Imágenes de páginas

meaning of the three great branches of government. His ears as well as his eyes are open. Politics is the theme of much familiar conversation to which he listens. With all the rest, he reads the newspaper, and so enlarges his store of political information.

Still other agencies contribute to the grand result. The church, public meetings, societies of various kinds, all teach the lessons of order and discipline.

Such, in general, are the steps by which the child makes his way out of the world of isolation and selfishness into the world of social activity and light. Such is the character of his early education in morals and politics. Nor is it easy to overestimate these early lessons. To

suppose that the child's political education begins when he first reads the Constitution of the United States, is like supposing that his moral education begins when he is first able to follow the preacher's sermon.

All this training is unconscious and mainly incidental, and the more effective for that very reason. But such training will not meet the ends of intelligent citizenship. Nor can the political education of citizens be left to the newspaper and the political speaker. Government must be formally taught in the schools. But what shall be the order of study ? Shall the child begin at Washington, at the State capital, or at his own home? In other words, shall he begin with the National Government, with the State government proper, or with Local government ?

For a time the student of government should continue to work on the material that lies right about him, just as the student of geography should find his first lessons at home. On this point the arguments already presented are decisive. The practical argument shows that this will be the most useful course to pursue.

The pedagogical argument shows that it is also the easiest, the

most natural, and the most successful. In general then the method should be—first, the Local Government; second, the State Government, and last, the National Government. We have now reached a point where we

can define more clearly and fully the special object of the series of books to which this is a general introduction. These books are designed for the first stage of the formal study of the subject of Government. They are written on the theory announced; viz. : That the child's political education begins at home, and should for a time proceed from the home outward. The series is appropriately named The State Government Series. A volume will be given to a State. The successive volumes will first present an outline sketch of the civil history of the State, and then outline sketches of the State and National Governments as they now exist and operate.

With two or three practical suggestions to teachers, this Introduction may fitly close.

The first of these suggestions, is that if the proper course be taken, the study of the National system will not be deferred until the pupil has made a complete survey of the State System. The State system can no more be understood alone than the National system alone. When the intelligent pupil, and particularly a boy, is old enough to take up one of the volumes of this series, he will already have made some progress in discriminating the two systems.

He will know that Congress and the President belong to the Nation, the Legislature and the Governor to the State. But at the outset it may be advisable for the teacher to broaden and deepen this line of division. This can be done, if need be, in one or more oral lessons devoted especially to the subject. Moreover, the teacher should keep an eye on this line from first to last. He should encourage the pupil to read the

Constitution of the United States, and in particular should direct his attention to the general powers of Congress as summed up in Article I, section 8, which are the driving wheels of the National Government.

The second observation is that unremitting care must be taken to make the instruction real. The common. places about the abstractness and dryness of verbal instruction, and particularly book instruction, will not be dwelt upon, except to say that they apply to our subject with peculiar force. The study of history, when it is made to consist of memorizing mere facts, is to the common pupil a dry and unprofitable study. Still more is civil government dry and unprofitable when taught in the same manner. There is little virtue in a mere political document or collation of political facts. The answer that the school boy made to the question, • What is the Constitution of the United States ?" is suggestive. He said it was the back part of the History that nobody read. Hence the book on government must be connected with real life, and to establish this connection is the business of the teacher. On this point three or four hints may be thrown out.

The teacher should not permit the Governor, for example, to be made a mere skeleton. He should see rather that he is made to the pupil a man of flesh and blood, holding a certain official position and exercising certain political powers.

It is better to study the Governor than the Executive branch of the government; better to inquire, What does the Governor do? than, What are the powers of the Executive ?

The teacher should stimulate the pupil to study the political facts about him. He should encourage him to observe the machinery of political parties, the holding of elections, council meetings, courts of local magistrates, and the doings of the policeman,' constable, and

sheriff. This suggestion includes political meetings and conversations upon political subjects. By observation an undue personal attendance upon such proceedings is not meant. To that, of course, there might be several objections.

Pupils in schools should be encouraged to read the newspapers, for political among other reasons. The publications prepared particularly for school use to which the general name of “Current Events" may

be given, are deserving of recommendation.

Still another thought is that the study be not made too minute. It should bear rather upon the larger features of the special topics. This remark is particularly applicable to the judiciary, which nearly all persons of ordinary education find more or less confusing.

The suggestions relative to observation of political facts are peculiarly important in a country like our own. To understand free government, you must be in touch with real political life.

In teaching Civil Government, the first point is to develop Civic Spirit—the spirit that will insist upon rights and perform duties.

The last word is a word of caution. The method that has been suggested can easily be made too successful. Our American atmosphere is charged with political interest and spirit; and, while the pupil who takes a lively interest in current politics, as a rule, will do better school work than the pupil who does not, the teacher must exercise care that partisan spirit be not awakened, and that occupation in current events do not mount up to a point where it will interfere with the regular work of the school.





THE BEGINNINGS OF GOVERNMENT—1673–1838 1. Meaning of the Name Iowa.—Local historians from the earliest times have disagreed regarding the meaning of the Indian word Iowa.

Some good authorities who know the language of the red man well, state that it means " The Beautiful Land.” Antoine Le Claire, an authority of the highest repute, is just as positive that the word means, “This is the Place."

Henry R. Schoolcraft, also a notable authority, decides that the Indians used the word to mean “Across the River," calling the tribe which had left the old home in Illinois the lowas. It is not possible to choose between these authorities, but there is agreement in the fact that the word is derived from the Indian language, and that there was a tribe of Fox Indians which bore this name, leaving it upon the map of the state in Iowa river, Iowa City, Iowa county and Iowa State.

2. History of the Use of the Name.—The first time the name appears in public records was in 1829. The Territorial Legislature of Michigan, sitting in the city of Detroit, organized all that part of the country

« AnteriorContinuar »