton of produce hauled to market; that in effect it lengthens the three
mile distance to ten; that the trip requires three hours instead of one;
and that a good macadam road, or some form of paving, varying with the
nearness of materials, pays for itself again and again, in the saving of
time and money, and wear and tear on rolling stock and teams. The social
effects of good roads are almost as clear as the industrial benefits.
There is more social cooperation. People go oftener to town, they gather
more easily at church and social functions, and the intermingling means
better acquaintance and more helpful friendships. Better business, better
social life, better neighborhoods, follow the trail of better roads--and a
far better chance for the country church.

_Railroads, Steam and Electric_

It is hard for us to imagine a world without railroads! Yet before 1830
all long distance travel was by stage coach or by water. The world-view of
most men was very tiny and their mental outlook correspondingly narrow.
Farm life was seriously restricted by the fact that a distant market for
most goods was impossible. It cost $10 per ton per hundred miles to haul
merchandise to market, a tax which only high-grade goods could stand.

The triumph of the railroads in conquering the continent has been one of
the national marvels. Suffice it to say, though the railroad has helped to
concentrate population in the cities, it has also served in a wonderful
way to develop the country communities, to open up whole sections for
settlement, furnishing a market and a base of supplies, making extensive
agriculture possible and distant commerce profitable; meanwhile serving as
main arteries of communication, with a constant influx of fresh world
thought and life.

The interurban trolleys are doing much that the steam roads cannot do,
connecting vast rural sections which hitherto have been aside from the
beaten paths of life. The relative cheapness of building these electric
lines, and the less expense for power, equipment and maintenance make
their further extension probable as well as necessary for years to come.
Their frequent trips, the near approach to thousands of farm homes, their
short stops and low rates make them particularly serviceable for country
people. "No king one hundred years ago," says Dr. Roads, "could have had a
coach, warmed in winter, lighted up to read at night, running smoothly
with scarcely a jolt, and more swiftly than his fastest horses. Through
the loving providence of the heavenly Father, his poorest children have
them now."[15] It is too early yet to estimate rightly the contribution
the trolley has made to the new rural civilization. It has doubtless
lessened in some respects the prestige of the village and especially of
the village stores; and has brought in some evils, but it has interwoven,
with its rapid shuttles, the city and the country, vastly enriching
country life with broadened opportunity and making thousands more
contented to live in country homes, because of lessened isolation as well
as developing the suburban village, the most rapidly growing of all
communities in America to-day.

_The Rural Postal Service_

The day of the moss-back who went for his mail once every week, the same
day he got shaved and sold his butter, is gone forever, so far as most of
our country is concerned. To-day about 20,000,000 of our rural neighbors
receive their mail at their own farms, delivered by Uncle Sam's
messengers; and this great change has occurred in a decade and a half. In
1897 $40,000 was the appropriation by Congress for the experiment in rural
free delivery. In 1909 the expense was about $36,000,000, and on June 1 of
that year there were 40,637 rural routes, nearly all of them daily
service. This rural army of the civil service is almost as large as the
whole military force of the country and possibly quite as useful. It is
rapidly driving from our rural homes the specters of ignorance,
superstition, provincialism and prejudice, and the positive good
accomplished cannot be estimated. Letter writing makes and keeps friends.
Thousands of farmers' families have joined The League of the Golden Pen in
recent years. Their mail collected and distributed doubles in four or five
years after the local R. F. D. is started.

Among the new civilizing factors is the metropolitan daily, bringing to
millions of farmers the daily stimulus to thought and action which the
continued story of the throbbing life of the struggling world unfailingly
brings. On one rural route the number of daily papers delivered increased
in three years from thirteen to 113. The great interests of humanity are
now intelligently discussed by the farmer and his boys as they go about
their work, and the broadening of interests is what prevents stagnation
and enriches life.

We are not surprised to find a wonderful increase of magazines and other
periodical literature in the country, especially the farm journals which
have attained such influence and excellence. R. F. D. did it. Likewise the
remarkable increase of shopping by mail is due to the same cause. Though
many such purchases are doubtless foolishly made, it is undoubtedly true
that even the great catalogs of mail-order houses with their description
of many of the comforts of modern civilization have been of great
educative value and have stimulated the ambition of countless country
homes for an improved scale of living.

A recent rural survey of Ohio revealed the fact that pianos or organs were
found in 25.9% of the 300,000 rural homes of the state, though only 4.8%
had bath tubs! We venture to guess that many of these musical instruments
were bought by mail, after the family had for many days studied the
alluring catalogs of Chicago mail-order houses. Incidentally, it would be
well for Chicago to sell more bath tubs! The new rural civilization is
rapidly requiring them.

_The Automobile, a Western Farm Necessity_

Often merely a luxurious plaything in the city, a saucy bit of flaunting
pride particularly irritating to envious neighbors, the automobile finds
great usefulness in the country. The average village as yet cares little
for it; but the western farmer in the open country is finding it almost a
necessity. The proportion of autos to farms, in the prosperous corn and
wheat belt, is very surprising. Low salaried tradesmen in the cities have
mortgaged their homes to buy the coveted automobile; the thrifty farmer
has also been known to do the same, but with vastly better reason. A
certain bank in a Mississippi valley state tried to stop the withdrawal of
funds for the purchase of machines, the vast sums being withdrawn from the
state for this purpose had become so alarming; but it was like damming
Niagara! In a prosperous little farm community in Iowa with only a few
scattering families, there were nine automobiles last summer; and the
situation is probably typical of prosperous western communities. A
reliable authority vouches for the fact that 179 automobiles were sold in
Cawker City, Kansas, in 1911. The population of the "city" in 1910 was
870. Obviously most of these machines must have been distributed among the
farms in the outlying country. The village itself had last year but
twenty-one automobiles.

Quite likely the per capita number of machines is greater in our great
agricultural states than in the cities. It is needless to emphasize the
social possibilities of this newest of our agencies for the newer rural
civilization. As a means of communication it outstrips all but the
telephone. It brings farm life right up to the minute for progressiveness,
with a pardonable pride in being able to keep pace with the city. It
annihilates distance and makes isolation a myth; and as the expense
becomes less and less with every year, the time is soon coming when every
farmer who can now afford the ordinary farm machinery will be able also to
possess this newest symbol of rural prosperity.

II. The Emancipation from Drudgery.

_The Social Revolution Wrought by Machinery_

Next to the great social transformation caused by these modern means of
fighting isolation comes the emancipation from drudgery brought in by farm
machinery. Labor saving machinery is just as much a feature of modern
civilization in the country as it is in the city. Machinery, by developing
the factory system, centralized industry and produced the great cities,
attracting thousands from the farms to man the looms. But this is only
half the story. Meanwhile the invention of _agricultural_ machinery made
it possible for the farm work of the country to be done by fewer men.
Therefore the farm population of the United States decreased from 47.6% in
1870 to 35.7% in 1900, representing a change from agriculture to other
employments by three and a half millions of people. Meanwhile, comparing
the average value of farms, and the relative purchasing power of money,
the average farmer was 42% better off at the end of the century than fifty
years before.[16]

The tendency of farm machinery to throw men out of employment and send
many to the city is shown by these facts from the thirteenth annual report
of the U. S. Commissioner of Labor. The sowing of small grains is
accomplished nowadays by machine methods in from one-fifth to one-fourth
the time formerly required for hand-sowing. One man with a modern
harvester can now do the work of eight men using the old methods, while
the modern threshing machine has displaced fourteen to twenty-nine farm
laborers. Machinery displaces the labor or increases the crop, according
to circumstances; but usually both. It has greatly increased the output of
farm products, sometimes reduced prices, and vastly increased the
efficiency of the workers. Of nine of the more important crops, the
average increase in labor efficiency in the past two generations has been
500%, while in the case of barley it was over 2,200%, and nearly the same
for wheat.[17]

_The Evolution of Farm Machinery_

The great incentive in America for our astonishing development of farm
machinery has been our cheap lands and our relatively high wages. But the
noble desire to rise above the slavery of drudgery has constantly had its
influence. American ambition has combined with Yankee ingenuity to produce
this wonderful story. The plow, that greatest of all implements, has
passed through constant changes, from the crude simplicity of early days
to the giant steam gang-plow of the present.

The first steel plow was made in 1837 from an old saw blade! The first
mowing machine was patented in 1831. Imperfect reapers appeared two years
later and were made practicable by 1840, one of the triumphs of modern
industry. Meanwhile threshing machines began to come into use and
separaters were combined with them by 1850. The first steam thresher
appeared in 1860.

It was a dramatic moment in history when at the Paris Exhibition of '55 a
hopeless contest was waged between six sturdy workmen with the old hand
flail, and threshing machines from four different countries. In the
half-day test the six men threshed out by hand sixty liters of wheat;
while a single American with his machine threshed 740 liters and easily
beat all contestants.

By the time of the civil war great saving of labor had been effected by
the invention of the corn planter and the two-horse cultivator. By 1865,
about 250,000 reaping machines were in use and by 1880 our country had
become the greatest exporter of wheat in the world. The invention of the
twine-binder made this possible, making practicable the raising of greater
crops of wheat; for as Professor T. N. Carver says: "The _harvesting_ of
the grain crop is the crucial point. The farmer has to ask himself, not,
'How much grain can I grow?' but, 'How much can I harvest with such help
as I can get?'" By the late seventies the steam thresher was fast
supplanting horse-power and a great impetus was given wheat growing when
the roller process for manufacturing flour was invented. By this process
better flour was made from spring wheat than had ever been produced from
the winter grain, and this made Minneapolis the Flour City, in place of

In rapid succession the check-rower, permitting cross cultivation of
corn, the lister, for deep plowing and planting, the weeder, the riding
cultivator, the disk harrow and other kindred machines greatly helped the
production of corn, our greatest crop. Cheese and butter factories and
improvements in dairy methods helped to make Americans probably the
largest consumers of butter in the world. The Babcock test for determining
the butter fat, and the centrifugal separater for extracting the cream,
were most important.

_The Evolution of the Plow_

In the last quarter century the improvement on these earlier farm machines
has been remarkable and elaborate. One of the most wonderful continued
stories of human ingenuity is the evolution of the plow, from the historic
crooked stick that merely tickled the surface of the ground (and is still
used in many countries) to the steam gang-plow which tears up the earth at
an astonishing pace, and thoroughly prepares the soil meanwhile. When with
a gang-plow and five horses, it became possible for a man to plow five
acres a day, it was supposed the acme of progress was attained. But soon
steam traction was introduced on the prairies and two men were able thus
to plow a dozen furrows at once and cover thirty to forty acres in a day.

Now, however, a 110-horse power machine, a monster of titanic power and
expert skill, plows a strip thirty feet wide, as fast as a man could
comfortably walk, and also does the harrowing and sowing simultaneously.
This completes the work of plowing and planting at the rate of 80 to 100
acres in a working day, or under favorable conditions even twelve acres an
hour, thus doing the work of forty to fifty teams and men. Yet millions of
people in the cities are not yet awake to the fact that we have a new
rural civilization! When we think of the thousands of men who have
patiently experimented and labored to perfect the plow, many of them now
unknown, we must consider the modern planting machine not an individual
but a race triumph. Among these innumerable experimenters was no less a
man than Thomas Jefferson, gentleman farmer, who gave months and years of
study in nature's laboratory to the single problem of perfecting the
moldboard of the plow, that it might do the most thorough work with the
least unnecessary friction.

Likewise the harrow, so simple in our grandfathers' days, has remarkably
developed, and we have peg-tooth, spring-tooth, disk, spader and
pulverizer harrows, drawn by horses or mules, which follow the plow with a
four- to twenty-foot swath. But here again the city mechanic must tip his
hat to the prairie farmer who uses twentieth century machinery, for we
have now a harrowing machine 100 feet in reach which harrows thirty acres
in an hour or a whole section of land in about two days! These astonishing
facts are particularly staggering to the small farmer, but they need
discourage only the incompetent. They have of course combined small farms
into great enterprises, and have driven some slovenly farmers from poor
soil. The pace is so fast. But specialized farming and intensive farming
have their own successes to-day as well as extensive farming, and it all
tends to elevate the whole scale of living and standard of efficiency upon
the farms; in short producing a new rural civilization.[18]

_Power Machinery on the Modern Farm_

A most interesting chapter in the story of human industry is the evolution
of power machinery. Gradually the drudgery of hand labor has been relieved
by water power, horse power, steam power, wind power and the modern
gasolene and electricity. The giant gang-plow with its 110-horsepower
traction engine is a prairie triumph, but it has very little interest for
the ordinary farmer on an average farm. Yet even the small farmer finds
the gasolene portable engine wonderfully useful and a great labor-saver at
slight expense.

Perhaps the surest way for a farmer to interest his discontented boy, who
is crazy for the city, is to buy a gasolene engine. A machine shop on the
farm is a great educator and a great resource for the boy as well as a
money-saver for the farmer. But best of all is the portable engine, which
not only relieves the boy of the most back-breaking labor but gives him
the keen delight of _controlling power_,--a mighty fascination for every
normal boy.

The most recent publication of a great farm machinery trust entitled
"Three Hundred Years of Power Development," dismisses electricity as
impracticable for farm uses because of its expense; and says of wind
power: "This power at best is unreliable and usually unavailable when most
needed." Yet the writer has discovered a 1,120-acre farm in North Dakota
where electricity is generated by wind, and wind power is stored in
electricity at a very slight cost, and it meets many of the mechanical
needs of this prosperous farm. So far as known this is the first instance
of a _storage-battery electric plant upon a farm, the battery being
charged by wind power_! The ingenious older son, now a graduate of the
State School of Science, experimented with this plan all through his
boyhood and is now securing patent rights to protect his invention.[19] He
discovered from the U. S. Weather Bureau reports the mean wind velocity
which could be depended upon at Mooreton, N. D., and built his windmill
accordingly. An ingenious automatic regulator protects the battery from
over-charging. The electricity provides 75 lights for house, barn and
other farm buildings; power for wheat elevator, all laundry machinery,
washing, ironing, centrifugal drying; cream separater and other dairy
machinery; electric cook stove, et cetera, in the farm kitchen; electric
fans for the summer and bed warmers in the winter; electric pumps for
irrigating, and even an electric vulcanizer for repairing the auto tires!
This is the way one farm boy succeeded in harnessing the fierce prairie
winds and compelling them to do his drudgery.

_The Social Effect of Lessened Drudgery_

To the mechanic the story of agricultural machinery suggests the miracle
of the conquest of nature by human ingenuity and perfected mechanical
skill. To the economist it suggests fascinating new problems of production
and consumption, and the new values of land, labor and capital. To the
speculator it means a greatly enlarged field for manipulation and wilder
dreams of profit. But to the country lover rejoicing in the new rural
prosperity it first of all suggests that from thousands of progressive
farms has the curse of drudgery been lifted.[20]

Hard, grinding, back-breaking labor, often with surprisingly meager
returns, and in some seasons with total crop failure, has been in the past
the bitter lot of the husbandman. Many a farm boy has thus had the courage
crushed out of him in early teens and has ignominiously retreated to the
city. Many a farmer's wife has grown prematurely old and has slaved
herself to death, leaving her children and her home to a younger
successor. These conditions of course still continue even in the new age.
Great numbers of farmers are still hopelessly poor, many of them
needlessly so, through ignorance, slovenly management, laziness or
willful unprogressiveness. But the rural moss-back is being laid upon the
shelf with other fossils and soon will possess only historical interest.
Great organized effort is being made to redeem him by the gospel of
scientific farming before he dies, and the effort is by no means vain.

III. Increased Popular Intelligence.

The new rural civilization, however, is by no means a mere matter of
methods. The farmer himself has been growing more intelligent. County
agricultural societies, first organized in 1810, set the farmers to
thinking. Many farm journals have contributed widely to the farmers'
education. But in the past twenty years many agencies have united in what
has been a great rural uplift. The government's department of agriculture,
the experiment stations established in each state, the better-farming
trains with their highly educative exhibits, the countless farmers'
institutes for fruitful discussions, the extension work of state
universities, the local and traveling libraries, and especially the
agricultural colleges, through their short courses in the winter, their
stimulating and instructive bulletins, their great variety of extension
service through their territory, are among the many agencies for popular
education in country districts which are becoming thoroughly appreciated
and highly effective. In a great variety of ways a genuine rural culture
is being developed, with its own special characteristics and enduring
values. All this is helping to make country life vastly worth while.

[Illustration: This picture illustrates school garden work at the
Macdonald Consolidated School, Guelph, Canada, E. A. Howes, Principal. The
time is June.]

[Illustration: The same garden at harvest time, in September.]

This increased culture among country people is a great factor in the new
rural civilization which must be given due consideration. It is this which
is overcoming rural narrowness and provincialism. Herein is great hope for
the future of the open country as a worthy home for people of the finest
tastes and of genuine culture. This important topic will be considered in
detail in Chapter VI, under Education for Country Life.

IV. The New Social Consciousness.

In these days when the gospel of class consciousness is being preached by
labor union leaders, as requisite to success, the farmers may well heed
the lesson. Let them stop the luxury of self-pity and discover a genuine
pride in their life calling. Thousands do not in the least need this
exhortation. They rejoice in their privilege as scientific tillers of the
soil. They are also discovering a real social spirit among themselves
which speaks well for the future. As a class they are claiming their
rights with a new insistence and a new dignity which is commanding a
respectful hearing.

Legislatures and the national Congress are taking notice; likewise the
railroads; but the middleman remains unterrified, secure in his
speculative castle. He may look well to his profits however, for the days
of organized agriculture are not far distant. The farmers are getting
together for business and are comparing notes with the consumers. The
producer finds he is often getting less than half what the consumer pays
and the cooperative spirit grows apace. The efficiency of farmers'
organizations for mutual profit has varied greatly in different sections,
but they serve a genuine need and have a great future, as class
consciousness increases among farmers.

But the new social consciousness in the country is not merely a matter of
group loyalty. It has to do with the interests of the whole community. The
selfish days of the independent farmer are rapidly passing. The social
spirit of mutual interdependence is certainly growing. One of the tests of
modern civilization is the capacity for cooperation. Tardily, very
tardily, the country has been following the city in this ability to
cooperate for common ends and the community welfare, but improvement is
very evident.

The problem of community socialization will be treated in Chapter V. We
shall find that the need of cooperation runs through every phase of rural
life and explains the common weakness of every rural institution. But
leaders of country life, both East and West, have caught the social vision
and are sharing it with their neighbors. "_Together_" is the watchword of
the new day in the country, and the incentive of cooperative endeavor is
the key to the new success in every rural interest and organization.

V. Effect of the New Order on Rural Institutions.

For several decades we have been seriously troubled by the decay of rural
institutions. The strain upon them resulting from rural depletion has been
very serious. First of all the country schools began to deteriorate and
thousands of them doubtless have been closed. With the decay of the
village, the village store, that social center and fountain of all wisdom,
has lost prestige and most of its trade. The trolley and the mail order
houses have made it unnecessary. With the coming of the rural delivery
route, even the village post-office has lost all social importance. With
the advent of farm machinery and fewer farm hands, many of the jolly
social functions of the past, such as husking bees, barn raisings,
spelling bees and lyceums, have ceased to be; while the rural churches in
all depleted sections have suffered sadly and in hundreds of cases have

In some scattered communities, away from the beaten paths, this social
decay has resulted in de-socializing the neighborhood. Feuds, grudges,
gross immoralities have followed and the people have relapsed into
practical heathenism. But in many places _social readjustment has come_,
with a new efficiency in rural institutions. Centralized schools have
brought a new largeness of vision in place of the little district
knowledge shop. The great advantages of the rural free delivery have
certainly outweighed the loss of the social prestige of the post-office,
just as the trolley is more valuable than the village store. Many of the
old time social functions were worth while, but new institutions like the
Grange and the farmers' clubs, institutes and cooperative organizations
are better fitted to the modern age and are contributing largely to the
new rural civilization, while the village church and the church in the
open country are discovering new opportunities for service, broader
community usefulness and a great social mission.

The new rural civilization is bringing a new prosperity into the great
business of farming. It is bringing new and permanent satisfactions and
comforts into country homes. It has greatly diminished the vexed problem
of rural isolation, with its many new ways of communication. It has to a
remarkable degree eliminated drudgery, through the use of wonderful
machinery. It has popularized education and developed a new social
consciousness and new efficiency in rural institutions, amounting often to
a total redirection of the community life. But fundamentally the new
civilization is naturally religious. It is revealing the strong religious
sentiment in country folks, even when they are not associated with
churches. It is calling upon the church to gird itself for new tasks and
under a new, virile type of leadership undertake real community building
with the modern church as the center of activity and source of inspiration
and guidance. The church should be, and with adequate leadership is, the
local power house of the country life movement.

_Rural Progress and the Providence of God_

Every man of faith must see in this new rural civilization the purpose of
God to redeem the country from the dangers of a rural peasantry and moral
decadence. Progress is the will of God. Christ's vision of a Kingdom of
Heaven involved a redeemed world. That Kingdom of Heaven is coming
ultimately in the country as well as in the city. Every sign of rural
progress indicates it and should be hailed with joy by men of faith. The
triumph over isolation and the gradual emancipation from drudgery, the
development of good roads, trolleys, telephones, rural mail service,
automobiles, and the wonderful evolution of farm machinery are all
way-marks in the providence of God indicating the ultimate coming of his
Kingdom. The increased intelligence among farming people, the many new
agencies for popular education, the new social consciousness and growing
spirit of cooperation, the new efficiency of rural institutions, a better
school, a community-serving church, a character-building home, as well as
a scientifically conducted farm, every one of these makes for better rural
morals and better religion, and should delight the heart of every earnest
man who "desires a _better country_, that is a heavenly."

[Illustration: Plan of Macdonald Consolidated School grounds and gardens,
Bowesville, Ontario, Canada.]


1.--Why are the terms "countryman" and "farmer" ceasing to be used as
terms of ridicule?

2.--What effect, in past years, has _isolation_ had upon people living in
the country?

3.--What modern means of intercommunication have largely overcome the
evils of rural isolation?

4.--What are the social possibilities of the telephone for people living
in the open country?

5.--Why are good roads so essential, socially and industrially, in the
country sections?

6.--When was the "Good Roads Association" formed, and how much has your
state expended for state roads the past twenty years? (Inquire of your
County Surveyor.)

7.--What do the rural sections owe to the steam railroad system of the

8.--What have the trolleys accomplished which the steam roads could not

9.--What changes in rural life are due to the rural free delivery of mail?

10.--Describe what these changes have accomplished in your own home

11.--To what extent has machinery relieved farm labor of its drudgery?

12.--Describe the evolution of the plow and the harrow.

13.--What inventions in farm machinery have had the greatest influence on
rural progress?

14.--What can you say about the increase of intelligence in the country
sections you have known?

15.--What agencies are now at work in the country making popular education

16.--Have you observed anywhere yet the new social consciousness or class
consciousness among farmers?

17.--To what extent do you think cooperation has gained acceptance in the

18.--In what rural institutions is cooperation still greatly lacking?

19.--What changes have already come in rural institutions?

20.--How is this new rural civilization revealing the will of God, and
what relation has it to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven?





    I. _Its Struggle with Rural Conservatism_

       Modern efficiency in city and country.
       The natural conservatism of farmers.
       What is progressive agriculture?
       Its development by government patronage.

   II. _Some Special Aspects of Scientific Agriculture_

       Intensive farming and conservation of fertility.
       Achievements of scientific breeding.
       Marvels of plant production.
       Irrigation and the problem of the desert.
       Dry farming possibilities.

  III. _Some Results of Scientific Farming_

       Agriculture now a profession.
       Conservation: a new appeal to patriotism.
       Permanency of rural Christendom now possible.



I. Its Struggle with Rural Conservatism.

_Modern Efficiency not Confined to Cities_

_Efficiency_ is everywhere demanded by the spirit of our times. We are
living in an age that does things. Whatever the difficulties, it somehow
gets things done. It brings to pass even the seemingly impossible. Are
there mountains in the way? It goes over, under, or through.--There are no
mountains! Is there an isthmus, preventing the union of great seas and
blocking commerce? It erases the isthmus from the world's map.--There is
no isthmus! The masterful time-spirit has little patience with puttering
inefficiency. It expects every man to pull his weight, to earn his keep,
to do his own task, and not to whimper.

Our cities are hives of efficiency, cruel efficiency often. With new
pace-makers every year, the wheels of industry speed ever faster, raising
the percentage of effectiveness, per dollar of capital and per capita
employed. Hundreds at the wheels, with scant nerves, fail to keep the
pace; and the race goes by them. But the pace keeps up. Other workmen grow
more deft and skillful. The product is both cheapened and perfected. The
plant becomes more profitable, under fine executive efficiency. The
junk-heap grows apace: Out goes every obsolete half-success. In comes
every new machine which reduces friction, doubles results, halves the cost
of maintenance, and swells dividends. Surely efficiency is the modern

Here is the new Tungsten electric lamp, which uses half the current, at
low voltage, but doubles the light; the very dazzling symbol of
efficiency. How it antiquates the best Edison lamp of yesterday! Yet the
Tungsten becomes old-fashioned in a year. It is too fragile and is
speedily displaced by the improved Mazda.

But _city_ life has no monopoly on efficiency. In fact we do not find in
the mills or factories the best illustrations of modern effectiveness. We
have to go back to the soil. Agriculture has become the newest of the
arts, by the grace of modern science. To make two blades of grass grow
where one grew before is too easy now. Multiplying by two is small boys'
play. Burbank has out-Edisoned Edison! He and other experimenters in the
scientific breeding of plants and animals have increased the efficiency of
every live farmer in the land, and have added perhaps a billion dollars a
year to the nation's wealth.

They have not yet crossed the bee and the firefly, as some one has
suggested, to produce an illuminated bee that could work at night by his
own light. Nor have they produced woven-wire fences by crossing the spider
and the wire-worm! Not yet; but they have done better. By skillful
cross-breeding, they have raised the efficiency of the sugar beet from 7%
to 15% sugar. They have produced hardy, seedless oranges, plums, apples,
and strawberry plants which will stand the climate of the frozen north.
They have developed fine, long-stapled cotton, high-yielding cereal
grains, and mammoth carnations and chrysanthemums. They have produced the
wonderberry, the Wealthy Apple and the Burbank Potato. They have developed
flax with 25% more seed. And the "Minnesota Number Thirteen Corn," so
hardy and sure, has carried the cornbelt in three great states fully fifty
miles further to the north, with its magnificent wake of golden profits.
No wonder America feeds the world. Such is our splendid Yankee genius for
efficiency. It is the master-spirit, the ruling genius of our age; and it
shows itself best on our fields and prairies. Other nations compete fairly
well with our manufactures. They outstrip us in commerce. But they are
hopelessly behind our American agriculture. The farm products of this
country amounted in the year 1910 to almost nine billion dollars. The corn
crop alone was worth a billion and a half; enough to cancel the entire
interest-bearing debt of the United States, buy all of the gold and silver
mined in all the countries of the earth in 1909, and still leave the
farmers pocket-money.[21]

_The Natural Conservatism of Farmers_

In all fairness it must be said, the modern gospel of progressiveness has
not been everywhere accepted, far from it. Plenty of farmers, doubtless
the majority, are still following the old traditions. Country folks as a
rule are conservative. They like the old ways and are suspicious of
"new-fangled notions." Director Bailey of Cornell enjoys telling the
comment he overheard one day from a farmer of this sort. It was after he
had been speaking at a rural life conference, doubtless proposing various
plans for better farming, which differed from the honored superstitions of
the neighborhood. A stolid native was overheard saying to his neighbor,
"John, let them blow! They can't hurt me none." He prided himself on being
immune to all appeals at such a rural life revival.

Such a man is very common among the hills, and wherever the soil is poor;
but he is beginning to feel lonesome in really prosperous rural
communities, for the new agriculture is fast winning its way. That is, the
application of science to agriculture has proved its efficiency by actual
tangible results. A farmer may be so superstitious as to begin nothing on
a Friday, nor butcher during a waning moon for fear his meat will shrink,
nor use an iron plow for fear it may poison the soil! But when his
neighbor by modern methods adds 50% to his crop, he knows there must be
something in it. The new _theory_ he always greets with "I don't believe
it!" but the knock-down argument of facts compels his reluctant faith.
Soon he gives the new heresy a trial himself; and success makes him a
convert to the new gospel.

An experience like this is a serious thing for a hide-bound conservative,
long wedded to old methods. It means that "the former things are passed
away and behold all things are become new." He loses his superstitions as
he discovers the laws of cause and effect. He gradually concludes that
farming is not a matter of luck but largely a matter of science; that it
is not merely tickling Dame Nature till she grudgingly shares her
bounties, but that it is a scientific process, the laws of which may be
discovered. This means mental growth for the farmer, the stimulus of many
new ideas which bring wider horizons and a larger life; and incidentally a
heightened respect for his own life-work.

_What is Progressive Agriculture?_

The old-fashioned farmer, particularly in America where methods have been
so wasteful because of the cheapness of land, has planted and harvested
just for the season's returns, with little regard for the future. The
modern farmer, self-respecting and far-sighted, plans for the future
welfare of his farm. He learns how to analyze and treat his soil and to
conserve its fertility, just as he would protect his capital in any
business investment. Scientific management and farm economy are taking the
place of mere soil-mining and reckless waste. The best farmers plan to
leave their farms a little more fertile than they found them. Good
authorities in rural economics assert that if depletion of soil fertility
were taken into account, the wasteful methods of American agriculture in
the past, though producing apparently large returns, have actually been
unprofitable. So long as new land could easily be obtained from the
government for a mere song and a few months' patience, the pioneer farmer
was utterly careless in his treatment of the soil. He moved from state to
state, skimming the fat of the land but never fertilizing, following the
frontier line westward and leaving half-wasted lands in his trail.

