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Department Of The Interior,

Bureau Of Education,

Washington, October 3,1913.

Sir: In several States one day in the fall of the year is set apart as "Agriculture and Rural-Life Day," to be observed in the schools in such way as to emphasize the importance of agriculture to the nation and to the world of mankind, to call attention to the worth and worthiness of the tillage of the soil, the cultivation of plants, and the breeding and care of animals as an occupation and profession, and to reveal something of the beauty and glory of simple and sane life in the open country. In other States exercises appropriate to this purpose are held in connection with Arbor Day, Thanksgiving, or the Harvest Home celebration. Those who know children best will appreciate most fully the possibilities of this day and the importance of making its program both interesting and instructive. The manuscript transmitted herewith contains material selected and arranged for that purpose. I recommend that it be published as a bulletin of the Bureau of Education. That this should be done is all the more appropriate since in many places this day has been set apart for this purpose at the suggestion of this bureau.

Respectfully submitted.

P. P. Claxton,

C ommissioner.

To the Secretary Of The Interior.



I believe that the Country, which God made, is more beautiful than the City, which man made; that life out-of-doors and in touch with the earth is the natural life of man. I believe that work is work wherever we find it, but that work with Nature is more inspiring than work with the most intricate machinery. I believe that the dignity of labor depends not on what you do, but on how you do it; that opportunity comes to a boy on the farm as often as to a boy in the city; that life is larger and freer and happier on the farm than in the town; that my success depends not upon my location, but upon myself—not upon my dreams, but upon what I actually do—not upon luck, but upon pluck. I believe in working when you work, and in playing when you play, and in giving and demanding a square deal in every act of life.



To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions, but not contented with yourself until you have made the best of them; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor's except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and every day of Christ; and to spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit, in God's out-of-doors. These are little guideposts on the footpath to peace.






The history of our agricultural developments illustrates this principle—that enlightenment is increased by inventions and discoveries, which in turn create new industrial problems that call for still other inventions and discoveries. Thus man is ever modifying or changing his environment, while the environment is ever modifying or changing the habits of man. The intelligence of man and the forces of nature are acting and reacting on each other, while the race is working upward, always passing into higher and clearer intellectual zones, where many phenomena, once mysteries, are made plain, and new forces are brought into service for the advancement of the race. Moreover, as the arts of life have unfolded, man has become more open-minded to natural causes. He has learned to adjust himself more readily to the forces of the world about him, to work in harmony with them, and to adopt for his own use many things in the natural world which were once thought to be useless or harmful. The world has practically been made over in the past hundred years. New sciences have been evolved that have given a new meaning to life. New occupations have been opened up, making it easier for men of different talents to provide an honest living. New subjects have been added from time to time to our school curriculum, until the whole purpose of education has undergone a complete change. New foods for man, beast, and plant have been discovered, and ancient food plants have been so influenced, and their habits have been so changed, that they bring forth an hundredfold more than they did in their original state. These are some of the results of man and nature working together in harmony.

—Selected from Brooks' "Story of Cotton."


Man can not live without food, and the great wars of the world have been in the main wars of conquests for new territory, new river valleys, or fertile plains where the cereals grow and where the starving multitude may receive food in plenty. It is an interesting fact that civilization had its birth in the great river valleys of the world, and the great nations of the world have been those that controlled the rich food-producing lands.

We have only a few records of a great civilization that once lived in the Euphrates Valley, where Babylon and Nineveh contended with one another, and where, it is said, the wheat of the world had its origin.

From this very ancient beginning nations have followed one another in rapid succession, each one contesting for the great valleys, only to be soon captured and destroyed by a more vigorous people. Jacob's sons, driven by hunger, went down into the valley of the Nile begging for food. Their descendants, more than a million strong, having been held captive by the more powerful Egyptians, broke away from their captors and reoccupied the valley of the Jordan—the land of Canaan. Thence came our first lesson in careful food selection and preparation.

The overcrowded Greeks colonized the fertile districts along the shores of the Mediterranean. The Romans went to war with the Carthaginians for the great grain fields of Sicily, and finally annexed the Nile Valley to their great empire. The congested tribes along and beyond the Danube pressed down into the fertile valleys of Italy, France, and Spain and overcame the Romans. Wanderers from the cold north and from across the Rhine overcame northern France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Several centuries later a way was found to America, and the natives of Europe pushed their underfed population over into America and took from the Indians the fertile valleys along the coast. And when the coastal plain was settled and all the river bottoms taken up the population still pushed westward, fighting the .Indian and the bear until the fertile valleys of the Mississippi and its tributaries were revealed. It took only about a century for the valley to become occupied and its products to find their way into the markets of the world. But the struggle for river valleys did not stop. During the past half century another great valley was discovered—the La Plata of South America—and the grain of this great valley feeds millions of Europeans, who would be hungry without it.


The first instinct of every being is to secure food for the nourishment of its body. The moment any living thing appears in the world it begins to feel about for food. The infant animal makes its wants known by its movements, and the little plant begins to send its tiny rootlets around in the soil. The body is extremely sensitive

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