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HORACE MANN BUILDING, PASADENA HIGH SCHOOL, PASADENA, CAL.
(As civics is a matter of collective citizenship rather than a study of government, in the solution of problems of the citizen and the public, education must have and does have at least as large a share as legislation or the administration of law.)
THIS book deals with American citizens in their collective relations to one another. It treats also a few important individual relations which are of such importance socially that they are really public in character. It is easy to see why a high school textbook in civics should place emphasis, first upon the citizen and citizenship, secondly, upon the “public” as an organized group of citizens, and thirdly, on the activities of the governments which the citizens have created and through which the public cares for many of its collective interests. Practically all of this material has been tried out in classes by the author and others and has been revised to meet high school needs as perfectly as possible. This book is really an introduction to the study of the new civics. The civics which is studied to-day is naturally different from that of a generation ago, and from that of a decade ago. The form and functions of many American governments have changed in the last quarter century; the spirit of American government has changed even more. The greatest change has been, not in the government itself, but in the purpose and aim of high school courses in civics. Once we were content to examine constitutions. Next, we added an elaborate study of the organization of our governments. Still later, we emphasized the activities of government as more important than constitutions and governmental machinery. Now, we stress citizenship, because the youthful citizen should know how society is organized and what he should do for society as well as what it does for him, as a citizen and a member of that society.
In the author's opinion the new civics is and should be the heart of the new high school course in the social sciences.
The field of this new civics might seem at first glance to lack definite boundaries. The more one studies it, however, the more one is impressed with the simplicity yet completeness of the subject. Naturally public organization and activities occupy a broader field than governmental organization and activities, in just about the same way and to the same degree that governmental organization and activities (as subjects for study) are bigger, better, and more valuable than formal constitutions and governmental machinery. Naturally also one would not think of presenting to high school students a completely analyzed treatment of this subject or any other. That would be too formal; the pupil should study it from his own point of view as an individual citizen.
The study of civics should give the student some idea of his place as a member of society and therefore of his rights and duties as a citizen. It should train his judgment and develop his ability to discuss civic problems, yet it should emphasize continually the important fact that he is not solving these problems but is simply trying to weigh arguments and proposed solutions. Last and most important of all, it should make him a more intelligent, a more efficient, and therefore a better citizen.
The author's thanks are due to many teachers, especially to his colleague, Miss Winnefred Millspaugh, who has made use of much of this material in her civics classes, to Mr. Harold N. Greenwood, Head of the History Department of the Jefferson High School, Los Angeles, California, and to Miss Margaret S. Carhart, formerly of the faculty of the University of Colorado.
PASADENA, CAL., January, 1917.