It was really a blessing to the land when the scarcity of free homesteads
brought this wasteful process towards its end. When new lands became
scarce, the farms of the middle West increased in value. For twenty years
farm values have been rising steadily, with two evident results: intensive
farming and speculation. The demoralizing effects of the latter are at
once apparent. It was a sad day when the prairie farmer ceased to think of
his farm as a permanent home, but as a speculative asset. But it was a
good day for the business of farming when the farmer discovered the need
of more careful, intensive cultivation to keep pace with rising values.
This marks the beginning of scientific thoroughness and efficiency in our
tilling of the soil.

_Its Development by Government Patronage_

Just then something very timely happened. The modern period of American
agriculture really dates from 1887, when Congress, by the Hatch Act,
established the first national system of agricultural experiment stations
in the world. Previous to this date there had been a few private and state
enterprises; but this Act of Congress established at public expense an
experiment station in every state and territory. The vast usefulness of
this movement in developing a real science of agriculture is evident from
this paragraph from the law:

"Sec. 2. That it shall be the object and duty of said experiment stations
to conduct original researches or verify experiments on the physiology of
plants and animals; the diseases to which they are severally subject, with
the remedies for the same; the chemical composition of useful plants at
their different stages of growth; the comparative advantages of rotative
cropping, as pursued under the varying series of crops; the capacity of
new plants or trees for acclimation; the analysis of soils and water; the
chemical composition of manures, natural or artificial, with experiments
designed to test their comparative effects on crops of different kinds;
the adaptation and value of grasses and forage plants; the composition and
digestibility of the different kinds of food for domestic animals; the
scientific and economic questions involved in the production of butter and
cheese, et cetera."

As a result of this and later laws, over three millions of dollars are now
spent annually, by the national and state governments, to support
experiment station work. Over a thousand men are employed in the
investigations and their publications cover practically the whole range of
the science and art of agriculture. About five hundred separate bulletins
are issued each year, which may be obtained free on application.

This great chain of experiment stations is working wonders. In cooperation
with the agricultural colleges and the U. S. Department of Agriculture,
they are raising agriculture to scientific levels. They are, by their
laboratory work, doing the farmer's experimenting for him and doing it
better and with greater certainty. Thus they are eliminating much of the
uncertainty and "luck" from farming which has been its curse and
discouragement. And thus they are equipping the farmer to cope more
effectively with the difficulties of nature and to put a more confident
fight with stubborn climate and fickle weather, because he knows the
scientific points of the game.

II. Some Special Aspects of Scientific Agriculture.

_Intensive Farming and Conservation of Fertility_

The opening of the rich prairie lands to cultivation, with the marvels of
extensive agriculture, is a wonderful story. Our last chapter suggested it
in outline. But _intensive_ farming has its own triumphs, though they may
be less spectacular. There is something that wins our respect in the
careful, thorough methods of European agriculture, by which whole nations
are able to make a living on tiny farms by intensive farming. Tilling
every little scrap of ground, even roadside and dooryard, and guarding the
soil fertility as the precious business capital of the family, it is
wonderful how few square rods can be made to sustain a large family.

Frugality is not attractive to Americans, especially the European type
which often means peasant farming, and a low scale of living. We are
discovering, however, the vast possibilities of farm economy and intensive
cultivation. Professor Carver says, "Where land is cheap and labor dear,
wasteful and extensive farming is natural, and it is useless to preach
against it.... We always tend to waste that which is cheap and economize
that which is dear. The condition of this country in all the preceding
periods dictated the wasteful use of land and the economic use of labor,
as shown by the unprecedented development of agricultural machinery. But
as land becomes dearer, relatively to labor, as it inevitably will, the
tendency will be equally inevitable toward more intensive agriculture,
that is, toward a system which produces more per acre. This will follow
through the normal working of economic laws, as surely as water will flow
down hill."

[Illustration: _The Stockman-Farmer Pub. Co._

A modern Fruit and Truck Farm in high state of fertility.]

It is wonderful what can be accomplished by intensive cultivation. If the
old New England orchards were given as thorough care and treatment as the
scientifically tended and doctored apple trees of Oregon, the results
would surprise the oldest citizen! Conserving moisture and keeping the
soil clean from weeds is worth all the painstaking care it requires. The
renovation of the soil by regular fertilizing is a lesson the wasteful
West is slowly learning, coupled with scientific schemes of crop rotation
to conserve the soil's quality. Farmers are astonishingly slow to adopt
these methods, however, thinking that they know best the needs of their
own soil. The North Dakota experiment station is inducing farmers to adopt
their advice as to seed selection and crop rotation with the promise to
set aside five acres for experimentation in accordance with the advice
given. This is extremely wise policy. Doubtless, if directions are
faithfully followed, the contrast with the rest of the farm will be highly
favorable to the five-acre lot and agricultural progress will win out.

_Achievements in Scientific Breeding_

In the earlier pages of this chapter we have already alluded to this
fascinating subject as an illustration of modern efficiency in country
life. Four years ago Assistant Secretary Hays of the Department of
Agriculture asserted that scientific breeding of better stock and plant
life was netting this country a billion dollars a year, of the total
agricultural production of seven and a half billions in 1907.[22] In 1910
the total reached about nine billions and it is probable that scientific
agriculture was the main cause of the great increase rather than
additional acreage.

One of the wonders of modern science is this story of the development of
new plant species and improvement in the best of the old, by the skillful
processes of plant breeding. Notable also has been the improvement in
American horses, cattle, swine and poultry, developed by the same
scientific principles. Projected efficiency, or breeding power to beget
valuable progeny, is the central idea. Simple selection is the method. Out
of a large number of animals the phenomenal individual is selected for his
notable capacity for reproducing in his offspring his own desirable
characteristics. Thus the best blood is multiplied and the less desirable
is discarded. Sometimes by close inbreeding the eugenic process has been
hastened. In this way scientific stock raisers have been able practically
to make to order animals with any desired quality. For instance, the great
demand for bacon in England has been met by a masterly bit of
agricultural statesmanship, for which Mr. John Dryden, chief of the
Canadian Agricultural Department, is responsible. After careful study and
experiment, the Yorkshire and Tamworth breeds of hogs were crossed and a
special breed developed especially valuable for bacon with exceptionally
long sides of uniform thickness and with alternating layers of fat and
lean. Selected bacon made to order!

New breeds of sheep have been developed which have combined phenomenal
wool-producing power with superior meat production; similarly short-horn
cattle with great milk-giving capacity and beef production; and more
remarkable still have been the results in horse breeding. In spite of all
the motor-cycles and automobiles, the horse is becoming more and more
useful, because more highly civilized and specialized. The breeders know
how to build up horse-flesh to suit your special needs for draft horse,
family horse, trotter or pacer, with any desired form, proportions or
talent, almost as accurately as a druggist compounds prescriptions! The
wonderful possibilities involved challenge our imagination. Among the
results of this stock-raising strategy we ought to expect not only happier
and richer farmers, but better and cheaper food and clothing for all
classes of people. The very fact that the business is now on a scientific
basis has appealed to students and is attracting men of large abilities
who see the opportunity to better rapidly, year by year, the live-stock
quality of the whole country.

_Marvels in Plant Production_

In the field of plant breeding these marvelous results are more rapid and
startling because of the wider range of selection. Hybridization, the
crossing of different species, has accomplished much more than simple
selection. Dr. William Saunders of Canada succeeded in crossing the Ladoga
and Fife varieties of wheat and secured a wheat which was earlier than
Fife and yielded better than Ladoga. Likewise, Luther Burbank was able to
produce a hybrid walnut by crossing the English and Black walnuts; and
Webber and Swingle developed the new fruits called tangerines and
citranges by crossing sweet oranges with carefully selected specimens of
the wild fruit. Experiments last year in blueberry culture developed
luscious berries a half inch in diameter. Possibilities in berry
development are almost unlimited, especially by crossing with hardy wild

Peach raisers have two great obstacles to sure success: drought in the
Southwest and frost toward the North. Science is helping them to compete
successfully with the severities of nature. A hardy wild peach has been
found in Northern China and grafting on this stock has produced (this last
year) the hardiest peach in Iowa; while another strain bids fair to meet
the drought-resisting needs of the Southwest fruit grower.

Our agricultural explorers are searching the world for new varieties which
can be used in hybridizing to perfect the American species. For instance,
a wild wheat has been found in Palestine which requires very little
water. So a specialist in acclimatization was sent directly to the slopes
of Mount Hermon to discover its possibilities for American dry farming. If
the plant doctors succeed in developing wheat which can be raised in our
arid wilderness, it would repay a thousand fold the expense of a
round-the-world trip. The possible profits in skillful plant breeding are
almost unlimited. Burbank is quoted as asserting: "The right man under
favorable conditions can make one dollar yield a million dollars in plant
breeding." In 1908 the Minnesota Experiment Station had spent $40,000 in
breeding the cereal grains. The agricultural department is authority for
the opinion that "the increased production is estimated at a thousand
fold, or $40,000,000."[23]

The justly famous navel oranges of California can all be traced to two
scions sent from the U. S. Department of Agriculture some years ago. The
Wealthy apple, which thrives in the cold north better than any other good
variety, goes back to the early struggles of Peter Gideon at Lake
Minnetonka, who faced the Minnesota winter almost penniless, coatless and
with a family dependent upon him; but had faith enough to invest his
hard-earned dollars in selected apple-seed from his far off home in Maine.
The largest single contributor to the wealth produced by scientific
breeding is said to be the Burbank potato. The van-guard of American
experimenters are ranging the world and bringing home large-fruited
jujubes (as good as dates) from the dry fields of Central Asia; seedless
Chinese persimmons which have just been successfully fruited in North
Carolina; a Japanese salad plant and a vegetable called _udo_ which is
similar to asparagus; edible roots called _aroids_ which thrive in swampy
land where the potato rots; hardy alfalfa from central Asia successfully
crossed with our own varieties for our cold northwest; drought-resisting
cherries, apricots with sweet kernels, Caucasian peaches, olives hardy in
zero temperatures, mangoes from Porto Rico, the Paradise apple which grows
wild in the Caucasus, the Slew Abrikose, an apricot as smooth as the
nectarine, and wild strawberries fruiting in February on the dry cliffs of
western Asia which, through cross-breeding may help to carry our native
strawberry many miles still farther to the north.

The story is endless; but these items suggest to us the thoroughly
statesmanlike way in which our agricultural leaders are increasing year by
year the possibilities of our soil in spite of all drawbacks of condition
and climate. No wonder they are already prophesying that our annual
agricultural production will before long reach twenty billions. When it
comes, a large part of the credit must be given to the skillful
agricultural scientists who are furnishing all progressive farmers these
newer species of plants and animals which are superseding the inferior

_Irrigation and the Problem of the Desert_

When it is the problem of sterility, it is hopeless. But usually it is
merely the problem of aridity; which is only a challenge to enterprise.
Much of our "Great American Desert," as the old geography used to
describe it, is in reality the most fertile of all soils; no wonder it can
easily be made to "blossom as the rose."

Dr. W. E. Smythe in his fascinating book "The Conquest of Arid America"
calls attention to the fact that the real dividing line between the east
and the west is the 97th meridian which divides in twain the Dakotas,
Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. East of this line is the region of
fairly assured rainfall. To the westward stretches the vast area of arid
land with a rainfall insufficient to sustain agriculture; and with only
three or four people to the square mile, though with resources enough to
support a hundred million people. With a climate matchless for health and
a varied and beautiful scenery, coupled with untold mineral deposits and a
soil fertility that is remarkable, this great section is slowly coming to
its own, through the method of irrigation, from the mountains and the

With characteristic western spirit the above author remarks, "Even in
humid regions nothing is so uncertain as the time and amount of the
rainfall. In the whole range of modern industry nothing is so crude,
uncalculating and unscientific as the childlike dependence on the mood of
the clouds for the moisture essential to the production of the staple
necessities of life." The superiority of irrigation as a certain means of
water supply which can be regulated at will is a thesis easy to maintain.
The results make a marvelous story. "The canal is an insurance policy
against loss of crops by drought, while aridity is a substantial guarantee
against injury by flood. The rich soils of the arid region produce from
four to ten times as largely with irrigation, as the soil of the humid
region without it. Twenty acres in the irrigated West should equal 100
acres elsewhere. Certainty, abundance, variety--all this upon an area so
small as to be within the control of a single family through its own area,
are the elements which compose industrial independence under irrigation."

The small farm unit, usually from five to twenty-five acres, brings
neighbors close together, abolishing loneliness and most of the social
ills of farm life in the East. Beautiful irrigated villages are springing
up which rival in comfort and privilege most places on earth, and combine
both city and country privileges, where rural and urban meet. The spirit
of cooperation is strong in irrigated communities, enforced by the common
dependence upon the common enterprise and water supply. This is well
illustrated by the Mormon commonwealth, the pioneer irrigators of the

The enthusiastic irrigating farmer asserts that irrigation is "the
foundation of truly scientific agriculture." "The western farmer who has
learned to irrigate thinks it would be quite as illogical for him to leave
the watering of his potato patch to the caprice of the clouds as for the
housewife to defer her wash-day until she could catch rainwater in her
tubs." Irrigation certainly furnishes the ideal method for raising a
varied crop, giving each crop individual treatment, serving each of thirty
varieties of plants and trees with just the amount of daily moisture they
individually need, so as to produce maximum products. No wonder three
crops in a year sometimes result, and sometimes five crops of alfalfa in
the Southwest. Here we come to the highest development of intensive
farming where the utmost value of agricultural science has free play and
rivals the results of research and skill in any other line of human

_Dry Farming Possibilities_

Wonderful as these irrigation projects are, we must not fail to notice
that this method of reclaiming arid lands can only be used where there are
mountains, rivers or water courses which can be tapped. Ultimately an area
as large as New England and New York State will probably be blessed by
irrigation. But this is only a small fraction of the arid West. How shall
the rest be reclaimed from the desert? Obviously by some method of dry
farming, depending on and conserving the meager rain-fall.

A few simple principles have been discovered, and some specialized
machinery developed, by which successful dry farming is now conducted on
an extensive scale along the arid plains between the Missouri river basin
and the Sierra Nevada mountains. In brief these principles are: deep
plowing, sub-soil packing, intensive cultivation, maintaining a fine dust
mulch on the surface, the use of drought-resisting grains, especially
certain varieties of wheat, allowing the land to lie fallow every other
year to store moisture, and keeping a good per cent. of humus (vegetable
matter) in the soil to resist evaporation. In every possible way the dry
farmer conserves moisture. The dry mulch is particularly effective. Only a
few years ago it was discovered that by capillary attraction much of the
water absorbed by the spongy soil during a rain is lost by rapid
evaporation, coming to the surface, just as oil runs up a wick. But by
stirring the surface the "capillary ducts" are broken up and the moisture
tends to stay down in the sub soil; for the two inches of dust mulch on
the surface acts like a blanket, protecting the precious moisture from the
dry winds.

III. Some Results of Scientific Farming.

_Agriculture Now a Profession_

In such a brief treatment it is not to be expected that the writer could
do justice to the subject of modern agriculture. In fact there has been
little reference to the topic of general farming in this chapter. In its
main outline it is a familiar topic and requires little attention here.
The descriptions of certain varieties of specialized agriculture have been
given as illustrations of the more remarkable phases of the application of
scientific methods to country life. We hope two results have thus been
attained, that the dignity and efficiency and scientific possibilities of
modern agriculture as a profession have been brought to the attention both
of our readers in the city and of the discontented farm boys in the
country. Both need a higher appreciation of country life. It should be
evident to all that agriculture to-day is thoroughly scientific when
rightly practiced, which is simply saying that the practice of the new
agriculture is a _profession_. It is among the most difficult and highly
technical of all professions. No profession, with the possible exception
of medicine, has a broader scientific basis or is at present deriving a
greater benefit from vast inductive work in world-wide experimentation at
both public and private expense. This profession has made wonderful gains
in recent years in both extensive and intensive efficiency, and has
written among its triumphs many of the most romantic stories of modern
mechanical skill, inventive genius, economic profit and scientific

[Illustration: Pennsylvania Farm Land.]

This honorable profession is not only worthy of the finest and ablest of
our American young manhood, but its opportunity and present need is a
distinct challenge to their attention. Mr. James J. Hill recently stated
as his opinion that not more than one per cent. of American farmers in the
middle West were keeping in touch with the agricultural institutions;
which is the same as saying they are not keeping up to date. This suggests
the need of more intelligent modern farmers tilling the soil as a
profession and thus pointing the way to progress for all their neighbors.

_Conservation: A New Appeal to Patriotism_

This word conservation has but recently won its place of honor in our
popular speech; but it is a word of mighty import. The battle for
conservation of our national resources is on, and it challenges the
attention of our young collegians.

It is encouraging to see results already. By a happy combination of
progressiveness with true conservatism, we are conserving our national
assets from Niagara to the mighty forests of Washington and California
and from the arid lands of the mighty empire of Montana to the swamps of
Florida. The nation is repenting of its prodigal wastefulness and is now
guarding jealously its forest reserves, its vast water-power privileges,
its coal and mineral deposits and its soil fertility, for upon these
stores of fundamental wealth depends the prosperity of endless
generations. Many alluring chances will come to men now in college to
share in this great task of the nation, this fascinating enterprise of

_Permanency of Rural Christendom Now Possible_

Any reader must be quite lacking in vision who has been able to read this
chapter on the remarkable progress of modern agricultural science without
discerning the deep religious significance of it all. Civilization
unquestionably is based on economics. Rural prosperity is a primary
condition of rural permanence. Farming must be profitable enough to
maintain a self-respecting rural folk; or the open country would be
speedily abandoned to a race of peasants and rural heathenism would be

Progress in agriculture, developing rural prosperity, means the survival
of the best rural homes and the finest rural ideals,--otherwise these
would go to the city. Retaining in the country a genuine Christian
constituency and rural leadership means the survival of the country
church. The Christian forces in the country have a vast stake in rural
prosperity. You cannot hope to build a prosperous country church on poor
soil or maintain it on bad farming. This is not a mere matter of scarcity
of contributions. It is a result of the poverty of personality among
people who are poor Christians because they are poor farmers.

Christian leaders should therefore rejoice in the advance of modern
agriculture not only because it all signifies a richer and broader rural
prosperity, but also because it makes possible the permanence of rural
Christendom and the survival of successful country churches. The more
profitable modern farming is made, the richer becomes the opportunity of
country life, the larger proportion of the brightest sons and daughters of
the farm will resist the lure of the city. Nothing is so vital to the
country church, humanly speaking, as to keep in the country parishes a
fair share of the country boys and girls of the finest type. With them it
lives and serves its community. Without them it will die and its community
will become decadent.

It is no selfish Christian spirit that rejoices in the broadening
opportunities of country life. The church is but a means to an end. The
great objective is the coming of the Kingdom of God for which Jesus
prayed. As fast as the very soil of a country is recognized as "holy
land," and preserving its fertility is felt to be a patriotic duty; as
fast as better live stock, better plant species and a better breed of men
are sought as a working ideal; as fast as the conservation of all natural
resources becomes a national life purpose; so rapidly and inevitably the
Kingdom of Heaven will come. The Country Life Movement is fundamentally


1.--Mention a few evidences of modern industrial efficiency.

2.--What can you say of the efficiency of modern agriculture?

3.--In what ways have you noticed country people to be especially

4.--Compare the wasteful farm methods of a half century ago with the
careful intensive cultivation of to-day.

5.--How has the government helped progressive agriculture?

6.--What are the experiment stations accomplishing?

7.--What do you think of the evil of soil-piracy?

8.--Mention some of the remarkable achievements of scientific breeding of
farm animals.

9.--What should be the results of all this improvement in our live stock?
What stands in the way?

10.--What has especially interested you among the marvels of plant
production by cross-cultivation?

11.--Why are representatives of our Agricultural Department searching the
world for new species of plants?

12.--Locate the desert sections of America where the rainfall is
insufficient to sustain agriculture.

13.--What do you think of the advantages and possibilities of irrigation?

14.--Explain the methods of dry farming, especially the principle involved
in the "dust mulch."

15.--To what extent is it true that scientific agriculture has now become
a profession?

16.--Explain the real patriotism in the modern policy of conservation of
natural resources.

17.--To what extent do you think the government ought to own or control
the great forests, the water power and the coal deposits? Why?

18.--How does this whole subject of progressive agriculture affect the
religious life of the country?

19.--Upon what economic basis does the permanence of religious
institutions in the country quite largely depend?

20.--What do you think is the great religious objective in all rural





  A. Country Life Deficiencies

    I. _Social Diagnosis_

       Rural individualism.
       The weakness in rural institutions.
       The difficulty of organizing farmers.

   II. _Failures in Rural Cooperation_

       Lack of political effectiveness.
       Lack of cooperation in business.
       Lack of religious cooperation.

  III. _Rural Morals and the Recreation Problem_

       Lack of wholesome social life for young people.
       Lack of recreation and organized play.
       Morality and the play spirit.

  B. The New Cooperation in Country Communities

    I. _Social Cooperation_

       The problem of community socialization.
       Who shall take the initiative?
       A community plan for socialization.
       The gospel of organized play.
       The school a social center.
       The social influence of the Grange.

   II. _Business Cooperation_

       Modern rural cooperative movements.
       Cooperation among fruit growers.
       Some elements of success and failure.
       Our debt to immigrants.
       Cooperative success in Denmark.

  [_Cooperation of religious forces will be treated in Chap. VII._]




I. Social Diagnosis: Rural Individualism.

The preceding chapters have emphasized the riches of country life
sufficiently to save the author from the charge of pessimism. Let us hold
fast to our rural optimism. We shall need it all. But let it not blind us
to the unfortunate facts in rural life, for diagnosis is the first step
toward recovery. We are to notice now some of the fundamental social
deficiencies which are almost universal in our American rural society.

Dr. Butterfield calls the American farmer "a rampant individualist!"
Independence has been his national boast and his personal glory. Pioneer
life developing heroic virtues in his personality has made him as a class
perhaps the most self-reliant in history. The ownership of land always
gives a man the feeling of independence. Let the world spin,--his broad
acres will support him and his family. If one crop fail, another will
succeed, though the weather act its worst. American farms average perhaps
the largest in the world, nearly one-fourth of a square mile. Hence the
distance between farm homes, and the habit of social independence which is
bred by isolation.

"Every man for himself; look out for number one" is the natural philosophy
of life under such conditions. Self-protection and aggrandizement,
jealousy of personal rights, slowness to accept advice, proneness to law
suits over property, thrifty frugality to a fault, indifference to public
opinion, disregard of even the opinions of experts,--all are very
characteristic of people of such independence of life. They seldom yield
to argument. They do not easily respond to leadership. They are likely to
view strangers with suspicion. Self-reliance overdeveloped leads them to
distrust any initiative but their own. Hence they do not readily work with
other people. They refuse to recognize superiority in others of their own
class. All of which results in a most serious social weakness; _failure in
cooperation_, a fatal failure in any society. Positively, this explains
the jealousies and feuds so common in rural neighborhoods. Negatively, it
accounts for the lack of effective social organization.

Where a progressive rural community has readjusted itself to the social
ideals of the new century, these weaknesses are quietly disappearing.
Elsewhere you still find them.

_The Weakness in Rural Institutions_

This unsocial streak of distrust and poor social cooperation runs through
every sort of institution in rural life. Schools are usually run on the
old school-district plan with over-thrifty supervisors, no continuous
policy, and with each pupil buying his own text books; roads are repaired
by township districts, with individuals "working out their taxes;"
churches are maintained on the retail plan, the minister being hired by
the year or even by the week; the churches themselves are numerous and
small, because of the selfish insistence upon individual views; even
cooperative agreements in business have been repudiated by farmers under
stress of temptation to personal gain; while rural distrust of banks and
organized business is proverbial.

All of these unsocial tendencies are probably less due to selfishness than
to lack of practice in cooperation. City people however have had constant
practice in cooperation; hence they work together readily and
successfully. They are organized for every conceivable purpose good or
bad. In fact they are so intoxicated with the joy of social effort, they
are apt to carry all sorts of social life to an extreme. The social fabric
is as complex and confusing in the city as it is simple and bare in the
country. The problem for the country is to develop a wholesome social life
and an efficient institutional life which shall avoid the extremes of the
city and yet shall get country people to working together harmoniously and
happily. Only thus can life in the open country maintain itself in a
social age for successful business, church, home, school or social life.
Only thus can country character develop its capacity for those social
satisfactions which are the crowning joys of a complete and harmonious
civilization. But those who have faith in the fundamental vitality and
adaptability of rural life believe that even this serious weakness in
cooperation can be gradually overcome and country life be made as
effective for its own purposes as life in the city. This faith is
justified by large success already thus attained in progressive rural
sections with the modern spirit.

_The Difficulty of Organizing Farmers_

Five reasons are mentioned by President Butterfield to account for this
difficulty: Ingrained habits of individual initiative; Financial
considerations; Economic and political delusions which have wrecked
previous organizations of farmers; Lack of leadership; and Lack of unity.
Under lack of leadership, he says: "The farm has been prolific of
reformers, fruitful in developing organizers, but scanty in its supply of
administrators. It has had a leadership that could agitate a reform,
project a remedial scheme, but not much of that leadership that could hold
together diverse elements, administer large enterprises, steer to great
ends petty ambitions."[24] Yet country-bred leaders have been wonderfully
successful in the city under different social conditions.

Failures in leadership are often due to failure to get support for the
project in hand. This in turn is due to lack of common purposes and
ideals. A successful leader personifies the ideals of his following.
Unless there is unity in ideals the following disintegrates. Here again
the rural unsocial streak shows plainly. Individual notions, ideas and
remedies for social ills have been so various, it has taken the stress of
some great common cause, the impulse of some powerful sentiment, or the
heat of some mighty moral conflict to fuse together the independent
fragments. This was done when Lincoln sounded the appeal to patriotism in
'61; when Bryan's stirring eloquence aroused particularly the debtor
farmer class in '96; and when the projectors of the Farmers' Alliance, the
Grange and the Populist Party succeeded in their appeals to class
consciousness and convinced the farmers of their need of union. Rural
movements however have usually been short-lived.

II. Failures in Rural Cooperation.

_Lack of Political Effectiveness_

Farmers usually do their duty serving on juries and in minor civil
offices. They are usually fairly well represented in state legislatures.
But few farmers go to Congress or gain real leadership in politics. In
proportion to their numbers, the rural people have marvelously little
influence in the affairs of government. We have in this country no
Agrarian party. The farmers are divided among the different political
camps and seldom do they exert any great influence as a class in the
making of the laws. There are about seventy times as many agriculturists
as lawyers in the United States,--yet the lawyers exert vastly greater
civic influence and greatly outnumber farmers in most law-making bodies.

Yet there are about fifty million rural people in the country, largely in
farm households. The average farmer in 1910 paid taxes on 138 acres
besides other property. Why should he not have more political influence?
Why has he not demanded and secured a dominating influence in the state?
There is probably no reason except lack of cooperation, and adequate
leadership to accomplish it.

_Lack of Cooperation in Business_

Successful farming is essentially cooperative. The most successful classes
of farmers in the country, according to Professor Carver, are the
Pennsylvania Dutch, the Mormons and the Quakers. All of these cooperate in
their farming operations to a high degree, as well as in their social and
church life. They occupy their farms permanently as family homes. Their
land is not for sale, in spite of the rising values. To a large extent
they buy and sell, and work their farms together, to their great mutual

The old-fashioned farm management however, which still generally persists,
is competitive, and therefore wasteful and unsocial. With rapid
transportation and the lengthening distance between producer and consumer,
the function of the middleman has grown and his power vastly increased.
Consequently on many products the rise in selling price is due to the
series of middlemen through whose hands the article has passed on the way
to market. Investigations at Decatur, Ill., revealed the fact that
head-lettuce sold there was raised within five miles of Chicago, shipped
into the city, repacked and shipped by freight to Decatur, a five-hour
trip; then stored in the latter city over night; and finally displayed,
wilted in the sun, in a store window, and sold to a housewife who buys it
for fresh goods! If raised in a suburb of Decatur, it might have been sold
at half the price, and been really fresh enough to eat. The same story of
flagrant waste through poor management might be told of butter, cream, and
practically all farm products which are not sold in a public market near
the producer's home.

Not only are both the farmer and his ultimate customer suffering a
considerable loss from this competitive system of marketing, the process
itself is bad socially, for this reason. It cuts off the farmer from his
normal market, the nearest village, and isolates him and his family so
that they have virtually no interests there. If the farmer should sell his
product in the village stores or through a public market, or a cooperative
commission house, he would have more at stake in that town. He would
probably trade and go to church there, his wife would do her buying there,
they would be persons of importance to the townspeople and would form
friendships and social relationships there. As it is, a wall of mutual
suspicion and disregard separates this family from the people of the town.

It is doubtful whether farming can be sufficiently profitable to-day, or
the life of the open country be really satisfying, without some degree of
cooperation in business. More and more men are realizing this; are
overcoming their natural weakness for independence and are discovering
numerous modern ways to cooperate with other farmers; to their great
mutual advantage both financially and socially, as will be indicated

_Lack of Religious Cooperation_

The old self-sufficing and competitive methods of farming have been
closely paralleled by the selfish ideals in religion; the great aim being
to save one's own soul and enjoy the religious privileges of one's
favorite type of church, whatever happened meanwhile to the community. In
most country places religion is still strongly individualistic. Rural folk
have seen little of the social vision or felt the power of the social
gospel of Jesus, which aims not only to convert the individual, but to
redeem his environment and reorganize the community life by Christian
standards. Consequently rural churches are depending too exclusively on
preaching and periodic revivals rather than on organized brotherliness,
systematic religious education and broad unselfish service. All of these
are essential.

