The Importance of Industrial Education from the Social Standpoint, November 16, 1906 (fragment) Also known as: Address on Industrial Education, November 16, 1906 (fragment)

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↑Industrial Ed.↓

THE CHAIRMAN: Our next and last speaker has come the longest distance, and there is no one whom we are more ready and anxious to hear. Years of patient, loyal and devoted service for the great city in which she lives, has made the name of the head of Hull-House, a household word throughout the United States. I present Miss Jane Addams, of Chicago. (Applause.)

MISS ADDAMS: Almost always When I come to New York I ↑frequently↓ hear a generalization which an English traveler has made in regard to Chicago and usually I regret to say the generalization is not very flattering. Sometimes, however, the traveler comes from New York to visit Chicago and says an illuminating word or two concerning the cities on the Eastern coast. This happened a year or two ago, when a very cultivated man, who had spent some ↑six↓ months in America said this: "While Americans pride themselves upon being free from tradition and like to think that they treat every situation from the most practical standpoint" and regard it ↑solely↓ upon its own merits, he had discovered that they were more bound by the tradition they did not know, than any people he had ever met. (Laughter.)

He insisted that this contention, that Americans were unwittingly bound by unknown traditions, could be demonstrated best ↑most readily↓ from their educational methods, and perhaps you will permit me to repeat his illustrations. He said that the ↑American↓ schools as he saw them emphasized first one and then another aspect of education, but they were always traditional aspects. Some schools placed the emphasis on the three hours ↑Rs↓, which was, of course, a result of ↑the recent↓ financial period, when merchants desired [page 2] cheap and efficient clerks, and in response to this demand the children were taught to add columns of figures quickly and correctly and to come promptly to their tasks in the morning. Other schools ↑which↓ laid stress upon the chaotic "general knowledge" and held exercises on general events, exhibited a survival of the encyclopedic period of the French Revolution and the ↑early↓ Liberal Movement generally, when a citizen was supposed to know something about every conceivable subject. Other ↑Those↓ schools ↑which↓ placed emphasis upon Grammar and the precise fidelity to absurd spelling, as he was pleased to call it, exhibited survivals of the Renaissance ↑as↓ the schools which cared much for the essay, the [syllogism] and absurd logic which is used nowhere in real life, showed the abridged form of [medieval] disputation. It was of course easy to trace the classical influence in other schools, while still others emphasized the Fairy Tale, as the direct inheritance of the child from the matriarchal period ↑and↓ finally the apple and the ball appeared occasionally ↑the former the new food and↓ the latter the missile with which early man conquered his enemies. Our schools struggle ↑it seemed to him↓ wage an unending battle among themselves, and there is a perpetual clash of the traditional forces, which are but ↑but it is always fought within the charmed circle of the↓ survivals and recapitulations of the past. It is curious, however, that each school insists that its is ↑own method↓ original and new in its methods, and like a famous gentleman, many years ago who spoke prose without really knowing it, the school men who thus rely upon tradition, really knew so little of educational history, that they often pride themselves on making discoveries of method which had been used centuries before. He made two exceptions I am happy to say, and one of these schools was in Chicago, and the other was [page 3] in New York. He said that throughout the country in only these two schools did he find educators facing the situation which actually existed. Only in these two places were they organizing the child's activities with some reference to the life which he would later lead, and attempting to give him some [clue] as to what to select and what to eliminate when he should come into contact with contemporary social and industrial conditions. [page 4]

[inserted page] ruthless and materialistic, and the educated person is able to bring ↑contributes↓ nothing into it, which has a direct bearing ↑upon its development↓. To separate educational ↑interests↓ from ↑contemporary↓ life means not only that education grows meaningless and comes to rely upon tradition for its inspiration, but it also means that ↑contemporary↓ life, because this educational interest is withdrawn from it, is ↑becomes mechanical and↓ uninspired by the variation and charm of youth.

Much has been said this evening concerning German education, but I suspect that they have developed those fine technological schools in Germany which so successfully prepare their youth for industrial life in very much the same spirit as they have developed legislative protection for the working man. This ↑Modern↓ legislation ↑in Germany↓ secures for the working man in Germany Old Age Pensions, it cares for him when he is out of work ↑when unemployment has come about↓ through no fault of his own. It proposes to limit the amount of rent which he may be charged as it has limited the amount of interest upon the money he borrows, and all this is done not primarily that industry may be advanced, but because Germany has waked up to the fact that human [welfare] is a legitimate object for Governmental action. (Applause.) Germany has attained this point of view before we have, and if we hope to compete with her industrially, it could ↑can↓ only be accomplished when America shall have assumed the same attitude in regard to working people. It would be mere imitation to reproduce her splendid technological schools ↑unless↓ we need to go back of her industrial schools, to her philosophers, historians and statesmen. The Grimm Brothers first found in simple people a tremendous human power, a reservoir of charm and beauty in art, those things which make [page 5]

