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to frame a constitution. That was far from perfect, but it was the best we had, and we made it work. Let us make the best of what we have got and take the next practical step looking toward the higher ideal of the ultimate outlawry of war. We must organize our forces for peace. I believe we are either peacemakers or warmakers. This very body of social workers represents very great forces across the length and breadth of this country.
[For the second part of Mr. Eddy's address, see The Abolition of War, by Sherwood Eddy.]
THE STATE AND HUMAN WELFARE
Hon. William E. Sweet, ex-Governor of Colorado, Denver
It is a matter of great regret that Governor Smith of New York could not be present to discuss the subject of "The State and Human Welfare." Without question, he is one of the best-informed chief executives in the country on this subject. He has been eminently successful in persuading the legislature of his state to grant large appropriations for welfare work, and his long administration has been notable for the social legislation which he has initiated.
As you know, Governor Smith is a Democrat. I am of the same political faith, and I like to believe that a keen interest in the state's relation to human welfare characterizes the Democratic party. However, no party is possessed of all the virtues. President Roosevelt, on one occasion, was speaking in the rock-ribbed Republican state of Maine. During his address he arraigned the Democratic party quite severely. There are a few Democrats left in Maine, and one of them happened to be in the audience. He arose and told Mr. Roosevelt that he was a Democrat, that his father had been a Democrat, and his grandfather before him. "I suppose," said the President, "that if your father had been a horse thief, and your grandfather had been one, you would have been a horse thief too?" "No," the man replied, "I would have been a Republican."
The National Conference of Social Work is just entering upon its second half-century of life. No one can read your program without being impressed with the vast scope of your work. It touches every phase of city and country life. Social service has become so widespread in this country that in the single state of Massachusetts it is carried on by over one thousand private corporations which expend more than $33,000,000 a year. It serves 355 cities and towns, and the commonwealth, through its different departments of public welfare, has supervision over 80,000 persons.
The average citizen thinks of the functions of government as limited to the maintenance of an army and navy, dispensing justice through the courts, and preserving law and order, coining money, and regulating the currency, conducting the postal service, imposing duties on imports, and many similar activities.
There are a multitude of ways in which the government should advance human welfare and improve our economic and social life. People of social vision must use their efforts to mold public opinion in order that the government may function to this end.
Our educational system, more than any other department of government, clearly illustrates the principle of the obligation of the state to advance human welfare. There was a time when all schools in this country were private, and education was confined to those who could pay for it. Indeed, it was not until 1867 that New York state had a complete free school system. In the beginning, the state assumed responsibility for the child only in its primary years. Then came the development of the high school, and finally the great state university for higher learning. Today education is as much the province of government in this country as handling the mails or telling us what kind of weather we may possibly have tomorrow. America would not diminish in the slightest degree the emphasis placed on public education, for it is the bulwark of our democratic system of government. The public school is primarily a social institution, and education is a social process.
The fact that the state accepts such a large responsibility for education does not result in the privately endowed colleges and universities diminishing either in number or efficiency. Both educational agencies progress together. In the same way, private organizations for social service work hand in hand with state agencies doing similar work.
The responsibility of the state for human welfare has been greatly emphasized in recent years by the exercise of the police power of the state. From the very beginning of our national history the courts have refused to define explicitly "police power," but have placed it upon the broad basis of public necessity. The recent awakening of the social consciousness has led the states to a more frequent use of this power. The affirmation of this principle by the Supreme Court of the United States makes it possible for the state to extend its power in the field of human welfare far beyond any limits of which we have heretofore dreamed.
Individual interests were the first to be recognized legally, because individuals existed before the state, but as groups were formed and civilization evolved into the complex relations which now exist, the public interest became paramount. Under the police power of the state certain lines of business have been declared to be vested with a public interest, and may not be conducted in a manner detrimental or injurious to society. The state has the power to regulate and control any business coming in this category. It must not, however, be the function of government to stifle individual initiative or progress, but rather to strike a just balance between private and public interest.
President Coolidge recently aroused the ire of certain private interests by declaring that rent regulation and control was highly desirable in the District of Columbia. And this, be it remembered, in peace times. The epithet of
"socialist" was immediately hurled against our conservative, New England President, but President Coolidge was applying the principle that the business of housing was clothed with a public interest, and therefore could be regulated. The most important law involving the police power of the state which has not stood the test of the courts is the minimum wage law for women, involving an act of Congress applicable to the District of Columbia. The district court of appeals divided four to four on the constitutionality of the act. When it came before the United States Supreme Court, the court divided five to three against the law. Had Judge Brandeis, who had heretofore been of counsel, taken part in this decision, the court would have been divided five to four.
The states of Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, and Arkansas had all passed similar laws, and the supreme courts of those states had approved their legality, in some instances by unanimous decisions. Summarizing the vote outside of the Supreme Court, we have twenty-nine judges thinking that compulsory wage legislation for women was valid, as against four judges thinking the contrary. Lester F. Ward, the eminent sociologist, summed up the principle of the police power of the state as follows:
The state is the organ of social consciousness, and must ever seek to obey the will of society. Whatever society demands, it must, and always will, endeavor to supply. If it fails at first, it will continue to try until success at last crowns its efforts. If it is ignorant, it will educate itself, if in no other way, by the method of trial and error. Higher and higher types of statesmanship will follow the advancing intelligence of mankind, until one by one the difficult social problems will be solved. It is useless to maintain that the functions of government are necessarily limited to the few that have thus far been undertaken. The only limit is that of the good of society, and as long as there is any additional way in which that object can be secured through governmental action, such action will be taken.