This lack of cooperation is very widely in evidence in the division of
country communities into petty little churches, so small and ineffective
as to be objects of pity instead of respect and enthusiastic loyalty. In
the older sections of the country, rural communities often have twice as
many churches as are needed; but in the middle West and the still newer
sections further westward the problem of divided Christian forces is even
more serious. Many a small township has five churches where one or two
would be quite sufficient, and all are struggling for existence. The
problem is less serious in the South, where denominations are fewer and
where union services are exceedingly common.

In a sparsely settled section in Center County, Pennsylvania, there are 24
churches within a radius of four miles. This fact was vouched for in 1911
by the Presbyterian Department of the Church and Country Life. The same
authority suggests the following:

In Marshall County, Indiana, with a total population of but 24,175, there
are twenty-nine varieties of churches, separating Christian people. The
situation is typical and the names are so suggestive as to be worth
recording: Amish Mennonite, Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Brethren,
Catholic, Christian, Church of Christ Scientist, Church of God
(Adventists), Church of God (Saints), Come-Outers, Congregational,
Disciple, Episcopalian, Evangelical Association, German Evangelical,
Holiness, Lutheran (Synod of Chicago), Lutheran (Synod of Missouri),
Swedish Lutheran, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Pentecostal
Holiness, Presbyterian, Progressive Brethren, Reformed, Seventh Day
Adventist, United Brethren, United Brethren (Old Constitution), and
Wesleyan Methodist.

The village of Lapaz in this county has only 252 inhabitants, but there
are three churches. They have 20 members all told! There are 68 persons in
the village who claim to be church members, but 48 belong to churches of
12 denominations elsewhere. There are 93 people affiliated with no church
whatever; and no boy or young man in the village belongs to any church. No

III. Rural Morals and the Recreation Problem.

_Lack of Wholesome Social Life for Young People_

In three adjoining townships in Indiana there are 21 country churches, all
but four of which are dead or dying. The average membership is 52. One of
the local leaders significantly said, "We don't believe in any social life
in our church. Socialism never saved anybody." Exactly. Such churches
ought to die and certainly will.

The perfectly natural craving in all healthy young people for social life
is a fact the rural districts fail to appreciate. By years of drudgery the
farmers and their wives may starve to death this social craving in
themselves. The work-slave forgets how to play and outlives his social
hungers. But his children are not born that way. They have natural human
instincts and appetites and these imperiously demand opportunity for
expression. The religion that imagines that these things are born of Satan
and must be repressed, is a religion of death not life.

It is worse than useless for the church to discourage the social life
among its young people. If it tries to starve their social hungers and
furnishes no chance in the church for young people to meet freely in
friendly intercourse, those young people will meet elsewhere, as surely as
the moon shines. To put the ban of the church on dancing and all other
popular amusements, and then offer no substitute whatever, is not only
unreasoning cruelty, it is pure foolishness.

You cannot hope to dam a stream and make no other outlet. Undoubtedly the
country dance is usually a bad social enterprise; but the only way to
fight it successfully is with social competition, not opposition. The
loyalty of young people to the church often begins when they discover the
church people really understand their social cravings and are doing
something sensible to meet them. Happy the village where the young people
have all their best times under Christian leadership.

But unfortunately rural life is seriously lacking, both in and out of the
church, in social opportunities; and the condition is far worse than in
generations past. To begin with, farmers' families are perhaps only
two-thirds as large as they used to be.[25] There are fewer children in
the home and in the school. Farm machinery has displaced three-fourths of
the hired men. Fewer older boys are really needed on the father's farm; so
they are free to go to the city where the social life strongly attracts
them. The same is all too true of the farm daughters.

The incoming of urban standards has helped to displace the old-fashioned
rural recreations which were natural to country life, and the taste for
vaudeville, the public dance, amusement parks and picture shows has
developed instead. The husking-bees and the apple-cuttings and the
sugaring-offs, the quilting bees and the singing schools and spelling
matches, wholesome, home-made neighborhood pastimes, which meant enjoyment
from within instead of mere amusement from without, have silently
disappeared. Little remains in many rural places but unmitigated toil,
relieved by an occasional social spasm in the nearest village. In short,
recreation has become commercialized. Instead of the normal expression of
the social instinct in cooperative and wholesome pleasures which were
natural to country life, social stimulus is bought for a nickel or a
quarter; and an electric age furnishes forthwith the desired nerve

_Lack of Recreation and Organized Play_

This modern sort of recreation is not as good as the old for two reasons.
It is really a sort of intoxication instead of a mild stimulant; and it is
often solitary instead of social. Solitary pleasure is subtle selfishness.
Even the rural sports are apt to be solitary, such as hunting and fishing.
If the country is ever to be socialized and a spirit of cooperation
developed which will make possible strong team-work in business, politics
and religion, then we must begin with the laboratory practice of organized
play. As a successful country minister says, "The reason why farmers
cannot seem to cooperate when they are grown up is in the fact that _they
did not learn team-play when they were boys_." Faithfulness to the daily
work is a great character builder, but Dr. Luther H. Gulick rightly
insists that play, because of its highly voluntary character, trains men
in a better morality than work does.

Especially is this true of wage-earners, students in school, and all those
who work for others. As Dr. Wilson in his fine chapter on Rural Morality
and Recreation, so well says, "What we do for hire, or under the orders of
other people, or in the routine of life is done because we have to. We do
not choose the minor acts of study in school, of work in the factory, of
labor in the house, of composition in writing a book. All these little
acts are part of a routine which is imposed upon us and we call them
work. But play is entirely voluntary. Every action is chosen, and
expresses will and preference. Therefore play is highly moral. It is the
bursting up of our own individuality and it expresses especially in the
lesser things, the preferences of life. The great school for training men
in the little things that make up the bulk of character is team-work and
cooperation in play. Here is the school of obedience to others, of
self-sacrifice for a company and for a common end, of honor and
truthfulness, of the subordination of one to another, of courage, of
persistent devotion to a purpose, and of cooperation."[26]

_Morality and the Play Spirit_

The undeniable fact that rural morality is so closely dependent upon
wholesome recreation makes this subject a most vital one. Life in the
country ought to be sweeter, purer and morally stronger than life in the
city. The very fact that _incognito_ life is impossible in the country is
a great moral restraint. But the moral stamina of country people will
surely give way, under stress of constant toil, unless relieved by play
and its wholesome reactions. Investigate the sad stories of sexual
immorality so common among country young people and you will find one of
the ultimate causes to be the serious lack of wholesome recreation and
organized play. The recreation problem is fundamental in this matter of
rural morality and the sooner we face the facts the sooner we shall see a
cleaner village life.

It is not enough to encourage occasional socials and picnics, track
athletics and baseball games under church auspices, as a sort of _social
bait_, to attract and attach people to the church. The Y. M. C. A. has
taught us that these social and physical things are _essential in and of
themselves_. They cannot be neglected safely. In a sense they are moral
safety-valves, for releasing animal spirits which might be dangerous to
the community under pressure. Certainly some measure of play is needed to
keep the balance of sanity and efficiency in all human lives. Rural life,
made solitary and mechanical by modern farm machinery, is seriously
lacking in the play spirit and team-play practice. Here is its most
serious failure in cooperative living. Here its socialization must begin.


I. Social Cooperation.

_The Problem of Community Socialization_

The seriousness of the problem as described in the previous pages has not
been overstated, though dwellers in progressive and comfortable country
communities may think so. Let them be duly thankful if their social
environment is better than the average here described. Speaking from broad
experience of the tragic results of rural individualism, Mr. John R.
Boardman says, "There is a great social impulse in the country but its
force is centrifugal. It tends to split up the community into jealous,
suspicious groups, and we therefore find sects and parties disintegrating
and multiplying often by division. This is nothing short of _a social
crime_. Strong measures must be taken not only to prevent further social
stratification of a prejudicial character, but to compel a practical
organic federation which will unite the personal forces, combine available
resources and focus on mutual interests."

Country folks must learn to cooperate; to live harmoniously together in
rural neighborhoods, to find real recreation in organized play, to work
effectively at mutual tasks and to utilize more successfully all social
organizations and means for community welfare. Interdependence must be
made to take the place of boasted independence. Selfish individualism must
yield to social cooperation. Only thus can life in the open country be
made to survive. Otherwise tenant farming will continue to increase and a
rural peasantry finally develop on the land, with absentee landlords
living in comfort in the more normal social conditions of the villages and
towns. Already 37% of farm owners do not live on their farms; and the farm
renter is cursing the soil.

This acute social problem is a great challenge to true lovers of the
country. We believe rural life will survive the test. In most respects it
has made great progress in recent years, and in many quarters it is
rapidly learning the practical value of cooperation. Given adequate,
intelligent leadership, country life will surely grow in social efficiency
and happiness, and thus be better able to hold its best people loyal to
the open country.

The problem, then, of socializing the community so that it will cooperate
successfully, is to unite all the personal and social resources, federate
all worth-while institutions for concerted action for mutual welfare; then
"focus on mutual interests" and work together on the common tasks.
Fellowship in work or play is a great uniter of hearts. It irresistibly
develops a community spirit.

_Who Shall Take the Initiative?_

Woe to the man who starts anything in the country! He must have a good
cause and an obvious reason. The success of any rural enterprise usually
depends overwhelmingly upon its leader. In a "Get Together Campaign" for
community betterment, the strongest local personality or institution would
better issue the call. If there is a strong Farmers' Club, or Cooperative
Association, or Community Library Board, or a Village Board of Trade with
community ideals, they may well assume the right to take the first step
toward an ultimate union of all the community interests. If there is only
a single church in the place and it commands the respect and loyalty of
the people, it may well be the federating agency. Or the strongest church
can invite in the others and together they can make this movement a
community welfare proposition with a definitely religious stamp; working
through committees of a church federation in the interests of all the
people. Often this is best done by the Rural Young Men's Christian
Association, working in behalf of all the churches.

In short, whatever institution controls the greatest local influence, and
is most representative of the people, has the best right to take the lead
in socializing the community. Perhaps it may not be a religious body at
all. It may be a social club, or a village improvement society, or a civic
league, or a Rural Progress Association embodying modern rural ideals. If
it has the backing of the people, it is responsible for using its social
influence in the most effective way. For instance, in the prosperous
little rural community of Evergreen, Iowa, the popular and effective
socializing agency is "The Evergreen Sporting Association"! It unites all
the young people in the neighborhood, both married and unmarried, and for
some fifteen years has had a fine record for social efficiency. By its
elaborate and varied annual program of popular interests it has made life
in Evergreen wholesome, happy and worth while. The young people as a rule
are loyal to the place and stay on their prosperous farms instead of
losing themselves in the city.

_A Community Plan for Socialization_

Rural social life is simple and should be kept so. Elaborate organization
is never necessary. What we need is that "touch of human nature which
makes the whole world kin." We do not need another institution, but
possibly a social center and a working plan which can express and develop
the common humanhood. The place may be an up to date "Neighborhood House"
with rest room and reading room with its chimney corner; a place for tired
mothers and babies, and a meeting place for men of business; or it may be
just a room at the church or the school house or the public library,
easily accessible to all. Or the social spirit can be developed wholly
without any special equipment. The main point is the growth of community
ideals and a willingness to work together to attain them.

The plan should be the result of careful study of community needs by the
social survey method, and a more or less definite program of constructive
propositions to work out as conditions allow. It may be a thorough-going
plan from the start, or a gradual growth as the vision enlarges; in any
case it should embody and stimulate the community desire for progress. The
first result of such a community effort will be a natural reaction on the
local institutions, tending to encourage them and help them to function
normally; bringing a finer spirit of cooperation into the church, new
efficiency into the school and a revival of responsibility in many homes.
The beautifying of public and private grounds, the establishing of play
grounds and possibly a lecture or entertainment course, the stimulating of
the local social life in an infinite variety of ways, will be suggested in
detail by the local needs.

_The Gospel of Organized Play_

"A new gospel of the recreative life needs to be proclaimed in the
country," says J. R. Boardman. "Rural America must be compelled to play.
It has, to a degree, toiled itself into deformity, disease, depravity and
depression. Its long hours of drudgery, its jealousy of every moment of
daylight, its scorn of leisure and of pleasure, must give way to shorter
hours of labor, occasional periods of complete relaxation and
wholehearted participation in wholesome plays, picnics, festivals, games
and other recreative amusements. Better health, greater satisfaction and a
richer life wait on the wise development of this recreative ideal."[27]

[Illustration: A game of stone hustle at a one-room school two miles from
railroad; the teacher and boys and girls of all ages participating.]

[Illustration: One of the leaders' corps at work during recess time.]

[Illustration: London Bridge and graded games. Home-made bean-bags and
balls help give expression to the spirit of cooperation.]

[Illustration: The county committee of the Orange County, N. Y.,
Associations is cooperating with the public schools for play on the school
grounds. Bullying, fist fights and bad manners have given way to the
spirit of courage, endurance, chivalry and helpfulness.]

Very slowly people in the country are coming to believe that play is a
necessity, not merely a luxury, for children and that it is a law of the
child's growth. But it is not merely a matter of health nor of child life.
It is a matter of social welfare and the development of community spirit.
It affects every individual, old as well as young.

Consequently we find in the past six years, since the organization of the
Playground Association of America at Washington under President
Roosevelt's patronage, great attention has been given to the subject.
Country children, whose repertory of games was found to be very limited,
have been taught to play a great variety of new and interesting games; and
this has given them a new zest in life. Country school athletic contests
have been organized and inter-community meets held, sometimes on the
county basis. Great field days have been held, rural picnics have been
developed which have been marvelously successful in interesting adults as
well as children; out-of-door folk-dancing has been revived; play
festivals have interested whole townships, with hundreds of visitors, many
of whom have tested their strength and skill at the various games and
contests. It has not been a commercialized or professional performance by
paid experts, but a day of play, of, for, and by the people.

The social effect of these play festivals is far reaching. "Acquaintances
formed on these occasions," says Prof. M. T. Scudder, "may be followed up
by profitable correspondence, by exchanging visits, and thus lead to the
establishment of life-long friendships. The names of those who excel in
one sport or another become household words throughout the county. How
this stimulates self-respect and ambition! The real leaders in each
community become known, be they boys or girls, men or women, and these may
be brought together thereafter for organized efforts in worthy enterprises
for the common good. And all the time the isolation of country life is
being lessened."[28]

More and more at these festivals the products of manual training,
industrial and domestic arts are being exhibited. There are competitions
in bread making, sewing, gardening, carving, basketry, corn and vegetable
raising, with every opportunity for varied interest. The dramatic instinct
is developed by the revival of pageantry, in connection usually with the
Fourth of July or other holidays, often with special local historical
significance. "The Pageant of Thetford" is an interesting pamphlet
describing a successful program of this order in Vermont. It may be
obtained of the Playground Association.

In summarizing the value of such efforts, Dr. Scudder claims, "Perhaps it
is not too much to say that through a series of properly conceived and
well-conducted festivals the civic and institutional life of an entire
country or district, and the lives of many individuals of all ages, may
be permanently quickened and inspired; the play movement thus making
surely for greater contentment, cleaner morals, and more intense
patriotism and righteousness on the farm lands and in the village
populations of our country. Such indeed are the socializing effects of
organized and supervised play."[29]

_The School a Social Center_

Under the modern system the centralized school has become sometimes the
chief social center of the township. The mere fact of the gathering of
numbers gives it initial prestige. Often a fine school spirit is developed
by the inter-community contests and teachers of the modern type are not
slow to see their opportunity to cooperate with the pupils out of school
hours in wholesome games. The school building is often in the winter the
meeting place of the young people for social purposes and its central
location, its large capacity, its neutral and public character make it
often the most desirable social center in the township. This topic will
receive fuller treatment in our next chapter on rural education.

_The Social Influence of the Grange_

The ordinary fraternal orders are seldom found in the rural districts
except in villages of some size. They are essentially a town institution,
and are of little assistance in the rural situation. But an organization
of great influence and social value is the Grange, the Patrons of
Husbandry, which is frankly endeavoring to serve the economic,
intellectual and social needs of the working farmer and his family.

Founded in 1867, the Grange had a quiet growth for six years, then
suddenly developed surprising strength in the panic year of '73 because of
the popularity of its economic program for the relief of farmers, just
when their grievances were most pressing. On the crest of this mighty wave
of discontent 20,000 local granges were organized within two years; but
decline soon followed and by 1880 the movement had utterly collapsed, as
suddenly as it had developed. It had disappointed those who had expected
too much of it. It could not make good its promises of panacea legislation
which would cure all the troubles of the farm; and many of its academic
schemes for business cooperation failed ignominiously, after arousing the
steadfast faith of thousands.

The order was not dead however. It never declined in New England, and from
that quarter has renewed its strength in the East and middle West, so that
it is now more prosperous than ever in its history. It has little hold yet
in the South or far West; but is easily the most influential farmers'
organization in the country.

The Grange has done a splendid service in thousands of communities by
uniting the people of all ages on a broad platform of mutual benefit and
community welfare. Often where rival churches tend to divide the
neighborhood unpleasantly, the Grange unifies with its broad fellowship
and constructive program. Its greatest service has been social, but it has
rendered also large educational and economic service and has taught the
people the simple fundamentals of cooperation. Out of the wreck of its
earlier experiments, its mutual fire insurance and cooperative purchasing
have survived and developed successfully.

Unique among fraternal orders, the Grange has emphasized in a most helpful
way the instruction of the people in all matters of popular interest,
particularly on subjects relating to farming and the farm home. It has
immeasurably broadened the horizons of countless farm women and has thus
raised the whole level of rural life in many places. In promoting social
fellowship in countless ways it has relieved the bareness of a life of
toil and its plans for wholesome recreation have greatly enriched the
community life. After years of meager opportunity, country folks are apt
to go to social extremes, and the Grange's greatest danger in some places
seems to be to yield to the pleasure-loving spirit rather than to serve
all the vital needs of rural people.

II. Business Cooperation.

_Modern Rural Cooperative Movements_

The rather reckless plunge of the Grange, in its earlier years, into the
untried schemes of business cooperation expressed the very general belief
of farmers that somehow their common interests demand cooperative
enterprise to gain real success. It is a mighty truth. They blundered only
in details of method. In an age of trust consolidation, in which
manufacturing and commercial interests have attained wonderful
development and success by merging their resources and their operations
under united management, the spirit of cooperation has slowly but
inevitably made its way in rural life. But "rampant individualism" dies
hard; and most farm communities are still competitive rather than

In recent years however there has been a most encouraging increase of
cooperation in all important rural interests, which indicates that the old
individualism is doomed. In 1907 there were over 85,000 agricultural
cooperative societies with a membership of three million different farmers
(excluding duplicates); a large proportion of the total farm operators of
the country, and doubtless the most progressive of them all. This number
included 1,000 cooperative selling agencies; 2,400 cooperative creameries
and cheese factories; 1,800 community grain elevators; 4,000 purchasing
societies; 15,000 telephone companies on cooperative lines; 15,650
cooperative insurance companies and some 30,000 cooperative irrigation

Not only has this vast development of cooperation served to unite farmers
and develop common initiative and community spirit; it has greatly reduced
the expense of farm business and the cost of living. Professor Valgren
estimates that mutual fire insurance saves the Minnesota farmers annually
$750,000. Cooperative telephones save often one-half the cost of the
service. Cooperation reduced the price of reapers from $275 to $175; of
sewing machines from $75 to $40; of wagons from $150 to $90; and of
threshers from $300 to $200. The Pepin County Cooperative Company of
Wisconsin did about a quarter of a million business in the year 1909 in
its nine retail stores. A far greater cooperative plan is the Right
Relationship League which has a hundred successful stores in Minnesota and
Wisconsin, though incorporated but six years ago.

_Cooperation Among Fruit Growers_

It is safe to say that the great success of fruit growing on the Pacific
slope would have been impossible without cooperation. Individual growers
were at the mercy of the railroads and the middlemen; but unitedly they
have mastered the situation and control the New York market. The fruit is
inspected, sorted and packed by the company, not by the individual
growers, and thus the standard is maintained and all trickery eliminated.
The organization is able to get all possible advantages in the way of low
rates for large shipments, to secure ideal accommodations in refrigerated
fast freights and storage warehouses; and to keep in touch, by telegraph,
with the market conditions in all eastern centers, thus preventing

These associations often purchase for their members all supplies needed in
the business and keep their laborers busy in the slack seasons making
boxes, crates, etc., so that they are able to develop and retain a
permanent force of skilled labor instead of depending on the precarious
supply of seasonal help. The Grand Junction Fruit Growers' Union of
Colorado bought, in 1906, 224 carloads of supplies for its members, both
for business and household use.

For fifteen years past, three-fourths of the citrus growers of California
have been cooperating successfully and are most efficiently organized.
Their central agency markets an annual product worth fifteen millions and
keeps representatives in some seventy-five leading markets of America and
in London. They command the highest market price for their product and
distribute it at a saving of about one-half the expense.

_Some Elements of Success and Failure_

Cooperation is succeeding well not only among fruit growers, but producers
of tobacco, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, and, to a limited extent,
cereals. Experience has proved that it pays for farmers of a whole section
to specialize on the same product; and the most uniform success has come
in societies that are purely cooperative, that is, not joint-stock
companies with voting power according to shares, but _one vote for each
member_, the profits being of course proportionate to the relative volume
of business each contributes.

Short-sighted selfishness resists this plan and yields slowly to pure
cooperation; but experience shows that, as Prof. E. K. Eyerly states, "in
the stock companies the large shareholders are tempted constantly to
increase the dividend rate on capital at the expense of the other patrons.
This may explain in part the difficulty of the cooperative creamery in New
England to hold its own, where only 20% are of the purely cooperative
type." Dr. Eyerly includes among the more common causes of failure
individualism, conservatism, jealousy, mercenary traits, poor business
management, a lack of knowledge of what other societies are doing, and
lack of restrictions on share voting and the number of shares owned.

In the local beginnings of cooperation, ingrained selfishness as well as
rural suspicion and ignorance, sometimes blocks progress. When the strong
California Fruit Growers' Exchange began twenty years ago, it had
difficulty holding some of its members to their agreements. After pledging
their crops to the company they would sometimes yield to the temptations
offered by outside buyers, for the sake of greater temporary profit; but
after a few lawsuits this tendency to break cooperative contracts was
entirely checked.

_Our Debt to Immigrants_

Unquestionably this great cooperative movement of the last two decades
means an entire redirection of rural life and the ultimate conquest of its
worst enemy, individualism. We must thank our adopted citizens for the
main impulse given to this movement. Cooperative principles and the
cooperative spirit have been imported from Denmark, Germany and Italy,
where they had already proved successful, and have taken deep root in our
middle-western and north-central states, gradually overcoming the native
Yankee individualism characteristic of the older settlers. Dr. Eyerly of
Amherst is authority for the statement that the only successful
cooperative stores organized in New England for a generation past have
been, with one or two exceptions, among foreigners.

In connection with the interesting fact that _interstate_ immigration
also stimulates cooperation, the same writer says: "In those parts of the
country into which there has recently been a considerable influx of
interstate immigrants, as in the Pacific coast states, in Texas and
certain other parts of the south and southwest, the cooperative movement
has rapidly developed. While this is due in part to the intensive and
specialized agriculture practiced and to the nature of the crops grown,
e. g., fruits and vegetables, it is due also in part to the _transplanting
of individuals into new social groups_ in which the 'cake of custom' is
likely to be broken up and new adjustments made under some intellectual

_The Cooperative Success of Denmark_

Sir Horace Plunkett in Ireland, Raiffeisen in Germany and Wollemborg in
Italy have led the cooperative movement in their respective countries to
remarkable success; but the classic illustration of the wonderful
possibilities for rural transformation through cooperation is the story of
modern Denmark. Space forbids adequate description here. Suffice it to say
that from a condition close to bankruptcy, following a devastating war in
1864, and with sadly depleted fertility, that enterprising little nation
of farmers has become the richest in Europe in per capita wealth and about
the most productive. An enlightened patriotism working through cooperation
accounts for the change.

The Central Cooperative Committee of Denmark controls the situation with
consummate skill, with subordinate societies for production of every
nature; for the manufacture of rural products such as butter and cheese;
for the protection of credit, insurance, health, savings, etc.; even for
the protection of the poor farmer against the loss of his single cow! The
movement has become closely identified with the religious and patriotic
sentiments and in fact springs from both.

It is evident that with this strong movement for cooperation developing in
America, two things must eventually follow. The unsocial, narrowly
sectarian church must go; and our excessive Anglo-Saxon individualism is
doomed,--that unsocial streak in rural life. There is surely a new spirit
of cooperation in our country communities east and west which will
ultimately overcome our country life deficiencies and make it the most
satisfying life in all the world. Meanwhile the struggle is far from won
and for men of vision, courage, social initiative and tact there is a
great opportunity for leadership in social reconstruction which will
challenge and reward the utmost consecration.


1.--How do you account for the extreme independence and individualism of
the American farmer?

2.--In what unsocial ways does this rural individualism express itself?

3.--What common weakness do you notice in every sort of rural

4.--Why do city people as a rule cooperate more readily than most country
people do?

5.--Why has it proven a rather difficult task to organize farmers?

6.--How do you account for the fact that farmers have less influence in
politics than lawyers, though the farmers are seventy times as numerous?

7.--In what ways do farmers need to cooperate in their business relations?

8.--What shows the failure of country folks to cooperate in religious

9.--What old-fashioned forms of recreation are now seldom seen in the
country? What has taken their place?

10.--Why is a wholesome play spirit so essential to the morals of a

11.--Suggest different ways to "socialize" a country community.

12.--What plans for rural betterment would you include in your community
program for the people to work out together?

13.--What specific plans would you suggest for organized play and
community recreation?

14.--What should be done about Sunday baseball in country villages?

15.--What is the special usefulness of the Grange in a rural community?

16.--In what lines of business has cooperation proved successful in the
country? Illustrate from the fruit growing industry.

17.--Why has cooperation proved more successful in the newer sections of
the country than in the East?

18.--What can you say about the success of cooperation in Denmark?

19.--What is the difference between a joint-stock creamery and a purely
cooperative creamery?

20.--In what ways can Christian people illustrate the principles of
brotherhood and cooperation so as to overcome the social deficiencies of
country life?





  _How Efficient Rural Citizenship Is Developed_

    I. _Weaknesses in Rural Education_

       The urbanized country school.
       Inferior school equipment and meager support.
       Weakness of the district system.
       Other problems of the country school.

   II. _Modern Plans for School Improvement_

       Arguments for and against consolidation.
       Advantages of purely rural centralization.
       A thoroughly modern country school.
       A rural high school course of study.
       Elementary agriculture and school gardens.

  III. _Allies of the School in Rural Education_

       School Improvement Leagues.
       Rural libraries and literature.
       Farmers' institutes and government cooperation.
       Agricultural colleges and their extension work.




I. Weaknesses in Rural Education.

It is easy to blame the one-room schoolhouse for the failures of rural
life. It would be fairer to say the rural schools have not kept pace with
the rising standards of their own communities. There remains a deal of
sentiment about the "little red schoolhouse" of the olden time; yet,
discounted in cash, it fails even to keep the building painted. A recent
survey of social conditions in northern Missouri reports that in thirty
miles of travel on country roads not one unpainted barn or farmhouse was
observed, but every schoolhouse was out of repair.

It is evident, both from this neglect of the property and the meager
appropriation for school support, that the farmer to-day has no special
loyalty to the little red schoolhouse. In fact in some quarters there is
great dissatisfaction with the schools as distinctly hostile to rural
life, not in sympathy with rural ideals, and serving mainly as a
"gang-way" to the life of the town. The Country Life Commission reports:
"The schools are held responsible for ineffective farming, lack of ideals
and the drift to town. This is not because the rural schools as a whole
are declining, but because they are in a state of arrested development,
and have not yet put themselves in consonance with the recently changed
conditions of life."

The country people have a right to insist that their schools shall fit
their boys and girls for country life, inculcate in them a genuine love
for the country and an appreciation of rural values, with the natural
expectation that most of them will be needed on the farm. Even if a third
of the pupils should ultimately go to the city, it is unjust to the
majority and to the community, to make the country school simply a
preparation for city life.

_The Urbanized Country School_

"The education given to country children," says Sir Horace Plunkett, "has
been invented for them in the town, and it not only bears no relation to
the life they are to lead, but actually attracts them toward a town

From the beginning, doubtless, teachers have been largely city-trained.
Though country-bred perhaps, they have caught the city fever and it seems
to be very contagious. They have brought city manners and styles in
clothing, the city standards and ideals and the love for city life.
Unconsciously perhaps they have impressed the minds of children with the
superiority of all things urban. Even the text-books are products of the
city. The city curriculum has been adopted whole,--contrary to all reason.
The teaching material often, instead of being connected with the farm,
echoes the distant city's surging life. It deals with stocks and bonds
and commerce, rather than problems of the dairy, the silo or the soil.

The suggestive power of such books and teachers is very great with
impressionable children. The lesson is quickly learned to honor commerce
above farming, city speed above country thoroughness, superficial success
above the homely virtues, and mere numbers, bigness, roar and hustle above
the lasting joy of tested friendships. With the young minds filled with
the tales of the wonderful city, which rival the Arabian Nights in
allurement, the wonder is, not that so many are dazzled and follow the
flame, but that so many remain on the farm. Insofar as the schools do
stimulate the two great disintegrating tendencies of rural life, the
townward trend of the boys and girls and the increase of absentee
landlords, the country folks have a right to complain. Let the schools
train for the soil rather than away from the soil. Let them exalt rural
ideals and develop rural interests. Let them open the eyes of the country
boys and girls not for fault finding and discontent, but to see the beauty
of the country, the privilege of country freedom and the vast
possibilities of scientific farming and soil productiveness. Before this
can be done, normal schools for rural teachers must move out of the city,
or import, straight from the country, enough country sense and sympathy to
fit the teachers personally for their tasks. Probably the latter. To meet
this evident need, progressive Wisconsin has established county training
schools which give prospective teachers distinctly the rural point of
view; and more than sixty normal schools have established special
departments for the training of teachers in country life and the
essentials of a rural education. Meanwhile some serious problems handicap
the rural school.[31]

_Inferior Equipment and Meager Support_

There are twelve million country school children in the United States and
only half that number of children in cities. Yet the city has invested
twice as much as the country in public school property and spends far more
for school support each year. The average country boy's education costs
but $12.52 a year; while the cities spend $30.78 annually on each pupil.