[cut, at bottom of page] [life] worth living. ↑From that time↓ German educators and statesmen have assumed ↑more and more↓ that it is their business to uncover and develop that power and ↑to utilize & protect that↓ source of cultivation which lies in the people themselves. ↑This is the achievement of Germany in contradistinction to our achievement in mechanical [invention]↓


[cut, at top of page] Germany is doing at the present moment, because she more nearly approximates the educated and understanding workman. It has been said by a wise man that England has come to this ↑a↓ curious illegible arrest in her industrial development, because she has been steadily concerned in opening new markets ↑for which↓ and her workmen have been making products for savage people, who quite willingly bought knives with no steel in them. After a while such production reacts on the workingman ↑himself and↓ he is not at all the same man he would have been [page 6]

[cut] It would not be at all surprising, if in the process of this transformation, which merely means getting the workman back again into his work that the Nation which accomplished it ↑first↓ should easily, and as a matter of course, leads the markets of the world as

[cut] Perhaps the most significant one is the Manhattan Trades School for Girls which I saw again this morning. In this school they are "tackling," if I may use a ↑the↓ Chicago phrase,↑word↓, industry at its most painful point. They are preparing young girls of fourteen for the sewing trades which are

[cut] What opportunity do we offer to the children upon whose education so much money has been spent? New York maintains Extension Classes and Social [Centers] in the school houses, if only to keep alive and adjustable to changing industrial and social conditions these children that they might not fall behind, first

[cut] ↑As has been given to the inventor & to the superintendent and not to the workman.And after all science is only a part of life and of knowledge, and perhaps it has come to pass, that applied science for the moment has done all that it can do, unaided, for the development of industry. It may be that machines cannot be speeded up any further without putting in a ↑an↓ unwarranted strain upon the nervous system of the worker. It may be that further elaboration will sacrifice the workman who feeds the machine, and that 

[cut] in America. Let ↑America↓ by all means keep in the lead in the application of science to industrial development and push it further if it may be done advantageously, but let us also have the initiative to enter a new field, to see what may be accomplished for industry by considering human [welfare], by [page 7]

[cut] already so overcrowded and so subdivided that there is ↑remains in them↓ very little or education possible for the worker, and they are conquering this situation by equipping each apprentice with "the informing mind". If a child goes into a sewing factory with the knowledge of the work she is doing in relation to its work with the whole ↑the finished product↓, with information concerning the material she is manipulating, ↑the processes to which it has been subjected and those to follow,↓ if she understands the design with which she is working and ↑elaborating in↓ its historic relation to art and decoration, her product must be a different thing than if she were ignorant on all of these matters, and her daily life is lifted from illegible drudgery to one of self-conscious activity.

[cut] that our schools should continually cling to a past, which did not fit the American temperament, was not adapted to our needs, and made no vigorous pull upon our faculties. He concluded that our educators ↑had been overwhelmed by the size and vigor of American Industry that they↓ were too timid to seize upon the industrial situation and to extract from it, its enormous educational value. That this lack of courage and initiative not only failed to fit the child for an intelligent and conscious participation in industrial life, but ↑the lack of properly educated men↓ was reflected in the industrial development itself. This again ↑in its turn↓ fell back into tradition ↑old habits↓ and repeated over again the ↑traditional↓ mistakes of history ↑industry↓ without enough intelligence to eliminate or select ↑from past experiences.↓ American cities exhibit stupendous extensions of the [medieval] Ghetto, huge areas of the Lancashire factories, and of the Black Country in which the social life of the workers ↑often↓ repeated the coarse jollities of Restoration London, and in which their ↑very↓ dance-halls were adorned with base survivals of the most debased period of the Italian and French Renaissance. This condition is the inevitable result of [page 8]

[cut] When they see a man so beaten down by his daily toil that their pity overflows into illegible indignation, it is largely because human life itself is outraged; the sight of an ill-nourished child, not only fills them with sorrow for the object before them, but with a desolating sense of ↑the↓ futility and waste of the ↑most↓ precious stuff the world contains.

[cut] And yet it was during these same decades that ↑when↓ the churches as if ↑were↓ appalled by the industrial situation failed to hold their own in such districts ↑that the Woman's Clubs [illegible] into them↓. The church apparently felt no lure in the hideously uncouth factories in which men sometimes worked twelve hours a day for seven days in the week until they were utterly brutalized by fatigue; nor in the ↑insanitary↓ tenements so crowded that the mere decencies of life were often impossible; nor in the raw towns of newly arrived immigrants where the standard of life was pushed below that of their European poverty unmitigated either by natural beauty or social resources.

[cut, handwritten] It appears at moments as if the educators affrighted by the ugliness & materialism of contemporary industry had fled the field forgetting that to which I think the chairman representing the University point of view will agree, that

[cut] any subject illegible however ugly and materialistic, may be treated from the educational standpoint ↑may be brought into the "kingdom of the mind."↓ Let us apply our finest educational ability ↑insight and courage↓ to the present industrial situation, insisting that mind can conquer any matter, however highly elaborated and intricate it may be, ↑and↓ that the educated workman is the most valuable of national assets, and the nation which possessed this asset will be the successful competitor.

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