The relative value of voluntary and state agencies for the promotion of human welfare will always be an interesting subject for discussion. It will be admitted, however, that these two agencies should be most closely related. Undoubtedly there are some lines of social work, including experimentation and research, which the state cannot enter upon because it is impossible to secure adequate appropriations. The public is eager for results, especially in welfare work. The state seems to be willing to carry on experimentation in science and agriculture, but when it comes to experimentation in welfare work at public expense, our state legislatures draw the line. Private agencies are far more elastic in their organizations and more capable of initiation and enterprise than state agencies.
President Norton, in his address last Wednesday, said: "Organized social work is an essential supplement to the elemental political and economic philosophy upon which the American commonwealth rests." The self-determination of the individual with opportunity for the free expression of his personality and powers, together with a social order which shall guarantee to him the full product of his toil, we recognize as elementally American. That government
has a vital relation to the economic advantage of the possessing group has long been admitted, but it is only in recent years that we have realized the responsibility of the state to improve the economic status of the wage-earner and toiler. Furthermore, the full product of capital cannot be secured without healthy, contented, and prosperous industrial workers. It is therefore logically the function of the state both to remedy and remove as far as possible every condition which hinders labor from producing to its fullest capacity.
Germany has gone farther in recognizing the relationship which should exist between government and industry than any other nation. Fifteen years ago. the industrial growth of Germany astonished the world. It was accompanied by tremendous commercial and colonial expansion. At the time of which we are speaking there were no evidences of want and misery in Germany such as we associate with the East Side in New York or the Hull House district in Chicago. A writer, who is not a sociologist, but an economist, says that before the war there was in Berlin nothing like the American slum; that the visitor saw no signs of degradation and misery in the people on the street and the children running about. How shall we account for this absence of extreme poverty among the working class of Germany? It was undoubtedly because the educational system of Germany went far toward eliminating that class of helpless incapables which is the despair of the charitable societies of England and America. In most German cities it was compulsory for every man to receive instruction in his trade. Germany has never feared paternalism as we do in America, and this may account in part for her great success as an industrial nation.
Since the war, Czechoslovakia has led all other countries of Europe in the emphasis which it has placed on human welfare. It is counted so important that there is a minister of social welfare in the cabinet. Indeed, social policy forms the most characteristic feature of all the legislation of the Czechoslovak republic.
Social workers in this country know about President Masaryck and his daughter, Doctor Alice Masaryck, who are responsible for much of the social spirit of the Czechoslovak republic. The fact is not so well known, however, that when President Masaryck, who was for many years professor of sociology in the University of Prague, was sent as exchange professor to the University of Chicago, he and his daughter Alice came in close personal contact with Miss Jane Addams, one of America's most beloved and outstanding leaders in social work. As a result, something of the spirit and method of our social work has been transmitted to Central Europe.
During the war it was found necessary to establish a very close relationship between government and human welfare. We said repeatedly that our social work was bound to be greatly broadened by this experience. This was true, but the pendulum swung back after the war and much social work was dropped. A necessary development of the post-war period, however, which the national
government could not drop, from motives of patriotism, was the rehabilitation of the disabled soldiers. Many of the state institutions of Minnesota have recently revived their vocational work all along the line, and under a state board for vocational education have undertaken the task of rehabilitating civilians. An emergency measure which the war forced upon us has now become a regular part of the state's activities in social work.
Those who are opposed to the principle of the participation by the state in matters touching human welfare say that we have too many laws now in America. While it is true that there are many laws on our statute books which remain unenforced, nevertheless we cannot depend upon volunteer agencies of a charitable and philanthropic nature to correct existing evils in our social order. Professor John R. Commons has well said:
Voluntary organizations of a charitable and philanthropic nature can do much to correct existing evils, but it is only through political action that the great entrenched wrongs can be wiped out. The power of government is supreme. It is the only force strong enough to cope with the interests of selfishness and greed. The power of the state must be invoked to supplement voluntary effort. Society cannot wait until good will voluntarily percolates through the spirit of greed and avarice.
I like the use of the world "commonwealth" as applied to the state. It emphasizes the spirit of government rather than the method, and signifies that the state exists for the "common weal" of the people.
James Russell Lowell said that the democracy was an experiment. There can be no chartered course over which it must advance. Circumstances and conditions, wars and pestilences, science and invention will all determine its direction in the future. As the pioneer sets his face toward the setting sun to explore the unknown land, not knowing the exact route by which he shall proceed, but keeping his destination in mind, so these forty-eight great political subdivisions which we call states, and which make up the American commonwealth, by experimentation will bring to fruition all the hopes and aspirations of the common man.
My friends, it is a great adventure to which you have put your hands and hearts. It will demand intelligence of the highest order, a stout heart, a great love of humanity, moral courage, and a dauntless spirit.
Have faith in democracy, for democracy connotes the right of the people to rule and relies upon their ability to do so. Democracy, in an industrial age, must seek to know what is just before it exacts what is profitable.
The political conception of democracy is a government of, and by, and for, the people. The ethical and spiritual conception of democracy is that every citizen of this Republic shall have, as far as possible, the fullest opportunity to express the best that is in him.
My friends, believe these things with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. They are the warp and woof of democracy. Honor them in your private thinking and in your public utterance. "Bind them about thy