The question is a fair one, should the boy and girl be penalized for
living in the country? Why should the boy who happens by the accident of
birth to live in the country suffer a needless handicap? When our Puritan
ancestors established the free public school system, the purpose was to
maintain _equal rights for all_, the children of both rich and poor alike.
The welfare of a republic depends on the maintenance of this principle.

It was a significant way-mark of human progress when schools were
established in every community, in city or country, where all children
might have an equal chance before the law. But with the growth of great
cities and the decadence of once prosperous rural communities, the
country boy has been losing his share. The city's growth has in many ways
cost the country dear. It is certainly but fair that in return the state
as a whole should share the expense of the rural school.

_The Weakness of the District System_

A relic of pioneer days when rural life was closely organized within small
communities, the district unit for school management still persists in
most states to the present day. It originated in Massachusetts, but that
state was the first to discard it, thirty years ago. Long ago Horace Mann
declared the law of 1789 which established the district system "the most
unfortunate law on the subject of common schools ever enacted in the

The school district is too small a unit either for school management or
taxation. It is democratic to a fault; but it is too easy for stingy
individuals to control the situation and weaken the schools by their
parsimony. Local jealousies and shameless favoritism also make the system
bad. The loss of population has naturally aggravated this evil, leaving in
many a once thriving school a little lonely group of children, devoid of
any enthusiasm or school spirit. The township is the smallest possible
unit for efficiency, and the county unit, so successful in Georgia and
elsewhere in the South, is better still. Ultimately the state is likely to
be the unit both of school taxation and administration. Only thus can
reasonable uniformity and standard of efficiency be maintained, in city
and country.

_Other Problems of the Country School_

Next to the blunder of the district unit, growing worse in the face of a
shrinking population, is the serious difficulty of securing capable
teachers and holding them long enough to gain real success. The problem of
maintenance is crucial here. So small are the salaries, men are rapidly
being crowded out of the ranks. In the North Atlantic states only one
teacher in seven is a man; and less than one in four in all the country.
There can be no hope for better rural schools till the salary is made
respectable. Maryland, North Dakota and other states have enacted minimum
salary laws which have decidedly raised the standard.

The problem of supervision is a serious one, especially when complicated
with politics as is often true of the county or state superintendency.
Professor H. W. Foght significantly suggests: "The man who supervises the
schools should have at least as good an academic and professional
preparation as the teacher working under him. _This is seldom the case._"
The incompetency of the school board, and the unwillingness of competent
men to serve, still further complicates the problem. In many a community
less earnest attention is given to the school which must train the boys
and girls for life than is given to the problem of breeding horses and

In most rural communities the school building is still the little building
of the "box-car type," unattractive without and bare within, and as devoid
of practical utility in equipment as of aesthetic charm. Equipment is
less essential than personality, but to accomplish results with such a
handicap is heartbreaking work. Slowly the modern type of rural school is
making its appearance along the country-side; and by its sheer
attractiveness is winning back to the school something of local pride.

The great problem of what to teach, in order best to fit the pupils for a
satisfying and successful country life, is only beginning to be faced
frankly by many rural schools. In the past six years, however, the idea
has been slowly gaining attention that the country school does not need
the city curriculum, but requires a special program of its own. This
involves much more than the technical study of rudimentary agriculture,
but it must include that. By giving the reasons underlying the ordinary
processes of farming and introducing the boys to the elements of the
science as well as stimulating them to become proficient in the oldest of
the arts, the school is able to arouse a real ambition to remain in
country life and be a successful farmer on modern lines.

II. Modern Plans for School Improvement.

_Arguments for and Against Consolidation_

The centralization of country schools has been forced by the logic of
circumstances. "Suppose you start to a creamery with 100 pounds of milk,
and 45 pounds leak out on the way, could you make your business pay?" asks
Dr. J. W. Robertson, a Canadian leader. "And still, of every 100 children
in the elementary schools, 45 of them fall out by the way,--in other
words, the average attendance is but 55%. But the consolidated schools in
the five eastern provinces, with their gardens, manual training and
domestic economy, now bring 97 of 100 children to school every day, and
with no additional expense."

Consolidation is simply efficiency applied to the rural school situation.
Instead of perhaps eight separate schools, housed in badly ventilated and
insanitary buildings, with very poor equipment, there is one central
building, modern in construction and satisfactory in every detail. Instead
of eight teachers wasting time over six to fifteen pupils each, with no
enthusiasm, there are four teachers working splendidly in team-work, and a
fine school spirit, the pupils attending regularly, partly because they no
longer have to trudge two miles to school but are conveyed at public
expense and partly because they are more interested in a really effective
school. The saving of waste sometimes makes it possible to conduct such a
school at an actual reduction in expense over the district system, as is
the experience in South Carolina. The motive, however, is not economy but
to furnish the children better teaching and better facilities for
effective education.

While consolidation clearly spells greater efficiency, the plan is
obviously impossible under certain conditions and sometimes undesirable.
In a widely scattered country the small district school is the only
alternative to instruction at home, at least for children under high
school age. There is a reasonable limit to the distance to which pupils
should be carried. Opinions naturally will differ greatly in determining
this reasonable limit. Furthermore weather conditions greatly complicate
the problem, particularly where muddy roads are impassable or the northern
climate prescribes deep snow drifts which prohibit transportation. Of
course even the neighborhood school suffers under these conditions; but
the consolidated school in a large township would be obliged to close
during seasons of extreme weather.

[Illustration: Consolidated school at North Madison, Madison Township,
Lake County, Ohio. Eight conveyances filled with children may be seen
lined up in the foreground. (Courtesy of A. B. Graham, College of
Agriculture, Columbus, Ohio.)]

[Illustration: The John Swaney School, District 532, McNabb, Illinois.
Irwin A. Madden, Principal.]

Moral and social objections must also be faced in this connection.
Granting, as everyone must, the efficiency argument for the centralized
rural school, we must be careful that our teaching efficiency is not
gained at too high a cost. It is a rather serious thing for small children
to be far from home regularly through the day; and the usual viewpoint of
the mother easily wins our sympathy. We have less consideration for the
community pride which suffers when the district is abolished as a social
unit. But when we are reminded of the actual moral dangers to which
children are sometimes subjected in the privacy of the covered wagon, we
cannot dismiss the objection lightly. The solution, however, is not in the
direction of the inefficient district school, for that, too, has its moral
dangers; but in thorough supervision of the transportation under
trustworthy adults.

While the gospel of consolidation is rapidly gaining, all through the
country, closing thousands of unnecessary schools every year, the movement
often meets determined opposition, though advocated by all leading
educational authorities. In time, however, in a disintegrating community,
the scarcity of children forces centralization. The Indiana statute makes
this automatic by its very sensible provisions. The law enacted eleven
years ago permitted school trustees to close schools having less than 12
for an average attendance. The amended law of 1907 allowed the abandonment
of schools with an attendance of 15 or less and made it compulsory if the
number fell below 13. Consequently 679 rural schools in Indiana were
abandoned in 1904, 830 in 1906 and 1,314 in 1908 and in the latter year
16,034 children were carried to school.

_Advantages of Purely Rural Centralization_

In a closely settled township the natural center for the consolidated
school is the village, other things being equal. But if the center is a
city or a large town, results are not ideal. It is not good for country
children to be village or city commuters. If the driver is the right sort
of a man, the drive itself need not be harmful; but distance from home,
particularly in a village among strangers, day after day, is not a good
thing for most children. Furthermore, to add the country children to the
city or village school means one more method of exploiting the rural
neighborhoods and urbanizing the children. From the country view-point it
is not desirable. The town school does not pretend to fit for rural life,
but is frankly based on city needs.

The purely rural type of consolidated school is gaining in favor. To this
plan must country lovers look for a school which combines efficiency with
real training for rural life and avoids many of the objections to village
centralization. Professor Foght speaks of it with enthusiasm: "This is
the ideal type. It contemplates the establishment of the school right in
the heart of the rural community, where the child can dwell in close
communion with nature, away from the attractions and allurements of the
city. In such an environment establish the farm child's school. Build it
good and large; equip it with all the working tools necessary to the
greatest measure of successful work. Add broad acres for beautiful grounds
and garden and experimental areas. _And surely the rural school problem
will then be in a fair way to solution._"[32]

_A Thoroughly Modern Rural School_

The finest type of the modern rural school seems to have been at last
reports the "John Swaney School" in Putnam County, Illinois, located in
the open country two miles from the small village of McNabb. This school
was reported to the Cleveland Convention of the National Education
Association, by a special committee on rural schools "as affording the
best illustration of public sentiment, private liberality and wise
organization combined, that the committee was able to find in any
consolidated district in the United States." In making this report Prof.
O. J. Kern said further, "The building stands near the north side of a
beautiful campus of twenty-four acres of timber pasture. This campus was
donated by Mr. John Swaney, who is a farmer of moderate circumstances, a
man who believes in better things for country children. His was a worthy
deed in behalf of a worthy cause and should prove a suggestion and an
inspiration to public spirited farmers in other communities. The
consolidated school is an illustration of the fundamental fact that if
country people want better schools in the country for country children,
they must spend more money for education and spend it in a better way.
There is no other way."

The building is an attractive brick building located among beautiful shade
trees. It contains four recitation rooms besides a large auditorium used
for lectures, concerts and basket-ball; two laboratories, two library and
office rooms, girls' play room, cloak room, and a room in the basement for
manual training which is well equipped. It has apparatus also for teaching
cooking and sewing. It is equipped with steam heat, running water by
air-pressure system, and a gasolene gas generator. The campus is ample for
agricultural work besides the football and baseball fields and tennis
courts and the home for the five resident teachers.

_A Rural High School Course of Study_

In the high school department of this consolidated school a well balanced
curriculum is followed, based upon the special needs of rural life, strong
in vocational courses, yet not lacking in the liberal culture studies. It
includes the following: _First Year_, English I, Algebra, Physiology,
Agronomy I or Latin, Household Science or Manual Training, Physical
Geography, Horticulture or Latin. _Second Year_, English II, Algebra,
Geometry, Zoology, Ancient History, Botany, Animal Husbandry or Household
Science, Drawing and Music. _Third Year_, English III, Chemistry,
Agronomy II or Latin or Household Science, English History, Animal
Husbandry. _Fourth Year_, English IV, Physics, Household Science or
Agronomy III, American History, Bookkeeping, Arithmetic and Civics. The
farm laboratory work is in charge of experts from the Illinois Experiment

[Illustration: Domestic Economy Rooms, Macdonald Consolidated School,
Guelph, Canada.]

[Illustration: Manual Training Department of the Same School.]

[Illustration: Manual Training in a Small Rural School, Edgar County,

As Dr. Warren H. Wilson states so well, "The teaching of agriculture is
not for the making of farmers, but men and women. It must be more than a
mere school of rural money-making. The teaching of agriculture needed in
the schools is for the purpose of training in country life. The country
school must make the open country worth while. It will teach agriculture
as the basis of an ideal life, rather than as a quick way of profits."
However, though this is strictly true of the boys who study agriculture,
if they can actually become proficient enough to give their fathers
points, the evident "practical" value of the modern school will appeal so
strongly to the farmers that its future support is assured. The farmers
cannot be blamed for having little love for the school which alienates
their children from country life; but schools which really train for rural
citizenship will be appreciated by the country folks. And in time there
will be more John Swaneys, men who will show their love for a real school
for country life by endowing it after the manner of the old New England

_Elementary Agriculture and School Gardens_

To delay the teaching of agriculture until the high school years would be
to lose its most strategic value. It should be a regular course in all
rural schools, beginning before the natural rural interests have been
turned to discontent. As a rural educator says, "Let them early learn to
know nature and to love it, and to know that they are indigenous to the
soil; that here they must live and die. Give us many such schools, and the
farm youth is in no danger of leaving the farm."

Although agricultural teaching has been slowly winning its way into our
American schools, it has been a feature of even the primary schools in
France since 1879 and in most other European countries more recently. The
wonderful agricultural revival of Denmark dates from the introduction of
this subject in the schools. Elementary agriculture is taught in every
rural district of the land, and it gives the children that love for the
very soil which makes Danish patriotism unique.

The Macdonald movement in Canada, backed by the government, has put that
country well in the lead on our continent in this matter. It is spreading
fast now in the States, however. Seven states in the South alone require
by law agricultural instruction in rural schools. Many states now require
normal school students to prepare to teach the subject as an essential
branch of rural education; so that its future is assured.

The laboratory work in school gardens is a most interesting feature of
great value. Only recently has the garden movement developed in America,
beginning in Roxbury, Boston, in 1891; but every European nation but
England popularized it long ago. Comenius believed that "a garden should
be connected with every school," and his country, Moravia, early enacted
this conviction into law. The rural schools of Prussia introduced school
gardens as early as 1819; and they are now common everywhere in
continental Europe. The movement is now spreading fast in this country and
has proved very successful in stimulating interest in listless boys. In
Dayton, Ohio, school gardens were established in 1903, and it has been
observed there that boys taking gardening make 30% more progress than
others in their studies. The moral effects are sometimes notable,
especially in vicious surroundings.

III. Allies of the School in Rural Education.

_School Improvement Leagues_

This movement started in Maine, where it has over 60,000 members, and has
spread to other states. It seeks to stimulate the loyalty of pupils,
teachers and patrons to the schools in every feasible way. It gives
coherence and direction to a rising local pride in a successful school and
helps greatly to develop a local school spirit. When once aroused, this
interest can be directed in any useful way which is most needed at the
time. It often finds most natural expression in beautifying the school
grounds with shrubbery, trees and flowers, and in furnishing the rooms
with pictures and artistic decorations of real merit. Rural communities
are proverbially lacking in aesthetic taste, and this is the best method
conceivable for developing it. From a well-kept schoolyard, and
schoolrooms relieved of their bareness by copies of the great
masterpieces, there will radiate all through the township the spirit of
order and beauty which will bless the whole community.

_Rural Libraries and Literature_

The state of Massachusetts, where the first free public library was opened
long ago, now has such an institution in every town and city of the
Commonwealth. In most states, however, libraries in rural communities are
not common; but in many states traveling libraries are obtainable from the
state librarian which vastly broaden the mental outlook of the country
people. In these days of abundant books, it is easier to secure books than
it is to be sure that the books will get read. Rural reading circles and
literary clubs can serve their communities well by helping to popularize
the reading habit, and advising in the choice of books.

So vast has the country literature become in recent years, one can little
imagine the great educational service of the numerous farm journals and
magazines of country life. Rare is the farmer's home where none of them
enters. They have apparently great influence in broadening the horizons of
the farm home as well as teaching the people the newer ideals of our rural
civilization. So popular has the topic of rural life recently become, many
non-rural magazines frequently bring it before their readers, notably the
_World's Work_. As a magazine devoted to all the interests of the country
life movement, and frankly religious in its purpose, _Rural Manhood_ is
unique in its sphere. It is the organ of the Rural Young Men's Christian
Association and by its remarkably broad survey of rural social movements
has made itself indispensable to lovers of the country.

_Farmers' Institutes and Government Cooperation_

Space forbids even the enumeration of all the agencies and methods by
which the standards of rural education are being raised. Both state and
national governments, the state experiment stations and the department of
agriculture at Washington are constantly reporting the latest results of
agricultural science and investigation both in the form of printed
bulletins and public sessions of Farmers' Institutes and similar
occasions. The great majority of working farmers have not yet learned to
value and to use these privileges as they should; but the appreciative
ones who do use them are becoming constantly better informed about the
secrets of country life and the wonderful ways of nature. The great
national organization of the Grange, by its local discussions of farm
topics and its effective lecture work, is another of the great educational
forces in rural life, and the rural church and minister often have a fine
educational opportunity, especially in country communities where the
educational equipment is meager and the unmet need is great.

_Agricultural Colleges and their Extension Work_

Essentially a part of the government service, the state colleges of
agriculture with their learned faculties of rural experts are the ultimate
authorities in agriculture and all rural interests, and therefore are both
the climax and the ultimate source of education for country life. With the
remarkable popularity the past five years of rural study and the strong
trend toward the rural professions, the agricultural colleges are probably
growing faster than any other schools in the land. The Massachusetts State
College has doubled in numbers and doubtless in efficiency in the past
five years, and many other schools have shown remarkable development. With
a faculty of a hundred men, and a budget this year of half a million
dollars, the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell has become
in reality a great school of liberal culture interpreted in terms of
country life. Its enrolment has multiplied by five in the past nine years.
The extension work accomplished by these and similar institutions is
wonderfully broad and more and more serviceable to the people of their
several states, as their community of interest is increasingly
appreciated. The teachers are no longer "mere book farmers." They are
constantly out among the people for every variety of social service; and
the people, once or twice a year during the great "Farmers' Weeks" flock
to the college by the hundred with no feeling of restraint but of actual

It is thus, from the humblest "box-car school" to the great university,
that the people of the open country are being educated to appreciate their
privileges and to live a more effective country life. It is a great
educational movement, weak and halting here and there, but moving on with
a better sense of unity and a clearer vision of the goal, with every
passing decade. It all gives us courage to believe that the providence of
God has in store for our rural America not the stolid domination of a
rural peasantry, mere renters and pirates of the soil, but ultimately an
enlightened, progressive citizenship, alert for progress and unswerving in
their loyalty to "the holy land."


1.--Why do many rural communities take so little interest in their

2.--Show how most rural schools train country children away from the farms
to the city instead of fitting them for country life.

3.--How does the expense of American rural schools compare, per capita,
with the expense of the city schools?

4.--How can the country boys and girls be given a fair chance in our
public school system?

5.--In what ways does the district school plan work badly as a unit of
management and of taxation?

6.--What is wrong with the construction of most country school buildings?

7.--Why is the consolidated school in the town or village a bad thing for
children from the farms?

8.--State the efficiency argument for consolidation of rural schools.

9.--Describe the Indiana law on this subject and give your opinions about

10.--Show the superior advantages of the purely rural type of centralized

11.--Describe the consolidated rural school in Illinois, known as the
"John Swaney School," and tell what you like about it.

12.--How do you think a high school course of study in the country ought
to differ from that in the city?

13.--Why should agriculture, domestic science, animal husbandry, et
cetera, be taught in rural schools? How early would you begin?

14.--Compare the history of specific education for rural life in Europe
and in America.

15.--What can you say about school gardens as a feature in rural

16.--How can "School Improvement Leagues" become powerful allies of the
country school forces?

17.--What are some of the educational possibilities of rural libraries?

18.--In your experience what educational service can Farmers' Institutes
render the farming community?

19.--Show something of the broad field of the agricultural colleges and
their extension work, and the part they take in rural education.

20.--Write out concisely the best statement you can make of the immediate
needs in rural education and the constructive policy you would propose to
meet these needs.





  _The Community-Serving Church and Its Allies_

    I. _Opportunity and Function of the Country Church_

       Its necessity to rural progress.
       Stages in its evolution, and its changing ideals.
       The test of its efficiency.
       The church's broad function: community service.
       Its high responsibility: spiritual leadership.

   II. _Some Elements of Serious Weakness_

       A depleted constituency. Economic weakness.
       Lack of social cooperation. Wasteful competition.
       Poor business management. Moral ineffectiveness.
       Narrow vision of service. Inadequate leadership.

  III. _Some Factors Which Determine Its Efficiency_

       A worthy constituency.
       Local prosperity and progressive farming.
       Community socialization. A community serving spirit.
       A broad vision of service and program of usefulness.
       United Christian forces in the community.
       A broad Christian gospel; not sectarian preaching.
       A loyal country ministry adequately trained and paid.
       A liberal financial policy. Adequate equipment.
       Masculine lay leadership developed and trained.
       A community survey to discover resources and needs.

   IV. _Some Worthy Allies of the Country Church_

       The country Sunday-school.
       The Rural Young Men's Christian Association.
       The County Work of the Young Women's Christian Association.

    V. _Types of Rural Church Success_

       Some real community builders.
       The church in the open country.
       Oberlin, the prince of country ministers.




I. The Opportunity and Function of the Country Church.

_Its Necessity to Rural Progress_

The city man's judgment of many things rural is apt to be warped. The
country is a better place than he thinks it is. Country institutions are
doing better than he thinks they are; and the country church is by no
means as dead and useless as he is apt to imagine. Ridiculing the plan to
federate three village churches, a typical city man remarked, "What is the
use? Three ciphers are just as useless together as alone!" Such a
superficial verdict must not be accepted. The church in the country is
certainly involved in a serious and complex problem. In many places it is
decadent. In most places it is easily criticised for its meager successes
in this age of progress; but it is still essential in spite of its

No amount of unfavorable criticism can refute the fact that a
community-serving church is the most essential institution in country
life. Criticise it as we may for its inefficiency, it is to the country
church that we must look to save the country. Even though it may be
usually a struggling institution, inadequately equipped, poorly financed,
narrow in its conception of its mission, slow in responding to the
progressive spirit of the age, wasting its resources in fruitless
competitions, and often crude in its theology and ineffective in its
leadership,--nevertheless it is blessing millions of our people, and
remains still the one supreme institution for social and religious
betterment. It may be criticised, pitied, ridiculed. It has not yet been

Because the rural church is absolutely essential to the rural community,
it must be maintained, whatever be the cost. Let _surplus_ local churches
die, as they ultimately will, by the law of the survival of the fittest.
The community-serving church must live. The man who refuses to sustain it
is a bad citizen. Dr. Anderson rightly claims "The community needs nothing
so much as a church, to interpret life; to diffuse a common standard of
morals; to plead for the common interest; to inculcate unselfishness,
neighborliness, cooperation; to uphold ideals and to stand for the
supremacy of the spirit. In the depleted town with shattered institutions
and broken hopes, in the perplexity of changing times, in the perils of
degeneracy, the church is the vital center which is to be saved at any
cost. In the readjustments of the times, the country church has suffered;
but if in its sacrifices it has learned to serve the community, it lives
and will live."[33]

To condense diagnosis and prescription into a single sentence: _The
country church has become decadent where it has ceased to serve its
community. It may find its largest life again in the broadest kind of
sacrificial service._

_Stages of Country Church Evolution_

In this rapidly growing country, particularly in the past century of
empire-building in the great West, four rather distinct stages of
development may be traced in the history of the country church. As the
railroads have pushed out into all sections for the development of our
natural resources, the apostles of the Christian faith have usually been
in the van of the new civilization. Too often they have been apostles of
diverse sects, pious promoters coveting for the church of their zeal
strategic locations and a favorable advantage in the conquest of the
country for The King. But in general, the story of beginnings in the
planting of our American churches has been a tale of real heroism, of
devotion to the highest welfare of humanity and the glory of God, and of
untold sacrifice. In brief these stages of church evolution are as

1. The period of pioneer struggle and weakness, through which practically
all churches have had to pass.

2. Usually a period of growth and prosperity, sharing the growth of the
community; or, if the new town failed to justify its hopes, a period of
marking time, under the burden of a building debt.

3. The period of struggle against rural depletion, the rural church
meanwhile losing many members to the cities. Apparently a majority of
country churches are now in this stage and for many of them it is a noble
struggle for efficient survival. Thousands of churches however have
succumbed, 1,700 in the single state of Illinois.

4. The ultimate stage of this evolution is the survival of the fittest,
the inevitable result of the struggle. Most churches have not yet worked
this through, but when they do, it is by _readjustment to a redirected
rural life_. It costs much sacrifice in time and money. It requires the
church to study frankly its situation and to surrender cheerfully old
notions of success and to broaden its ideals of service.

_Old and New Church Ideals_

The pioneer type of the circuit-rider church may still be found among the
mountains and other neglected or scattered sections of the country. Its
ideal of success is very simple: a monthly preaching service when the
"elder" makes his rounds; and an annual "protracted meeting" in which the
leader "prays the power down" and all hands "get religion," presumably
enough to last them through the year. For this kind of success only three
factors seem to be essential: a leader with marked hypnotic power, an
expectant crowd ready to respond to his suggestion, and a place to meet.
The place may be simply a roof over a pulpit. Results are meager and the
same souls, may be, have to be saved next year.

We would not deny the itinerant heroes of pioneer days the credit they
deserve for their self-sacrificing labors. Unquestionably they served
their generation well, as well as conditions allowed. But most churches
have outgrown this low ideal of success. They plan a more continuous work.
They desire more than merely emotional results. They appeal to
intelligence and to the will and make the culture of Christian character
the great objective. Such work is vastly important; but a still higher and
broader standard must be raised to-day for country church success.

A few weeks ago there came from an ambitious and active country minister
(who evidently wanted a city church) a tabulated, type-written statement
of his work for the year. According to widely accepted standards it was
evidence of his efficiency and the success of his church. It gave the
number of sermons he had preached, the calls he had made, the prayer
meetings he had led, the Sunday school sessions attended, the number of
conversions and additions to his church membership, the number of families
added to his parish roll, the number of people he had baptized, married
and buried; the average attendance at all services, the size of his Sunday
school, the amount of money raised for church expenses and for
benevolences, the sums expended for repairing the property,--for all of
which we were asked to praise the Lord. To be sure, it was a rather
praiseworthy record, and, on the strength of it, this particular country
minister was called to a city church! He will not be any happier there,
his salary will not go any farther there, and he will probably have less
influence; but he has attained the dignity of a _city_ minister, the goal
of many a man's ambition. Alas that so many of us seem to forget that the
Garden of Eden was strictly rural; and that it was only when mankind was
driven out of it that they went off and founded cities!

This case is a typical one. We are still too apt to reckon the success of
a church in statistics reported in the denominational Yearbook. The book
of Numbers is a poor Gospel. Let us not disparage the importance of adding
forty people to the church membership, or doubling the size of the Sunday
school, or tripling the benevolences, or increasing the congregations.
These things are all splendid, every one of them, and indicate a live
church and an active, consecrated minister; but they are not ultimate
tests of a church's efficiency.

_The Test of Its Efficiency_

We must admit that the real business of a Christian Church is not to swell
its membership roll or to add to the glory of its particular sect or to
raise enough money for its own support and keep its property painted, nor
even to get the community into the church. _The business of the church is
to get the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ into the community and thence
into all the world._ If it is not doing that it is not succeeding. It is
succeeding only in proportion as it is accomplishing that; for its
business is to Christianize that community.

Dr. Gladden is right when he says that the test of the efficiency of the
church must be found in the social conditions of the community to which it
ministers. To be sure the church should emphasize evangelism and the need
of church membership. Let it add to its strength, in order to become a
strong, effective organization. But let it remember that this is but a
means to an end. Let it keep in mind the immediate object of its work, to
_Christianize its community_.

I would say then, a country church is efficient if it not only gets its
people "right with God" but also right with one another; if it not only
saves them for the life of heaven, but helps them to begin the heavenly
life right now; if it not only furnishes opportunity for the worship of
God, in simplicity and truth, but also proves the sincerity of its worship
in deeds of Christian service; if it furnishes spiritual vision and power,
faith, hope and love, those unseen things that are eternal, but also mints
these essentials of religion in the pure gold of brotherly sympathy and

_The Church's Broad Function: Community Service_

The efficient church will not only perform the priestly function of
mediating between God and men, until in the holy place men feel the hush
and peace and power of God's presence. It will also inspire men in a
practical way to perform the duties of life. It will not only bring men
into the conscious presence of God. It will somehow bring the love of God
into the lives of men. It will increase the kindness and brotherliness and
sympathy of men and women toward each other. It will stimulate
fair-dealing in all business relations and put an end to injustice toward
the weak. It will help to reduce poverty, vice and crime. It will
encourage pure politics and discourage graft. It will set a high standard
for the play life of the community and make amusements purer and more
sensible. It will even endeavor to raise the level of practical efficiency
on every farm, making men really better farmers because they are real
Christians. It will help to make more efficient homes and schools, to give
every boy and girl a fair chance for a clean life, a sound body, a trained
mind, helpful friendships and a useful career.

The efficient country church will definitely serve its community by
leading, when possible, in all worthy efforts at community building, in
uniting the people in all cooperative social endeavors for the general
welfare, in arousing a real love for country life and loyalty to the
country home; and in so enriching the life of its community as to make
"country living as attractive for them as city living, and the rural
forces as effective as city forces."

_Its High Responsibility: Spiritual Leadership_

The inaugural program of Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 suggests the business of
his followers: to minister to the vital necessities of needy men. Broadly
speaking, every work for human betterment is "our Father's business," yet
the supreme function of the church is spiritual. It stands in a material
world for an unseen God and an eternal life. It must constantly furnish
spiritual vision and inspiration to weary men and women for the living of
their lives. To do this, the church must provide the opportunity for
public worship, in sincerity, impressiveness and truth. It must somehow
bring the life of God into the lives of men.

Surely the church owes the community a prophetic service also, bringing
God's great messages to human lives, throbbing with divine sympathy for
all human needs, courageously challenging the man to whom the vision
comes, to live the better life, and offering practical and immediate help,
the help of Christ, to live that life. The spiritual service of a vital
church will include a vivid portrayal of the Christ, his person, his
teachings, his radiant character, his saving power, the dynamic for life
which flows from him into every life which accepts his comradeship. All
this and more.

We should avoid however the dangerous distinction between the sacred and
the secular. The superficial exaltation of the spiritual function of the
church is sometimes merely a cloak for laziness. Often a well conducted
church social has spiritual results and a boys' camp becomes a "means of
grace." Unless a man is pure spirit, the work of the church is more than
"saving souls." Soul and body are in this life inseparable and
interdependent. A saved man must be redeemed soul and body, in mind and
spirit, as well as in all his social relations.

