Home >> Youth-and-opportunity >> A Dreamer In Action to Youth And Opportunity_p2 >> Citizenship_P1



The ideal citizen is the man who believes that all men are brothers ; that the nation is merely an of his family.

A writer, in a recent issue of a magazine, answering the question : Does an education pay? puts his reply in this forceful manner: "Does it pay to learn to make life a glory instead of a grind? Does it pay to open a little wider the door of narrow life? Does it pay to add power to the lens of the micro scope or telescope? Does it pay to know how to take the dry, dreary drudgery out of life? Does it pay to taste the exhilaration of feeling one's power unfold? Does it pay to push one's horizon farther out in order to get a wider outlook or clearer vision?" By education we attain all the rights and privileges that permit us citizenship in the world of the past and present. We win this broader citizenship, first by perceiving our right to it, then by proceeding to work for it. The daily paper, the baker on the corner, the people we meet in the daily round of our oc cupation and amusement, are important and necessary to us. But in our intercourse with them we must not forget that Plato took care to pen the words of Socrates for us; that tarch wrote the lives of illustrious Greeks and Romans to provide us with exact prototypes of men in our own streets; that Shakespeare packed the world away in a book for us to carry in the pocket. This many-countried kingdom of the past is rightly as much a part of us, as the republic is in which we dwell and vote.

The good citizen occupies all his domain and not a part of it. He lives in the ever-ex panding republic of his increasing intellectuali ty, and not merely in the few rooms where he keeps his body. It is only by becoming a citi zen of the greater world of the past that we comprehend the meaning of our own times and of our own country. The past is forever accumulating, and its accumulation makes the present. If we begin to study environment in this conception of it, its meaning will loom large and significant before us. It has been said, and truly, that "the future of American civilization, and with it the future of the world's civilization, is to be found not by the influence of trade alone, but by the influence of trade joined with the influence of broad in telligence, humanitarian sympathies, and un selfish purposes."

Cicero advised the Romans to be "a pattern to others, and then all will go well; for as a whole city is affected by the licentious passions and vices of great men, so it is likewise re formed by their moderation." Just as no one knows a family intimately until he has met and judged all its members, so, similarly, no man has come to his full power of citizenship until he has become, to some extent at least, a student of the members of the family of nations which in our time are striving towards the brotherhood of universal peace. To read history with understanding, to follow the trend of to-day, the world over, should be the effort of every man who appre ciates the honor and privilege of citizenship anywhere.

"Few people," John Fiske said, "have the leisure to undertake a systematic and thorough study of history, but everyone ought to find time to learn the principal features of the gov ernment under which we live, and to get some inkling of the way in which these governments have come into existence, and of the causes which have made them what they are." If this study reveals to us no more than the purpose of public education, the desirability of peace over war, the meaning of political parties, the justification of taxes, it has made plain to us some essential fundamental principles. Public education is a strict demand on the part of our government that families and communi ties prepare the children to take up the burden of life in another generation, and that they prepare them wisely and well. The effort to guarantee peace between nations, recognizes that a difference of opinion is a difference in mental perception, and that such a difference appeals rather to the mind than to a gun.

Page: 1 2

pay, life, world, education and past