A religion which aims merely to save a man's soul, and otherwise neglects
him, is superficial, and fails to appeal to a whole man's manhood. The
subtle reactions of life warn us that the _soul's environment_ must be
redeemed, or it stands little chance of permanent salvation. Here is the
nexus between individual and social salvation. Christian social service is
necessary to conserve the results of evangelism. Unite them, and the
Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

_Let the Church Furnish Dynamic and Leadership_

But the church should not scatter its energies and "dilute its evangelism"
by attempting to do everything as an organization. Let it discharge its
responsibility for social welfare _indirectly_ when possible, through
other organizations or individuals. Its broadest service will ever be, as
in the past, to furnish the inspiration and the dynamic for many secondary
agencies for social service and human betterment. But the church must
either do the needed work or _get it done_.

It should duplicate no social machinery or effort, but should supplement
all other local institutions and perfect their service by its own service
of the higher life of the community. Let the church be the climax of the
social, educational, philanthropic, health-restoring, peace-preserving
forces of the community. Ideally it will federate them all in community
leadership. Where these forces are lacking, the church should assume these
functions, if the community welfare demands it; as actually takes place on
many a mission field.

Well might every country church adopt this platform, adapted from the Open
Church League: "Inasmuch as the Christ came not to be ministered unto but
to minister, this church, moved by his spirit of ministering love, seeks
to become the center and source of every beneficent and philanthropic
effort, and to take a leading part in every movement which has for its end
the alleviation of human sorrow and suffering, the saving of men and the
bettering of this township as a part of the great Kingdom of God. Thus we
aim to save all men and all of the man, by all just means; abolishing so
far as possible the distinction between the religious and the secular, and
sanctifying all means to the great end of saving the world for Christ."

II. Some Elements of Serious Weakness.

It is with no lack of sympathy for country ministers or churches that we
offer these suggestions as to what is wrong with the country church. Often
the conditions of the environment are largely responsible, and sometimes
the churches are not to blame. Many of them are facing their difficulties
nobly, not a few of them successfully. In fact many country churches are
doing better than most city churches. By way of diagnosis the following
brief suggestions are offered to account in part for the serious
difficulty in the present situation.

1. _A Depleted Constituency._ The first element in the problem is the
_inevitable isolation_ in the open country and the depletion of population
in thousands of villages. We find often not merely loss of numbers, but
impoverished vitality in many of those who remain. This is _weakness in
personality_, always an ultimate problem.

2. _Economic Weakness._ Impoverished soil, poor agricultural conditions,
and bad farming are found all too frequently. The church immediately
suffers. It is no mere coincidence that the best country churches are
always found among successful farmers. The church can hardly be more
prosperous than its community.

3. _Lack of Social Cooperation._ Extreme individualism is still the curse
of the open country. There has been little cooperation yet in industry,
recreation, or religion. Consequently the church has been too often merely
an occasional congregation of separate individuals with few interests in
common; instead of a working body of vitally interested people, organized
for the redemption of the community.

4. _Wasteful Competition._ This particular factor is not very serious in
the South; but elsewhere there are usually found too many rival churches,
selfishly struggling for life, but doing little to serve their community.
This condition is the result of excessive individualism, selfishly
insisting on its own peculiar sect; or the depletion of a once populous
village; or the early blunders of denominational "strategy," starting a
church where it never was needed.

5. _Poor Business Management._ We are seldom likely to find any business
system in the country church. As a rule they have no financial policy, no
plan for the future, small salaries for the ministers and often in
arrears. Their short-sighted method is simply "the short-haul" on the
pocket-book, with a subscription paper; planning only for the current
year. Inefficiency of course results from such poor business.

[Illustration: This chart shows a portion of Center County, Pennsylvania,
in which there are 16 churches within a circle with a radius of three
miles. There are 24 churches within the larger circle having a radius of
four miles. Several other churches are in close proximity, making in all
the 29 churches shown in this sparsely settled community.]

6. _Moral Ineffectiveness._ Many country churches have lost the respect of
their communities and their local support, because of their lack of vital
religion which makes character and deeds of spiritual power. They do not
prove their genuine brotherliness in an unselfish service of the
community. Amid their petty rivalries, they are struggling merely to save
themselves rather than the community, forgetting the words of Jesus: "He
that would save his life shall lose it."

7. _Narrow Vision of Service._ The country church is seldom progressive
and has little idea of the modern social vision. Few churches have yet
seen their great chance to serve broadly the interests and needs of the
whole community. They flatter themselves upon their faithfulness to
spiritual standards; though the fact is, they are neglecting a great
opportunity and hence missing the loyal appreciation of their people.

8. _Inadequate Leadership._ The country ministry is too apt to be an
untrained ministry, sadly lacking in professional preparation. Lack of a
strong personality in pulpit and parsonage makes church success difficult.
But the main weakness here is the fact that a majority of the country
churches actually have _no pastor at all_. They have a preacher, part of
the time; but he lives in the village seven miles away. He supplies the
pulpit, marries the living and buries the dead. _The lack of a resident
pastor living on the land with his people_ is almost a fatal weakness in a
country church. The most eloquent preaching never compensates for this

III. Some Factors Which Determine Country Church Efficiency.

Surely this matter of making a country church successful is no simple
problem. It is complex enough to be fascinatingly interesting. Its very
difficulty is a challenge to strong men. We shall attempt to state the
most important factors which make for efficiency. All are important; some
are quite essential. A church is efficient in proportion as it has
developed these elements of strength.

1. _A Worthy Constituency_

It is very evident that the first essential factor is folks. The reason
some earnest ministers prefer to work in the city is because there are
more people there. A congregation to lead in worship and to inspire with
ideals for Christian service is quite essential. A minister must have
people to whom to minister. Churches can live without bells, organs,
pulpits, fine architecture, or even ministers for awhile. We can sing
without hymn books or choir; pray without missal, prayer book or surplice;
worship comfortably without cushions or carpets; commune without silver
plates or golden chalices or individual glasses. The one thing which is
the _sine qua non_ is a congregation. The church must have people.

This does not mean that success will depend upon great numbers, though
depleted numbers cause serious discouragement. A country minister has a
splendid chance for a thorough, _intensive_ work with individuals and
families, which is denied a pastor with a larger flock. Yet the church
must have a constituency or it is not needed and of course cannot succeed.

2. _Local Prosperity and Progressive Farming_

Some one may ask, "Why haven't you mentioned first of all the blessing of
God, as the great essential to success?" Surely unless the Lord builds the
house he labors in vain that builds it. We are simply assuming this as an
axiom. Our work must always be done in partnership with God. Success
itself is the evidence of His favor. To win that favor we must take the
natural steps to win success.

Our second suggestion is local prosperity and progressive farming. Dr.
Wilson calls the country church "the weather vane of community
prosperity." It might be more accurately called the _barometer_, for the
church shows promptly the degree of the pressure of economy due to poor
crops or bad farming. Impoverished soil, poor agricultural conditions and
bad farming explain the failure of many a country church. You can build a
city on a rock (like New York) or even on the sand (like Gary); but you
cannot hope to build a prosperous country community or rural church on
_poor soil_.

Professor Carver tells us forcibly that "the world will eventually be a
Christian or a non-Christian world according as Christians or
non-Christians prove themselves more fit to possess it,--according as they
are better farmers, better business men, better mechanics, better
politicians." It is certainly the wisest kind of policy for the church to
help to make its community prosperous. It is not only a fine way to serve
the community; it is a prime essential to its own ultimate success. Many a
rural church is languishing because of bad economics in the community. Let
it face the problem man-fashion and do something besides pray about it.
Let it prove the sincerity of its prayers by earnest plans and deeds to
make its community prosperous.

This is exactly what was done in a certain Wisconsin village. By the fiat
of the railroad, which suddenly changed its plans, half the people moved
away in a day, leaving community institutions maimed and everybody
discouraged. It was the wise minister who saved the day by organizing the
farmers and planning with them a new local industry. He induced a pickle
factory to build in the community provided the farmers would raise
cucumbers on a large scale. He was even able to turn the village store
into a cooperative enterprise which succeeded in running at a profit. This
minister saved his church by saving the community.

That prince of country ministers, Johann Friedrich Oberlin, laid the
foundation of his sixty years of pastoral success in the Vosges Mountains
in the new local prosperity which was developed under his leadership. He
was utterly unable to succeed until he had taught his people how to become
better farmers, and thus to rise above the low level of incompetence and
ignorance which had kept them almost immune to religious appeals and had
kept their churches pitiable failures. His astonishing success won for him
the official recognition of the Legion of Honor from the King of France.
What he was able to do under great difficulties could be done to-day by
thousands of rural churches and ministers, if they determined to do it.
Let them first make their community prosperous; then their church will
share the prosperity.

3. _Community Socialization_

Prosperous and happy rural communities have outgrown the selfish
independence of the pioneer past and have learned how to live together
effectively in a socially cooperative way. But a great many rural places
are still scourged by grudges and feuds and other evidences of
individualism gone to seed. This accounts also for many small churches,
the result of church quarrels. Country churches cannot succeed until the
people learn how to live together peaceably and effectively, to cooperate
in many details of the community life, to utilize the various social means
for community welfare. To be sure the church can greatly help in this
socializing process. It can lead in making the local life cooperative,
educationally, agriculturally, socially, morally; and, if it succeeds, the
church will be the first to reap the rewards of a finer comradeship.

4. _A Community-Serving Spirit_

Many a country church is dying from sheer selfishness. The same of course
is true in the city. Many people doubtless think the church exists for the
benefit of its members only. If this were true, the church would be simply
a club. Selfishness is slow suicide for an individual. It is equally so
for a church. A self-serving spirit in a church is contrary to the spirit
of Jesus and it kills the church life. It is a bad thing for a church to
have the reputation for working constantly just to keep its head above
water, struggling to keep alive, just to go through the motions of
religious activity, yet making no progress. Many a church is dying simply
for lack of a good reason for being. Can you not hear the voice of the
Master saying, "The church that would save its life shall lose it; but the
church that is willing to lose its life, for my sake, the same shall save

Let the church adjust its program to a larger radius. Let it be a
_community-wide_ program. If there are other churches, it will of course
not invade the homes of families under their care. But aside from this, it
will plan its work to reach out to all neglected individuals as well as to
serve all social and moral interests of the community as a whole. Let its
motto be "We seek not yours but you." The church will not be able to save
the community until it proves its willingness to sacrifice for the sake of
the community.

5. _A Broad Vision of Service and Program of Usefulness_

This next factor making for efficiency is very closely related to the
last. _A useful country church will not die._ A church that is really
serving its community in vital ways will so win the appreciation of the
people that they will support it because they love it. Some churches and
ministers seem too proud to include in their program anything but
preaching, praying, hymn-singing, with an occasional funeral, wedding and
baked-bean supper to break the monotony. In a social age like this, with
multiplying human needs, such a church is on the way to death. The church
must recognize its responsibility, as its Master recognized it, to meet
all the human needs of its people. Many country communities with meager
social equipment, often with manifold human needs absolutely unmet, demand
the broadest kind of brotherly service on the part of the church, for
their mutual good. The church need not do everything itself as an
institution. Its great work will ever be the work of inspiration. But
where there are serious gaps in the social structure, the church must
somehow fill the gaps. It must do the work or get it done.

It rejoices us to find churches all along the country-side to-day that
have welcomed this great opportunity for broad usefulness, and have gained
a new vitality and an increasing success by facing all the needs of the
community and broadening their vision and program of service accordingly.

6. _United Christian Forces in the Community_

We are confronted now by one of the most serious factors in our problem.
The pitiable sub-division of rural Christendom into petty little
struggling, competing churches makes religion a laughing-stock and a
failure. We are saddened by it. By and by we shall get so ashamed of it
that we will stop it! Many men of leadership and influence are working on
the problem and we can see improvement in many directions.

Wasteful sectarianism is a sin in the city; but it is a crime in the
country. It is a city luxury which may be justified perhaps where there is
a wealth of people; but it is as out of place among the farms as sheet
asphalt pavements or pink satin dancing pumps. Sectarianism is not
religion. It is merely selfishness in religion. A sincere country
Christian will be willing to sacrifice his sectarian preference, as a city
luxury which the country cannot afford.

The great Puritan movement against conformity to an established church
settled forever the great principle that any company of earnest Christians
have a right to form a church _when conditions justify it_. But we have
seen in this country, as nowhere else in the world, the absurd extremes of
this great liberty. Sects have been formed to maintain the wickedness of
buttons and the piety of hooks and eyes; and for many another tenet almost
as petty. Churches of "Come-Outers," "Heavenly Recruits" and "The
Hephzibah Faith" appeal to the fancy of theological epicures. Colonies of
"Zionites" and "The Holy Ghost and Us Society" have been established,
mainly for the exploiting of some shrewd fanatic and his pious fraud.

With 188 sects now in America, we have come to the point when sensible
people have a right to insist that an unnecessary church is a curse to a
community. Its influence is sadly divisive. Its maintenance is a needless
tax. It embodies, not true piety, but pharisaic selfishness. The community
has a right to keep it out for self-protection. The social consciousness
has now developed enough to teach us that the right of individuals to form
endless churches must be curtailed, for the general welfare, exactly as
other individual rights, such as carrying pistols, public expectoration,
working young children, and riding bicycles on city sidewalks, have to be
surrendered in a social age. Thus social cooperation is displacing
individualism and religious cranks should not be immune to the law of
progress. To insist upon individual rights to form a new sect or to burden
an overchurched community with a needless church is a grave social
injustice and a sin against the Kingdom of God.

A small village in South Dakota applied the referendum to the question
whether they should have a Methodist or a Congregational church. The plan
was proposed by the village Board of Trade. It was entered into by the
whole community as a sensible proposition and the losers accepted the
verdict, under pressure of public opinion. The village has but one church
to-day. When denominational leaders agree to force no church upon such a
community as this, and to help support no church with home missionary
funds where it is neither needed nor wanted, the cause of religion in
small communities will be greatly advanced. Fortunately some of the larger
churches are frankly accepting this principle and are working with a large
measure of comity and denominational reciprocity.

_The New Christian Statesmanship_

For many years the leading churches in Maine have had an
"Interdenominational Comity Commission" which has kept out unnecessary
churches, and has reduced the number in overchurched communities by a sort
of denominational reciprocity. Other states in New England and the West
have adopted the plan, and now the Home Mission Council has recently
organized on a national scale, in the interest of all Protestant churches.

The Interdenominational Commission of North Dakota includes the Baptist,
Congregational, Methodist Episcopal and Presbyterian churches of the
state. This simple statement of their working agreement is an excellent

(1) No community in which the concurring denominations have a claim should
be entered by any other denomination through its official agencies without
conference with the denominations having such claim.

(2) A feeble church should be revived if possible rather than a new one
established to become its rival.

(3) The preference of a community should always be regarded in determining
what denomination should occupy the field.

Such a plan wins our respect. We may have faith that the next few years
will see much progress in reducing the disgrace of unholy competition
between Christian churches that ought to be working together.

May denominational reciprocity soon relieve our country communities of
their unnecessary churches which are simply a burdensome tax and a
hindrance. Local churches often would unite if the outside subsidy were
withdrawn which prolongs their separate existence. Church union is a
question, not of mechanics, but of biology. It is a matter of _life_. It
is useless to unite churches forcibly which have not been _growing
together_. They would fall apart next week! But they are doubly certain to
grow together if encouraged from their denominational headquarters.

And by and by, through the new Christian statesmanship of denominational
reciprocity, we shall have a Baptist village, and a Methodist village, and
a Congregational village, all contiguous, and with united Christian forces
in each community. It will be a great boon to the Kingdom of God,--and it
will not even disturb the equilibrium of the denominational year books!

Blessed is the rural community that has but one church. But where there
are several, let them work together as closely as possible, presenting a
united front against the forces of evil in an aggressive campaign for
righteousness. Local church federations, and township or county ministers'
unions greatly help to develop a spirit of unity and really good results.
A local federation of men's church brotherhoods, uniting all the churchmen
of a township, is a splendid thing. It affects the whole church and
community life. It speedily puts friendliness in the place of suspicion,
and enthusiastic cooperation in place of jealous rivalry.

7. _A Broad Christian Gospel, in Place of Sectarian Preaching_

One of the signs of a decadent church is excessive emphasis upon sectarian
trifles. When adult Sunday school classes have not studied the lesson for
the day they fall back on denominational hobbies! A holy zeal for
righteousness costs something. The selfish zeal for one's sect is cheap.
There is little of this now in the cities; but the country is scourged by
petty sectarian teaching both in the pulpit and in the Sunday school; and
the country is very tired of it. Ordinary mortals are simply bored by it
and will no longer come to hear it.

People are still hungry for the real gospel. The great affirmations of
religion: The priceless value of human life, the reality of God our loving
Father, the immortality of the soul, the law of the harvest, the gospel of
a Saviour, et cetera, still challenge the attention and win the hearts of
men. Let us emphasize the great Christian fundamentals on which most
Christian people heartily agree. Let us add to these high teachings of
universal Christianity the simple social teachings of Jesus, his every day
practical teachings for human life in mutual relations, and we shall have
a winning message for the sensible minds and hearts of country people.

8. _A Loyal Country Ministry, Adequately Trained and Supported_

This is one of the ultimate factors in our problem, perhaps the most
difficult of all. Leadership is always of utmost importance in social
problems. A splendid leader often brings real success out of serious
difficulties. There are hundreds of such splendid leaders in country
parsonages to-day, and they deserve all the high appreciation and cordial
recognition they have won. But when we consider our 70,000 rural
ministers as a body, we find three things to be true: They are miserably
paid. They are usually untrained. Their pastorates are too short to be
really successful. The churches are of course more to blame for this
condition than the ministers.

We must have a permanently loyal country ministry for life. Making the
country ministry simply the stepping stone to the city church has been a
most unfortunate custom even up to the present day. The country ministry
must be recognized as a specialized ministry, fully as honorable as the
city ministry, demanding just as fine and strong a man,--possibly even
more of a man, for many a minister has succeeded in the city after failing
in the country. The country minister must somehow get a vision of his
great task as a community builder, like Johann Friedrich Oberlin, that
greatest of country pastors. He must find an all-absorbing life-mission
claiming all his powers and demanding his consecration as thoroughly and
enthusiastically as the call to the foreign mission field. Then let him
_go into it for life_, determined to do his part, a whole man's part, in
redeeming country life and making it, what it normally is, the best life
in all the world to live. Staying year after year in the same parish is
the secret of success in the case of most of the conspicuously successful
country pastors. Only thus can a man really become the parson of the
village, a person of dominant influence in all the affairs of the people.

This ideal suggestion of long country pastorates meets with two
objections. Laymen are saying, "How can you expect us to keep a minister
after he has said all he knows?" And some of the ministers will say, "How
can you expect us to stay, on less than a living wage?" At present both
objections are perfectly valid. Too many ministers are untrained men, and
therefore fail to succeed for more than a year or two. And certainly an
underpaid minister cannot be blamed for taking his family where he can
support them respectably.

As near as can be determined, about 20% of rural ministers the country
over (including all denominations) are educated men; though probably not
over 10% of them have had a full professional training.[34] They are about
as successful as any other professional man can be who lacks his special
training for his life work. There is a great demand for _trained_
ministers. The writer receives very many more requests from churches in a
year than he can furnish with men. Yet the theological seminaries are
training few men for the rural churches. Most of the graduates go either
to the cities or the villages, where there is a living wage. Dr. Warren H.
Wilson figures that a country minister with a wife and three children, in
order to educate his family, keep a team and provide $100 annual payment
for insurance for his old age, must have at least $1,400 salary. There are
ministers who are able to do this on less,--but not very much less. There
certainly ought to be a _minimum_ wage of $800 and a parsonage, or $1,000
cash, for every minister. A church paying less than this is simply
stealing from the minister's family. Churches unable to pay this minimum
living wage ought to unite with a neighboring church or close their doors,
except for itinerant preaching.[35]

In several denominations the plan of maintaining a minimum salary for
their ministers is being attempted. We have space for a single
illustration. The East Ohio Conference, Cleveland District, of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, under the direction of Rev. N. W. Stroup, as
district superintendent, has succeeded in raising the minimum to $750. It
was estimated in advance that $2,500 would have to be raised by the
stronger churches in the district to accomplish this result; but in the
very first year only $1,000 of this sum was actually required. As soon as
the movement was made public, many of the weaker churches developed
courage and grit enough to raise their own pastor's salary to a
respectable figure, and maintained their self-respect. Other churches are
expected to do the same next year.

At the writer's urgent suggestion, in a public address last fall, a
Michigan church, paying its minister only $350 a year, raised the salary
to $800 and secured a bright young college graduate as pastor. They now
report that it is just as easy to finance the church on the present
self-respecting basis as it was to run a cheap church last year!

9. _A Liberal Financial Policy_

This reminds us very forcibly that one factor essential to country church
success is a liberal financial policy. In the smaller country churches we
seldom find any business policy, and no plan at all for the future. The
most common method is the annual subscription paper, with special
subscriptions for repairs or emergencies. The motive is apparently strict
economy rather than efficiency. It never pays to run a cheap church, for
it cheapens the whole enterprise. More and more the weekly-payment pledge
system is coming into use and with it a careful planning of the budget at
the beginning of the year, guided by an earnest purpose to keep the church
business-like, the minister promptly paid, the property well in repair and
the enterprise spiritually successful. Often the new consecration of the
pocket-book has been the first symptom of a thorough-going revival.

10. _Adequate Equipment_

A large proportion of country churches are simply one-room buildings. This
explains many failures. In order to serve the community at all adequately,
the church must have social rooms for a variety of neighborhood purposes,
and it must make provision for its Sunday school. About four-fifths of the
boys and girls in the Sunday schools of America live in the rural
districts. They should be given good rooms. Without an effective building
for social and educational purposes,--a parish house or at least a
vestry,--the country church is seriously handicapped. With a good
equipment the church often becomes the social center for the whole

11. _A Masculine Lay Leadership Developed and Trained_

It takes more than a minister to make a church successful. The King's
Business requires MEN. Women are usually active and loyal. The men are
often just as _loyal_ but less active because of lack of opportunity. The
most enthusiastic meetings the writer has attended for months were in a
rural county in Michigan, a county without a trolley. The meetings were
held for three days under the auspices of the Men and Religion Forward
Movement and all the forty-five Protestant churches of the county were
represented by ministers and laymen. The laymen outnumbered the ministers
about ten to one and they showed the keenest interest in the proposition
to make the work of religion in their county a man's job.

Those men caught the vision of service, and every month during the winter,
meetings led by laymen were held in every school house of that county,
carrying the five-fold message of the great Men and Religion Movement into
every rural neighborhood; the messages of personal evangelism, of definite
Bible study, of world-wide missions, of social service to better their
community, and constructive personal work to save their boys. This is a
program of religious work for MEN. Only men can do it; but men _can_ do
it, with a little training and wise leadership. The results no man can
foretell. But it must result in great blessing for the men and for their
communities, and new efficiency and appreciation for their country

12. _A Community Survey to Discover Resources and Community Needs_

Without multiplying further these factors which make for efficiency, we
mention but one more. Until recently country churches have been conducted
on the principle that "human nature is the same everywhere," and "one
country village is like all the rest." But scientific agriculture has
suggested to us that we should make a scientific approach to our church
problem as well as to our soil problem. Country communities are _not_ all
alike,--far from it. Social, economic, moral, educational, political,
personal conditions vary greatly in different localities. Churches miss
their aim unless they study minutely these conditions. There is in
progress now a religious survey of the entire state of Ohio. Quite a
number of counties in Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, Indiana and
elsewhere have been carefully studied for religious purposes. Valuable
reports of these studies are available as guides for similar work
elsewhere. The best of this work has been done by the Presbyterian Board
of Home Missions under Dr. W. H. Wilson's direction.

The general purpose of the survey hardly needs to be defended. It is
simply the application to the work of the church of the modern social
method of finding the facts in order to prevent wasted effort, in order to
utilize all available resources and minister to all real human needs. It
augurs well for the church of the future.

We have every reason to hope that with the progress of the great Country
Life Movement the Country Church is coming to a new day of usefulness;
with people living under modern conditions, with local prosperity and
progressive farming, with their communities well socialized and
cooperating, with a community-serving spirit in the church, guided by a
broad vision of service and program of usefulness; with united Christian
forces and decreasing sectarianism; with a loyal country ministry
adequately trained, and sustained by a liberal financial policy; with an
adequate equipment making the church a social center; with an enthusiastic
masculine lay leadership developed and guided by a community survey to
undertake the work which will best serve the needs of their people, the
Kingdom of Heaven will surely come. It sounds like the millennium! Perhaps
it will be, when it comes! But in many respects we can see it coming, as,
one after another, these factors come to stay. May God speed the day of
the broadly efficient country church. It will mean the redemption of the

IV. Some Worthy Allies of the Country Church.

_The Country Sunday school_

Foremost among the allies of the country church is the Sunday school.
There are few churches that lack this most important auxiliary, and there
are tens of thousands of independent schools for Bible study located in
the open country where there are no churches or preachers at all. Often
the Sunday school, being non-sectarian, unites all the people of the
community, and is an institution of large influence.

Three-fourths of the total Sunday schools of the country are in the rural
sections (villages under 2,500 population). They are much more
representative of the population than are the city schools. They are
usually really community institutions. Men of local influence preside as
superintendents and many adults attend as regularly as the children. While
the preachers come and go, and are usually non-residents anyway, Sunday
school officers and teachers remain in the community as the permanent
religious leaders. Thus the Sunday school is dignified as not merely a
child's institution but one that includes men and women of all ages and
ministers to the deepest needs of all.

The Sunday school in the country is far more important relatively than it
is in the town. In fact the country people in many places think more of
their Sunday school than they do of the church. The Sunday school meets
every Sunday of the year. It is a layman's institution. But church
services are held only when they can get a preacher; which does not
average oftener than every other Sunday. On the average Sunday throughout
the year, in two denominations only in the South, there are 17,000
churches without preaching services. But their Sunday schools are
doubtless in session regularly. Sometimes the Bible school superintendent
does not attend the preaching service even when there is one. His Sunday
school is his church.

A careful religious survey of three typical counties in Indiana by field
investigators of the Presbyterian church revealed the fact that the
Sunday school is far from being a child's institution, there being nearly
as many members over 21 as under 14. The total enrollment was found to be
divided into almost equal thirds, children under 14, adults over 21, and
youth between those ages. There were more men in the Sunday schools than
in the churches. 40% of the church membership were males; while of the
Sunday-school membership over 14, 45% were males. Two-fifths of the
teachers in these country Sunday schools were discovered to be men,--a
much larger proportion than in the cities.

_Country Sunday-school Teaching_

With a vast opportunity, the country Sunday school really succeeds only
moderately. There is great room for improvement in its methods.
Occasionally you will find a country school conducted on as modern lines
as the best in the city; but usually they are fully as defective as the
local public schools, and for similar reasons. The state Sunday-school
associations are making real progress in standardizing the schools,
introducing semi-graded lessons and something of the modern system. But
the teachers are usually untrained, though well-meaning, and teach mostly
by rote. Stereotyped question and printed answer are consistently recited
by the younger classes, without stirring more than surface interest. The
older classes often make the lesson merely a point of departure and soon
take to the well-worn fields of theological discussion on trite themes of
personal hobbies. Or if the teacher happens to be fluent and the class
more patient than talkative, he makes the teaching purely homiletic, and,
like the apostles of old, "takes a text and then goes everywhere preaching
the gospel!"

About 90% of churches in the open country have only one room. This means
utter lack of adequate Sunday-school equipment, and often ten to twenty
classes jostling elbows in the same room. There is seldom intentional
disorder, but the _noise_ is often very distracting, as all the teachers
indulge in loud talking simultaneously in order to be heard.

The country Sunday school surely has a great future. It has the field and
the loyalty of its people. It is gradually being rescued from the monotony
of fruitless routine. The teaching is becoming less a matter of
parrot-like reciting and weak moralizing and more a matter of definite
instruction. The teachers are here and there being trained for their task,
not only in a better knowledge of the Bible but of boy life and girlhood
at different stages. Definite courses of study are more and more
introduced, planned to run through a series of years, culminating in a
graduation at about the age of seventeen, with annual examinations for
promotion; making due allowance for graduate classes and teacher training
groups. So thorough is the work, in some places practically the entire
population of a rural community is connected with the Sunday school.

_Bible Study in the Country_

It is an unfortunate fact that most Sunday-school quarterlies and lesson
studies are produced in the city; yet the Bible itself is a book of rural
life, with the exception of some of the writings of Paul. No wonder
country folks appreciate it. As Dr. Franklin McElfresh well says, "The
Bible sprang from the agonies of a shepherd's soul, from the triumph of a
herdsman's faith, and the glory of a fisherman's love. Its religion keeps
close to the ground, and interprets the daily life of sincere men who live
near to nature. One of the great days in the history of religion and
liberty is on record when a vine-dresser named Amos stood up before the
king of Israel to speak the burden of his soul. 'Prophet,' said he; 'I am
no prophet, only a plain farmer, but I came by God's call to tell you the
truth.' This was the day-dawn of Hebrew prophecy.

"The Bible can best be interpreted in the country. It sprang from a
pastoral people. It is full of the figures of the soil and the flock and
the field. Its richest images are from the plain face of nature and the
homely life of humble cottages." Country Sunday schools need a lesson
literature which can interpret to them the wonderful messages of the Book
of books in terms of rural life; but meanwhile they are doing their best
to discover these messages of life themselves.

_The Rural Young Men's Christian Association_

A most valuable ally of the country church, in many parts of the country,
is the Rural Young Men's Christian Association, or the County Work, as it
is usually called, because it is organized on the county basis. It is
serving the interests of the young men and boys of the village and open
country in a most effective way. It is successfully supplementing the work
of the country churches where they are making their worst failures, and it
is often uniting rival churches in a common cause, to save the boys; which
results in a new sympathy and an ultimately united religious community.

It is developing young manhood in body, mind and spirit, furnishing
wholesome social activities and recreation, conducting clean athletics,
encouraging clean sport and pure fun, stimulating true ambition and
intelligent, constructive life plans for the discontented farm boy,
cleaning him up morally and opening his eyes to see new religious ideals.

Through well-directed groups for Bible study and through quiet personal
work, the country boys are led to the discovery that religion is "a man's
job" and that it is essential to a well-rounded life; and they come to a
frank and normal religious experience which profoundly changes their
outlook on life and gives them a new life efficiency.

This Association work is no experiment. For years it has been widely
successful in many states and is promoted by the State and International
Committees on scientifically sound principles, based on a close study of
rural sociology and tried out by years of patient endeavor by well-trained
men who are specialists in their field. It is one of the most promising
just now of all the various lines of Young Men's Christian Association
work; and it is certainly as much needed as any branch of their work in
the cities.

_Working Principles_

The County Work aims to save the country boy and develop him for Christian
citizenship, not by the use of costly equipment, but by personality,
trained, consecrated leadership; not by institutions but by friendship;
not by highly-paid local secretaries, but by enlisting and training
volunteer service; not by patronage and coddling but by arousing and
directing the boy's own active interests; always remembering that by the
grace of God the redemptive forces in each community must be the resident

It is good policy to make the county the geographical unit of this
effective work. The county is the social unit politically, industrially,
commercially; it should also be the unit of religious endeavor,
particularly in rural sections. A county-wide campaign for righteousness
under the direction of a trained Association Secretary, usually a college
trained man and an expert in rural life, is a great thing for any county.
Every rural county in the land ought to be organized speedily to get the
benefit of this business-like modern plan of Christian service. The
difficulty is to discover, enlist and train the necessary leaders.

_A Campaign of Rural Leadership_

It is doubtful if there is any organization working for the betterment of
rural life which has a better chance to serve the interests of the whole
countryside to-day than the Rural Young Men's Christian Association. It
represents a united Christendom, being representative of all the churches
and their right arm in social service. In a county where there may be
twenty-nine varieties of churches, few of them strong enough for any
aggressive work, and most of them mutually jealous and suspicious, the
Rural Association Secretary comes in as a neutral, is soon welcome in
churches of every name and gradually gains great influence. He is possibly
a better trained man than most pastors in the county, and as he quietly
develops his work they discover that he is a man who knows rural life,
keeps abreast of the best agricultural science, is an expert in rural
sociology and in the psychology of adolescence. He rapidly gathers the
facts about the history and the present needs of the different townships
in the county and constructs a policy for developing a finer local life,
not only among the boys but the entire community.

If he stays long enough in the place, and is a man of the right sort, he
speedily grows into a position of recognized leadership, gaining the
confidence of the working farmers as a man of good sense, and of the
professional men because he understands scientifically the underlying
needs of the locality. Quite likely he is able to bring the ministers
together in a county ministerial union of which he is apt to be made
secretary or executive; and in some places he is able to federate most of
the churches of many sects into a working federation for the religious and
moral welfare of the county. Because he is a neutral, not working for the
aggrandizement of any special church, though vitally interested in all and
consecrated to the larger interests of the whole Kingdom of God, this man
has the best possible leverage on the country church situation. He can
advise weak churches about their difficulties; and when two or more local
churches ought to be gradually united, he can often tactfully and
successfully bring them together, as no other individual or group of
individuals could possibly do. He can with the grace of God develop the
spirit of cooperation among the people without which any hasty or
mechanical plan for union of diverse churches would be but a temporary

Under the direction of his County Committee, which includes some fifteen
to twenty of the most influential Christian men of the county, this
Association Secretary is often able to set scores of local leaders at work
and train them for the special service to which they are best adapted;
thus utilizing local leadership which has been largely going to waste
through modest self-depreciation.

Gradually the office of the rural secretary becomes a sort of clearing
house for all the popular interests and organizations in the
county,--churches, schools, granges, farmers' institutes, boards of trade,
medical societies, Sunday schools, boys' clubs of every sort, athletic
clubs, civic associations and village improvement societies. Thus these
various agencies are brought together for cooperative service of the
countryside, learning to work together harmoniously with modern methods of

_The County Work of the Young Women's Christian Association_

So successful has been the work of the Rural Young Men's Christian
Association, it has encouraged the National Board of the Young Women's
Christian Association to begin Christian work among women and girls in the
country villages. There is unquestionably a wide field and a great
usefulness for this branch of the Young Women's Association work. It ought
to be rapidly promoted and doubtless will be as fast as consecrated young
women can be trained for it and their challenge met by people of wealth to
consecrate their money for this purpose. Efficiency would be gained by
working in practical union with the rural Young Men's Christian

_The Primacy of the Church in the Country_

In all these activities it must be borne in mind that the Young Men's and
the Young Women's Christian Associations are but auxiliaries of the
church. The secretary is frankly a servant of the church, of all the
churches. The main reason for emphasizing these agencies for rural
redemption is the present divided condition of religious forces in the
country. Where the churches are well united and cooperative; or better,
where the community has but one church, a strong, influential
organization, there is no valid reason why the church itself may not
rightly assume the position of leadership in all matters of community
welfare. Community building is the great work of the church after all;
developing and strengthening the vital issues of life in order that the
community may become an efficient part of the great Kingdom of God. As
rural Christendom becomes better united and better socialized, the church
will come to its own again, as in the old days when it was the only
outstanding institution in the community and rightly assumed the effective
leadership in all matters vitally affecting the welfare of the people.

Here again, the problem is mainly one of personality. Given adequate
leadership, the church can accomplish wonders as a genuine community
builder. But a gun must be a hundred times heavier than the projectile it
fires; else it will burst the gun. Small, petty personalities cannot hope
for large results in real community leadership. The church needs masterful
men, men of power and vision, ministers thoroughly trained for the work of
their profession and men whose hearts are kept tender and humble by the
spirit of the indwelling God.

V. Types of Rural Church Success.

_Some Real Community Builders_

With so many faithful men in country parsonages to-day who have seen the
vision of broader service and permanent success, it would be invidious to
suggest a list of names. It will be fully as safe to suggest something of
their program. These prophets of the new day for the rural church are
doing two distinct types of work. Some are making the village church the
center of outreaching endeavor for the redemption of the surrounding
country; others are vitalizing the church in the open country as a center
of vital religion and broad service.

In Cazenovia, New York, for instance, we find a splendid instance of the
effectiveness of the village church in overcoming its handicap with the
people outside the village. In most places there is a two-mile dead-line
for religion. Outside that limit the church's influence is seldom felt.
But here we find a pastor who has by friendly evangelism in school houses
miles from his church, supported by social methods for enriching the daily
life of the people, won scores of people to his Lord and Master, and
greatly enlarged his church membership and its usefulness. There are many
places where similar success is won by the same kind of earnest, efficient
work by pastors and their laymen. Unquestionably the village church has a
regal opportunity, as great as ever in the past.

_The Church in the Open Country_

There are many people, however, who doubt the possible success of the
church in the open country. Some are advising concentrating efforts in the
villages and centralizing church work there on the plan of the
centralization of the public schools. In some places this may be wise; but
to deny that a church in the open country can be successful is to fly in
the face of the facts.

Given an adequate equipment for service, and a well-trained, tactful
pastor who knows and loves country folks and lives with his people,
splendid results may be expected. A church on the open prairie at
Plainfield, Illinois, six miles from a railroad, has become famous in
recent years as an illustration of real success in community building.
City people would say there is no community, for there is none in sight.
But the people for miles around are bound vitally to that church as to
their home, for it not only has served their many needs and won their
personal appreciation and love, but it has set many of them at work in a
worth-while cooperative service.

Ten years ago that community had an unsuccessful church of the old type,
gathering a small congregation from week to week but with little influence
outside. No one had joined the church for five years. The last minister
had resigned in discouragement, with six months' arrears in salary. The
"New Era Club," a mile away, was wooing all the young people away from the
church to its frequent dancing parties; while the church offered no
substitute, and helplessly grew weaker year by year.

But in the past ten years a fine modern church building has been built,
with fourteen rooms for all purposes, and paid for in cash; the manse has
been remodeled; the pastor's salary nearly doubled; about as much given to
benevolences as in the half-century preceding; the Sunday school has grown
to 300 members; the people from miles away flock to the preaching
services, the lectures, concerts and socials; large numbers have been
added to the church; while the "New Era Club" has been crumbling into
ruin, simply starved out by religious competition! There has not been a
dance there for eight or nine years, though the pastor has never preached
against it.

This all began with an old-fashioned singing school which gathered
together the young people socially at the church; and from this simple
beginning, other plans developed which met the needs of the people and won
their loyalty. Though the pastor modestly disclaims special merit or
ability, the man who cannot only keep his preaching services at a high
standard of success and keep up a system of cottage prayer meetings
throughout his parish as centers of the spiritual life, and also gather
over 2,000 people for the annual community plowing contest (more than
double the population of the whole township) must be a personality to be
reckoned with! There is, however, nothing in the situation or in the
program of successful achievement which could not be duplicated elsewhere
in thousands of purely rural communities, given the same kind of
intelligent leadership and consecrated cooperation.

_Oberlin: The Prince of Country Ministers_

With all the resources of our modern church life, it is doubtful if there
has ever been a country pastor more strikingly efficient or broadly
influential than Johann Friedrich Oberlin, who died nearly a century ago.
He was pastor of four rural parishes in the Vosges Mountains for over
sixty years and became the most beloved and influential person in the
entire section. He was a graduate of Strassburg University and declined a
city pulpit in order to accept the most needy and difficult field of
service which he could find. The people of Ban-de-la-Roche to whom he came
were a rude mountain folk isolated from civilization; but since Oberlin's
work of transformation they have been a prosperous, happy people with many
of the marks of culture.

Seven years before his death, Pastor Oberlin received the gold medal of
the Legion of Honor from the King of France, "for services which he has
rendered in his pastorate during fifty-three years, employing constant
efforts for the amelioration of the people, for zeal in the establishment
of schools and their methods of instruction, and the many branches of
industry and the advancement of agriculture and the improvement of roads,
which have made that district flourishing and happy." The National
Agricultural Society gave him a gold medal for "prodigies accomplished in
silence in this almost unknown corner of the Vosges,... in a district
before his arrival almost savage," and into which he had brought "the best
methods of agriculture and the purest lights of civilization."

In the early stages of his remarkable career his narrow-minded people
opposed every step he took in the direction of community progress. They
resented his doing anything but preaching. When he proposed that they
build a passable road over the mountains to civilization they jeered at
the idea. But he shouldered his pick and began the task, and ere long they
joined him. Together they built the first real highway and bridged the
mountain stream. Out of a salary of $200 a year he paid most of the
expense of two new schoolhouses, because the people refused to help. The
other villages, however, saw the improvement and built their own. He
gradually revolutionized the educational methods, and even in the course
of years, succeeded in supplanting the mountain dialect with Parisian
French. He studied and then taught agriculture, and horticulture,
introducing new crops, new vegetables (including the potato), and new
fruits; even reclaiming the impoverished soil by scientific methods which
gradually won the respect of even the dullest of his people.

In all his reforms he kept his religious aim and purpose foremost and his
church never suffered but constantly grew in influence and popular
appreciation. Gradually he became the honored pastor, the "Protestant
saint," of the whole mountainside. Lutherans, Catholics and Calvinists
attended his services. They would even partake of the sacrament together
and he furnished them with three kinds of bread, to suit their diverse
customs, wafers for the Romanists and bread leavened for the Calvinists
and unleavened for the Lutherans; and thus they lived together in peace!

_The Force of Oberlin's Example_

Few modern ministers perhaps will need to follow in detail the example of
Johann Friedrich Oberlin, but the sacrificial spirit and working
principles of his life ministry are as necessary as ever. As President K.
L. Butterfield states so well, "Rural parishes in America that present the
woeful conditions of the Ban-de-la-Roche in 1767 may not be common, though
of that let us not be too sure. The same underground work that Oberlin did
may not need doing by every rural clergyman. Schools are busy in every
parish. Forces of socialization and cooperation are at work. The means of
agricultural training are at hand. Yet the underlying philosophy of
Oberlin's life work must be the fundamental principle of the great country
parish work of the future. Oberlin believed in the unity of life, the
marriage of labor and learning. He knew that social justice, intelligent
toil, happy environment are bound up with the growth of the spirit. They
act and react upon one another.

More than a century ago this great man labored for a lifetime as a country
minister. He knew all the souls in his charge to their core. He loved them
passionately. He refused to leave them for greater reward and easier work.
He studied their problems. He toiled for his people incessantly. He
transformed their industry and he regenerated their lives. He built a new
and permanent rural civilization that endures to this day unspoiled. The
parishes about the little village of Waldersbach thus became a laboratory
in which the call of the country parish met a deep answer of success and


1.--How important do you consider the country church as an agency for
rural betterment?

2.--How important might it become if it lived up to its opportunity?

3.--What four stages do you find in the development of the rural church in
America? Describe this evolution.

4.--Contrast the old and the new ideals in country church work.

5.--What is the main business of a church in the country community and
what do you regard as the real test of its efficiency?

6.--Describe what you think is the broad function of the church in serving
the rural community.

7.--If the church meets its opportunity in this broad way what will it
gain by it?

8.--What do you think about the church's responsibility for spiritual

9.--Take some country church of your own acquaintance and tell what you
think it ought to be doing to build up its community.

10.--Name the chief reasons why many rural churches are so weak and

11.--Make a list of factors which would help to make these churches

12.--If local prosperity is at low ebb or the farmers are unsuccessful,
what can the church people do about it? Illustrate what has been done.

13.--Why should the church not merely serve its own membership but the
whole community?

14.--Why is sectarian competition particularly bad for the country

15.--How can a country village get rid of its surplus churches?

16.--What can a church federation accomplish in a community? In a county?
In a state?

17.--Why is a permanent resident pastor so necessary to country church
success? What must be done to make this to any extent possible?

18.--What should be the "minimum wage" for a country pastor and how can
this be secured? Illustrate how this has been accomplished near Cleveland.

19.--Should denominational home mission boards help pay the salary of
their ministers in over-churched communities? What can be done about this?

20.--Draw a rough practical plan of a modern church building costing not
over $10,000, and suited to rural needs.

21.--Suggest a practical plan of work for laymen in the country church.

22.--Discuss the religious usefulness of a community social survey. What
local facts would you try to gather?

23.--What do you think of the opportunity and importance of Sunday-school
work in the country?

24.--Why is the Bible particularly well adapted to people living in the

25.--Why are rural Sunday schools often so unsuccessful?

26.--Discuss possible improvements and suggest how you would accomplish

27.--What do you think of the general plan of the Rural Young Men's
Christian Association work?

28.--Tell how it is helping the country boy.

29.--Discuss the working principles of this "County Work."

30.--Describe the broad opportunities for community Christian service
which come to the County Work secretary.

31.--What Christian work in country villages needs to be done by the Young
Women's Christian Association?

32.--Why do you find so often to-day a "two-mile dead line for religion"?

33.--What work in the surrounding country can be in a prairie church at
Plainfield, Illinois.

34.--Do you believe in the permanent usefulness of the church in the open

35.--Tell the story of modern country church success in a prairie church
at Plainfield, Illinois.

36.--What were the secrets of the success of that particular church in the
open country? Is there any reason why 10,000 other rural churches cannot
learn to do the same?

37.--Who was Johann Friedrich Oberlin?

38.--Discuss his remarkable life work as a country pastor. What do you
think of his rural church program?

39.--Make a list of the successful country churches and ministers you have
known and the chief reasons for their success.

40.--Describe the ideal country church of the future.





  A. A Challenge to College Men

    I. _The Relation of the Colleges to This Problem_

       A new interest and sense of responsibility.
       General college neglect of the rural call.
       The stake of the city in rural welfare.
       Rural progress waiting for trained leadership.

   II. _Rural Opportunities for Community Builders_

       The call for country educators.
       The call of the country church:
          Large tasks awaiting real leadership.
          The modern type of country minister.
       The call for Christian physicians:
          The special need of country doctors.
          The unique rewards of country practice.
       The rural call to the legal profession.
       Life opportunities in agricultural professions.
       The call of the County Work secretary.

  B. A Challenge to College Women

    I. _Some Responsibilities Shared with Men_

       A necessary partnership, and its increasing burden.
       Responsibility for rural education.
       Responsibility for rural health and sanitation.
       Opportunities for religious leadership.

   II. _Unique Opportunities for Rural Social Service_

       The opportunity of the village librarian.
       The specialist in household economics.
       Demonstration centers of rural culture.
       Womanly leadership in church and club.
       The rural Association secretary.




I. The Relation of the Colleges to This Problem.

_A New Interest and Sense of Responsibility_

It has been plain from the start that this book is a book with a purpose.
Its object was frankly stated in the preface and the author at least has
not forgotten it in a single chapter. These seven preceding chapters have
condensed the facts of country life in its strength and weakness and have
voiced the modern call for rural leadership. Every call for trained
leadership must come ultimately to the college man. Both the need and the
worthiness of rural life, its social and religious crisis and its
strategic signs of promise, bring the challenge of the country to the man
in college.

For two or three years past there have been groups of men in various
universities meeting weekly to discuss this problem. In comparing the
needs of various fields of service and weighing their own fitness for
various tasks, they wished to study the opportunities in rural life for
consecrated leadership. These groups are certain to multiply. Alert
college men even in city colleges have discovered that we have to-day not
only a complicated country _problem_ but a great rural life
_opportunity_; a problem intricate enough to challenge earnest
investigation by thoughtful students, and an opportunity for a life
mission worthy of strong men.

_General College Neglect of the Rural Call_

The writer firmly believes that the city has been claiming too large a
proportion of college graduates in recent years and that the needs of
country life are not receiving due consideration. A large majority of
students in most colleges come from the country. Has not the country a
right to claim its fair share of these young men and women after they have
been trained for a useful life? If only 15% of the students at Princeton
come from the country we cannot complain if practically all of them after
graduation go to the city; but when nearly all the students at Marietta
College (Ohio) come from the country and 65% of them go to the city, we
wonder why. Likewise 70% of the students at Stanford University (Calif.)
were country bred, but only 25% return to country life after college days.
At Williams (Mass.), a city boys' college, only 24% come from the country
and about 15% return; but at Pacific University (Ore.) 95% come from the
country (80% from very small communities) yet only 45% resist the city's
call. Bowdoin (Maine) gets but 47% of its students from the city, but
returns 70%; The University of Kansas receives but 44% of its students
from cities, yet contributes to cities three-fourths of its graduates;
while Whitman (Wn.) receives but 40% from the city yet returns 80%.
Hillsdale (Mich.), a country college with a fine spirit of service, does
better; receiving 95% of its students from small towns and villages, it
returns all but 26%. "Practically all" the students at Adelbert College
(Ohio) enter city work on graduation, though 30% of them are country bred.

It is entirely natural in institutions like the University of Illinois,
Ohio State University and Cornell, where there are strong agricultural
colleges, that there should be the keenest interest in the welfare and
needs of country life; but is it not time that other institutions faced
more frankly the responsibility of training more of their students for
country life leadership? Certainly, with the splendid signs of promise in
country life to-day and the opportunities for a life mission there, no
thoughtful man can refuse to consider it.

_The Stake of the City in Rural Welfare_

It was quite natural that the rapidly growing city should attract a large
proportion of college men preparing for business and professional life and
various kinds of religious and social service. Not only have larger
opportunities for earning money usually been found there, but the city has
certainly needed the men. The call of the city in its dire need of
Christian idealism and consecrated leadership has been as urgent and
definite a call to service as ever a crusader heard. Dr. Strong's eloquent
appeal to earnest young people in his "Challenge of the City" is by no
means extravagant. His facts are facts and his logic is convincing. He is
quite right in saying, "We must save the city in order to save the nation.
We must Christianize the city or see our civilization paganized." But even
if "in a generation the city will dominate the nation," _where are the men
who will then dominate the city? Most of them are now in the country towns
and villages getting ready for their task_, developing physical, mental
and moral power in the pure atmosphere and sunlight of a normal life. To
work on the city problem is a great life chance; but _to train rural
leadership is to help solve the city problem at its source_.

Thus, the bigger and more urgent the city problem becomes, the more
necessary it will be to solve the rural problem, for the city must
continue to draw much of its best blood and its best leadership from the
country. Professor M. T. Scudder explains in a sentence why this is a
continuing fact: "The fully developed rural mind, the product of its
environment, is more original, more versatile, more accurate, more
philosophical, more practical, more persevering than the urban mind; it is
a larger, freer mind and dominates tremendously. It is because of this
type of farm-bred mind that our leaders have largely come from rural
life."[38] City leaders, of course, ought to be _trained in the city_, and
they usually are, even though born and bred in the country.

_Rural Progress Waiting for Trained Leadership_

Leadership is the ultimate factor in every life problem. No movement can
rise above the level of its leadership. In many fields to-day, progress
is lagging because of inadequate leadership. This is acutely true in all
phases of rural life. Rural progress is halting for the lack of trained
leadership. The colleges must be held responsible for furnishing it.

The agricultural colleges are rising magnificently to their opportunity
and are striving to keep pace with the demands made upon them for
technically-trained rural leaders. But though some of them double their
enrolment every three or four years they cannot supply graduates fast
enough for the various agricultural professions, quite aside from other
kinds of country life leaders.

All schools of higher education must share the task of training and
furnishing rural leadership. The broadening of country life, and its
rising standards, puts increasing demands upon its untrained leaders which
they are unable to meet. Rural institutions can no longer serve their
communities effectively under the leadership of men lacking in the very
essentials of leadership. Many country communities are demanding now as
high-grade personality and training in their leaders as the cities demand,
and they refuse to respond to crude or untrained leadership. Well-trained
doctors, ministers, teachers, et cetera, have a great chance to-day in the
country, because their _training_ finds unique appreciation for its very
rarity and efficiency; while every profession is foolishly overcrowded in
all cities.

As soon as adequate leadership, well trained and developed, is furnished
our country communities, they will develop a rural efficiency which will
make the rural problem largely a thing of the past. But until then,
progress halts. Leadership is costly. Trained, efficient personality,
ready for expert service is rare and beyond price. The colleges are
lavishly sending it to the cities. The country deserves its share and
patiently presents its claims.

II. Rural Opportunities for Community Builders.

_The Call for Country Educators_

There is little need of emphasizing to college students the opportunities
of the teaching profession. Since 1900 teaching has claimed more graduates
than any other life work. Taking 27 representative colleges as typical,
more than one-fourth of all college graduates become teachers, the
percentage having doubled since 1875. Of the class of 1911 in Oberlin
College (both men and women), 60% have been teaching during their first
year out; while of the men in the ten classes 1896-1905, 27% are still
engaged in teaching, presumably as their permanent work.

Unfortunately the smaller salaries paid rural teachers has made the
country school seem unattractive, and when accepted by young collegians by
necessity rather than choice, it has been regarded often merely as an
apprenticeship for buying experience, a stepping-stone to a city position.
Country salaries of course must be increased, and they certainly will be,
with the new development of rural life and the steady improvement in
schools; especially with increased state aid which is more and more
generously given.

With a living wage already possible in centralized schools, and the great
personal rewards which far transcend the material benefits, the life of
the country teacher is one of true privilege and deep satisfaction.
College men should regard it as a genuine _calling_ and discover whether
its call is for them. If a man has no real love for country life, let him
not blight the country school by his subtle urbanizing influence. Most
rural discontent is caused by such as he. But if his heart is open to the
sky and the woods and the miracles of the soil; if he loves sincerity in
human nature and appreciates the sturdy qualities and vast possibilities
for development in country boys and girls, he will revel in the breadth
and freedom and boundless outreach of his work.

If he is a man of vision and of power, the country school principal has
greater local influence and social standing than he would have in the
city. He has the finest chance to make his personality count in the great
Country Life Movement, sharing his visions of a richer, redirected rural
life not only with his pupils but every citizen and gradually leavening
the whole community with a new ambition for progress. The responsibility
for training the local leaders of the future devolves upon the teacher. It
is he who can best teach a wholesome love for country life and help to
stem the townward tide. He can organize around the school the main
interests of his boys and girls and develop the impulse for cooperation
which in time will displace the old competitive individualism and make
social life congenial and satisfying. Through organized play,
inter-community athletics, community festivals, old-home week, lyceums or
debating clubs in the winter, with occasional neighborhood entertainments
utilizing home talent, contests in cooking and various other phases of
home economics, in corn-raising and other agricultural interests,--the
possibilities are endless for making the school the vital social center of
the rural community. It will all take time and energy and ingenuity. It
will cost vitality, as all life-sharing does. But though it costs, the
sharing of life is the greatest joy, and it is the teacher's privilege in
large measure. It is the measure of his true success as well as his
happiness. Investing one's life in a group of boys will yield far greater
results in the country than in the city where their lives are already so
full they would little appreciate it.

Professor H. W. Foght says three things are now required of the teacher of
a rural school. "(1) he must be strong enough to establish himself as a
leader in the community where he lives and labors; (2) he must have a good
grasp on the organization and management of the new kind of farm school;
and (3) he must show expert ability in dealing with the redirected school
curriculum."[39] In short, if he lives up to his opportunity as a rural
leader, he will train his boys and girls distinctly for rural life, giving
them not only the rudiments of agricultural training, but an enthusiasm
for farming from the scientific side as the most complex of all
professions; utilizing the vast resources the country affords for teaching
objectively, not merely through hooks, and thus bridge the gap between the
school and life.

_The Call of the Country Church_

The modern college man is not attracted to the ministry of the country
churches which are conducted along old lines. If that ministry is to
consist merely in preaching once or twice a week to half a hundred people,
conducting a mid-week service for one-fifth of that number and doing the
marrying and the burying and the parish calling for a fraction of a rural
community divided among three struggling churches, then the college man
refuses to be interested. Consequently we find most of such churches are
manned by untrained men. They usually receive the wages of an unskilled
laborer. Trained ministers usually receive a living wage. The college man
demands at least a man's job; a chance to invest his life where his whole
personality will count and where his energy and perseverance will be
allowed to work out his problems to a successful issue.

Let us grant at the start that churches which have no real field, in a
community that is over-churched, need not expect to get our college men
for pastors. If they have only a fraction of a field, let them have half a
man. Likewise the church which is too selfish to offer the minimum living
wage in return for faithful service must not expect a self-respecting,
educated minister to serve it and at starvation rates. Even a martyr has
no license to starve his wife and children to gain his starry crown. The
church which gives no liberty to its pastor, but treats him like a hired
man, and dictates his professional policy and perhaps even his pulpit
messages, will of course not hold, if it ever should gain, a man of
ability and initiative. And, lastly, the church which lacks the modern
spirit, is hopelessly behind the times in its dogmatic teaching, rails at
modern science as ungodly, and denies the social gospel of Jesus and the
prophets, such a church will neither deserve nor desire the services of a
college-trained man. His reverence for truth as well as loyalty to his own
ideals would forbid his serving them.

_Large Tasks Awaiting Real Leadership_

While there are some small men with little training serving churches under
the above conditions, there are also thousands of other churches striving
to do God's will in the service of men, many of them with earnest, able
pastors. These men usually win the respect and confidence of their
community and are given great opportunity as community builders when their
leadership proves equal to the task. As the new rural civilization has
developed, the title Country Minister has become once more a title of
honor, just as the term Country Gentleman has again come to its own. In
the readjustment of country life to the new agriculture and the new social
ideals of cooperation, a new and brighter day has dawned for the country
church. It is a day of new prosperity and of widening service.

This means a new opportunity for the right sort of a country minister
sufficient to claim the life service of strong men. In fact, the task of
readjustment is too difficult for any but strong men. Broken-down
ministers, or men who have failed in the city, must not look to the
country parsonage to-day as a refuge from toil or a temporary harbor for
repairs. The insistent needs of the Kingdom of God in the country to-day
demand strong, efficient men, specifically trained for country service and
thoroughly acquainted with country folks and their life needs. _We must
have a permanently loyal country ministry for life, men who plan to devote
their lives to rural redemption._

_The Modern Type of Country Minister_

College men of earnest spirit, who have determined to consecrate their
lives to any life mission to which they believe God has called them, must
listen to the call of the country church. The very difficulty of the task
will challenge their interest and their courage. Would they know exactly
the type of leadership the country church to-day requires? Let them study
word by word this splendid description by Dr. Butterfield, unequalled in
its clear analysis:

"The country church wants men of vision, who see through the incidental,
the small and the transient, to the fundamental, the large, the abiding
issues that the countryman must face and conquer.

"She wants practical men who seek the mountain top by the obscure and
steep paths of daily toil and real living, men who can bring things to
pass, secure tangible results.

"She wants original men, who can enter a human field, poorly tilled, much
grown to brush, some of it of diminished fertility, and by new methods
can again secure a harvest that will gladden the heart of the Great

"She wants aggressive men, who do not hesitate to break with tradition,
who fear God more than prejudice, who regard institutions as but a means
to an end, who grow frequent crops of new ideas and dare to winnow them
with the flails of practical trial.

"She wants trained men who come to their work with knowledge and with
power, who have thought long and deeply upon the problems of rural life,
who have hammered out a plan for an active campaign for the rural church.

"She wants men with enthusiasm, whose energy can withstand the frosts of
sloth, of habit, of pettiness, of envy, of back-biting, and whose spirit
is not quenched by the waters of adversity, of unrealized hopes, of
tottering schemes.

"She wants persistent men, who will stand by their task amid the
mysterious calls from undiscovered lands, the siren voices of ambition and
ease, the withering storms of winters of discontent.

"She wants constructive men, who can transmute visions into wood and
stone, dreams into live institutions, hopes into fruitage.

"She wants heroic men, men who possess a 'tart cathartic virtue,' men who
love adventure and difficulty, men who can work alone with God and suffer
no sense of loneliness.

"The critical need just now is for a few strong men of large power to get
hold of this country church question in a virile way. It is the time for
leadership. We need a score of Oberlins to point the way by actually
working out the problem on the field. We need a few men to achieve great
results in the rural parish, to reestablish the leadership of the church.
No organization can do it. No layman can do it. No educational institution
can do it. A preacher must do it,--do it in spite of small salary,
isolation, conservatism, restricted field, overchurching, or any other
devil that shows its face. The call is imperative. Shall we be denied the

[Illustration: Presbyterian Church, Winchester, Ill.]

_Student Recruits for the Home Ministry_

The Student Volunteer Bands in most of our colleges unite in a stimulating
comradeship the young men and women who have pledged their lives to
foreign missionary service. It is well worth while for our college men who
have heard this call of the country church for this specialized service of
Christ and humanity to organize local groups of Student Recruits for the
Home Ministry, as has been done in various centers on the Pacific coast
and at Oberlin College, Grinnell and elsewhere, under various names. At
Oberlin this strong body of choice young men, in the college of arts and
sciences, meets regularly through the year with a vitally helpful program
which stimulates their intelligent interest in and loyalty to the ministry
as the greatest of all professions. At the close of the year the members
of this Theta Club, as it is called, are tendered a banquet by the
students of Oberlin Theological Seminary, with a message from some
successful pastor. It is counted one of the most significant events of the
college year.

_The Call for Christian Physicians_

There have been many followers of the Good Physician who have never been
ordained except by the grace of God, whose consecrated devotion to the
needs of sick humanity has been a genuine ministry. Often the Christian
physician is the best friend of the family. Certainly he has countless
opportunities to serve more than the bodily needs of men; and no man in
the community is rendering more sacrificial service. He is ever at the
call of human need, day or night. He heeds the call of the poorest as
quickly as the wealthiest, and does from 5% to 30% of his work without
remuneration. He is one of the most necessary factors in every community;
yet for many rural communities the nearest up-to-date physician is many
miles away.

In these days of specialists, "general practice" is relatively less
attractive. There is some danger also that the fine idealism which has
long characterized this splendid profession may yield to the growing
commercialism which to-day threatens all professions like a canker. When
surgeons operate for dollars instead of for a cure; and physicians make
the art of healing strictly business instead of scientific kindness, it
will be a sad day for humanity.

The work of the physician is not properly a business; it should be classed
as _social service_ of the highest order. In spite of the higher standards
of medical schools recently[41] with an emphasis on a general college
preparation, fewer college men are going into medicine. The percentage has
steadily decreased since 1850, and in the past twelve years there has been
a sharp decline. The proportion at Harvard College has declined one-half
in thirty years, though meanwhile Harvard Medical School has become a
strictly graduate department.

It is evident that luxury-loving collegians are avoiding the medical
profession to-day just as they are dodging the ministry. If they have
capital of their own, business offers them a larger income and makes
little demand upon their sympathies in personal service. _Selfish men
avoid the costs of life-sharing_ which a life in close personal
associations compels, as is true of teaching, the ministry and the medical
profession. But this is no handicap but greater opportunity, for men of
real earnestness.

_The Special Need of Country Doctors_

The profession is seriously overcrowded in the cities, but people in the
rural districts are literally dying for trained physicians. Some medical
faculties are advising their graduates not to stay in the city but to
settle in country villages where they are most needed, and where quite
possibly they would find greatest success. "There are many towns in this
state," writes a medical professor, "with only 500 to 1,000 people, where
a young physician could do well and where he is needed."

Although, according to the best data obtainable, most medical graduates
settle in cities,--the proportion at the College of Physicians and
Surgeons, New York, being as high as 90%,--there is a rapidly increasing
demand for them in the suburban and rural sections in the East because of
the strong city-to-country movement. The secretary of the Harvard Medical
faculty notes this: "With the advent of automobiles and the desire of
people to live in the country, serious problems in medicine are frequently
presented to the country practitioners."

The need of educated physicians in country communities is well stated by
Dr. Means of the Ohio Medical School: "The condition of medical practice
in many of our country communities is deplorable. I can recall any number
of places where there are two, three, four and five physicians and not one
of them has had any post-graduate work from date of graduation, and none
of them known to attend medical societies. Their professional work is on a
par, no better, no worse, than that of their ancestors. I always feel that
such communities sorely need an up-to-date physician who has been educated
along the lines of modern sanitation and general medicine. The demand for
a medical education has grown to such proportions in the last ten years
that graduates, after having spent so much time and money, do not care to
go into country practice. The five years or more that they spend in city
environments while completing their medical education almost unfits them
for country life. The result is that our cities are filling up with young
physicians who can scarcely make a living. These are men of character and
proficiency who would give tone to any country community and supply a
public want."

_The Unique Rewards of Country Practice_

There are, to be sure, certain serious disadvantages under which the
country physician labors, such as distance from hospitals and nurses; but
these are overbalanced by the manifest need and greater opportunity. The
situation is acute. For earnest college men, willing to invest their lives
in rural leadership, this constitutes a real call to a life of service
which may be God's own call to them. No one who has ever read Ian
Maclaren's story of Dr. MacLure, "A Doctor of the Old School," can fail to
appreciate the peculiar devotion of country people to their trusted
physician "who for nearly half a century had been their help in sickness,
and had beaten back death time after time from their door."

After the funeral of the good old doctor who had so long sacrificed his
comfort for the people of Drumtochty, Lord Kilspindie from Muirtown Castle
voiced at the grave this tribute to the faithful physician of country
folk: "Friends of Drumtochty, it would not be right that we should part in
silence and no man say what is in every heart. We have buried the remains
of one that served this Glen with a devotion that has known no reserve,
and a kindliness that never failed, for more than forty years. I have seen
many brave men in my day, but no man in the trenches of Sebastopol carried
himself more knightly than William MacLure. You will never have heard
from his lips what I may tell you to-day, that my father secured for him a
valuable post in his younger days; but he preferred to work among his own
people. I wished to do many things for him when he was old, but he would
have nothing for himself. He will never be forgotten while one of us
lives, and I pray that all doctors everywhere may share his spirit."
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his

_The Rural Call to the Legal Profession_

Though the legal profession is greatly overcrowded in the city, trained
lawyers are scarce in the country. "My impression is," says a law school
dean, "very few of the country lawyers are professionally trained men,
especially in the South and some of our western states." Another dean
estimates the number of trained country lawyers as about one-fourth. The
older lawyers in the small places are apt to be the best trained,
according to the judgment of Dean Irvine at Cornell Law School; though
that rule is often reversed in the cities. "Rarely does a law school
graduate settle down in a town of less than 5,000 people," says the dean
at Boston University. The great majority of Columbia law graduates remain
in New York City. Eighty to ninety per cent. of Cornell lawyers settle in
cities above 10,000 people.

The secretary of the law faculty of the University of Michigan believes
"there is a need of one or more trained lawyers in every community of a
thousand people. Such a lawyer would, of course, serve the surrounding
country as well as the town in which he lives." Dean Harlan F. Stone of
Columbia writes: "I believe that there will be in the future exceptional
opportunities for the well-trained lawyer in the smaller communities. He
will probably not make as much money as with a large city practice, but if
he possesses good general qualifications and _integrity_ it is inevitable
that he should be an influential man in his community, and live a useful
and, from the broad point of view, successful life. His chances of
entering politics or going on the bench in the right way are probably
better than in the large cities."

Here, as in the other professions, the choice seems to be between larger
earnings in the city and larger rewards in the country; greater fees, with
less relative appreciation, or the finer rewards of gratitude for personal
services and neighborly kindness and the broad opportunity for influence
and leadership in a place where both are greatly needed. The call to
college men with the legal mind and a passion for justice, to practice law
in the country, is a true call for Christian consecration. It probably
will involve some financial sacrifice, but it will mean a life of great
satisfaction. The true man who heeds this call will become the trusted
adviser of the widow, the protector of the defenseless and the innocent,
the righter of many wrongs, the peacemaker in needless feuds, the
incorporator of cooperative business projects which will fraternalize old
competitions, the public spirited leader in all new movements for the
betterment of rural life; and, if God wills and the people choose, a
career in straight politics, which nowhere needs highminded leadership
more than in some rural counties where the ballot is a mere chattel and
public office a private graft.

_Life Opportunities in Agricultural Professions_

College men are apt to overlook the fact that, after all, the fundamental
professions in the country are those directly connected with agriculture.
The scientific agriculturist, who tills the soil as accurately as the
engineer constructs a bridge and with possibly higher scientific
requirements, will naturally be the prime agent in rural progress. It is
good to see the enthusiasm of students in agriculture after they have
caught this vision. "I like farming," writes a student at the State
College of Washington, "and believe there is as much room for scientific
work in agriculture as any other line of work." Another writes, "I think
there are great opportunities open for agriculture in this Northwest. At
first I thought I never would like the farm because I could see nothing
but work; but I have become acquainted with some of the possibilities and
find there is something besides drudgery."

The city person of average intelligence who thinks farming is "just
farming" would be amazed to discover the breadth and variety of
agricultural professions. Besides scientific husbandry in general, there
is animal husbandry and the breeding of blooded stock, dairying, farm
management, horticulture, agricultural engineering and technology,
particularly in irrigation, forestry, veterinary surgery and medicine,
fruit-growing, entomology specializing, parasitology, plant pathology,
agronomy and cereal breeding, agricultural chemistry, landscape
architecture, agricultural editing, agricultural teaching, from elementary
grades to university, institute lecturing, weather bureau service,
scientific investigating at government experiment stations, and public
service in great variety under state and national departments of
agriculture. In all of these there is a chance for college men to invest
their lives and reap the rewards of real influence.

_Some Special Rural Opportunities_

In answer to the question "What special opportunities are there in country
life to-day which should appeal to college students to invest their lives
in the country?" Secretary Mann of the Cornell faculty summarized as
follows: "Successful farming; teaching or supervising the teaching of
agriculture; scientific investigations at home or in government stations;
rural landscape improvement; agricultural experts as county agents or
officers; local agricultural experts on individual responsibility;
agricultural police duty, including inspectors of all sorts in state and
national departments of agriculture; organizing of cooperative societies;
agricultural advisers in the employ of railroads, chambers of commerce and
the like; representatives of commercial organizations that desire to
extend their operations into the open country, as for farm machinery
concerns, manufacturers of packages, dairy supply houses, canning
industries and the like; social betterment; rural Y. M. C. A. work;
supervisors of rural playgrounds; and rural civic improvement." The list
is surely a varied one, broad enough to fit any variety of talent, when a
man has a real love for rural life and wishes to find his life usefulness
in the country.

A most pertinent suggestion comes from Dean Meyer of the Agricultural
Department of the University of Missouri which college students may well
consider: "The greatest need of the rural community to-day is cooperation;
but no plan of cooperation can ever be successful among farmers in the
absence of some one, or a very few men who have all the qualifications of
_outstanding leadership_. There is a real call for our college trained men
to go into the country, study local conditions, and then promote a plan of
business cooperation. If this is successful he may then expect with equal
success to carry on a plan for social cooperation which will lead to a
betterment of the home, the church and the school." Again we are reminded
that the ultimate problem is leadership, the costliest thing in the world;
but the very commodity of personality which college men ought to have
ready for wise investment. It is the call for _community builders_ all
along the country-side which forces itself upon the strongest men of brave
initiative, of courage, tact and ability. This call, a modern call of new
insistence and vast significance, should challenge the college man like a
call to battle.

_The Call of the County Work Secretary_

Among the many calls to a life of service which challenge the college
man, one of the most urgent is the call to rural leadership in the Young
Men's Christian Association. It is peculiarly a college man's task.
Possibly one country lawyer in four is professionally trained. The
percentage of educated country ministers is smaller still. Country
doctors, though usually medical graduates, are very seldom college men.
But the rural secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association is
usually college trained. With wise foresight, the Association is sending
many of its best men into the country field where the need of leadership
is so acute. No other branch of Association work has so large a proportion
of college trained men except the work with college students themselves;
this is the right perspective.

The man who aspires to this interesting and strategic work with the boys
and young manhood of the country must be a man of large capacity for
leadership and with a broad knowledge of human nature. He must be a keen
lover of country life and must understand country people and their great
interests. The more he knows of scientific agriculture the better; but he
must above all be a man of devout Christian spirit and a thorough
knowledge of the Bible; with a fine friendliness for all sorts of people,
and a great longing to help the country boy to develop into useful
Christian manhood.

In most other lines of rural service a man's influence is ordinarily
limited to the single community in which he lives. The County Work
Secretary's field is an entire county. He is not working merely with a
single group of people but with similar groups in a score of townships
and usually the finest people in each village, whom he selects for their
local Christian influence and their devotion to community welfare. Through
these local leaders our Secretary multiplies his own life, as he shares
with them his visions and his hopes, as he enlists them for specific tasks
and trains them for the service; giving them the benefit of his expert
knowledge of country life, of rural sociology and of boy life, of teaching
method and the modern interpretation of the Bible.

While his primary task is the discovery and training of local leadership
as a Christian community builder, he also makes his office a convenient
clearing house of ideas and practical plans for community betterment. As
he quietly goes about his work it soon becomes evident that he is a "man
who knows"; and his expert knowledge, his cooperation and advice are
sought by parents and teachers, churches and Sunday schools, pastors and
superintendents, school supervisors, women's clubs, farmers' institutes
and Granges, and he must be a man of large ability to prove equal to his
opportunity. As a trusted neutral among the churches, he of all men has
the best chance to overcome church rivalries and bring together jealous
churches in a working federation or a real unity. He must be at once a man
of prayer and an athletic specialist who can through his local leaders
organize wholesome sports among his boys; he must not only have a genius
for cooperation and securing the cooperation of others in worth-while
tasks, but he must be able to take the single farmer, single-handed, and
in a quiet, friendly but masterful way get that farmer to give his
growing boy a fair chance.

The call to the rural secretaryship is as genuine a call to a life of
ministering love as is the call to the ministry. As a matter of fact, a
few of the most successful rural secretaries are ordained ministers and
find their theological training and pastoral experience of great value in
their work. These secretaries are not using their present position as a
stepping-stone to the city field. Few of them would accept any city
opportunity, as experience has proved. They have devoted their lives to
the work of rural redemption, especially saving the country boy. They have
fitted themselves to be experts in rural work, the work they love, and few
of them ever care to leave it. This complete consecration accounts largely
for their success. Let a man not attempt to share their work unless he can
bear their cross. It is a call to heroic service, but it is irksome only
to the man who has missed the joy of complete consecration to the country
field and to the Man of Galilee.


I. Some Responsibilities Shared with Men

_A Necessary Partnership, and its Increasing Burden_

Men can never solve the rural problem without the help of women.

In the primitive days of early barbarism, it was woman that domesticated
the farm animals,--while men were away, at war and the chase,--and thus
made possible agriculture and the arts of rural life. We may well expect
educated modern womanhood to contribute its share even in the development
of scientific agriculture; but in all the social problems of the new rural
civilization the help of women is indispensable.

The rural home, school, church and grange and every other institution for
the social, educational and religious welfare of country folks depend very
greatly upon the cooperation and leadership of trained women. To a degree
this has always been true; but in several aspects this responsibility is
destined in the future to fall more heavily than ever upon women.

_Responsibility for Rural Education_

For various reasons men are rapidly retiring from the ranks of country
school teachers. In a single generation the proportion of male teachers in
American schools has diminished 50%. In the North Atlantic states 86% of
all teachers are women; while even in the western states over 80% are
women, against 55% in 1870.

It appears to be quite a safe statement, even judging by incomplete
statistics, that there are more women teachers in the United States and
Canada than in all the rest of the world combined. Whereas only 15% of the
teachers of Germany are women, and 36% in Switzerland, 47% in France and
64% in Italy, the proportion in the United States the same year (1906) is
found to be 76.4%.

While from the viewpoint of the needs of adolescent boys there may be
reasons to deplore this increase of women teachers, it is certainly
accelerating. The educational burdens of the country are falling more and
more upon women. College girls should study rural education as a real
vocation and realize the vast opportunity for unselfish social service
which is involved in it.

The college settlement in the city slum has aroused not merely a romantic
interest but the consecration of many earnest college girls. Let more of
them feel the same call to altruistic service in the rural school,
accepting it with a genuine love for country boys and girls and for
country life,--then the problems of rural education will lose much of
their seriousness. With increasing centralization of rural schools and
ever rising standards, worth-while opportunities in country teaching will
rapidly develop. Nor will the need be merely for teachers in the grades
and in high school work. Capable women are everywhere needed in
educational leadership. Country life specialists are now needed in state
and country normal schools, agricultural high schools, and county high
schools, as well as the country colleges.

_Responsibility for Rural Health and Sanitation_

Probably the chief reason for the slow progress of modern sanitation in
rural districts is the lack of training of country doctors in the modern
aspects of their profession. In the country, sanitation is largely a
household matter, and women have most at stake and the greatest influence
here. In a few months or years one trained nurse or woman physician could
raise the ideals of sanitation and hygiene in the country homes of a large

Old-fashioned rural neighborliness and large families have combined in the
past to keep trained nurses in the city. The country people have managed
to get along without them usually. But both these causes have been
diminishing and there is serious need in most country sections for the
expert services of trained nurses. The "district nurse association" plan
has already gained acceptance in country places and its rapid spread would
prevent much hardship. Combined with community ownership of sick-room
appliances, this would greatly help to make country life comfortable for
people accustomed to city conveniences.

Rural frugality hates to pay a woman nurse a man's wages! But gradually
efficiency will win and the higher life standards prevail, and this will
give countless young women splendid opportunities for broad service, with
which the petty office positions in the city cannot compare.

Conservative country folks are slow to recognize the professional
authority of the woman physician; but the prejudice will soon pass.
Certainly a capable woman with a modern medical equipment would not need
many months to prove her superiority to the average low-grade country
doctor; and she would soon find a great life work. While college men are
more and more shirking this great healing profession, let the college
women give it large consideration. It offers wonderful scope for serving
the deepest needs of humanity as well as their bodily ills; and the
college girls who dream of medical missions need not go so far from home
as India to realize their visions.

_Opportunities for Religious Leadership_

The burdens of the country pastorate, like the burden of the ballot, ought
not to fall upon the women; but the time seems to have come when there are
not enough good intelligent men to maintain either.

It is impossible at present to furnish one-half of the rural churches in
the United States with _trained men_ to be their pastors. Canada imports
hundreds of clergymen annually from England. Thousands of rural pulpits in
the States are vacant. Tens of thousands of rural churches have merely
untrained preachers. Very few have resident pastors. Dr. Wilson of the
Presbyterian Board of Home Missions is authority for the statement that of
the 192 country Presbyterian ministers in Missouri, _only two_ of them are
living with their people in the open country.

We find the chief reason for country church decay the lack of a trained,
resident pastor. Under present conditions it is impossible to meet this
need from the supply of college men entering Christian work. To be sure,
thousands of these unmanned churches are surplus churches. They have no
real field; perhaps never had. And Providence is allowing them to die, for
the glory of God! It is far better when they graciously unite with some
neighboring church,--but the necessary grace is often lacking.

Very many churches with a real field need ministers and can get only
untrained men. Hundreds of such churches write in vain to the seminaries
every year, as the writer can testify. There seem to be plenty of
untrained ministers, in most states; but it is an open question whether
such leadership does more good than harm. Would not a well-trained woman,
with a genuine Christian purpose, gifts of real leadership, and a complete
college and theological training, be likely to do better service in the
pastorate of such a church than an untrained man? It seems strange that we
even consider it a subject for debate!

The number of women ministers seems to be increasing in several
denominations, though not rapidly yet. Sometimes they are untrained, but
when well equipped they render efficient service. Occasionally you find a
woman with the true pastor's spirit gaining surprising success in a
difficult country church after a series of men have conspicuously failed.
It might be well to try this experiment oftener.

We are now developing in America the second[42] generation of college
women. If eugenics teaches us anything, it gives us the right to expect
from these college-bred daughters of college-trained mothers an increased
efficiency and a new type of leadership. With every decade, a higher type
of American womanhood, the peers of the ablest women of history, is being
developed in the land. At last we are obliged to remove all our
traditional barriers and to offer them unlimited scope for their life
usefulness. Every profession is now open to them, wholly on the basis of

Among these opportunities for the right sort of trained woman is the
country pastorate. It requires possibly a rare type of womanhood, and
probably a small percentage would succeed. But mere prejudice against the
woman minister should not deprive the country churches of her sympathetic
service if she is a woman of the right sort. Let fitness, training and
worth decide, not mere traditions and prejudices. Sometimes a man and his
wife, both ordained ministers, can together serve two churches acceptably
and successfully. In fact, a case can be cited where in a western state
the important work of church supervision is done conjointly by the state
superintendent of home missions and his equally capable wife, both being
trained, ordained ministers.

It is needless to emphasize the fact that womanly sympathy, intuition and
tact are needed in the rural pastorate and that the consecration of the
right type of college woman's finest powers can perhaps find no better
field, or receive deeper appreciation, than in the service of the rural
churches. The question is sometimes asked, If a college woman wished to
study for the ministry, how could she secure her training? Would the
theological seminaries admit her as a student? The best answer to this
question is the fact that there were 467 women enrolled as theological
students in 46 of the 193 theological schools of the United States during
the last college year, according to the annual report just issued by the
National Bureau of Education. Several are non-sectarian schools; the rest
represent twenty different denominations.[43]

Quite likely a large proportion of these young women are studying to be
foreign missionaries, teachers of the Bible in college, or deaconesses.
Not only in the United States, but also in the Presbyterian and Methodist
churches of Canada, hundreds of young women are finding splendid scope for
consecrated talents in this deaconess work. As yet, however, this branch
of Christian service is wholly confined to cities, not necessarily because
of greater need there, but because the city has the necessary means to pay
for the work. Ordained or not ordained, the rural churches sadly need the
inspiring capable leadership of our college women.

II. Some Unique Opportunities for Rural Social Service

_The Opportunity of the Village Librarian_

As the country grows older the number of rural public libraries increases.
Not only are Carnegie libraries rather frequently seen in the smaller
towns, but neat little stone structures, erected by some former resident
who loved his old country home, are occasionally found even in small
communities. It is one of the finest ways to honor one's family name and
to serve the social needs of one's early home. No family monument could be
more sensible or serviceable.

Usually the rural library is more than a mere reading room with
book-storage attachment. It is always a center of social interest, and
when built on generous lines becomes a real "neighborhood house." As such
institutions multiply,--and they certain will,--many young women of social
gifts, as well as technical library training, will be needed to make the
library or neighborhood house a center of social power, the value of which
will be limited only by the personal resources of the librarian. Without
the nerve strain of teaching, it closely parallels the teacher's
opportunity with the boys and girls, and has a growing chance to stimulate
the mental life of men and women. As women's clubs increase in the
country, more farm women are cultivating the reading habit. Every year the
bulletins of the agricultural colleges with their "Reading Courses for
Farmers' Wives" are getting more popular.

_The Specialist in Household Economics_

Perhaps the sorest spot in the rural problem is the lot of the neglected
farm wife and mother. Even where agricultural prosperity is indicated by
great barns filled with plenty, often a dilapidated little farmhouse near
by, devoid of beauty, comfort or conveniences, measures the utter
disregard for the housewife's lot.

Money is freely spent when new machinery is needed on the farm, or another
fifty-acre piece is added after a prosperous season; but seldom a thought
of the needs of the kitchen. While the men of the family ride the sulky
plow and riding harrow of the twentieth century, the women have neither a
washing machine nor an indoors pump,--to say nothing of running water,
sanitary plumbing or a bathtub![44] Sometimes the drudgery of the farm
kitchen is endured by the mother uncomplainingly, or even contentedly; but
the daughters recoil from it with growing discontent.

The life conditions of farm women are rapidly improving; but the gospel of
better homes and convenient kitchens needs thousands of gentle apostles,
equipped with modern methods of household economy, hygiene, cooking and
every domestic art and science. It necessitates rare tact, and it is
doubtless most effective when least professional, when its benevolence is
simply veiled by neighborliness, joined perhaps with the daily routine of
the teacher or librarian. But the purpose involved is a splendidly worthy
one, to raise the standards of housekeeping in a whole community of homes
and bring in a new comfort and efficiency for both men and women. To do
this is to enrich and sweeten country life at its source.

_Demonstration Centers of Rural Culture_

In the cities a very effective social service is done in the settlements
as demonstration centers of refinement and Christian living. We need the
same quietly effective plan in thousands of rural communities where life
is still crude rather than simple and where the finer life-values are too
little appreciated.

As the new rural civilization develops and the higher education becomes
more diffused, this gentle but powerful leavening of country life is bound
to follow. In very many communities it is already in process. It ought to
follow as a matter of course that wherever a college-bred woman returns to
a country home, or founds a new one, there is developed a real
demonstration center of rural culture. The down-drag of environment
sometimes proves too strong for weaker natures and higher ideals are
gradually forgotten. Sometimes, too, a tactless condescension reveals to
sensitive neighbors that fatal sense of superiority which is deadly to all
good influence, for rural democracy is passing proud.

But with the right spirit of neighborly helpfulness and an effort to
overcome the barrier which is always raised at first by superior
advantages, the woman of true unaffected culture has a great chance for
fine influence in a rural community.

In such a community not many miles from Buffalo there is such a
gentlewoman. She is blessing the whole neighborhood to-day in scores of
simple ways. According to her own modest statement, she is just "idling"
now, for ill-health interrupted her cherished plans as a successful
teacher in a mission school in China.

In keen disappointment but fine cheerfulness she settled in this little
village, and soon found ample scope for quiet, happy usefulness. The old
house she had bought for a home was remodeled modestly but with rare
effectiveness, with verandas, fireplaces, cosy corners and a convenient
kitchen. With a distinctly rural note in it all, the house was furnished
in inexpensive, elegant simplicity, with a charming effect which became
quite the wonder of the community.

Neighborly relations were easily established and the "running in" habit
was ere long encouraged. Soon the cheerful living room, so unlike the
urbanized parlors of the neighborhood, became a social center for the
young folks, and music and good pictures and the joyous life developed
undreamed of social resources in the community, hitherto latent but
unexpressed. It is a genuine demonstration center of rural culture, but
unspoiled by any professional taint. It is just neighborly friendliness,
with a well-guarded passion for helpfulness; and it is bringing that true
human appreciation which all genuine life-sharing wins. May a thousand
other college-bred women see the same vision and earn the same joy.

_Womanly Leadership in Church and Club_

The college woman who "buries herself" in a rural community has only
herself to blame if she finds no opportunity worthy of her talents. There
may be no "career" of spectacular success awaiting her, but homespun
chances to serve, and be loved for her helpfulness, meet her at every

If she stands off a year or so, in self-pity, bemoaning the meagerness of
her environment, she may work for a decade thereafter to regain lost
confidence and live down a reputation for snobbishness. But if she shows
herself friendly at once; if she leads only when invited, and earns the
opportunity by a genuine modesty, ere long her talents, and whatever
leadership capacity her college life has given her, will find plenty of

A single college graduate of the right sort can do wonders in a little
country church or grange or club. The rural churches are suffering for
trained laymen to make them effective institutions; but the need is
sometimes just as acute for the right sort of womanly leadership, trained,
tactful, enthusiastic and effective. The same is true of the social clubs
and all local institutions which are open to women. With the rising
standards in rural life we shall look more and more to such women of
culture to bear the burdens of redirecting and vitalizing the work of
rural institutions. It is a worthy work and brings its own true rewards if
generously and wisely done.

_The Rural Association Secretary_

Far more is now being done for the country boy than for the country girl
in many communities, and a few college women are discovering in this fact
a great call to social and religious service.

In a few colleges, through their outside religious work, the girls have
become a little acquainted with the life of the younger girls in the
surrounding country. Sympathy leads them to try to help broaden the
outlook of these younger sisters, and to bring them the religious ideals
and the wholesome fun, both of which their lives often lack.

The Young Women's Christian Association for a few years past has conducted
community work in country towns on lines somewhat similar to the county
work of the Young Men's Christian Association. A few young women are
working as county secretaries, and they are women with a vision, and a
splendid earnestness. The work, however, is still quite new. It needs
development and extension into the smaller villages which need it most.
Doubtless this will be done as fast as college women of the right sort,
with a real consecration to the needs of the country girl, present
themselves as volunteers for this service.

College men are finding a splendid chance for life investment today in the
rural secretaryship,--as has been described earlier in this chapter. There
is no reason why their success with the country boys cannot be duplicated
by successful women secretaries with the country girls and women.

It is idle to claim that the average country homes are doing all that
needs doing for the country girls, or that the church life and school life
are effectively safeguarding them. Moral conditions in too many villages,
tardily perceived but often staggering when discovered, belie this false
optimism. We must face the fact that country girls need a more wholesome
recreational life than most villages afford, and higher ideals of true
womanliness than they often gain at home or church or school.

College young women of the right sort, with a winsome personality and some
talent for leadership, with social grace and power, with something of
athletic skill and a knowledge of organized play, and above all with a
wholesome Christian earnestness interpreting religion in practical modern
terms, have a great field of service among these country girls with all
their social hungers unsatisfied and their latent capacities unawakened.
The urgent need of such work in numerous rural counties can hardly be
questioned. Its vast possibilities can be discovered only by actual
experiment in any community.

In very many ways today the rural problem, so fascinatingly varied and
increasingly urgent, challenges the personal interest of the young women
of our colleges. They are only beginning to study it. Their eyes have been
all too narrowly set on the city and the town. But their rapidly
increasing numbers as well as the broadening every year of their outlook
upon life gives us reason for the faith that this challenge will not be
unheeded. Self-sacrificing womanhood is the salvation of every
civilization, urban or rural. It needs only to demonstrate the need; then
consecrated womanhood will heed the call. The coming decade should see
them by the hundred investing their lives in rural social service and
community betterment, that the kingdom of heaven may sooner come.

Nothing could better voice, to the young men and women of America, the
heroic appeal of country life leadership and service than Professor
Carver's manly challenge printed on the next page. Though not written
exclusively for the country, it fits rural life most admirably.

     The Productive Life Fellowship

     "It offers to young men days of toil and nights of study. It offers
     frugal fare and plain clothes. It offers lean bodies, hard muscles,
     horny hands, or furrowed brows. It offers wholesome recreation to the
     extent necessary to maintain the highest efficiency. It offers the
     burdens of bringing up large families and training them in the
     productive life. It offers the obligation of using all wealth as
     tools and not as means of self-gratification. It does not offer the
     insult of a life of ease, or æsthetic enjoyment, or graceful
     consumption, or emotional ecstasy. It offers, instead, the joy of
     productive achievement, of participating in the building of the
     Kingdom of God.

     To young women also it offers toil, study, frugal fare, and plain
     clothes, such as befit those who are honored with a great and
     difficult task. It offers also the pains, the burdens and
     responsibilities of motherhood. It offers also the obligation and
     perpetuating in succeeding generations the principles of the
     productive life made manifest in themselves. It does not offer the
     insult of a life of pride and vanity. It offers the joys of
     achievement, of self-expression, not alone in dead marble and canvas,
     but also in the plastic lives of children to be shaped and moulded
     into those ideal forms of mind and heart which their dreams have
     pictured. In these ways it offers to them also the joys of
     participating in the building of the Kingdom of God."[45]


1.--Why are college students discovering a new interest in studying the
rural problem?

2.--What proportion of your college enrollment came from country
communities, and what percentage of your alumni have invested their lives
in the country? Compare this with other colleges mentioned in this

3.--Show how the vital interests of the city are deeply involved in the
problem of rural leadership.

4.--When adequate support is secured, what special opportunities for
service do you see in the work of a country teacher?

5.--What elements in the call for trained ministers for country churches
appeal to you as most urgent?

6.--Show how the modern minister, equal to his task, has as big an
opportunity to-day as ever in the past.

7.--What elements of heroism in the modern ministry make equally high
demands on the earnest college man, whether he stays in America or goes to
the foreign field?

8.--Why are college graduates avoiding the medical profession to-day more
than formerly?

9.--What do you think of the special opportunity and need of trained
country physicians?

10.--How do you estimate the chance a trained country lawyer has to-day
for Christian influence and service?

11.--Among the various professions connected with modern agriculture,
which offers the best opportunity for the investment of a life in
worth-while service?

12.--What do you think of the County Work secretaryship as a chance for
real rural leadership and community building?

13.--Compare the proportion of women teachers in the United States and in
the rest of the world. What does this indicate?

14.--Discuss the opportunities in the country for trained nurses and

15.--What is the modern opportunity for women in rural religious
leadership, and what sort of a woman could succeed as a country pastor?

16.--What do you think of the opening for village librarians and
"neighborhood house" workers?

17.--In what details do country homes need expert leadership in household
economics and domestic science?

18.--Compare the demonstration centers of rural culture which you have
known with the illustration described in this chapter.

19.--What do you think of the work of the County Work secretary of the
Young Women's Christian Association?

20.--What other opportunities for service in rural communities come to
college women in country homes?



A Classified Bibliography

Suggested collateral readings for further study in connection with the
topics treated in each chapter of this book.


_Its Development and Present Urgency_

Bailey, L. H., pp. 31-43 in "The Country Life Movement."

Butterfield, K. L., "The Rural Problem," chapter 1 in "The Country Church
and the Rural Problem."

Butterfield, K. L., "Problems of Progress," chapter 2 in "Chapters in
Rural Progress."

Anderson, W. L., "The Rural Partnership with Cities," chapter 2, in "The
Country Town."

Anderson, W. L., "The Extent of Rural Depletion," chapter 3, in same.

Anderson, W. L., "Local Degeneracy," chapter 5, in same.

Roads, Charles, "Rural Christendom," chapters 3, 4 and 5.

Gillette, J. M., "Conditions and Needs of Country Life," pp. 3-11 in
"Country Life."[46]

Hartman, E. T., "Village Problems and Characteristics," pp. 234-243 in

Hibbard, B. H., "Farm Tenancy in the United States," pp. 29-39 in

Cance, A. E., "Immigrant Rural Communities," pp. 69-80 in same.[46]

Plunkett, Sir Horace, "The Rural Life Problem in the United States."
chapters 3-4.


_Rural Resources and the Country Life Movement_

Bailey, L. H., "Why Boys Leave the Farm" and "Why Persons Take to
Farming," pp. 89-136 in "The Training of Farmers."

Bailey, L. H., "Country and City," chapter 2 in "The Outlook to Nature."

Butterfield, K. L., "The Solution of the Rural Problem," chapter 2 in "The
Country Church and the Rural Problem."

Anderson, W. L., chapters 4, 6, 8, 11 and 12, in "The Country Town."

Carver, T. N., "Shall Rural People Set Their Own Standards?" pp. 370-4 in
"Principles of Rural Economics."

Roads, Charles, "Present Relations of City and Country" and "A Great
Future for Rural Districts," chapters 2 and 7 in "Rural Christendom."

Ogden, H., "Vital Statistics of Rural Life," chapter 1 in "Rural Hygiene."

Plunkett, Sir H., chapter 7 in "The Rural Life Problem of the United

Roosevelt, T., "Rural Life," in "The Outlook" for Aug. 27, 1910.

True, A. C., "The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture," pp. 100-109 in "Country

Bailey, L. H., "The College of Agriculture and the State," pp. 219-263 in
"The Training of Farmers."

Powell, E. P., "How to Live in the Country."

Washington, B. T., "How Denmark Has Taught Itself Prosperity and
Happiness," in "The World's Work" for June, 1911.


_Factors That are Making a New World in the Country_

Kern, O. J., "The New Country Life," chapter 1 in "Among Country Schools."

Roads, Charles, "A Great Future for Country Districts," chapter 7, in
"Rural Christendom."

Anderson, W. L., "New Factors," chapter 13 in "The Country Town."

Carver, T. N., "The Factors of Agricultural Production," chapter 3 in
"Principles of Rural Economics," (also important paragraphs in chapter 2).

Langford, W., "What the Motor Vehicle is Doing for the Farmer," in
"Scientific American," for Jan. 15, 1910.

Van Norman, H. E., "Rural Conveniences," pp. 163-7 in Mar. 1912 issue of
the "Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science."

Dixon, S. G., "The Rural Home," pp. 168-174 in same.

Parker, Harold, "The Good Roads Movement," pp. 51-7 in same.

Hamilton, John, "Influence Exerted by Agricultural Fairs," pp. 200-10 in

Bailey, L. H., "Cyclopedia of American Agriculture," many fine articles in
Volume IV on social conditions.


_The Oldest of the Arts Becomes a New Profession_

Carver, T. N., "Historical Sketch of Modern Agriculture," chapter 2 in
"Principles of Rural Economics."

Carver, T. N., "The Factors of Agricultural Production," chapter 3 in the

Butterfield, K. L., "The New Farmer," chapter 4 in "Chapters in Rural

Bailey, L. H., "The Agricultural Shift," chapter 1 in "The State and the

Davenport, Eugene, "Scientific Farming," pp. 45-50 in "Annals of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science," March, 1912.

Hays, W. M., "Farm Development," especially "Irrigation," chapter 10.

Moorehead, F. G., "Efficiency on the Farm," in "Technical World," Aug.,

Plunkett, Sir Horace, chapter 6 in "The Rural Life Problem of the United


_Country Life Deficiencies, and the New Cooperation_

Bailey, L. H., "Community Life in the Open Country," pp. 97-133 in "The
Country Life Movement."

Bailey, L. H., "Redirecting of Rural Institutions," pp. 111-135 in "The
State and the Farmer."

Carver, T. N., "Principles of Rural Economics," chapter 6 on "Problems of
Rural Social Life," and part of chapter 4.

Wilson, W. H., "Rural Decay and Repair" and "Cooperation and Federation,"
also "Rural Morality and Recreation," chapters 1, 4 and 5 in "The Church
in the Open Country."

Butterfield, K. L., "Federation for Rural Progress," chapter 17 in
"Chapters in Rural Progress," also chapter 10 in same, on "The Grange."

Eyerly, E. R., "Cooperative Movements Among Farmers," pp. 58-68, in March
1912 issue of "The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social

Scudder, M. T., "Rural Recreation a Socializing Factor," pp. 175-190 in
the same.

Johnson, G. E., "Education by Plays and Games," especially chapters 1 and

Stern, R. B., "Neighborhood Entertainments."

Bancroft, "Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium."

Heatherington, C. W., "Play for the Country Boy," in "Rural Manhood" for
May, 1911.


_How Efficient Rural Citizenship is Developed_

Foght, H. W., "The American Rural School," entire; especially chapter 15
on "Consolidation of Schools."

Kern, O. J., "The Rights of the Country Child," chapter 2 in "Among
Country Schools."

Butterfield, K. L., "The Rural School and the Community," chapter 9 in
"Chapters in Rural Progress."

Zellar, J. W., "Education in the Country for the Country," in the 1910
Report of the National Education Association.

Bailey, L. H., "The School of the Future," chapter 3 in "The Outlook to
Nature"; also "The Nature Study Idea."

Bailey, L. H., "The Developing of Applicable Education," pp. 135-172 in
"The State and the Farmer."

Wilson, W. H., "Schools for Country Life," chapter 3 in "Church in the
Open Country."

Foght, H. W., "The Library and Rural Communities," chapter 13, in "The
American Rural School."

Miller, L. K., "Children's Gardens."

"Rural Manhood," rural education number, Sept., 1912.

Gold, G. D., "The Psychology of the Country Boy," in "Rural Manhood" for
April, 1911, and April, 1912.


_The Community-Serving Church and Its Allies_

Anderson, W. L., "The Preservation of the Church" and "The Church as a
Social Center," chapters 16 and 17 in "The Country Town."

Butterfield, K. L., "The Task of the Country Church" and "Difficulties and
Suggestions," chapters 3 and 4 in "The Country Church and the Rural

Fiske, G. W., "The Function of the Country Church," chapter 5 in "The
Rural Church and Community Betterment."

Wilson, W. H., "Church and Community," chapter 2 in "The Church in the
Open Country."

Wells, G. F., "The Rural Church," pp. 131-9 in March, 1912, "Annals of
American Academy of Political and Social Science."

Wells, G. F., "The Country Church and Social Service," in Nov. 1910 issue
of "The Gospel of the Kingdom."

Roads, Charles, "Rural Christendom."

Ashenhurst, J. O., "The Day of the Country Church."

Beard, A. F., "The Story of John Frederick Oberlin."

Tipple, E. S., "Some Famous Country Parishes."

Roberts, A. E. and Israel, Henry, "The Rural Work of the Y. M. C. A.," pp.
140-8 in March, 1912, "Annals of American Academy of Political and Social


_The Challenge to College Men and Women_

Butterfield, K. L., "The Call of the Country Parish," chapter 5 in "The
Country Church and the Rural Problem."

Foght, H. W., "The Rural School Teacher," pp. 69-115 in "The American
Rural School."

Educational Review, October issue 1910, on "Ways in Which the Higher
Institutions May Serve Rural Communities."

Roberts, A. E., "Leadership," pp. 133-143 in "The Country Church and Rural

Bailey, L. H., "Woman's Contribution to the Country Life Movement," pp.
85-96 in "The Country Life Movement."

Butterfield, K. L., "Opportunities for Farm Women," chapter 11 in
"Chapters in Rural Progress."

Woolley, M. E., "The College Woman as a Home Maker," article in "The
Ladies' Home Journal," Oct. 1, 1910.

Bailey, Butterfield, et al., "Report of the Country Life Commission."

Israel, Henry, "The Basis of Appeal for County Work," in "Rural Manhood"
for January, 1912.

Fiske, G. W., "Religious Teaching in the Country," in "Rural Manhood" for
March, 1911.

Pontius, J. W., "College Men and Rural Evangelism," in "Rural Manhood" for
February, 1912.


[1] This loss however was in the early half of the decade, as the state
census shows.

[2] For the year ending March 31, 1910, 103,798 immigrants from the United
States settled in western Canada, while only 59,790 came from Great
Britain and Ireland. The wealth of the immigrants settling in western
Canada during the five years previous to that date was estimated as
follows. British, cash, $37,546,000; effects, $18,773,000. From United
States, cash, $157,260,000; effects, $110,982,000.--_The Toronto Globe_,
July 27, 1912.

[3] "The Country Town," p. 76.

[4] Principles of Sociology, Giddings, p. 348.

[5] "The Church in the Open Country," p. 9.

[6] _The Survey_, March 2, 1912. "The Nams; the Feeble-minded as Country
Dwellers." Charles B. Davenport. Ph.D.


  New England Towns Losing Population     1890   1910   Total towns
                                                         (in 1910)
  Maine                                   348     291        523
  New Hampshire                           152     163        224
  Vermont                                 187     156        229
  Massachusetts                           154     123        321
  Rhode Island                             12       8         32
  Connecticut                              79      48        152
                                          ---     ---       ----
                                          932     789       1481

[8] The writer wishes to make it quite clear that he is thinking, in this
discussion, merely of the boys and girls who _ought_ to stay on the farm.
Unquestionably many of them must and should go to the city. This book
pleads merely for a _fair share_ of the farm boys and girls to stay in the
country,--those best fitted to maintain country life and rural
institutions. Country life must be made so attractive and so worth-while
that it will be to the advantage of more of the finest young people to
invest their lives there. Every effort should be made to prevent a boy's
going from the farm to the city, provided he is likely to make only a
meager success in the city or possibly a failure.

[9] Yet in a class of 115 college men at the Lake Geneva Student
conference in June, 1912, a surprising number stated that they had
suffered a similar experience as boys at home, though usually at times
when the farm work was particularly pressing. One claimed that he had
driven a riding cultivator by moonlight at 2 A. M.

[10] Quoted by M. Jules Meline (Premier of France) in "The Return to the

[11] "The Rural Life Problem of the United States," p. 47.

[12] By Edwin Osgood Grover, the son of a country minister.

[13] Some allowance should be made for the possibility of students
enrolling from a small city who actually live on a suburban farm.

[14] "The Country Town," p. 185.

[15] "Rural Christendom." Roads. p. 84.

[16] H. W. Quaintance. in Cyc. of Am. Agric. IV; p. 109.

[17] Publication of the Amer. Econ. Assn. V; pp. 817-821.

[18] The financial results of these improvements in farm machinery will
not at all surprise us. It follows as a matter of course that machinery
has greatly reduced the cost of production. A leading agricultural
engineer at Washington is authority for this comparison. In 1830 a bushel
of wheat represented over three hours of labor; while in 1896 only ten
minutes; making a saving in the labor cost of producing wheat equal to the
difference between 17 3-4 and 33 1-2 cents. In 1850 it required 4 1-2
hours labor to produce a bushel of corn; while in 1894 it was reduced to
41 minutes. Likewise the labor represented in a ton of baled hay has been
reduced from 35 1-2 hours in 1860 to 11 1-2 in 1894; reducing the labor
cost of a ton of hay from $3 to $1.29.

It has been estimated that the use of agricultural machinery saved in
human labor in this country alone, in the year 1899, the vast sum of about
seven hundred million dollars, with doubtless a great increase the past
decade. No wonder American farmers are spending a hundred million dollars
a year for their implements, and for this very reason have outstripped the
farmers of the world, not only in the vast amount of production, but also
in the increased comforts and satisfactions of farm life.

[19] George Manikowske, Mooreton, N. D.

[20] See Genesis 3:17-19.

[21] Report of the U. S. Sec. of Agric. for 1910. p. 11.

[22] "Brains that Make Billions." W. M. Hays, in _Saturday Evening Post_,
Aug. 29, 1908.

[23] However, let us not jump to the conclusion that general farming
to-day is highly profitable. Inflation of farm values in many sections has
resulted in serious over-capitalization. The general farmers making big
dividends bought their farms some years ago, or inherited them.

[24] Cyc. of Am. Agri., Vol. IV.

[25] Doubtless this single fact would account for the loss in population
in many townships. There are just as many families as ever but a lower

[26] "The Church of the Open Country," p. 79.

[27] Rural Manhood, Vol. I, p. 22.

[28] "Rural Recreation, a Socializing Factor." Annals of the Am. Acad. of
Pol. and Soc. Sci., March, 1912; p. 189.

[29] "Rural Recreation, a Socializing Factor," p. 190.

[30] Annals of the Am. Acad. of Pol. and Soc. Sci., March, 1912, p. 61.

[31] Of course country children should also be taught much about city
life; city children should be taught about country life, and in the main
the standard curriculum will be the same. The point to be made here is the
exceedingly important one that rural schools must be made to fit the boys
and girls for happy and efficient life in rural communities. This is the
specific task of the country school.

[32] "The American Rural School," p. 323.

[33] "The Country Town," p. 299.

[34] In several of the stronger denominations, and, in general, east of
the Allegheny Mountains, the proportion is much higher.

[35] Yet an earnest young college student in an Indiana college asked my
advice recently on this significant personal problem. He is anxious to
consecrate his life to the ministry of the country church, but his
particular sect does not believe it right to pay salaries to their
ministers; so he asked advice as to whether he should earn his living by
farming or school teaching,--while _giving_ his services as pastor and
preacher! Quite possibly in such a church a salary of $1000 might actually
handicap a pastor's influence; but mainly with the conservative older

[36] For an authoritative statement of the County Work program and
principles written by International Secretaries Roberts and Israel, see
"Annals of the Amer. Acad. of Polit. and Soc. Sci." for March, 1912, pp.

[37] "The Country Church and the Rural Problem," p. 146.

[38] "The Annals of the Am. Acad. of Pol. and Soc. Sci.," March, 1912, p.

[39] "Country Life," p. 155.

[40] "The Country Church and the Rural Problem," p. 131.

[41] Forty-six out of 166 medical colleges have been closed in very recent
years and the entrance requirements of many others raised, with a strong
tendency to make a college course prerequisite.

[42] Also a few of the _third_ generation. For eighty years Oberlin has
offered women, equally with men, its privileges of higher education; and
in 1908 conferred the honorary degree of doctor of divinity upon a
distinguished woman-minister, an alumna both in arts and theology a half
century before.

[43] Disciples, Congregational, Methodist Episcopal, Unitarian, Baptist,
Universalist, Free Baptist, Free Methodist, Evangelical Association,
Christian Brethren, Methodist Protestant, Christian, Evangelical Lutheran,
Seventh Day Baptist, Wesleyan Methodist, Dunkard, United Brethren,
Methodist Episcopal South, Presbyterian and African Methodist Episcopal.

[44] Ninety-five and two-tenths per cent. of the 300,000 rural homes in
Ohio last year had no bathtub.

[45] From "The Religion Worth Having," Thomas Nixon Carver, p. 137.

[46] Issue of the "Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social
Science," March, 1912.



  Abandoned farms, 6

  Adelbert College, 227

  Agriculture, scientific, 95, 98-109
    government patronage of, 246-8
    triumphs of scientific, 91-113
    teaching of, 163, 241-8, 251
    U. S. Department of, 96-8

  Agricultural colleges, 37, 51, 167-9, 231, 246-8, 251
    professions, opportunities in, 246-8
    societies, 50

  Allies of the country church, 203-220

  Anderson, W. L., 11, 43, 174

  Animals and plants, breeding of, 100-4

  Automobiles in the country, 72-4

  Bailey, L. H., 22, 41, 42, 56

  Bible study in the country, 206

  Birth rate and rural depletion, 127

  Boardman, J. R., 134

  Boston University Law School, 242

  Bowdoin College, 226

  Boys and girls and the farm, 22

  Breeding, achievements in scientific, 100-4

  Burbank, L., 102

  Business cooperation, 122, 139-145

  Butterfield, K. L., 117, 120, 218-9, 237

  California Fruit Growers' Exchange, 143

  Canada, 10, 101, 102, 157-8, 164, 253, 256

  Carver, T. N., 76, 98, 122, 187, 263

  Cazenovia church, 214

  Challenge to college men, 227-49
    to college women, 249-63
    to faith, 27
    of the difficult, 45-7

  Christian forces, rural, 173-223

  Church in the country, necessity for, 173-4
    opportunity and function of, 173-183
    elements of weakness, 183-5
    factors which determine its efficiency, 185-203
    types of success, 213-19
    must serve its community, 189-91

  Church efficiency, 178
    equipment, 200
    finances, 198-200
    ideals, old and new, 176
    unity and federation, 193-5

  City, the, xii, 46, 152-4, 230-1
    and country, 4, 18, 25, 46, 63-5
    and its boys, 33, 37

  City life drawbacks, 39

  Cities, growth of, 4

  Clark, F. E., 47

  College graduates in the country:
    men, 227-249
    women, 249-264

  Colleges, xiii
    agricultural, 37, 51, 167-9, 231, 246-8
    relation of to rural problem, 227
    neglect of rural needs, 228
    and rural leadership, 227-264

  Columbia University Law School, 242, 243

  Comenius, 165

  Commission on country life, the, 51-56

  Community building, 248
    festivals, 136

  Communities, classification of, 2

  Conservation, 109

  Consolidation of schools, 157-61

  Cooperation in country communities, 84, 130-148, 218-30, 248, 249
    in rural Denmark, 144-5
    failures in, 121-5, 184

  Cornell University, 227
    agricultural department, 36, 38, 41, 245
    law school, 242

  Country boy, the, xii, 20, 22-25, 42, 154, 234

  Country Boy's Creed, 35

  Country life leadership, 223-266
    movement, 18, 48-63, 86-7, 111, 233
    attractiveness, 41, 86
    deficiencies, 117-130
    optimism, 33-59

  Country, privilege of living in, 39

  Country church evolution, stages in, 175

  County work of the Y. M. C. A., 132, 167, 207-11

  County secretary's opportunity:
    men, 249-51
    women, 261-3

  Curriculum for rural high school, 162

  Davenport, C. B., 16

  Deaconess work, 256

  Decadence, rural, 7
    stages of, 13

  Degeneracy, in city and country, 12, 14-17

  Denmark, cooperation in, 144

  Depletion, rural, 7, 11, 17

  District nurse association, 252

  District school system, 155

  Doctors, need of country, 241, 251-3

  Drudgery, emancipation from, 74-82

  Dryden, John, 101

  Dry farming possibilities, 107-8

  Economics, household, 234
    and country church, 187

  Education for country life, 151-170
    rural, 20, 82-3, 151-68, 231-4, 250

  Educators, the call for rural, 232-4
    women, 250

  Efficiency, urban and rural, 91

  Electricity on the farm, 79-81

  Evergreen Sporting Association, 133

  Eyerly, E. K., 142

  Farm development, 92-3
    life, 45-7
    machinery, evolution of, 75-80

  Farmers' Alliance, 50, 121

  Farmers, conservatism of, 93-4, 118
    needs of, 52
    difficulty of organizing, 120
    political ineffectiveness of, 121

  Farmers' Institutes, 167

  Farmers' National Congress, 50

  Farmer's wife, neglect of the, 257

  Foght, H. W., 156, 160, 234

  Franklin, B., 49

  Fruit growers, cooperation among, 141

  Gardens, rural school, 163-5

  Giddings, 12, 18

  Girls in country, 20, 23, 24, 28, 261

  Government cooperation, 167

  Grange, the, 50, 137-8

  Grinnell College, 237

  Grover, E. O., 35

  Gulick, L. H., 128

  Hartt, R. L., 12

  Harvard Medical School, 239

  Hatch Act, the, 96-7

  Hays, W. M., 100

  Hill, J. J., 109

  Hillsdale College, 227

  Homes, remodeling rural, 259

  Household economics, 257

  Hutchins, H. L., 13

  Illinois, University of, 227
    agricultural department, 37-8

  Immigrants and cooperation, 143

  Indiana school law, 160

  Individualism, rural, 117-120

  Interdenominational commissions, 194-5

  Irrigation, 104-8

  Irvine, Dean, 242

  Irving, W., 43

  Isolation, triumph over, 65-74

  Israel, Henry, 211

  Kansas, University of, 226

  Kern, O. J., 161

  Law faculties quoted, 244-5

  Lawyers, country, 244-6

  Librarian, opportunity of the village, 256

  Libraries, public, 134, 166, 256

  Leadership, city, xi, 1, 230
    country, 120-1, 227-265, 231
    woman's, in the country, 249-64

  Literature, rural, 166-7, 264-75

  Machinery, agricultural, 74-81
    power, 79

  Maclaren, Ian, 243

  Manikowski, G., 79-81

  Mann, Horace, 155

  Mann, A. R., 245

  Marietta College, 226

  Marshall county churches, 125

  Masculine church leadership, 201

  Massachusetts Agricultural College, 37, 38, 168

  McElfresh, F., 207

  Means, Dean, 242

  Medical faculties, quoted, 241-4
    rural practice   241-4

  Meyer, Dean, 248

  Michigan University Law School, 242

  Minimum wage for rural ministers, 198

  Ministry, the rural, 196-9
    the call to, 235-40
    the modern type of, 237
    women in the, 253

  Missouri, University of, agri. dept., 37, 199

  Morality and the play spirit, 129

  Mormon irrigation work, 106

  Nam's Hollow case, 15

  Nature, partnership with, 43

  Neighborhood house, 133, 257

  New England, 8, 9, 17

  New rural civilization, the, 117-145

  Newspapers, 72

  New York State College of Agriculture, 36, 45, 168, 245

  North Carolina Agricultural College, 37

  Nurses, need of, in country, 252

  Oberlin College and Seminary, 230, 237, 254

  Oberlin, J. F., 68, 188, 216-18

  Ohio Medical School, 240

  Ohio State University, 227

  Pacific University, 226

  Pastors, few resident in country, 253

  Patrons of industry, 50

  Pepin County Cooperative Co., 139

  Physicians, call for country, men, 240-4
    women, 251-3

  Physicians and Surgeons, College of, 240

  Plainfield church, 214-5

  Play, the gospel of, 134, 233

  Playground Association of America, 135

  Plow, evolution of the, 77-9

  Plunkett, Sir H., 26, 144, 152

  Political ineffectiveness of farmers, 121

  Power of machinery on the farm, 79-81

  Princeton University, 226

  Quaintance, H. W., 74

  Railroads, steam and electric, 69

  Reading courses for farmers' wives, 257

  Recreation and organized play, 128, 233-4

  Religious cooperation, lack of, 123
    plans for, 193-5

  Right Relationship League, 141

  Roads, C., 70

  Roads, country, 13, 68-70

  Roberts, A. E., 211

  Robertson, J. W., 157

  Roosevelt, T., 40, 51-3, 135

  _Rural Manhood_, 135, 167

  Rural problem, the, 2, 19, 1-32, 51-4
    losses, 5, 7, 8, 11
    gains, 5, 8
    degeneracy, 12, 14-17
    contentment, 35-36, 65
    sincerity and neighborliness, 44
    self-respect, 63-5
    individualism, 117-120
    progress, 54, 63, 86-7, 134, 110-1
    culture centers, 258
    agencies for betterment, 56-8, 84-6
    postal service, 71
    opportunities for social reconstruction, 117-145
    morals and recreation, 125

  Rural progress associations, 133

  Saunders, W., 102

  School, rural problems of the, 156-8
    inferior equipment and support, 154
    building, 156-7, 161-2
    centralization, 157-61
    a social center, 137

  School improvement leagues, 165

  School teachers, men, 231-3, 250
    women, 250

  Scientific agriculture, 91-117

  Scudder, M. T., 136, 230

  Secretary, County Work, 249-59, 263

  Sectarian divisions, 192, 193, 196

  Smythe, W. E., 105

  Social reconstruction, 117-145

  Social consciousness, the new rural, 83

  Social life, lack of, 125-7
    plans for, 134-7

  Socialization, community, 130-2, 189
    initiative in, 132
    plan for, 133

  South, country life in the, 64, 204

  Stone, H. F., 243

  Strong, Josiah, 13, 17, 229

  Student recruits for the ministry, 237

  Student volunteer bands, 237

  Stanford University, 226

  Sunday-schools, rural, 203-7

  Surveys, community, 202

  Swaney School, the, 161-2

  Teachers in country schools, 152-4, 232-4, 250

  Telephones, rural, 66-8

  Text-books, 152-3

  Theological study for women, 255

  Trolleys, rural, 70

  United Christian forces, 191

  Unsocial streak, rural, 118-9

  Urbanizing of rural life, 20, 152-4

  Washington, George, 49

  Washington State College of Agriculture, 244

  Whitman College, 226

  Williams College, 226

  Wilson, W. H., 14, 128, 163, 198, 202, 253

  Woman's opportunity in rural leadership, 249-263
    responsibility in rural education, 250

  Women, nurses and physicians, 251
    in the service of the church, 253-5
    college graduates, 254-64

  Young Men's Christian Associations, 132, 167, 207-211, 248-251

  Young Women's Christian Associations, 212, 261-3

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "and and" corrected to "and" (page 14)
  "diffierent" corrected to "different" (page 49)
  "Institions" corrected to "Institutions" (page 62)
  "superstitution" corrected to "superstition" (page 71)
  "progessive" corrected to "progressive" (page 81)
  "rang" corrected to "range" (page 102)
  "coöperation" standardized to "cooperation" (page 119)
  "Univercity" corrected to "University" (page 246)
  "cooperatoin" corrected to "cooperation" (Index)
  "Kearn" corrected to "Kern" (index)

Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies in
spelling and hyphenation have been retained.

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Challenge of the Country - A Study of Country Life Opportunity" ***

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